Patterico's Pontifications

1/31/2006

L.A. Times Editors Finally Call Hamas a Terrorist Group

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Terrorism — Patterico @ 6:15 pm

I’m not taking credit for this, of course, but I was pleased to see the editors of the L.A. Times refer to Hamas as a “terrorist” group in this morning’s editorial:

President Bush is right to threaten to cut off U.S. aid to a Palestinian government controlled by Hamas. U.S. law and common decency preclude taxpayer money from going to a terrorist group that has vowed to annihilate Israel.

That’s much better than simply saying that certain countries have “branded” Hamas a terrorist group, as the editors said the other day.

Contrary to the views to the views of the paper’s business columnist Michael Hiltzik, whether you call Hamas a “terrorist group” is not merely a “minor issue[] of syntax and diction.” It is an important issue that sheds light on the editors’ world view and credibility. I’m glad to see them acknowledge the obvious . . . finally.

P.S. In the extended entry is bonus material for those not already sick of talking about Michael Hiltzik:

I should note that, in the comment thread to the post where he used the “minor issues of syntax and diction” phrase, Hiltzik accused me of deliberately misrepresenting his position in that post, in my post headlined “Michael Hiltzik Says That Whether or Not Hamas is a Terrorist Organization Is a ‘Minor Issue of Syntax and Diction.’” (Note: his accusation is not just that I got it wrong, mind you, but that I deliberately misrepresented it — in other words, that I lied.)

In that comment thread, I said that I believed my post was an accurate representation of his position, and if he was going to call me a liar, he should provide evidence of it. He has repeatedly refused to do so, but rather continued to repeat the assertion without explanation. (Classy, eh? “You’re a liar but I won’t explain why.”)

Since I honestly believe that I characterized his post accurately — and since he flatly refuses to explain how I am wrong — I have characterized it that way again. But you should probably be aware that he claims (however implausibly) that his post did not call the issue of what to call Hamas a “minor issue[] of syntax and diction.”

I encourage you all to read his post and my characterization of it, and see if I accurately represented his position. Since he won’t say, what do you think he meant with the “syntax and diction” comment?

Or, you can just skip it all entirely and forget about him. Your call.

21 Responses to “L.A. Times Editors Finally Call Hamas a Terrorist Group”

  1. Very clever, Patrick, but any attentive reader of your post will notice that you have characterized my position in two different ways. Both versions appear in this post and only one is correct. So when you ask your readers to “see if I accurately represented his position,” on which representation would you like them to rule?

    Michael Hiltzik (f85090)

  2. It would be better if you didn’t hint and make me guess — especially when you are calling me a liar.

    Okay, I’ll try to figure it out. You are making a distinction between whether Hamas is a terrorist organization and whether Hamas should be called a terrorist organization?

    Meaning your position is that Hamas is a terrorist organization but should not be called one?

    Why don’t you spell it out already? I challenged you to name the other supposedly misleading aspects of my Year in Review post and you ducked that. I challenged you to respond to two specific complaints of mine and you ducked that. Now I am challenging you to spell out why you are calling me a liar — a very serious charge that a responsible journalist would back up with evidence and argument — and you are ducking that too.

    If you have the time to level the charge of deliberate misrepresentation, you damn well should make the time to back it up, pal.

    Man up and make your argument. Then meet the other challenges. People who hurl the accusation “liar!” with no evidence and no argument don’t retain respect for long.

    Patterico (929da9)

  3. If I have correctly identified your beef, and you can explain why it makes a difference, I’m happy to change the title from “is” to “should be called” with an update to explain it. I don’t see the difference, but if you can explain why it’s important, go ahead.

    Regardless, though, you should retract the “deliberate misrepresentation” accusation. You have nothing whatsoever to back that up and it is an utterly irresponsible thing for you to say.

    I don’t know how things work at newspapers, but in the blogosphere, when you make accusations and can’t back them up, people tend to notice.

    Patterico (929da9)

  4. Are you the same patterico who wrote: “Words have meaning” here:
    http://goldenstateblog.latimes.com/goldenstate/2006/01/patterico_ponti.html#comment-13421816

    Or was your claim that words only have meaning when you can decide what they mean, or when you write them, or when their apparent meaning conforms to what you think they should mean? So when somebody holds you to your own standards, that’s not an argument that counts–“no argument,” as you put it?

