Patterico's Pontifications

2/11/2008

Maher: Why Couldn’t Rush Limbaugh Have Croaked from OxyContin?

Filed under: General,Scum — Patterico @ 11:43 pm

Bill Maher, speaking about Rush Limbaugh and OxyContin:

Why couldn’ta he croaked from it instead of Heath Ledger?

I offer the more stubbornly partisan leftists among my commenters (you know who you are) these five possible responses:

1) Ignore it.

2) Agree with it.

3) Discuss how unimportant Bill Maher is.

4) Note all the ugly things that Republicans have said.

5) Talk about how this is a distraction from [whatever you want to talk about].

Feel free to mix and match. Or come up with your own! Surely I’ve missed some.

The one thing we know you won’t do is say, without qualification, that this comment is way out of bounds, whether you like Rush Limbaugh or not.

UPDATE: aphrael weighs in with an appropriate response in the first comment. I figured he would — but he’s not the sort of “stubbornly partisan” leftist I was referring to.

Now let’s see how many people from the left emulate him. It’s fairly predictable. I see maybe one more such comment on the horizon, tops.

Letters to the L.A. Times: You, the Readers, Speak Out

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 8:55 pm

Over the weekend, I posted on two egregious L.A. Times distortions: Tim Rutten’s distortion of Dick Cheney’s CPAC speech, and a story on overcrowded ERs that didn’t mention illegal immigration.

Several readers have written the newspaper with responses to these articles, and copied me on the e-mails. Most (if not all) of their responses will never be printed in the newspaper, and of course the Readers’ Rep blog doesn’t allow critical comments. These readers will not be heard unless I publish their complaints here. I think they deserve to be heard, so here are the best of the missives I received. Click “more” to read them.

(more…)

Thank you Arianna — a Blast from the Past over at the HuffPost Courtesy of the Madam in Charge

Filed under: 2008 Election,General,Government,Politics — WLS @ 5:32 pm

Arianna reaches back a decade to bring back a column about the new Clinton Campaign Pooh-Baah — Maggie Williams.

Its a column on the thoroughly entertaining congressional testimony of a younger Ms. Williams defending her solicitous treament of one Johnny Chung — the 90’s version of Norman Hsu.

Who else knew that Maggie Williams gave Mr. Chung permission to dine in the WH mess on her tab as often as he wanted?  Her explanation?  She felt bad about the way he was treated by the power structure and understood how he felt as a minority in a white man’s world.

The fact that he gave $360,000 to various Dem. political groups didn’t influence her at all.

A Post Written to the Exacting Standards of the Los Angeles Times. My Topic: Tim Rutten.

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:08 am

Big Media types are always claiming that bloggers should adopt their standards. I have decided that they are right. So here, for the first time ever, is a blog post written according to the standards of the Los Angeles Times. (In a separate post, I will explain, line by line, how the post meets the paper’s standards.)

My topic is Tim Rutten.

To my knowledge, Tim Rutten is the only columnist who has never once been corrected in the newspaper, despite having told countless falsehoods in his columns. Over the years, Rutten has become more and more shameless in his dishonesty. Rutten actually admitted in one recent column that he has deliberately placed falsehoods about the Bush Administration in his columns, and is proud of it: “Would I support those same decisions again today? You’re damn right I would.”

Of course, this is unsurprising, because dishonesty is part of the paper’s very culture. This is a paper that routinely admits that it concocts stories. Perhaps the most startling fact about the paper is that the Los Angeles Times has no section in the paper for corrections. Every other paper is willing to admit that it makes errors from time to time. But if you look at the paper’s web site, it is interesting to note that it provides links to stories and columns — but not to the purported corrections page.

Rutten is not just dishonest; he also has a verified case of Bush/Cheney Derangement Syndrome. It is common for leftist commentators to paint cartoonishly evil caricatures of Cheney — but with Rutten, this tendency has become so pronounced that one questions his very grasp of reality. For example, in his latest column, Rutten erroneously claims that, at the beginning of Bush’s presidency, Cheney and his allies “arrived packing heavy artillery” and executed a “coup d’etat.” I have read many conspiratorial theories about Cheney’s seizure of power, but this is the first time I ever saw someone actually claim that he did so at the point of a gun.

Perhaps even more outrageous is Rutten’s claim that Bush and his chief of staff are literally seeking to kidnap and physically torture John McCain to ensure compliance with their policies, claiming that Bush & Co. “think they can do what [McCain’s] North Vietnamese torturers failed to do.” I know Rutten believes that Bush and his allies support torture, but accusing him of performing it on the Republican front-runner is, quite simply, over the top.

I have enjoyed this opportunity to write a post that follows the standards set by the finest newspaper in Los Angeles: the Los Angeles Times. For an explanation of how this blog post has met their professional standards, click here — or if you’re already on the main page, just scroll down to the next post.

