Patterico's Pontifications


It’s Not the Crime, It’s the Coverup — Part Sixty-Two

Filed under: Media Bias,Morons — Patterico @ 7:28 am


After Greg Mitchell, the editor-in-chief of Editor & Publisher, ran a disingenuous piece on Reutersgate, Bob Owens quoted from a Mitchell piece in which Mitchell copped to making up quotes from people he couldn’t be bothered to talk to. After Bob’s piece got widespread recognition, an interesting thing happened: the story was altered to make it clear Mitchell had been a 19-year-old intern when he had made up the quotes in 1967.

Ben Domenech was young when he plagiarized, but that’s not the point — and Mitchell’s youthful manipulation of the news, while interesting and disquieting, is not the main point either. The point is that Editor & Publisher is quietly manipulating its online content to protect the reputation of its editor-in-chief — and it’s happening now, not in 1967. The story does not indicate that it has been altered in any way. The alteration was done quietly . . . so that nobody would notice.

But, of course, someone did.

I think this is a huge story. Whether is becomes one is now up to Big Media.

It’s also up to you to tell Big Media about it.

UPDATE: Bob’s commenters are pointing to evidence that Mitchell’s making up quotes happened in 1969 and not 1967. So was he 21 and not 19? Will he sneak in another change?

UPDATE x2: It’s worth emphasizing that the column that was changed was originally written in 2003, not hours or days ago. I sometimes change a post shortly after it’s written, for clarity’s sake. But this was a set of changes to a years-old piece in a trade magazine, to respond to criticisms made in the last day or two — with no indication that the piece had been altered.

Allah has more, with links to some Dan Riehl finds.

The O.J. Posts — Part Seven: The Microscope Effect

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:00 am

[This is Part Seven of a series of posts on the O.J. Simpson trial. Part One is here; Part Two is here; Part Three is here; Part Four is here; Part Five is here; Part Six is here.]

I have a theory: put anything in life under an intense microscope — anything — and you can find questions. Especially if you want to find them, and you proceed off of incomplete information and jump to conclusions.

The JFK assassination is a perfect case in point. It seems clear to me, and I think to most rational people who have looked at the evidence, that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. There is no tricky magic bullet theory. Conspiracy theorists who channel Jim Garrison and Oliver Stone and argue that a bullet had to defy the laws of physics — well, they just don’t know what they’re talking about.

But such a microscope has been put to the JFK case that there are a million theories floating out there. Many rely on misstatements of the evidence and misunderstandings of the basics of the case. But when there are a gazillion theories floating around, and a gazillion people talking about the case, you’re almost certain to pick up misinformation along the way. When there is a feature film devoted to twisting the available facts, it certainly doesn’t help matters.

I call it the Microscope Effect. If you put anything under a microscope, you can come out with the wildest theories.

The O.J. case, in my opinion, suffers from a huge case of the Microscope Effect. One way you can tell is that people ignore simple theories based on basic evidence in favor of huge, unwieldy conspiracies that could never be kept together in real life. Or they focus on one piece of evidence at a time without looking at the big picture.

Look at the comments over the last few days and you’ll see examples of this.

It’s the Microscope Effect. It happened with JFK and it happened with O.J.

See-Dubya: “Racially or Ethnically Specific”

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 1:44 am

[A post by See-Dubya]

Patterico is on vacation, so the LA Times has been getting a bit of a free pass. But I had to say something about Erin Aubry Kaplan’s rant about Andrew Young, former spokesman for Wal-Mart. Young, you will remember, said something stupid the other day:

Well, I think they should; they ran the `mom and pop’ stores out of my neighborhood,” the paper quoted Young as saying. “But you see, those are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they’ve ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it’s Arabs; very few black people own these stores.

And Kaplan doesn’t think it’s that bad:

Young repeated what blacks have said for generations: that members of other ethnic groups account for a disproportionate share of the merchant class in their own community.He said it badly, and in painting all those merchants as uncaring and unethical, he said it too broadly. But he had a point. The chronic lack of business ownership among blacks in black communities is a real problem, and it was a major factor in civil unrest in 1965 and in 1992.

Young’s comments were called racist, and I don’t entirely agree. Certainly it’s despicable to exploit racial and economic anxiety in order to convince the black media that Wal-Mart is a solution. Being racially or ethnically specific, however, is not the same as being racist.

First, Ms. Kaplan, what would be a “proportionate share” of “the merchant class”? Why do we care what race owns the bodegas on in a particular neighborhood? Is, for example, 15% Samoan ownership a good thing or bad thing?

That aside, let’s look at her take on being “ethnically specific”. When is that okay? I can remember as a child and reading my state and local paper (yes, I was a news nerd then too) and noting that it often identified the race of a person who had been arrested. Well, actually it identified race if the person was black. The papers changed this policy in the early eighties because it served no purpose and was rightly criticized as racist. Or so I thought; but perhaps the reporters were just being racially specific.

Andrew Young described an economic problem—shopkeepers selling substandard merchandise—and dressed it up as a racial problem. Doing so is inflammatory and, yes, racist. Ms. Kaplan’s apology for racism like that is just pathetic.

Hat tip to Best of the Web. Cross-posted at Junkyard Blog.

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