Patterico's Pontifications

10/4/2003

MY BUTTON SAYS “ME NEITHER”

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 11:58 pm

Weintraub reports the Schwarzenegger campaign’s complaint that the Dog Trainer “gave the campaign only minutes to respond to the specific charges Friday night, and thus didn’t carry any reaction from the candidate in the first edition.”

Nice. Weintraub also says he owns a

large white political button with black writing that reads: “I don’t believe the Los Angeles Times.”

Note to Weintraub: I will pay big bucks for that button!

JILL STEWART ON GRAY DAVIS:

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:14 pm

JILL STEWART ON GRAY DAVIS: Jill Stewart is going on record again with her story about Gray Davis’s (alleged) physical abuse of women employees. I have mentioned this before several times (first on August 11, then again here, and in great detail here.) As I told you before, Stewart has said that the Dog Trainer would not run the story because the sources would not identify themselves. Here is Stewart:

When I spoke to a reporter involved, he said editors at the Times were against attacking a major political figure using anonymous sources.

Just what they did last week to Schwarzenegger.

Weeks ago, Times editors sent two teams of reporters to dig dirt on Schwarzenegger, one on his admitted use of steroids as a bodybuilder, one on the old charges of groping women from Premiere Magazine.

Who did the editors assign, weeks ago, to investigate Davis’ violence against women who work for him?

Nobody.

The paper’s protection of Davis is proof, on its face, of the gross bias within the paper. If Schwarzenegger is elected governor, it should be no surprise if Times reporters judge him far more harshly than they ever judged Davis.

These are serious accusations. What does Times editor John Carroll have to say about this?? Is he hoping it will just blow over??

(Via PrestoPundit.)

UPDATE: The San Francisco Chronicle has gone public with the story:

Schwarzenegger supporters also raised issues about Davis’ volatile temper, including an incident in which he allegedly threw an ashtray at a staff worker who later had to take a stress leave. Davis called the longtime employee and apologized on her answering machine, according to news reports of the incident.

Peter Ragone, spokesman for the governor, said comparing an incident in which Davis “may have thrown an ashtray to conduct Arnold Schwarzenegger already has admitted to shows their campaign is in a free fall.”

Doesn’t sound like much of a denial to me. Mr. Carroll??

UPDATE x2: Mickey Kaus helps pile on Carroll.

DOWDIFICATION REARS ITS UGLY HEAD:

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:29 pm

DOWDIFICATION REARS ITS UGLY HEAD: As we all know by now, The New York Times recently took this quotation from Arnold Schwarzenegger about Hitler:

I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for his way of getting to the people and so on. But I didn’t admire him for what he did with it.

and (by simply eliminating a few words) turned it into this:

I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for what he did with it.

As I mentioned earlier today, this reminds one of Maureen Dowd and her invention of “Dowdification” — the process of mangling quotations until they mean something entirely different than the original. The Times‘s Hitler story simply appropriated this invention from Dowd’s columns on the op-ed page of the New York Times, and applied it to its news pages.

In honor of this event, I thought it might be appropriate to Dowdify the latest Dowd column. The Dowdified version has several startling revelations about the California recall election, including one that seems destined to sink the candidacy of Governor Gray Davis:

Gray . . . grabbed several . . . breasts . . . over the decades.

It sounds like our good Governor is no better than Arnold, according to a pundit no less respected than Maureen Dowd. No sooner had I gotten over the shock of that, than I read about Hillary Clinton apparently reaching reconciliation with Bill at a Davis rally, of all places:

At the Davis rally, Senator Clinton chose . . . the groper who was . . . her husband.

But the biggest revelation in Dowd’s column was obviously this one — a verdict by the respected Simon Wiesenthal Center against Arnold. I think this will clearly hurt Arnold’s standing with Jewish voters:

It was no surprise . . . that [according to] the Simon Wiesenthal Center, “Schwarzenegger is obviously . . . Hitler.["]

The great Maureen Dowd, ladies and gentlemen!

WHOOPS: Via Dave Barry comes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:00 pm

WHOOPS: Via Dave Barry comes this very comprehensive correction from the Washington Post:

A Sept. 21 item in the Metro in Brief column about a woman fatally shot in Prince George’s County and a child who was wounded incorrectly reported the woman’s age, the child’s sex, the child’s location at the time of the shooting, and the street on which the shooting occurred.

