Monday, January 29, 2007
Anatomy of a Right-Wing Bullshit Story
In an interview, John Moody, a senior vice president at Fox News, said its commentators had erred by citing the Clinton-Obama report. “The hosts violated one of our general rules, which is know what you are talking about,” Mr. Moody said. “They reported information from a publication whose accuracy we didn’t know.”
Interestingly enough, most of the time these bullshit wingnut stories from Insight magazine and other wingnutty publications get peddled by Drudge (ABC News wanker Mark Halperin's favorite website), but this time around Drudge wouldn't pick up the story. So here's what Insight editor Jeffrey Kuhner did:
“I said, ‘That is a sexy story, if you can confirm it,’ ” Mr. Kuhner recalled. After Insight posted the article on Jan. 17, Mr. Kuhner said, he was disappointed to see that the Drudge Report did not link to it on its Web site as it has done with other Insight articles. So, as usual, he e-mailed the article to producers at Fox News and MSNBC.
There you go -even Drudge wouldn't link to it, but John Gibson and Steve Doocey - clown princes of faux news and FOX news channel - had no problems peddling it. Gibson went so far as to say that the CNN reporter who exposed the Insight story as bullshit “probably went to the very madrassa” that Obama did, then suggested that CNN covered up the religious extremism at the school in their report:
GIBSON [W]hat did they see when they went to the madrassa where Barack Obama went to school?
HOST: Kids playing volleyball.
GIBSON: Playing volleyball, right. They didn’t see them in any terrorist training camps?
GIBSON: No. Um, but they probably didn’t show them in their little lessons where they’re bobbing their heads and memorizing the Koran.
HOST: I didn’t see any tape of that, no.
That's FOX News and the rest of the wingnut news pipeline for you - facts and reality be damned!
POSTSCIPT: The left has its own news pipeline of wishlist fantasy stories. Jason Leopold and Truthout come to mind as one example. But the difference between wingnut fantasy news sites and lefty fantasy news sites is this: Leopold's stories on Karl Rove's involvement in the CIA leak case, first published on Truthout, spread by some lefty blogs (including this one) and since exposed as bullshit, have rendered both Leopold and Truthout as suspect sources of "news." (You'll notice, for instance, that I have not linked to a Truthout article or a Leopold piece since I got played by both back during the "Rove's been indicted in the leak case" frenzy.)
But over on the right, no matter how much bullshit a "reporter" like Gibson or a "news organization" like Insight or FOX News runs with, they're never, ever discredited. The NY Times article notes that Insight magazine has published many bullshit stories in the past long since debunked - including stories about Bill Clinton selling plots at Arlington National Cemetery to campaign donors and the U.S. finding Saddam's weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. David Brock, former writer for Insight magazine, has said he literally made up stories about Anita Hill and Hillary Clinton when he wrote for Insight magazine back in the 90's (Brock now works for Media Matters, a liberal website that "monitors, analyzes and corrects conservative misinformation in the U.S. news media.") And yet, no matter how much bullshit "news" Insight magazine or John Gibson and Steve Doocey at FOX News peddle, they're never ever discredited as deliberate liars or misinformed fools.
How could they prove the facts if they can't find the country?
There are about 250 million people in Indonesia and almost 90% of them are muslims. Moreover, this was the nation that would not allow Israeli rescue workers on its soil following the tsunami two years ago.
As for whether Barack Hussein Obama was schooled in islam, well, he was. He said so himself. It doesn't matter that the muslim school he attended wasn't identified as a madrassa. It was a muslim school.
His father, grandfather and stepfather were all muslims. I do not believe he is completely out of the shadow of that religion, which, as its adherents have repeatedly proved, does not believe in plurality. Among muslims, it's islam or death.
Not that any of this matters. He hasn't got a chance.
In fact, the situation will become rather cruel. He's now enjoying a moment on top of a wave of good feeling that will crash when he's seen for what he is -- a person with a foot in two segments of the population not likely to gather the support of the majority of voters.
When opponents get their hands on the textbooks he studied in that muslim school he admits attending for five years, he, along with voters, will cringe.
He should save himself the embarrassment of what's to come and simply drop out now.
Moreover, many kids in New York City and other places attend Catholic schools because the public schools are so bad. Most of these kids are not Catholic however. They go there to obtain an education, just as Obama went to his "madrasa" to get an education.
Of course not. Their fans aren't interested in facts, truth, or even reality. I just posted something on my blog about how these people are classifiable as mentally ill.
I really liked it. It is a stark contrast indeed how the left will abandon a source after one major gaffe (i.e. Leopold) and yet the right will contine to support their pundits no matter how foolish and wrong they are.
My post on Man vs. Volcano is a good example of how Mr. Limbaugh spews absolute lies, never retracts them, and yet still has 30 million listeners.
People believe what they want to belive, but as Fredrick says, "I'm not a liberal, I'm paying attention."
no slappz again shows his incredible ignorance. The word for "school" in Arabic is "madrasa."
