Posts Tagged ‘Weisberg

23
Sep
11

‘no journalist sets off my bullshit alarm like ron suskind’

Jacob Weisberg (Slate): His book about Obama is as spurious as the ones he wrote about Bush……

As an editor, you develop a B.S. meter …. There’s no journalist who sets off my bullshit alarm like Ron Suskind …. Issues of accuracy, fairness, and integrity come up nearly every time Suskind publishes something. Key sources claim they’ve been misrepresented and misquoted, that basic facts are wrong, and that the Pulitzer-winning reporter has misconstrued the larger story as well…..

If you wrote about the Bush Administration, as I did, you soon learned to avoid relying on Suskind’s reporting absent strong independent corroboration. What his three books had in common was the way they grabbed onto some interesting nugget and hyped it into something that, while bait for the news cycle and the bestseller lists, was fundamentally untrue…..

….Suskind has now turned his egregious writing and dubious technique on the Obama administration in his new book, Confidence Men. Once again, his work is strewn with small but telling errors. Here are a few: see link

… his bigger points are equally inaccurate …. He uses two key quotes to support his claim of sexism ….. In Dunn’s case, Suskind spliced her actual words in a way that distorts their meaning, leaving out the crucial phrase “if it weren’t for the president”….

…. The most interesting claim in Suskind’s book is that Geithner blocked the breakup of Citigroup against the wishes of President Obama, exemplifying the supposed problem that “the young president’s authority was being systematically undermined or hedged by his seasoned advisers.” The problem with this tale is that it, too, is plainly wrong.

…. In the book, Suskind claims that the president confirmed his version of the Citi episode in an interview. He has been repeating this claim on his publicity tour. But a transcript of that part of their conversation that the White House Press Office released to me shows nothing of the kind….

Suskind loves disputes like this, as do his publishers, because they sell more books. If the victims of his terrible reporting respond publicly, he wins. But at this point, Suskind should no longer be treated as a “controversial” journalist as much as a disreputable one. His fellow journalists no longer trust him. Readers shouldn’t either.

Full article here

Thank you ‘africa’

21
May
11

‘the delusional mob’

Jacob Weisberg (Slate): At a press conference last week, someone asked Chris Christie for his views on evolution vs. creationism. “That’s none of your business,” the New Jersey governor barked in response.

This minor incident, which barely rated as news for a few political blogs, offers a glimpse of Christie’s personality, which seems increasingly grumpy and snappish. But it says even more about the current state of the national Republican Party, where magical thinking trumps rationality, and even to acknowledge basic realities about the world we live in runs the risk of damaging one’s political future.

Christie is not part of the natural constituency for Darwin-denial. He’s an intelligent man, a lawyer, a fiscal rather than a social conservative. But Christie is also someone who might want to run for president someday, or be selected as someone’s running mate. For those purposes, he must constantly ask himself the question: Am I about to say something to which a white, evangelical, socially conservative, gun-owning, Obama-despising, pro-Tea Party, GOP primary voter in rural South Carolina might object? By this standard, simple acceptance of the theory of evolution becomes a risky stance. To lie or to duck? Christie chose the option of ducking while signaling his annoyance at being put in this ridiculous predicament.

….Even after the release of Obama’s birth certificate, nearly one-quarter of Republicans still refuse to believe that the president was born in the United States. Conspiracy thinking is flourishing on the right like no time since the McCarthy era. The GOP rank and file is in desperate need of a cold shower, a slap in the face, a wake-up call. But instead of telling the base to get a grip on reality, the party’s leaders are chasing after the delusional mob. To get to the front of the line in 2012, Republican candidates must pretend to believe a lot of nonsense than isn’t so. Or do they actually believe it?

Full brilliant article here – thank you Suzanne

11
Jan
11

‘titillating their audiences with hints of justified violence’

Jacob Weisberg (Slate): There’s something offensive, as well as pointless, about the politically charged inquiry into what might have been swirling inside the head of Jared Loughner …. it is appropriate, however, to consider what was swirling outside Loughner’s head.

…the context was the anti-government, pro-gun, xenophobic populism that flourishes in the dry and angry climate of Arizona. Extremist shouters didn’t program Loughner…. but the Tea Party movement did make it appreciably more likely that a disturbed person like Loughner would react … in the crazy way he did.

At the core of the far right’s culpability is its ongoing attack on the legitimacy of U.S. government — a venomous campaign not so different from the backdrop to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 … it is this, rather than violent rhetoric per se, that is the most dangerous aspect of right-wing extremism.

…Conservative entertainers like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin like to titillate their audiences with hints of justified violence, including frequent reminders that they are armed and dangerous. Palin went so far as to put a target on someone who subsequently got shot. Whether or not the man who fired the gun was inspired by Palin isn’t the point. The point is that you shouldn’t paint targets on people, even in metaphor, or jest.

Guns are also at the heart of how the right’s ideology enabled Loughner. Tea Partiers often frame the right to bear arms as a necessary check on federal despotism … First you rile up psychotics with inflammatory language about tyranny, betrayal, and taking back the country. Then you make easy for them to get guns.

But if you really want trouble, you should also make it hard for them to get treatment for mental illness …. if Republicans succeed in repealing the Obama health care bill, that’s how it will remain.

Again, none of this says that Tea Party caused the Tucson tragedy, only that its politics increased the odds of something like it happening … it is the right that amuses itself with violent chat and proclaims an injured innocence when its flammable words blow up.

Read the full article here




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