WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2003
A FISHER OF RUBES: How big a fraud is Bernie Goldberg? Lets return to that puzzling quotation from his new book, Arrogancethe quote we discussed in yesterdays HOWLER (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/18/03). In his chapter about the New York Times, Bernie Goldberg thunders and rails about liberal demon Howell Raines:
GOLDBERG (page 66): A lot of peopleand not just conservativesthink [the Times] hit rock bottom in 2001, when Howell Raines took over as executive editorRaines loved Clinton, and just hated Reagan: Its a message the talk-show right loves to hear. And Bernie had the perfect quotea quote that could make readers feel like real victims! Ronald Reagan was loved by millionsbut Raines rudely said he couldnt tie his own shoes! Pseudo-con readers could cry all day long when they read the rude thing Raines had said.
But was the quotation actually accurate? Did Raines say that Ronald Reagan couldnt tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it? In yesterdays HOWLER, we voiced our suspicions about the oddly truncated quote. From Google searches, we knew that Goldberg had taken the quote from the archives of the Media Research Center. And as we noted, the MRC is pathologically dishonest; the influential org holds every world record for pulling quotations out of any sane context. We could find no record of the full quote, but we did notice something which made us suspicious. We knew the quote came from Raines book, Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis. And, since reviews had said that the book dealt in part with the way different presidents fished and tied flies, we couldnt help wondering if the truncated quote had to do with Reagans skill on a stream. We knew, all too well, how the MRC works. We couldnt help wondering if the truncated quote might concern the way Reagan tied flies!
And sure enough! Lets face it, readersif theres a way to commit fraud with a quote, the MRC will find it. Readers sent us to amazon.com, where you can now search a books contents. We called up Fly Fishing, and sure enough! The shoelaces quote is on page 84. And yes, it deals with Reagans fishingand it isnt even Raines who is speaking!
Who actually makes the disturbing statement? Raines is out in the boonies with the late Dick Blalock, a legendary Maryland fishing guide. Blalock has Raines on a fast-running streamand he talks about fisherman presidents:
RAINES (pages 83-84): Even here in northern Maryland, we were still below the Mason-Dixon line and technically still in the South. More to the point, we were in hillbilly territory. In the nineteenth century, these people tended whiskey stills Now their descendants still lived back in the hollows of the Catoctins, experienced poachers of deer and turkey and of the fat trout in the fly-fishing-only section of Hunting Creek. In short, Dick Blalock had brought me to one of the northernmost outposts of the Redneck Way.Amazing, isnt it? But typical of the way Bernie Goldberg does business. In short, it was Blalock who made the statement, not Raines, as Bernie blusters to her misused, misled readers. And what was Blalock plainly saying? That Reagan didnt know how to tie flies! Thats the actual context of the quote which the MRC has been flogging for years. And its flogged again in Bernies fake book, finally reaching a national audience. Bernie Goldberg is a fisher of rubes. And hes reeling them in with this fakery.
Of course, this isnt the first time that Goldberg has cadged a phony quote from the MRC. How big a fake is Bernie Goldberg? In Bias, he slandered Times writer Natalie Angier with a similar MRC cut-and-paste job. Years earlier, Angiera science writerhad written a piece about insect reproduction. And the MRC had swung into action; they clipped a quote and made it sound like Angier had written a piece bashing men! (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 1/12/02. Prepare to emit mordant chuckles.) Bernie, of course, just cut-and-pastedand ranted. The rough little man clipped the ludicrous quote and ranted and railed for the readers of Bias. Now, he cuts and pastes from an old fishing tale, and says that Raines trashed Ronald Reagan.
But so it goes when people like Goldberg cut-and-paste lures to hook the big rubes. And so it goes when the nations reviewers are simply too frightened to stop him. When our series ends, well ask the obviouswhy is this fake, phony man still in business? When will the nations reviewers stand up to his utter contempt for your discourse?
BRENT BOZELL, LYING LIAR: Whos the Prime Faker behind all this slander? Yes, thats right, its Brent Bozell, whose MRC has been faking quotations for years. How does it work at the MRC? Bozell keeps whipping up the rubes, feeding them all this fake, phony chatter. And leading journalists cadge from his work. For example, Ann Coulter did lots of cut-and-pasting from the MRC archives for her fake-phony pseudo-book, Slander. And here was inept-or-dishonest Brit Hume, bashing Raines on Special Report:
HUME (5/22/01): And now the most captivating two minutes in television, the latest from The Political Grapevine.As you see, Hume is quite good with the smart-ass remarks. What a shame that he cant get his facts straight! But then, here was Bozell himself, two years later, slandering Raines for Sean Hannity:
BOZELL (6/5/03): Well, Howell Raines is also the man who said of Ronald Reagan, that he couldnt tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it and then accusesWeird, aint it? Five months later, heres Bernies book, bearing precisely that title!
Why has this fakery lasted so long? At the end of the week, we might even ask. But how big a clown is Bernie Goldberg? Insect mating? Fishing techniques? Nothings so phony that Bernie wont use it! Bernie just wants to reel in the rubesand show his contempt for your discourse.
CONAN THE DECEIVER: That was the headline on Paul Krugmans August 22 columna column which said that Candidate Conan was offering fuzzy math on steroids. Heres how the column began:
KRUGMAN: The key moment in Arnold Schwarzeneggers Wednesday press conference came when the bodybuilder who would be governor brushed aside questions with the declaration, The public doesnt care about figures. This was fuzzy math on steroidsMr. Schwarzenegger was, in effect, asserting that his celebrity gives him the right to fake his way through the election. Will he be allowed to get away with it?Will he be allowed to get away with it? Silly question, Dismal Science-Breath! By now, we know that the press corps did allow Conan to get away with his faking. And in the past few days, we see the result. The man who said that Californians were taxed taxed taxed plans to borrow his way out of deficit! As a candidate, Schwarzenegger swore it would be easy to cut lots of fat. Now, he admits he cant do it.
Why did Conan get away with his faking? Because of your national press corps. They did long profiles of Gary Coleman. They spent big time with a key stripper hopeful. But the national press corps was far too polite to examine the true lies which Krugman alleged. Now we see a wholly predictable result; we now hear from Conan the Borrower.
On last nights Hardball, Chris Matthews interviewed Schwarzenegger flack Karen Hanretty. Surely you remember Karen! She dissembled right up through Election Eve, with her Hardball hosts cooperation (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/9/03). But last night, he asked her the obvious questionand check out what Hanretty said:
MATTHEWS: Karen, Im rooting for this governors success But heres the question. If Arnold Schwarzenegger, candidate, had said, My solution to Californias fiscal crisis is to borrow a quick $15 billion, had he said that the day before the election, would he have been elected?Pitiful, isnt it? Hanretty was reduced to saying that Davis faked too. By the way: Even on Election Eve, Hanretty was still telling a pleasing lie. The deficit was $38 billion, she saidand Matthews still allowed her to say it. Now she starts using some actual numbersand she complains about Big Liar Gray!
As a candidate, Conan said he could balance the budget due to that wild-and-crazy spending. And your press corps knew just what they should do; they interviewed strippers and poked Conans biceps. To state the obvious, Conan was always going to borrow. But your press corps was focussed on big busts and biceps. They knew the ruleDont even ask.