    Michael Hiltzik (f85090)

  5. If you have a point, it is too abstract for me. At long last, tell me what the alleged deliberate misrepresentation was, and set forth in clear English your evidence that it was 1) a misrepresentation and (more important) 2) deliberate. You made the accusation and you bear the burden of persuasion, so at least try to carry it.

    Otherwise, quit wasting my time. I don’t really care whether you write for a newspaper or not; you’re acting like a time-wasting troll. I have better things to do than to guess what your complaints might be.

    Patterico (929da9)

  6. Patterico: I read this post and the comments. After reading the civil but hardly friendly exchange between you and Mr. Hiltzik, I clicked on the links you provided to see what this is about.

    Your links do provide the reader with a way to get quickly to the posts and comments that underlie this dispute. I had to go read the editorial that launched these ships on the LATimes website, but that was just one extra click.

    These links support the points you make in this post.

    Mr. Hiltzik: You provide a link in comment #4,above. It takes the reader to a comment on your website authored by Patterico. Unsurprisingly, it’s written in support of his claims. In the text of your post, there’s no clear statements that rebut Patterico, and no links that clearly lead to such rebuttals.

    I suspect that many readers encountering this tiff would come to a similar conclusion. Unless you substantiate your claims with more care, we may end up believing that some of your contentions do not derive much support from the underlying facts.

    AMac (b6037f)

  7. Thank you, AMac.

    For those who don’t know, AMac is well-known for honesty and calling things as he sees them; if he had seen a “deliberate misrepresentation” in my post he would have said so.

    This is similar to what Hiltzik pulled with his criticism of my Year in Review post. He cherry-picked a couple of items and criticized them, which I have no problem with. He even found one minor factual error, which I corrected. (The correct facts actually supported my point, as they showed an omission of the paper was deliberate and not inadvertent.) Then he suggested, McCarthy-style, that the rest of my entire post was factually challenged — but he wasn’t going to say how.

    Since then he has been consistently suggesting that I’m a liar, but he refuses to back up his accusations. I treat such charges very seriously. He tosses them around very freely.

    Patterico (929da9)

  8. Dear Mr. Hiltzik,

    I am a Boston based blogger of roughly the same size as Patterico. I also write for the Weekly Standard.

    For some time now, I’ve been trying to goad the Boston Globe into a fight over its L.A. Dog-trainer like tendencies but no one at the Globe has been stupid enough to take the bait.

    Obviously you’re sui generis. Is there any way you would think of going to work for the Globe? If you do, I’ll be much nicer to you than that mean old Patterico; I’ll even let your first ten logical inconsistencies and/or unsupported ad hominem attacks go by without response. That should amount to probably at least a one week grace period!

    Thank you for your consideration,

    Dean Barnett

    Dean Barnett (539a7a)

  9. This guy’s amazing. He obviously wouldn’t last a week in the legal profession.

    Crank (5f5694)

  10. So, your supposition is that the Times’ leftwing bias blinds its editorial page to truthfully commenting on the Mideast. Which is why it won’t refer to Hamas as a terrorist group.

    Your loopy, O’Reilly-level logic aside, the Times’ editorial page consistently refers to Hamas as a terrorist group, or as engaging in terror. Several days ago (1/29) the editor of the section referred to “the start of a Hamas terror epidemic.” He was referring a Hamas bus-bombing that killed 26 people, which he personally covered — “I remember walking in the wreckage, my shoes sticky from blood and body parts.”

    This obliterates your wild-eyed fabrication that the Times soft pedals the threat of Hamas out of a clandestine ideological bias.

    Again, I’m still amazed and a little dubious that you’re an LA County prosecutor.

    jmaharry (74c3ec)

  11. Dean Barnett
    A few of questions re: #9:
    Do, as you suggest, conservative sychophants like you & patterico come in a standard size?
    What size would that be?

    jmaharry (74c3ec)

  12. As any student of history knows, unsubstantiated accusations of lying are the same tactics that Stalinists used in the Show Trials of the 30s.

    Steve Donohue (2d2535)

  13. […] I disagree with Hugh Hewitt, Patterico, Michelle Malkin and other conservative bloggers who say the Los Angeles Times would recover from its circulation woes if its editors took it in a less liberal direction. I don’t think adding more conservatives on the op-ed page or instructing news editors to be friendlier to George W. Bush would add a single subscriber, and might alienate liberals who already believe the news media is over-correcting its past liberal bias to their detriment. […]

    From the Desert to the Sea… by John Stodder » THIS is What’s Wrong with the LA Times (346605)

  14. jmaharry – Yes, we are mass-produced so we can be sold at WalMart.

