Patterico's Pontifications


Fiorina Blasts “FactChecker” for Giving Her Three Pinocchios for An Accurate Statement

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:10 pm

I have lost all patience with “fact checkers” who run opinion pieces disguised as “fact checks.” The Washington Post purports to do a “fact check” on these Fiorina quotes:

I started as a secretary, typing and filing for a nine-person real estate firm. It’s only in this country that you can go from being a secretary to chief executive of the largest tech company in the world, and run for president of the United States. It’s only possible here.

. . . .

My story, from secretary to CEO, is only possible in this nation, and proves that everyone of us has potential.

. . . .

A self-made woman, she started her business career as a secretary and went on to become the first, and to date, the only woman to lead a Fortune 20 company.

The “fact checkers” call that Carly Fiorina’s bogus ‘secretary to CEO’ career trajectory, and give Fiorina three Pinocchios. (According to their rating scale, three Pinocchios represents: “Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.”

We already know Fiorina has been a CEO, so I eagerly read the article to see how they prove that she lied about being a secretary. Here’s the relevant passage:

She worked briefly as a secretary in between law school and business school, but she always intended to attend graduate school for her career.

Wait, what?

So, she said was a secretary and a CEO, and she has been a secretary and a CEO. Therefore three Pinocchios???

Yes. Three Pinocchios.

Apparently the Post thinks that Fiorina is implying some kind of Horatio Alger story or something, and they reject this implication because she was a law school professor’s daughter. Or something.

As a campaign spokesperson said:

When asked how the description accurately captures her career trajectory, Isgur Flores responded: “She was a secretary. Later, she became a CEO. I don’t think she’s ever claimed there was nothing in between.”

This is how the Post describes the rating of one Pinocchio:

Some shading of the facts. Selective telling of the truth. Some omissions and exaggerations, but no outright falsehoods. (You could view this as “mostly true.”)

Even if you bought the Post‘s take, at best that means Fiorina left out some stuff that the Post thinks she should have said. A normal person would say she told the truth. A wild partisan would give her one Pinocchio.

The Post gave her three.

Here’s Fiorina reacting to this in an interview with Hugh Hewitt:

Exit question: does this help her or hurt her? Anyone remotely familiar with the controversy will see this as what it is: a totally unfair hit job by a leftist media outlet.

Ruining Your Favorite Movies – a Saturday Night Participatory Post!

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:22 pm

[guest post by JVW]

A friend of mine shared a popular Facebook meme the other day. It is a picture of Lloyd Dobler (the John Cusack character) from the movie Say Anything holding up the boombox blaring Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” outside of the window of his love, Diane Court (played by Ione Skye). The caption to the photo is that the world would be a better place if we all “loved like Lloyd.”

So my immediate reaction was that when it’s John Cusack doing something like this he is considered to be “sweet” and “vunerable,” yet when somebody like me does it we are considered to be “creepy” and “obsessive.” We had some fun going back-and-forth on what today’s feminist Social Justice Warriors would think of this type of behavior. Finally, since the best part of being a conservative (in my opinion) is being a curmudgeonly un-romantic, I made this point:

I always wonder if Diane Court woke up one day only to realize that Lloyd is a proto-slacker with no job prospects who wants to spend all of his time training for kickboxing. I don’t imagine that relationship lasted too long in England.

And that got me thinking as to how of the happily-ever-after endings from 1980s teen romantic comedies might have dissolved into something a bit more realistic, based upon the lifelong observations of a grumpy old dude like me. Allow me to finish ruining Say Anything for everyone who loved that movie, then I’ll get to contaminating another 80s classic.

Say Anything
After Diane kicks out Lloyd, she switches her course of study from British Literature to Feminist Theory, and goes on to earn a PhD. Due to her good looks and American accent, she becomes a mainstay on BBC television shows where she rails against the patriarchy and the oppressiveness of phallocentric culture. She marries the eldest son of an Earl who has a 300-year-old family estate in the countryside, and she and her husband settle into a large apartment in a fashionable part of London. The marriage quickly grows stale, and Diane begins an affair with a lower-ranking minister in Tony Blair’s Labour government which leads to her divorce. Her father dies of cancer in prison, and after attending his funeral she never again steps foot in America, telling her European friends that she finds it “stifling and provincial.” Today she blogs at the UK version of the Huffington Post.

Lloyd Dobler returns to Seattle after the break-up. Because he doesn’t want to “buy anything sold or processed, sell anything bought or processed, or process anything bought or sold” he becomes a booking agent and assistant manager at a punk rock club. In 1991 he is offered the chance to manage the band Nirvana just as the album Nevermind is about to be released. He turns it down contemptuously expressing his belief that their music has become too commercial. Today he works at a liquor store and serves soft drinks at an all-ages music club on Thursdays and Saturdays. At least four times a week he drives by Diane’s old house and is overcome by melancholy.

