According to Ann Coulter in Slander, the media were out to get Ronald Reagan with the age issue in 1984. Coulter writes:
More peculiarly, [in 1984] a spate of general-interest articles on senility began to pop up in large-circulation magazines. In the ten months before the 1984 election, Newsweek, Time, Ladies Home Journal, and U.S. News & World Report all ran major pieces on senility. That’s too many to be a coincidence. The LexisNexis archives yield only one magazine article on senility (U.S. News & World Report) in 1976; zero in 1980; zero in 1988; zero in 1992; one in 1996; and one in 2000 (Maclean’s). In other words, the same number of magazine articles on senility were published in 1984 alone as in all other presidential elections years combined in the last quarter of the twentieth century. (p. 132).
I found some serious problems with the supposed spike in articles on senility in 1984. This hardly surprised me--clicker here to see some problems with a previous media content-analysis done by Coulter. The Ladies Home Journal article from 1984 Coulter cited (Emma Elliot, “My Name is Mrs. Simon,” August 1984) wasn’t about senility per se; rather it was a woman’s narrative of her ordeal with hospital staff when her elderly mother was hospitalized for a physical ailment. The subject of senility was touched upon when the author complained that hospital staff treated her mother as if she senile simply because she was elderly. If this was an attempt by the media to make the “age issue” salient, then I don’t know why it would include the following information:
As a medical writer, I was appalled at the way this hospital’s trained professionals were treating their elderly patients. They, of all people, should be aware that “old age” and “senility” are not interchangeable terms. In fact, only 5 percent of older people ever suffer from severe intellectual impairment. Fifteen percent may suffer some mild disability, such as minor memory loss. But 80 percent of those who live to very old age, into their eighties and nineties, never experience any symptoms of senility at all.
The U.S. News article Coulter cited (“Today’s Senior Citizens: ‘Pioneers of New Golden Era,’” July 2, 1984) also is not specifically on senility; rather it is an interview with a gerontologist on geriatrics in general. The article did touch upon senility and Alzheimer’s disease but the doctor they interviewed used President Reagan as an example of adjusting well to the aging process: “[Ronald Reagan] seems to love his job. He feels very much in command and derives much stimulation and satisfaction from being President.” The overall attitude of the doctor interviewed was that overall quality of life is improving for America’s elderly; according to the doctor: “The elderly today are healthier, happier, richer, better educated, and more independent than they were at the turn of the century.” If the editors of U.S. News were attempting to use the interview to put then-President Reagan in a bad light, they failed miserably.
The articles from Time (Evan Thomas, “Questions of Age and Competence; The President Seem Fit—But Is He too Detached, 10/22/84) and Newsweek (Matt Clark, “The Doctors Examine Age, “ 10/22/84) Coulter cited also were not “general-interest articles” but specifically addressed questions raised by Reagan’s disastrous first debate with Walter Mondale. During that debate, at times Reagan seemed confused (Reagan said "I'm all confused now." as he prepared to deliver his closing statement). These two articles made the questionable assumption that Reagan was mentally fit. For instance, in the Time article by Evan Thomas concluded: "In sum, the issues Americans should debate is not Reagan's age but his effectiveness and the validity of his approach to governing." In the final paragraph of the Newsweek article, Matt Clark wrote: "Doctors see no reason why a man Reagan's age shouldn't be president. They cite Winston Churchill, among others, as an impressive precedent. And, they point out, decision makers often suffer less stress than the younger people who execute their edicts. "There's no reason a priori why someone in his 70s may not be just the person we need, " says [geriatric specialist, Dr. Marilyn] Albert. "Sometimes, those very people have the accumulated wisdom, knowledge, and expertise to deal wisely with complex knowledge."
The Time and Newsweek articles fly in the face of what was going on in the Reagan White House. When Howard Baker took over as chief of staff in 1987, Reagan's staff told him to be prepared to have Reagan declared unfit and replace him. In fact, there is evidence that people in the media covered for Reagan in this area. As Jeff Cohen points out, “former CBS White House correspondent Lesley Stahl writes that she and other reporters suspected that Reagan was 'sinking into senility' years before he left office. She writes that White House aides 'covered up his condition'-- and journalists chose not to pursue it." Cohen’s article gives the shocking details of an encounter Stahl had with a disoriented Reagan—yet Stahl spiked the story.
Palast versus Harris I have to go to the library and research some things before I will post the latest Coulter article (I'll post it tonight, I promise). While you're waiting for that, read about how Greg Palast is responding to Katherine Harris's latest propaganda front.