How My Post Immediately Above Meets the Exacting Standards of the L.A. Times

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:07 am

This post explains how the assertions made in this post meet the exacting standards of the L.A. Times.

The first quote from my post that requires explanation is this:

“To my knowledge, Tim Rutten is the only columnist who has never once been corrected in the newspaper . . .”

Of course, I have no idea whether this is actually true. But it feels like it should be — and that’s good enough. Steve Lopez once famously said: “Guess what, Chief. My investigation is complete.” Three and a half years later, it emerged that Lopez’s “investigation” didn’t even encompass talking to both sides — and he finally admitted that his decision to jump to conclusions led him to get central facts wrong.*

By the Steve Lopez standard, I am allowed to make assertions about whether Tim Rutten has been corrected, without actually checking it out. Guess what, Tim? My investigation is complete.

Rutten actually admitted in one recent column that he has deliberately placed falsehoods about the Bush Administration in his columns, and is proud of it: “Would I support those same decisions again today? You’re damn right I would.”

Rutten, of course, made no such admission. But my assertion is consistent with the standards set by the L.A. Times in Rutten’s latest column, in which he wrote:

[Cheney] told them that he was glad the administration had tortured people and that he’d do it again: “Would I support those same decisions again today? You’re damn right I would.”

As I proved in this post, Cheney never told the audience that he was glad the administration had tortured people and that he’d do it again. In fact, he said the opposite: “We do not torture — it’s against our laws and against our values.”

Rutten apparently thinks that, because Rutten thinks Cheney supports torture, it’s okay to write that Cheney said he supports torture. Great. I think that Rutten “supports deliberately planting falsehoods, so I get to say that Rutten actually told people that he does it.

By the way, there is no indication that the phrase “Would I support those same decisions again today? You’re damn right I would.” has anything to do with torture. It is simply a line from Cheney’s speech that Rutten ripped out of context. Those words also appear in Rutten’s column (albeit as a quote from Cheney). If Rutten gets to pull quotes out of context from Cheney’s speech, then I get to pull quotes out of context from Rutten’s column.

It’s all about the standards, you see. Moving on . . .

This is a paper that routinely admits that it concocts stories.

The paper routinely admits that it has made errors. By the standards of the Los Angeles Times, this is the same as admitting that they concoct stories.

Perhaps the most startling fact about the paper is that the Los Angeles Times has no section in the paper for corrections. Every other paper is willing to admit that it makes errors from time to time. But if you look at the paper’s web site, it is interesting to note that it provides links to stories and columns — but not to the purported corrections page.

Of course, the paper does have a corrections page, and does have a link to it. But, according to the standards of the L.A. Times, it is okay to claim that something doesn’t exist when, in reality, it does. For example, Tim Rutten once wrote in a column about Scott Thomas Beauchamp:

It was interesting to note that Drudge provided links to the transcripts and report but not to the purported “Memorandum for Record.”

But that was false. I took the following screenshot from a set of documents taken from what Drudge posted:

memorandum-for-record-2007-dtyir.JPG

If Rutten gets to claim that it is interesting to note that a document doesn’t exist, when it actually does . . . then I get to claim that it is interesting to note that there is no L.A. Times corrections page — even though there really is.

[I]n his latest column, Rutten erroneously claims that, at the beginning of Bush’s presidency, Cheney and his allies “arrived packing heavy artillery” and executed a “coup d’etat.”

Here, I am using the L.A. Times-approved technique of taking a metaphor and pretending that it is an erroneous statement. Rutten does say in his column that, at the outset of Bush’s presidency, “Cheney, his staff and his allies arrived packing heavy artillery in the form of the unitary executive theory.” The “packing heavy artillery” bit was a metaphor. You know, kind of like when Bush, speaking about Iraq, said: “Mandela is dead, because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas.” That was a metaphor too — but the paper felt justified in calling it an “erroneous[]” statement.

If they can take Bush’s metaphors and call them mistakes, why, I can do it to Tim Rutten.

The same defense applies to this passage:

Perhaps even more outrageous is Rutten’s claim that Bush and his chief of staff are literally seeking to kidnap and physically torture John McCain to ensure compliance with their policies, claiming that Bush & Co. “think they can do what [McCain’s] North Vietnamese torturers failed to do.”

Well, Rutten did say this:

It’s hard to read this week’s events as anything other than an attempt to put McCain on notice that he’d better acknowledge the unitary executive theory if he wants help with the conservative base. If Cheney, Addington and Bush now think they can do what the North Vietnamese torturers failed to do and cow John McCain into supporting their failing attempt to roll back history to the Nixon administration, they’ve missed the measure of the man.

Again, taking a metaphor literally is fair game. Especially since, unlike their quiz, my post actually is a “parody.”

I can see why they apply these standards. It’s way, way more fun than being responsible and truthful.

*As a side note, I’m not sure Lopez would have known how to do this investigation, even if he had decided to try. Lopez is, after all, the guy who set out to find gang members in Los Angeles — but couldn’t find any.


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