Patterico's Pontifications


Media Matters Isikoffs See Dubya

Filed under: General,Media Bias,Scum — Patterico @ 5:57 pm

Media Matters’s Eric Boehlert has “Isikoffed” blogger See Dubya.

Surely you remember that term. I invented it back in September, when I noted how Michael Isikoff had altered a quote from an Alberto Gonzales memo without noting the alteration in any way. I therefore proposed that

when a quote is altered without any hint that it has been changed, the quote should be described as having been “Isikoffed.”

This is a variant of Dowdification, which is the practice of distorting the meaning of a quote by using an ellipsis. That’s bad enough — but at least the ellipsis gives the reader an indication that something has been left out. When you “Isikoff” someone, you don’t even let the reader know that the sentence (and its meaning) have been radically altered.

Here is Boehlert:

With no facts to back up their allegations, warbloggers instead lean heavily on name-calling in their never-ending attempt to libel and smear journalists. “The Western press is negligently or carelessly (I’m not ready to believe knowingly) passing along terrorist propaganda disguised as news,” announced warblogger SeeDubya at The Junkyard Blog. Talk about hubris — stateside warbloggers claim they have a better handle on what’s happening in Iraq than reporters who are actually there.

Now here’s what See Dubya actually said, with my emphasis:

As with Patterico’s story, there is a range of possibilities here. In both stories, the worst scenario is that the Western press is negligently or carelessly (I’m not ready to believe knowingly) passing along terrorist propaganda disguised as news. But even the best case scenario in each one involves some notable journalistic malfeasance.

Boehlert takes something that is explicitly described as being the “worst scenario” in a “range of possibilities” and alters the sentence to transmogrify it into an announcement of the truth of that scenario. To do this, Boehlert 1) chops off the beginning of the sentence; and 2) turns a lower-case “t” into an upper-case, to make it seem as though the sentence began there, without any brackets to show that the modification was made.

The meaning of See Dubya’s quote thus distorted, Boehlert goes to town mocking it — something that is much easier to do now that the quote has been completely misrepresented.

As Allah says, in his own post taking Boehlert’s nonsense apart:

Light your torch; it’s strawman time.

Oh, man . . . is it ever.

See Dubya is, of course, the one who discovered this Isikoffing (Isikoffication? Isikofftion?). He has a lot more here.

P.S. Allah is always excellent, but he really outdoes himself in the linked post.

23 Responses to “Media Matters Isikoffs See Dubya”

  1. Tracing “Jamil Hussein’s” footsteps and ignoring anti-blog hatred…

    CENTCOM says AP’s Iraqi police source isn’t Iraqi police — Part 22 — Continued from this post. In which an assistant editorial features editor at The Wall Street Journal — he’s been working there since way back in ’05! –does…

    Bill's Bites (72c8fd)

  2. I find it amusing that media types rise up to defend their own from charges of reporting-with-an-agenda when there has never been a war without such journalism. In some cases, the agenda was pro-American, but in many it was not. I wonder if they know their history and choose to whitewash it or they’re just ignorant.

    Also laughable is the impulse of lefites to defend the media but in the same breath claim the media is in the hands of some conservative oligarchy.

    spongeworthy (45b30e)

  3. Defending a specific report is not defending the media as a whole — though for a totalitarian like you such a notion is untenable.

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  4. Had Mr. Ehrenstein bothered to actually read Boehlert’s screed, he would know that it is not a defense of a specific report. To the contrary, it is a generalized (and as we see, dishonest) attack on warbloggers.

    Had Boehlert wanted to defend the specific report, he would be able to explain why the AP seems to be the only organization that locate the elusive Jamil Hussein, why the AP once claimed that it verified the report with hospital and morgue workers who have been dropped from the AP’s response to questions about the story, why the AP cannot produce photos to rebut the Iraqi Army’s claim that only one mosque was burned, why (as noted by NYT reporter Ed Wong) there was not the sort of community reaction seen in past cases of this type, and so on.

    But Boehlert cannot do that, because the AP will not or cannot do any on those things.

    Then again, I suppose expecting Mr. Ehrenstein — who apparently has no idea of what a totalitarian is — to read the supporting material or be familiar with the dispute in general is a bit too much.

    Karl (06a05f)

  5. Eric Boehlert: Prisoner of the AP !

    Coming soon to a blog near you.

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  6. Defending a specific report is not defending the media as a whole…

    I’d like to see a defense of the report, but nobody’s defending it. What they are doing is attacking it’s doubters. What they are doing is trumpeting their credentials.

    What’s more, those who have attempted to delegitimize the criticism have done so with not a single fact in hand. One can only assume their defense arises from ideological sympathy.

    I’d tell you nice try, but it really was no such thing.

    spongeworthy (45b30e)

  7. “Facts are stupid things” — Ronald Reagan

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  8. Media Matters Cranky-Pants Dowdifies Me…

    Eric Boehlert thinks we miss the big picture. He singles out several “warbloggers” for scorn over the Jamil Hussein inquiry, including yours truly: With no facts to back up their allegations, warbloggers instead lean heavily on name-calling in their …

    JunkYardBlog (621918)

  9. Note that Mr. Ehrenstein has not challenged a single thing that either Patterico or I have written. Maybe he really believes facts are stupid things, because his comments here are remarkably fact-free.

    Karl (41c6b2)

  10. There is no point in “challenging” any of you. That’s the game you’re playing. Only suckers fall for it.

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  11. Mr. Ehrenstein,
    I’m sure you know the difference between an editorial and a news article. There is no need to be intellectually dishonest.

    G (722480)

  12. Tell it to Rupert Murdoch!

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  13. he’s 8th on my list.

    G (722480)

  14. First of all, I have to agree with this blogger that Boehlert was sloppy and misleading in his quoting of SeeDubya.

    Secondly, I can’t help, but think how much better shape we would all be in if these same bloggers had been just as skeptical of the action/inaction of the media in their faulty reporting of the administrations push for war prior to, during and after the invasion of Iraq.

    open_mind (59ded8)

  15. “There is no point in “challenging” any of you. That’s the game you’re playing. Only suckers fall for it. ”

    Translation: “My life is so worthless I spend my free time trying to simplistically bait others on a blog that is diametrically opposed to my beliefs rather than construct a coherent thesis. My self-hatred is so enormous that without the arguments that inevitably result from such baiting, I would up and shoot myself. Thanks for keeping me alive another day, guys.”

    Chris (926a19)

  16. Ehrenstein hasn’t responded to anything anyone has said in response to him. Isn’t there a word for that sort of behavior?

    It’s on the tip of my tongue, and somehow I think it rhymes with “scrolling.”

    McGehee (5664e1)

  17. keep on TRucking…

    G (722480)

  18. David Ehrenstein is the person in the long raincoat in the playground that our parents warned us to stay away from.

    nk (d5dd10)

  19. “Bowling”?

    Could be, but for a guy who’s been doing it so much for so long, you sure are throwing a lot of gutter balls.

    Xrlq (54553b)

  20. I know that around here spitballs are preferred.

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  21. […] Interestingly, the post of mine that they highlight is this one, titled “Media Matters Isikoffs See Dubya.” In that post, I make no allegations of fraud against the AP, nor do I refuse to admit an error. Rather, I accurately point out a misquotation in a Media Matters piece by Eric Boehlert — a misquotation, by the way, that Boehlert later admitted. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Media Matters Distorts Something (Yawn) (421107)

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