Oops I realize I promised to post the hilarious article on Ann Coulter's media content-analysis yesterday. I'll put it on today. Let me explain. I thought I was only going to spend an hour or two at the Men In Black II Premiere after-party. My God, Sony-Columbia knows how to throw a party. It was held at the Santa Monica pier. The catering was excellent. Anyway, I didn't get back until the birds were chirping (and I was in no condition to write). My only regret: at the end of the night, Will Smith got on stage and did a medley of songs and my camcorder battery went dead. One final thought on the party: Jon Voight is a funny person in real life.
Coulter on Today Show Update I just finished watching Ann Coulter's appearance on the Today Show. Katie Couric held Coulter's feet to the fire, especially on Coulter's comments on Jerry Falwell (I discuss Coulter's comments on Falwell in today's first segment on Slander; I will post it within the next two hours). I was disappointed that the Today Show producers didn't use what I had faxed them (Alan Colmes used some of the material I sent him when he interviewed Coulter on Fox News last night). If they had, then Couric could have nuked Coulter's contention on the show that "when [Ronald Reagan] was going into his second term, he was, suddenly there was this spate of special-interest articles on senility..." On page 132 of Slander, wrote, “More peculiarly, a spate of general-interest articles on senility began to pop up in large-circulation magazines. In the ten months before the 1984 election, Newsweek, Time, Ladies Home Journal, and U.S. News & World Report all ran major pieces on senility. That’s too many to be a coincidence. " I was going to address Coulter's "research" on this tomorrow, but since she alluded to this today, I will post the material I have on it later today. Trust me, it's hilarious. I will post the following today: 1) an expose of Coulter's blatant misrepresentations in just the first few pages of Slander; and 2) Coulter's hilariously awful content-analysis on the media and senility.
Update Right as I write this, they are preparing to interview Ann Coulter on The Today Show. I will put on the first installment of my series on Coulter's book soon thereafter. It is my hope that Coulter is confronted with the things I faxed to the Today Show producers.
Is Ann Coulter’s Autograph Worth Ten Bucks? Today is the release date for Ann Coulter’s new book, Slander: Liberal Lies About The American Right. WorldNetDaily, one of the fringe right web sites Coulter writes for, is offering the book for $25.95 (an extra ten bucks for an autographed copy). It is fitting that WorldNetDaily is selling Coulter’s book. It’s ironic what is contained in the ad for the book:
Prominent liberals – desperate to gain even more political power in America – pull no punches in their effort to defame and discredit conservatives. No lie, no false accusation, no misquotation is too outlandish. And their pals in the media are forever letting them get away with it. But finally someone is calling their bluff. In "Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right," Ann Coulter – with her trademark wit and shrewd insights – exposes those carrying out this campaign, reveals their brutal techniques and refutes their vicious slanders and outright lies.
Actually, these words are doubly ironic for the following reasons: 1) I was able to snag a review copy of Slander recently and I researched the book. In addition to being her usual nasty self in Slander, Coulter fabricated things. Over the next few days, I will write about the fabrications as well as some hilarious blunders in the book—trust me they are hilarious. SO CHECK THIS WEB SITE THROUGHOUT THE WEEK!!! 2) WorldNetDaily is one of the worst offenders when it comes to political character assassination. In fact, WorldNetDaily was founded by Scaife-funded hatchetman Joseph Farah whom Scaife paid to buy full-page newspaper ads that suggested that Vince Foster was murdered. Farah and WorldNetDaily are responsible for spreading the paranoid “Clinton Body Count” rumor—the smear that President Clinton has been responsible for the deaths of dozens of people—it’s a freeper staple.
TOMORROW: A few of Coulter’s fabrications and distortions.
Peggy Noonan, Doctor of Psychiatry, Telepathy, and Hackology
The Spectator has a thought-provoking article on pundit Peggy Noonan (thanks again to MediaWhoresOnline for alerting me to it). MWO points out Noonan’s perceived omniscient powers—especially how they allow her to take cheap shots at Hillary. From The Spectator article: “Neither [Hillary] nor Bill loves America. They don’t want the presidency to help the country but to use it as a platform to power... I met Hillary recently at the funeral of a mutual friend. It was bizarre; when she looked at me her face separated into entirely different halves. Her mouth smiled but her eyes told me quite clearly, ‘I detest you and will do my best to destroy you.’” Reading that psychoanalytic swill hardly surprised me; in her screed The Case against Hillary Clinton, Noonan makes a venom-dripping diagnosis: “It's as if [Bill and Hillary] don't have a façade, they've become a façade. You sense a depression on his part and an anger on hers. They seem to me trapped, lost in a maze of inauthenticity, looking for the admiration that they think will lead them home."