    Crank (5f5694)

  15. jmaharry (#10):

    Here’s the link for the LA Times piece you quote, Several days ago (1/29) the editor of the section referred to ‘the start of a Hamas terror epidemic.’ It’s an op-ed piece by Nicholas Goldberg, the editor of the Op-Ed page–not an Editorial.

    Fair Use precludes copying the entire Editorial that Patterico and Hiltzik were discussing. Here’s the two sentences preceding, the two Patterico quoted, and the two following:

    No one expected Hamas, which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel, to win an outright majority, but it took 76 of 132 seats in parliament. Its victory will set back an already stumbling peace process in the Middle East unless Hamas renounces violence and recognizes the Jewish state’s right to exist. Although the United States, Israel and the European Union brand Hamas a terrorist organization, Palestinians admire it for the schools and hospitals it runs. And the organization that once routinely dispatched suicide bombers into Israel has mostly refrained from such attacks for about the last year. Yet even after gaining a clear majority in parliament, its leaders have refused to heed renewed calls from Washington and from European capitals to disarm and renounce violence. May the Hamas officials who want a government that will focus on bread-and-butter issues such as healthcare, education and agriculture prevail over the preachers of hate.

    For comparison, here’s my re-phrasing of comment #10 by Crank in Patterico’s original post on the subject:

    The US, Israel and the European Union brand Hamas a terrorist organization because it dispatches suicide bombers into Israel (at least 29 in 2005), advocates suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, and celebrates suicide bombers. A good many Palestinians admire Hamas because of these activities. Many Palestinians also respect it for running schools and hospitals.

    These two branded descriptions of Hamas are quite different. Which one is more informative? Which one gives the reader a better sense of the bitter and tragic truth of the situation? (The link is to a long Ralph Peters essay.)

    Patterico linked and quoted fairly in making his points.

    To me, the naivete and wishful thinking of the LA Times’ staff is on full display in this Editorial. You can surely disagree with me, and agree with the position the Times’ writers took. That’s different from accusing Patterico of quoting the Editorial out of context, or of gulling his readers by otherwise misinterpreting it.

    AMac (b6037f)

  16. The only reason you’re calling Hamas a terrorist organization is because it carries out an organized campaign of terrorism.

    Today the L.A. Times, tomorrow Reuters.

    Geek, Esq. (9fd797)

  17. AMac: FYI, your “bitter and…” link doesn’t link to anything.

    The fact is that the Times doesn’t shirk from confronting the evil of Hamas, or that it is a terrorist organization. Guess my quote by the editor of the editorial pages wasn’t concrete enough.

    However, you seem to be happy with the Times editorial in question as long as it’s amended with a gloss on Hamas’ terrorist activities of the last year. A not very informative gloss, at that.

    It’s obvious the conservative among you are grasping at air in your effort to reveal bias in an editorial page (a funny enough exercise to begin with) — or, that the page isn’t adequately anti-Hamas.

    jmaharry (74c3ec)

  18. Post #15, “…the bitter and tragic truth of the situation?” was meant to link to a Ralph Peters essay, The Counter-Revolution in Military Affairs.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to correct, jmaharry.

    AMac (b6037f)

  19. Aargh, bitter and tragic indeed. Maybe the nekkid URL will work.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/649qrsob.asp?pg=2

    AMac (b6037f)

  20. jmaharry #17:

    Guess my quote by the editor of the editorial pages wasn’t concrete enough.

    I subscribe to another flagship Tribune Company paper, and find that its editorials run perhaps 80% left-wing and 20% liberal-side-of-center, where such monikers might be applied. In contrast, Op-Eds are about 60% left-wing, 20% centrist, and 20% conservative. A lot more balanced (and more interesting). Goldberg’s piece would thus fit in as an Op-Ed in the Baltimore Sun, but it would be an unlikely Editorial. The LA Times may not be that different.

    However, you seem to be happy with the Times editorial in question as long as it’s amended with a gloss on Hamas’ terrorist activities of the last year. A not very informative gloss, at that.

    You lost me there.

    AMac (b6037f)


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