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February 11, 2011


I'm glad to see PolitiFact defend Fox News from unfair criticism. However, I would quibble with PolitiFact's statement:
Maddow would have been correct if she had simply said that Fox's coverage was more extensive and hyperbolic than other networks.

I agree that Fox's coverage was more extensive than other networks. However, "hyperbolic" means "overstated, embellished." There's no evidence at all that Fox embellished the story in any way. PolitiFact mentioned no Fox reporting that was factually incorrect.

One could argue that Fox magnified the story's importance, but that depends on a making a case that the amount of coverage was disproportionate to the story's importance. As far as I can see, PolitiFact never made such a case.

I think the story was very important, since it ultimately involved persuasive accusations of racially discriminatory enforcement by the Justice Dept., a cover-up whereby certain Justice Dept. employees were prohibited from testifying before Congress, and (arguably) perjured testimony by top Justice Dept. officials. In short, IMHO Fox's coverage wasn't overstated; the coverage from other news outlets was understated.

Re: Frank Gaffney calls Obama "friend of Shariah" in latest attempt to promote Muslim myth

1. It's Brendan's conclusion that Gaffney's purpose is to promote Muslim myth. A more straightforward theory is that Gaffney is promoting the idea that Obama is too friendly to Shariah.

2. Media Matters is hard to take seriously. Consider their use of weasel words. They want to show that Obama's support for (or lack of opposition to) Shariah is unexceptional, so they claim is's like Bush's. They write:
In fact, Gaffney bases this claim, in part, on the administration's support for an initiative that began under President Bush, as well as the Obama administration's ties to an American Muslim group that the Bush administration also promoted [emphasis added]

The phrase "in part" destroys their argument.

3. Shariah law supports extreme religious discrimination and sexism at a level unimaginable in today's USA. It's completely alien to American liberal values. I want our political and intellectual leaders to take the lead in criticizing Shariah Law.

They don't do this IMHO because of multiculturalism. A level of bigotry that would be anathema if preached or practiced by Caucasian Americans somehow becomes immune to major criticism when the perps are Muslims. (incidentally, this interesting interview explores among other things these sorts of attitudes.)

4. If Obama is concerned about people thinking he's a Muslim, he will need to take the lead in opposing that belief. Frank Gaffney isn't going to be fair to Obama any more than liberals were fair to Goerge Bush. The fact that Obama invited representatives of Shariah Law to a White House dinner will be sufficient evidence for Obama's opponents to call him a "friend of Shariah."

IMHO Obama could start by looking for opportunities to criticize Shariah Law. While it's unfair to call him "friend of Shariah", I'm not sure he's a sufficient enemy of that pernicious doctrine.

Though Gaffney didn't question President Obama's profession of his Christian faith, somebody did, just last night: Bill Maher. Of course, Maher doesn't think Obama is lying because he's a Muslim, he thinks Obama is lying because he's a secular humanist. I'm waiting for all the liberal intellectuals to say what they really think about the populist entertainer Bill Maher. Also, what they really think about other populist entertainers who promote falsehoods, such as Michael Moore and Rachel Maddow and Joy Behar and Whoopie Goldberg and Rosie O'Donnell and . . . .

RE:how "conservatives have adapted to birtherism by making a joke out of it"

Serwer writes:

"But by making jokes about it, conservative political figures manage to avoid taking a position one way or the other...""

Brendan - I doubt you are referencing this post approvingly, since your own research shows that speaking out against known lies seems to add to their being more widely accepted.

Isn't ridicule possibly one of the best methods of combating misinformation, so conservatives are actually diffusing the issue and helping out the President?

Unless, of course, you suspect conservatives are conspiring to keep the issue alive (as Serwer continues):

"Even with post-birtherism, though, the ultimate objective, to undermine the president by portraying him as un-American, is achieved -- without sounding like you have a closet full of tinfoil hats."

I wonder if aliens are trying to decode the messages from the sunlight reflecting from Serwer's own hat….

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