Patterico's Pontifications

5/16/2005

Patterico Works to Save Your Relationship

Filed under: Court Decisions,Humor — Patterico @ 10:04 pm

Females: pay attention, and never, ever, ever make the mistake this civil defendant made:

The summary judgment record, viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, Coveney v. President & Trustees of the College of the Holy Cross, 388 Mass. 16, 17 (1983), establishes the following facts. The plaintiff and the defendant were in a long-term committed relationship. Early in the morning of September 24, 1994, they were engaged in consensual sexual intercourse. The plaintiff was lying on his back while the defendant was on top of him. The defendant’s body was secured in this position by the interlocking of her legs and the plaintiff’s legs. At some point, the defendant unilaterally decided to unlock her legs and place her feet on either side of the plaintiff’s abdomen for the purpose of increasing her stimulation. When the defendant changed her position, she did not think about the possibility of injury to the plaintiff. Shortly after taking this new position, the defendant landed awkwardly on the plaintiff, thereby causing him to suffer a penile fracture.

Yes, that’s my emphasis. You read that right. Those are two words I never want to be uttered in the same sentence as my name.

Although this was generally a position the couple had used before without incident, the defendant did vary slightly the position previously used, without prior specific discussion and without the explicit prior consent of the plaintiff. It is this variation that the plaintiff claims caused his injury. While the couple had practiced what the defendant described as “light bondage” during their intimate relations, there was no evidence of “light bondage” on this occasion.

I’m sure we all appreciate this level of detail. Now: why did the woman’s actions create enough of a problem to turn a “long-term committed relationship” into a lawsuit? The answer is simple:

The plaintiff’s injuries were serious and required emergency surgery. He has endured a painful and lengthy recovery. He has suffered from sexual dysfunction that neither medication nor counseling have been able to treat effectively.

My legs are currently crossed just thinking about this.

Ladies, save your long-term committed relationships. Take a lesson from this judicial decision. Don’t do these things “unilaterally.” Have that “prior specific discussion.” Get the “explicit prior consent of the plaintiff.”

And as the guy used to say on Hill Street Blues: let’s be careful out there.

(Via How Appealing.)

The Weekend Roundup

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 8:20 pm

Here’s what you missed this weekend if you didn’t read this blog:

My initial comments on the infamous Newsweek story, and the L.A. Times‘s treatment of Newsweek‘s anonymous sourcing.

What’s the world coming to? The L.A. Times Sunday Opinion section was chock-full of sensible commentary.

Noted: Jack Dunphy’s piece on William Bratton.

I snark at David Greenberg’s NYT piece.

A plug for Pajamas Media.

And an announcement about the RSS feed for this blog.

On the filibuster front:

I think Republicans are actually going to use my conventional warfare option.

A surprising passage in the New York Times about Alberto Gonzales and Priscilla Owen.

And on the lighter side:

Vincente Fox on the jobs that blacks will do — and my fanciful notions of how Mr. N-Word (Cruz Bustamante) and former KKK member Robert Byrd might respond.

Did Chuck E. Cheese do a drive-by after the birthday party we attended?

The Newsweek Standard for Running a Retraction

Filed under: International,Media Bias — Patterico @ 6:46 am

Members of the vaunted mainstream media often slam blogs for supposedly lacking their ethical standards. Recall, for example, that Adam Cohen said blogs “rarely have procedures for running a correction.”

Today we’re getting a little insight into just exactly what Big Media’s standards really are for running a correction. Specifically, if you report something based on a single anonymous source, who later tells you he’s not sure what he said is right, you have no obligation to retract anything. Because, hey! . . . it could be true!

Regarding that shaky Newsweek story that led to riots and deaths throughout the Muslim world, today’s New York Times reports that Newsweek‘s editors aren’t retracting a thing:

“We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst,” Mark Whitaker, Newsweek’s editor, wrote in the issue of the magazine that goes on sale at newsstands today. In an accompanying article, the magazine wrote that its reporters had relied on an American government official, whom it has not identified, who had incomplete knowledge of the situation.

But Mr. Whitaker said in an interview later: “We’re not retracting anything. We don’t know what the ultimate facts are.”

I don’t know what the ultimate facts are regarding the question of whether Mark Whitaker wears women’s undergarments. But my lack of knowledge doesn’t entitle me to print that as a fact — or to leave the allegation standing if my only source for the allegation says he’s no longer sure of its truth.

P.S. So what are you saying, Patterico? Never use anonymous sources?

No. I don’t mean to slam anonymous sources in every instance. I just think that media outlets should generally be more up-front about what they know and what they don’t know. This becomes especially true when you rely on an anonymous source — if you do checking to confirm the statement, tell us what you learned and what you didn’t.

For example, I wouldn’t have had as much of a problem with Newsweek‘s initial story if the magazine had asked a few more questions, and then made the deficiencies of the reporting clear from the beginning. Let’s say Isikoff’s piece had read:

An anonymous source claimed that the Koran flushing incident was coming out in an upcoming report. Newsweek was not able to see the report, so we asked two other anonymous officials about this allegation. One had no idea what we were talking about. The other was silent on the allegation. When we asked him why [something Newsweek hadn’t bothered to do], he said he just didn’t know anything about the report. We went back to our original source and asked him if he had actually seen the report. He said that he was sure he had seen this allegation somewhere, but he was not sure it was actually from the upcoming report.

That wouldn’t have been too compelling a story, would it? Which might have been a tipoff not to run the story to begin with.

The key is: tell us what you know and what you don’t. If you do that, you’ll be fine.

UPDATE: Newsweek‘s editor has now officially retracted the story.

Caveats About the Newsweek Controversy

Filed under: International,Media Bias — Patterico @ 6:20 am

I understand the outrage against Newsweek. The outrage is fueled in part by a suspicion that Big Media lowers standards for publication when the story is anti-American — something I discussed in this post. It’s also fueled by disgust that Big Media types fail to ask tough questions or report what they don’t know about a story — and then claim that they went to “unusual lengths” to check the story out, and say they’re not retracting a thing. I discuss that in the next post.

But as we properly express our anger, let’s remember two things:

1. As I said in the UPDATE x2 to this post, the rioters are primarily responsible for the deaths. Did Newsweek‘s poor reporting contribute to the rioting? Unquestionably. But primary blame goes to the rioters.

2. It’s not “Newsweek Lied, People Died.” With all due respect to the people propagating that slogan — and I like many of them — where is the lie here? Newsweek‘s source told them something that was wrong. They didn’t check it out sufficiently. They didn’t tell us how poor their limited checks really were. But as far as I can tell, they didn’t lie. Let’s not say they did.

P.S. Bush didn’t lie either.

UPDATE: Of course, I missed the point that many of the people using the line intend it to be taken as satire. A rather obvious point, really, which makes me feel rather humorless to have missed.

Weekend Roundup Will Have to Wait

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 6:15 am

Usually I have a weekend roundup of posts from the weekend. Too much to write about this morning; that roundup will have to wait until tonight.

Then again, all you really have to do is scroll down . . .


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