Sixteen Candles
The movie ends with sophomore Samantha “Sam” Baker (Molly Ringwald) sharing a dining room table birthday kiss with her senior heartthrob Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling). The two of them continue to date for the rest of the spring. On prom night Sam loses her virginity to Jake in a room at a Holiday Inn two towns over. She had told her parents that she would be attending an all-night after-party sponsored by the PTA.

Jake leaves that fall to attend the state university 150 miles away. Sam writes him a letter every day declaring her unending love. Jake pledges a popular fraternity but comes home every other weekend in September and October to visit Sam. He skips his visit in early November, rationalizing that he will be home for an extended stay over Thanksgiving. When he comes back at Christmas break, he and Sam spend every possible moment together.

That spring, Sam begs her parents to let her travel to campus for Jake’s fraternity formal. After lots of negotiations they relent. At the formal the frat bros think Sam is pretty hot, but they tease Jake for being involved with a high school junior. Meanwhile, Jake’s visits home to see Sam become less frequent, and Sam’s friends begin to tell her that they are hearing that Jake has been seen around campus with a Tri Delt. It all comes to a head when Jake chooses to go to Cancun with his fraternity bros for spring break, even though it means he will miss Sam’s 17th birthday. He also begs off from escorting her to her junior prom, explaining that he has to study for finals (instead, he road-trips to New Orleans). He comes home at the end of the semester, but then tells Sam that he has to go back to campus in July for the second session of summer school. By the fall of her senior year, Sam is dating her school’s star quarterback.

The Geek (Anthony Michael Hall) is expelled from school after installing spy cameras in the girls’ locker room showers. He does time in the juvenile justice system and has to register as a sex offender. Long Duk Dong returns to China and joins the army. He is said to have participated in the Chinese army massacres both in Tibet and at Tinanmen Square. Bryce decides to move to Seattle to live with his sister, and starts going by his middle name, Lloyd.

Feel free to ruin your own 1980s movies (or movies from your generation) in the comments.


Dave Weigel Reminds Us Of — And Minimizes — Hillary 2008 Strategy Memo “Otherizing” Obama

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:02 pm

Dave Weigel has a piece at the Washington Post titled Republicans are blaming Hillary Clinton for the ‘birther’ movement. That’s wishful thinking. But as John Nolte argues, Weigel has dug up some old material that undercuts the simplistic thesis of that headline.

Weigel’s main claim is that the Birther claim was “never pursued” by the Hillary 2008 campaign proper, but only its supporters:

But the Clinton campaign never pursued the idea that Obama was literally not American, and therefore ineligible for the presidency. A small group of hardcore Clinton supporters did.

Weigel acknowledges that the Clinton campaign discussed Obama’s limited American roots as a “strong weakness,” citing an all-but-forgotten internal campaign memo from Clinton pollster Mark Penn. However, Weigel minimizes the nastiness of Penn’s memo, which is very eye-opening in its frank desire to exploit Obama’s lack of ties to this country. Here’s Weigel:

“All of these articles about his boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared toward showing his background is diverse, multicultural, and putting that in a new light,” wrote Penn. “Save it for 2050. It also exposes a very strong weakness for him — his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited.”

But Penn wrote that as a warning, not a strategy.

Is that so?

The memo can be read here, and here is a screenshot of one relevant passage. I dare any fair-minded person to read this and conclude that Penn wrote this “as a warning, not a strategy”:

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 12.31.22 PM

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 12.31.32 PM

Especially critical are Penn’s suggestions on “[h]ow we could give some life to this contrast without turning negative,” including repeated references to the need to emphasize America. To discuss American values. To wave American flags.

In other words, to repeatedly reference Obama’s otherness — but to do so with deniability. That is the strategy.

When Weigel says the memo referenced Obama’s otherness “as a warning, not as a strategy,” the clear implication is that Penn, the memo-writer, rejected any notion of exploiting Obama’s lack of American ties. Weigel’s characterization leads the reasonable reader to believe that Penn noted this “otherness” as an issue — but as for the campaign exploiting it, he was having none of it.

Nonsense. He wanted to exploit it to the hilt. He just didn’t want to get caught doing it.

This is the context in which we must read what Weigel writes next:

In December 2007, a Clinton campaign worker named Judy Rose sent an e-mail asking whether Obama was a secret Muslim who intended to destroy America from the inside. She was fired and denounced.

She was denounced . . . for getting caught.

When I complained to Weigel about this on Twitter, he responded with this:

Fair enough, as far as it goes — but it doesn’t address the misleading characterization of the memo as something other than strategic.

Kudos are due to Weigel for unearthing the memo, but not for his characterization, which is so hyper-charitable that it is not really accurate.

Weigel’s piece highlights the critical need to read source documents and not accept Big Media’s characterization of those documents.

UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit for the link. I hope new readers bookmark the main page and come back soon!

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