It's hardly surprising Elizabeth, no_slappz doesn't even understand basic definitions of simple words. If he doesn't know their definition in English, he is hardly going to them in Arabic.
(this comment was brought to you in the style of no_slappz)
korova, your point about the translations was a very good one.
PT, I love that quote from Fredrick. I agree that it's important to make sure your ideology does not blind you to reality. Obviously it does to all of us once in a while (I can think of the leak case frenzy as one time when I definitely let my hopes get ahead of that little voice inside my head that kept saying "Caution!" But overall, I hope that I don't carry water for my party just because they are my party.
"...Mr. Limbaugh spews absolute lies, never retracts them, and yet still has 30 million listeners."
Earth to praguetwin -- Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly and Al Franken are ENTERTAINERS whose schtick is politics.
They are not elected to any office and they are not sworn to tell the truth. They are in business to gather ratings, and hence, advertising revenue for their employers, which enables gasbags to earn big bucks.
Well, except for Al Franken because Air America stiffed him, filed for bankruptcy, was bought by Stephen Green, who fired Franken, and will change the station's programming from money-losing to money-making.
There's no difference between Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. They're two windbags paid a lot of money to entertain people.
"I'm afraid to say, that in a society like yours, barriers will always be put up to ensure that white, middle-class men remain in power."
Yeah. You really know the US. No women, no blacks, no asians, no gays, nobody but white middle-class men in power.
There are those muslim countries, though, that elevate women, gays, Christians, Jews, asians, blacks and non-muslims to high stations.
"no slappz again shows his incredible ignorance. The word for "school" in Arabic is "madrasa.""
Why don't you read my post? I did not use the term "madrassa", because the term itself is irrelevant.
Obama has admitted that the attended a muslim school for five years. He has yet to state that he did not study islam while enrolled. I'm sure he did. That's part of the program at state schools in muslim countries.
Meanwhile, with your usual inability to see the whole picture, you obviously missed those moments when other politicians saw their pasts dragged out as their opponents tried to embarrass them.
Schwarzenegger's father was apparently a member of the nazi party back there in Austria. That fact was trotted out when Arnold was aiming for the governorship of CA.
I think it Supreme Court Justice Blackmun was a member of the Ku Klux Klan for about a year when he was a teenager. Robert Byrd of West Virginia might have also flirted with the Klan as a youth.
Chief Justice Rhenquist bought a house with provisions in its title that prohibited its sale to Jews.
There are lots of other examples from the pasts of many politicians. What of it?
"I went to a madrasa and so did all of you or most likely, you wouldn't be able to read this blog entry."
The meaning of "madrassa" varies with the source. But you should try for a little honesty. The muslim countries of the world have made islam their state religion. Therefore, if a kid in a muslim country attends a state school, he's getting a muslim indoctrination along with reading, writing and arithmetic.
Just the way it was in Catholic schools here before they needed money from anyone willing to pay the tuition.
I'll bet no muslim parents send their kids to Catholic schools in the US, by the way. And you can be sure no non-muslim students are admitted to muslim private schools here.
You showed how little you know of the NYC public and private schools when you stated:
"Moreover, many kids in New York City and other places attend Catholic schools because the public schools are so bad."
It's not exactly that the schools are bad. It's more accurate to say a large percentage of the kids are terrible students.
You ridiculously claimed:
"Most of these kids are not Catholic however."
Really? Then they must be Jewish or muslim. You can be sure there are no Jews or muslims attending NYC Catholic schools. Moreover, you can be sure the vast majority of kids attending Catholic school in NYC are Catholic. The Irish, Italians and Hispanics account for a huge percentage of people in this city, and they send their kids to Catholic school.
"They go there to obtain an education, just as Obama went to his "madrasa" to get an education."
You have absolutely no idea what Obama studied at his muslim school. But you can be sure we'll be hearing and reading about his curriculum as long as he stays in the race.
Would you vote for him for president? It doesn't matter. Even if you claim you would, you won't get the chance. He's going to withdraw long before the next election.
"at three inner-city schools -- St. Benedict the Moor, St. Agnes in Oakland and Holy Rosary in Homewood -- more than 95 percent of the students are non-Catholic"
I imagine inner-city New York Catholic schools are quite similar.
One of the key reasons why Catholic schools do not have the discipline and violence problems that public schools have is pretty simple - Many Catholic schools toss out problem kids, violent kids, troubled kids, academic problems, etc. I know first hand - I attended 12 years of Catholic school including 4 years of Jesuit high school. I started out with 287 boys in my freshman class and graduated with just over 205. The others had all been tossed and/or encouraged to look elsewhere for their education.
"at three inner-city schools -- St. Benedict the Moor, St. Agnes in Oakland and Holy Rosary in Homewood -- more than 95 percent of the students are non-Catholic"
Oh. First, how many Catholic schools operate in Pittsburgh? It's a lot more than three.