Dang. Sounds like the writer’s byline is about the only thing the Post got right. That story sounds almost as bad as the New York Times‘s Arnold/Hitler story.

FROM THE “OH, PLEASE” FILE:

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 pm

FROM THE “OH, PLEASE” FILE: The California president of the NAACP, Alice Huffman, recently criticized Arnold in part for having a last name that sounds, in part, like a racial slur. (Via The Angry Clam.)

As reported here in the San Francisco Chronicle, Huffman accused Arnold of “having racist views that were shaped by his father’s membership in the Nazi party.” Huffman “told a group of attorneys Tuesday that Schwarzenegger’s TV ads attacking campaign donations by Indian tribes are an example of racism.” She added (in an apparent “joke”) that the “last part of his name doesn’t register well with me.”

Huffman apparently didn’t comment on how Cruz Bustamante’s use of the n-word in front of 400 black people sat with her.

Incidentally, Huffman “was recently named by Gov. Gray Davis to the California State University Board of Trustees.”

PROFANITY ALERT: If you are

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:14 pm

PROFANITY ALERT: If you are offended by profanity, read no further.

I am honored to be third in a Google Search for “Gray Davis fuck-+the-fucking.” (The person who found this blog using this search was interested in the Jill Stewart report I discussed here.)

I have never had so much profanity on my web site as when I started blogging on the unreported stories of Gray Davis and his (alleged) psychotic personality. In fact, the only time I have ever used the f-word on this site is when I have quoted (alleged comments made by) Gray Davis.

I guess I could bleep out these words, but why? My web site has already been filtered out at the school that my mom works at, ever since I started talking about Rick Santorum and his comments about bestiality and the like.

YIKES: Dan Weintraub reports from

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:54 pm

YIKES: Dan Weintraub reports from a Schwarzenegger rally:

the emcee revving up the crowd for Schwarzenegger asked the audience to welcome the media to town. With one exception:

“Who’s the guy with the LA Times?” the host asked. “Find him and beat him up, will you?”

Wow. You know, even if I had never heard anything about an Arnold-Hitler connection, that kind of comment would get me thinking about the mob mentality and Nazi rallies. As much contempt as I have for the Dog Trainer, I am disturbed to hear this account.

SAVE OUR LICENSE PETITION: The

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:11 pm

SAVE OUR LICENSE PETITION: The petition to overturn the ridiculous law allowing driver’s licenses for illegal has arrived in the mail. I have signed it, and have also pledged to collect signatures.

Have you signed the petition yet? Click on the link above to get involved.

CELEBRITIES GET AWAY WITH IT

Filed under: California Recall Election — Patterico @ 3:56 pm

Today’s Dog Trainer reports that 11 women have now come forward to say that Arnold groped them. Perhaps more interesting is that 7 of them are no longer anonymous. Their allegations are corroborated by numerous people who say that the women have been saying this for years.

Reasonable people can debate whether this has anything to do with whether Arnold would be a good Governor. Under the circumstances of this election, reasonable people can vote for him, even knowing everything that has emerged regarding his groping tendencies. But reasonable people who have been following this would have to agree that the guy appears to have acted like a complete jerk for much of his life. The early indications of this (I linked to a couple of examples in this post) were right. It can’t be fun to be his wife right now.

Many people who did what he did would have faced criminal charges. He has gotten away with it, no doubt, because he is wealthy and a big celebrity. Celebrities get away with things that other people don’t. To take a trivial example, my wife and I got a phone message on our answering machine today from some woman opposing the recall. She sounded angry. I asked my wife why Democrats thought it was a good idea to have some woman haranguing people in an angry voice. My wife told me it was Barbra Streisand. All of a sudden it made sense. It’s okay because she’s famous.

I suspect that, in the end, Arnold will ride out this storm because he’s famous. It’s the same reason O.J. beat the rap. We are a celebrity-crazed society. I think it will be close, but I think the recall will happen and Arnold will win. Next stop: a constitutional amendment and the White House.

Meanwhile, my wife and I filled out our absentee ballots today. We followed our arrangement and voted our principles. I was tempted to vote for Arnold because I know the Dog Trainer doesn’t want me to. But in the end, I think what they’re reporting is largely true, and it wouldn’t change my vote anyway. I have, as they say, drunk the Kool-Aid. I voted for Tom.