Upcoming Bombshell(s) I haven't been updating this page regularly for the past couple weeks because I 'm working on some important projects. In the next week, I will be posting some important exclusives.
Upcoming Film Over the weekend, I saw the trailer for Blue Crush, a film about female surfers. The cinematography is excellent and the trailer indicated that the film will deal with the issue of localism, a problem that plagues the surfing community.
One Cheer for Bill O’Reilly Bill O’Reilly’s new radio show is a monument to suckdom (the reason he deserves one star is that he isn’t as bad as Limbaugh). A typical O’Reilly tactic (which is what he does on his TV show) is to talk about being in a spin-free zone—and then to engage in blatant spin. Today, he pointed out that he is a political independent, not a Republican or a Democrat (click here to read why that claim is a joke). Yesterday, Mr. No-Spin was getting on Jesse Jackson for putting pressure on corporations to hire more minorities—claiming, like author Kenneth Timmerman, that it is a huge shakedown racket. I wonder if O’Reilly would be interested in taking on Sun Myung Moon’s charity scam racket (see my 6/4 blog). I doubt it.
Hannity's Sudan Smear Sean Hannity is a Rush-clone whose recently syndicated radio show is gaining in popularity. In order to deflect attention from the Bush regime's ineptitude, one dead horse Hannity has been flogging recently is the charge that Sudan offered to hand bin Laden over to the US during the Clinton years but that Clinton turned down the offer. Media whore Pat Cadell also told this lie. This is a Hiterlike big lie that was demolished by Joe Conason in his response to an article by Andrew Sullivan (both articles require registration). Here is Conason's response to Sullivan's charges:
Perhaps the most sensational charge against Clinton to emerge in the
months since Sept. 11 is the dubious claim that he somehow let an
offer from Sudan to turn over bin Laden slip through his fingers.
Sullivan blatantly misrepresents a definitive article that appeared in
the Washington Post on Oct. 3, 2001, on this topic. "The Sudanese
government offered to hand over bin Laden to the United States,"
Sullivan writes. "Astonishingly, the Clinton administration turned the
offer down." But that phony accusation is exploded by the very first
sentence of the Post article, which says only that Sudan offered to
"arrest Osama bin Laden and place him in Saudi custody."
Specifically, the Post reported that during secret negotiations in
1996 between American officials and Sudan defense minister Elfatih
Erwa, "The [Khartoum] government was prepared to place [bin Laden] in
custody and hand him over, though to whom was ambiguous. In one
formulation, Erwa said Sudan would consider any legitimate proffer of
criminal charges against the accused terrorist. Saudi Arabia, he said,
was the most logical destination." The Post then detailed efforts by
the White House and the State Department to induce the Saudis to
accept custody of bin Laden, which the authorities in Riyadh adamantly
Nowhere does the Post's carefully worded story state that Sudan agreed
to "hand bin Laden over to the United States" -- because that never
happened, except perhaps in Sullivan's imagination.
Still referring to the same Post article, Sullivan complains that the
Clinton administration "didn't even use the negotiations with the
Sudanese to disable bin Laden's financial assets in the Sudan." But as
the Post reported, the U.S. ambassador to Sudan pointedly inquired
whether those assets would remain under bin Laden's control after his
expulsion. He got no reply from Sudan's foreign minister, and within a
few days after his query, the Saudi terror chief departed for
The Sudanese have always had their own agenda, by the way, which
Sullivan doesn't think worth mentioning. They promised to cooperate
against terrorism only if the United States ended economic sanctions
imposed to punish their genocidal campaign of murder and enslavement
against black Christians.
"There were meetings between U.S. and Sudanese officials, including in
New York, involving senior counter-terrorism officials, where
[Sudanese envoys] would hint that they had great stuff if we lifted
sanctions," says a former NSC official with direct knowledge of those
events. Other former administration officials have publicly confirmed
this account. (And imagine the howling protest from pundits like
Sullivan if the Clinton White House had suddenly turned "soft" on
Sudan.) But neither the FBI nor the CIA believed that Khartoum was
providing anything valuable on bin Laden or al-Qaida.
Sullivan refers to other alleged foreign "offers" to arrest or track
bin Laden, but there appears to be little substance to those stories
beyond mere speculation. As if he knows what he's talking about, he
complains that "it is astonishing that more effort wasn't made to
clinch the deals." But of course he knows nothing more than what he
read in the London Sunday Times's murky account. What's truly
astonishing is that he plays the useful idiot in a Sudanese
disinformation gambit, with which Khartoum hopes to win friends in the
Bush White House.