Second, if the parents did not identify themselves and their children as followers of a particular religion, that may well mean they consented to have their kids receive a "Catholic" education, religious bells and whistles included. Your information is lacking the necessary details to have any meaning.
"I imagine inner-city New York Catholic schools are quite similar."
You seem to imagine many things, like how Evo Morales isn't about to become the dictator of Bolivia and isn't about to set the country back a few decades, no doubt getting a lot of help from Chavez, who will declare himself president-for-life of Venezuela any day now.
"by the way, no slappz, have you ever heard of "Protestantism"?"
No. Never heard of it. Actually, I was raised an Episcopalian, which is often referred to as Catholic Lite.
"It is actually the major religion in the USA."
Wrong, as usual. We Protestants are lumped in with all the other Christians. "Protestantism" isn't a stand-alone religion.
Of course there are a number of sects within the Protestant group.
"My guess is most of the non Catholics in Catholic schools are Protestants."
You'd be on firmer footing if you said the families of non-Catholic students in the Catholic schools professed no particular religion but had some early brush with Protestantism.
You further guessed:
"But I would guess there are a few Muslims there as well."
I'd be interested in reading just one story about just one muslim kid in a Catholic school.
The closest I can come is from personal experience. I know a doctor who came to the US from Turkey as a teenager. He is a muslim, though non-observant. He married an Irish nurse and they had three kids who are now all adults. I believe they were raised as Catholics and might have attended Catholic school at one time or another.
However, I think it's more common for the muslim husbands of non-muslim American wives to grab their kids and bolt back to Saudi Arabia or whatever muslim country from which they came and refuse to let the mothers see their children ever again.
My kids have been in NY City public schools with muslim kids. In fact, my younger son previously attended a public school in which the largest percentage of students were muslim. I'm not sure if they amounted to a majority, but they were the largest group.
In any case, no one I know has mentioned any muslim kids enrolling in Catholic schools.
"One of the key reasons why Catholic schools do not have the discipline and violence problems that public schools have is pretty simple - Many Catholic schools toss out problem kids, violent kids, troubled kids, academic problems, etc."
And as long as the public school system willingly sacrifices the educational quality of the many because the school system refuses to correctly handle the problems created by a few, the public school system will cheat most kids.
The only segment of the public school system in NYC that is well managed is the gifted program.
It works pretty well for an obvious reason: It does exactly what the Catholic schools do, it only allows decent teachable students into the program. And the teachers can toss under-performing students out. That happened to a couple of kids in my younger son's class.
The kids in the gifted program live separate educational lives from the general student population.
If each level of students were managed this way, each group would get what it needs. Optimistically, maybe half the kids who attend high school should go to college. The others should have available to them courses of study that get them jobs.
We have some specialized high schools in NYC, but despite names like Automotive and Aviation, the focus is still on college-prep academics.
For some misguided reason, there's a widely held belief that ALL kids should be forced to study a lot of material that is a waste of time for them.
"King David was not designed to be such a beacon of inter-faith cooperation and friendship. Founded in 1865 as The Hebrew School, it was 100 per cent Jewish until the late 1950s..."
"...Then two things began to happen: there was a growth in the Muslim population in middle-income areas such as Moseley, and a shrinking of Britain's Jewish community, especially outside the main centres of London and Manchester. Muslim children started coming to the school in the early 1960s, but the current position, in which they are in the majority (Jewish children comprise 35 per cent, Muslims 50 per cent, Christians, Sikhs and other, 15 per cent) is very new."
Okay. The Jewish population around the school is shrinking. What does that foretell? Soon enough there will not be enough Jewish kids to attend the school and it will lose completely its Jewish identity.
The writer seems somewhat naive. The Jewish students once accounted for 100% of the students. Now they account for 35%. The muslim kids are 50% of the student body. Despite what a few apparently happy mothers said to the reporter, the writing is on the wall.
The Jews are leaving the neighborhood as the muslims continue to pile in. Jewish flight from the muslim crowd. No different than white flight in the US.
At some point before the Jewish enrollment hits zero, the school will change, and the muslim majority will drop every Jewish facet of the education experience, probably starting with renaming the school in honor of muhammad.
Meanwhile, the article did not state how the school was funded. Is it a "private" school, like all religious schools in the US? Or do such schools receive government funding in the UK? That makes a big difference.
In any case, you seem to have found an article about the only school in the UK -- a country of 65 million -- that educates Jews and muslims under the same roof. About 120 muslim kids out of a few million who live in the UK attend this school. As I noted, their presence is contributing to the shrinking number of Jews in the school.
Therefore, the purported good will between muslims and Jews is an illusion.
Also, the school is not a yeshiva.
That aside, now that the word is out about the school and the muslim community has learned that 120 muslim kids are studying in a Jewish school, security is going to become a bigger worry.
According to Catholic School sources, 13.6% of students attending Catholic schools in the US are not Catholics. However, it does appear that if the kids have a religious orientation, they are Protestants.