ONE WORD: WHOOPS!: It turns

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:48 pm

ONE WORD: WHOOPS!: It turns out that the Arnold-Hitler story is bogus. The critical part of the story — that Arnold supposedly said he admired what Hitler did with his power — is flatly wrong.

The story was based on quotations from a book proposal by George Butler, the producer of “Pumping Iron.” The most troubling and explosive part of the proposal quoted Arnold as praising Hitler’s speaking ability in the following way: “I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for what he did with it.”

The New York Times, which was the first print media outlet to report this bogus story, now reports that a transcript (released by the Schwarzenegger campaign) shows that the relevant passage says the exact opposite:

I admired Hitler for instance because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power. And I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for his way of getting to the people and so on. But I didn’t admire him for what he did with it.

Whoops! That’s a little different, isn’t it?? The NYT reports:

Mr. Butler said he could not explain the inaccuracy. “I am amazed that something like that escaped me.”

Whoops! I think I can explain the inaccuracy. My guess: someone gave the story to Maureen Dowd to check the quotations for accuracy.

Anyway, Schwarzenegger goes on in the transcript to say repeatedly that the Nazis misused their power. It’s perfectly clear that he was never praising the evil of the Nazi regime.

To its credit, our local Dog Trainer adds an interesting detail that the NYT doesn’t bother to pass along:

Butler’s statement said his book proposal, which he eventually withdrew, “contained a prominent disclaimer” warning that the statements it quoted “should not be taken as fact until verified.”

Whoops!

(There remains one detail that I find a little odd. According to the New York Times, the book proposal accurately described Arnold’s imitating Hitler, as well as “clicking his heels and pretending to be an SS officer or playing Nazi marching songs at home.” Now, I’ve imitated Hitler for laughs. So did Charlie Chaplin, John Cleese, and half the people you know. But I can’t find a single Nazi marching song among my hundreds of CDs. I think that’s a little strange. But not particularly significant, without more.)

LESSONS: The interesting question is: what does all of this tell us about how the media has handled this story?

It tells us that stories do need to be checked out carefully. The critics of the timing of the Arnold groping stinkbomb (including myself) should acknowledge that the Hitler story would have benefited from the sort of verification process that the Dog Trainer went through with the groping story.

It also tells us something that we should already know: we need to be very skeptical of these last-minute smear jobs. This particular one was reported by the New York Times, a paper that (at least before Jayson Blair) was considered by many to be a fairly reliable news source. But they got fooled on this one, big time.

And I think it tells us that it would be instructive to know who the political operatives are who are tipping people off to these stories (and here I include the Arnold groping story). Because with the Hitler, it’s obvious that some political operative had the story and sat on it. Some might have initially thought that this was unimportant because the story relied on documentary proof (the book proposal) — but that documentary proof turns out to have been seriously misleading. Does anyone think this was an accident?

If the papers won’t identify the tipsters, because of the general journalistic practice of protecting sources, then they shouldn’t tell us (as the Dog Trainer did with the groping story) that the story didn’t originate with the rival candidates. This is especially true if the story may have originated with someone connected with the candidates. (And if even if the folks reporting the story believe that there is no connection to the candidates — how do they know? Have they spent seven weeks researching that?) And when tipsters aren’t identified, newspapers — and the public — should be especially skeptical. Because otherwise, as the Hitler story illustrates, the tipsters may be pulling the wool over our eyes.

UPDATE: Mickey Kaus notes that, since the transcript emanates from Butler (just like the book proposal did), even the correction is not necessarily true. Given that Butler’s credibility is shot, perhaps we should wait for the actual tapes before making up our minds.

UPDATE TWO: The Boy from Troy says that he knows someone who has seen internal polling from the Davis camp from three weeks ago which contained this question: “If you knew that a gubernatorial candidate admired Hitler would that make you more or less likely to support him?” The Boy from Troy says: “Mr. Kaus, Miss Stewart, anyone at the LA Times…you have your marching orders: find and report on this poll by Monday.”

I take it that the inclusion of the Dog Trainer in that list is tongue-in-cheek.


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.1755 secs.