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CONTEMPT (PART 3)! Bernie, pretending to quote Howell Raines, showed his contempt for your discourse:


A FISHER OF RUBES: How big a fraud is Bernie Goldberg? Let’s return to that puzzling “quotation” from his new book, Arrogance—the quote we discussed in yesterday’s 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 people—and not just conservatives—think [the Times] hit rock bottom in 2001, when Howell Raines took over as executive editor…

Raines was famously quoted as saying that “the Reagan years oppressed me.” He has also declared that Reagan, a man beloved by millions of his countrymen, “couldn’t tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it.”

In contrast, there was his view of Bill Clinton: “Huge political talent,” declared Raines when Charlie Rose asked how he thought history would regard Clinton.

Raines loved Clinton, and just hated Reagan: It’s a message the talk-show right loves to hear. And Bernie had the perfect quote—a quote that could make readers feel like real victims! Ronald Reagan was loved by millions—but Raines rudely said he couldn’t 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 “couldn’t tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it?” In yesterday’s 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 couldn’t help wondering if the truncated quote had to do with Reagan’s skill on a stream. We knew, all too well, how the MRC works. We couldn’t help wondering if the truncated quote might concern the way Reagan tied flies!

And sure enough! Let’s face it, readers—if there’s a way to commit fraud with a “quote,” the MRC will find it. Readers sent us to, where you can now search a book’s contents. We called up Fly Fishing, and sure enough! The “shoelaces” quote is on page 84. And yes, it deals with Reagan’s fishing—and it isn’t 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 stream—and 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.

“See that pool?” said Dick. “That was Jimmy Carter’s favorite pool when he was President. We’re only about a mile from Camp David. The Fish and Wildlife boys kept the stream lousy with big brood fish from the hatcheries when he was up here. I knew a guy who used to slip in and give every big trout in the stream a sore lip whenever he heard Carter was coming. Of course, I liked Carter. Charlie Fox and Ben Schley taught him a lot about fishing, and he ties a good fly. Reagan couldn’t tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it.”

Amazing, isn’t 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 didn’t know how to tie flies! That’s the actual context of the “quote” which the MRC has been flogging for years. And it’s flogged again in Bernie’s fake book, finally reaching a national audience. Bernie Goldberg is a fisher of rubes. And he’s reeling them in with this fakery.

Of course, this isn’t 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, Angier—a science writer—had 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-pasted—and 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 nation’s reviewers are simply too frightened to stop him. When our series ends, we’ll ask the obvious—why is this fake, phony man still in business? When will the nation’s “reviewers” stand up to his utter contempt for your discourse?

BRENT BOZELL, LYING LIAR: Who’s the Prime Faker behind all this slander? Yes, that’s right, it’s 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.

The New York Times has named as its new executive editor Howell Raines, described by the Times’ publisher as being the paper’s, quote, fire-breathing, take-no-prisoners editorial-page editor. Raines now has charge of the newspaper’s news coverage as well.

Presumably, the promotion will make him a happier man than he was during the Reagan years, a period he has said, quote, “oppressed him” because of the, quote, “callousness and the greed of the administration.” As for Reagan himself, Raines said, quote, “He couldn’t tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it.”

As you see, Hume is quite good with the smart-ass remarks. What a shame that he can’t 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 couldn’t tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it and then accuses—

DAVID CORN: Get to the facts I gave you, Brent, please.

BOZELL: David, you asked me if they were liberal. I said a man who says of Ronald Reagan that he couldn’t tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it is a liberal. To deny a liberal ideology when you come from that viewpoint, I think is disingenuous.

CORN: Just tell me—

BOZELL: The problem with Howell Raines is the arrogance of his liberalism, not his liberalism, his arrogance.

Weird, ain’t it? Five months later, here’s Bernie’s 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? Nothing’s so phony that Bernie won’t use it! Bernie just wants to reel in the rubes—and show his contempt for your discourse.

CONAN THE DECEIVER: That was the headline on Paul Krugman’s August 22 column—a column which said that Candidate Conan was offering “fuzzy math on steroids.” Here’s how the column began:

KRUGMAN: The key moment in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Wednesday press conference came when the bodybuilder who would be governor brushed aside questions with the declaration, “The public doesn’t care about figures.” This was “fuzzy math” on steroids—Mr. 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?

Reporters were trying to press Mr. Schwarzenegger for the specifics so obviously missing from his budget plans. But while he hasn’t said much about what he proposes to do, the candidate has nonetheless already managed to say a number of things that his advisers must know are true lies.

“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 can’t 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 night’s Hardball, Chris Matthews interviewed Schwarzenegger flack Karen Hanretty. Surely you remember Karen! She dissembled right up through Election Eve, with her Hardball host’s cooperation (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/9/03). But last night, he asked her the obvious question—and check out what Hanretty said:

MATTHEWS: Karen, I’m rooting for this governor’s success…But here’s the question. If Arnold Schwarzenegger, candidate, had said, “My solution to California’s fiscal crisis is to borrow a quick $15 billion,” had he said that the day before the election, would he have been elected?

HANRETTY: Yes. Absolutely. I’ll tell you why.

MATTHEWS: On a promise to borrow and spend?

BOB MULHOLLAND: He should have said it.

HANRETTY: This is a governor who’s been straight with the people like no governor in the past five years. And no one in the Democrat legislature has been straight with the people admitting, “Look, we have anywhere from an $8 billion to $20 billion deficit.” Now it looks like it’s $25 billion.


HANRETTY: Gray Davis certainly wasn’t straight with the people before his election in 2002.

Pitiful, isn’t 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 said—and Matthews still allowed her to say it. Now she starts using some actual numbers—and 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 Conan’s 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 rule—Don’t even ask.