HEATHERS DONT CHECK! We Heathers pick-and-choose our facts. Herelet The Doctor show you: // link // print // previous // next //
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2009
Errands abound: Tomorrow, were on our way to Chapel Hill, on a mission of major importance. Today, were running important errands. Tomorrow, well post, then depart.
PART 3HEATHERS DONT CHECK: Remember when pundits would talk about the criminalization of politics? In recent weeks, we have once again seen the psychiatrization of same.
We Heathers have been out in force, calling Sarah Palin a liar. But as in 1999, so today: Calling the politician-you-hate a liar no longer seems enough. Today, as then, we Heathers like to mix some psychiatry in. And sure enough! The Doctor was IN at The Daily Beast when Michelle Goldberg shrieked and clattered about Sarah Palins disturbing lies (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/23/09). You see, Palin wasnt a regular liar. The Doctor went one step beyond:
Goldberg isnt a shrink, of course; she just plays one on TV. (She diagnosed Palin in The Beastand on last Thursdays Larry King Live.) In the course of rendering her inexpert diagnosis, she borrowed a framework from the last decadea framework the Heathers aimed at Candidate Gore when he was the pig they were trying to kill. Palin lies when theres little to be gained! Having adopted this Gore-tested framework, Goldbergs next step was perfectly clear:
Lets turn to the DSM! It seems to fit Palin perfectly!
In our view, this sort of thing is dumb on its face. (Purdum is the worlds biggest Heather.) Its a substitute for thought and argument, resorted to by the preening Heathers who define a lightweight agewho substitute this sort of clatter for winning progressive argument. But can we talk? If youre going to diagnose someone as a psychiatric liar, you might want to start by making sure that her lies are really inaccurate.
Not every inaccurate statement is a lie, of course. Sometimes, people just make mistakes. But if youre going to call someone a liareven worse, a pathological liaryou might want to start by making sure that her statements arent actually accurate.
Goldberg seems to have spent little time on this part of her task. In this passage, we see The Doctor identify the first of the lies which led to her troubling diagnosis:
For our money, Goldbergs reading in that first paragraph is highly unimpressive. This recession is worse than the one Reagan faced; for our money, Palins statement is simply wrong about that. But it isnt clear that Palin meant to imply that Reagan got rid of the estate taxand the fact that capital gains taxes are lower now doesnt mean that lowering same couldnt be a way to fight this recession.
In short, Goldbergs powers of analysis already seem less than impressivea common mark of the modern Heather, of whatever gender.
At any rate: In the highlighted part of that second paragraph, Doctor Goldberg identifies the first of Palins troubling lies. But do you notice something odd about Goldbergs work in that passage? Thats right! Doctor Goldberg simply asserts that Palin told the McCain campaign, in writing, that Bristol was pregnant. (Since Palins book seems to say something different, this statement is therefore a lie!) But Doctor Goldberg makes no attempt to document her own statement of fact! How does she know that Palin told the McCain camp in writing, in such a way as to turn the books account into a lie?
Is it true? Did Palin tell the McCain campaign, in writing, that Bristol was pregnant? Goldberg cites no source for this claim, showing the lazy approach the typical Heather will take to such issues of fact. Good Heathers all, we in turn are simply supposed to accept her statement as accurate.
But is it true? Did Palin tell the McCain campaign, in writing, that Bristol was pregnant? Did she do so in such a way as to make her books statement a lie? Like you, we dont know The Doctors source. But she may be working from this recent CBS fact-check, in which Steve Chaggaris offered this account of this troubling trivia:
This may well be The Doctors source; youll note that her language tracks that of Chaggaris, as often happens when We Heathers cut-and-paste stories we like. But how do we know that Chaggaris is right? As many have done in recent weeks, he simply accepts the claim of an unnamed McCain senior official, citing something this unnamed official said on September 2, 2008.
Sorry. As anyone but a Heather would know, the fact that a senior official (presumably) made this statement doesnt make it accurate. Some background:
On September 1 of that year, the McCain campaign began taking a lot of heat for its allegedly fumbled vetting of Palin. Starting that day, campaign officials began scrambling to insist that their procedures had been wondrously thorough. Some senior official may have said that Palin told the campaign in writing, far before the time she was chosenand this claim may even be accurate. But on that same day, other officials seem to have told the Washington Posts Dan Balz something different. Balzs report appeared on the front page of the next days Post. It started like this
It isnt clear that Balzs account jibes with the (somewhat murky) account found in Palins book. But it does contradict what Chaggaris wrote; it may contradict what Goldberg asserted, as if she had her information on loan from God. When did Palin tell the team? Is the account in her book thus rendered inaccurate? Is her fleeting statement bogus? Its possible. But Goldberg makes no attempt to say how she can be so sure.
And things get worse as The Doctor proceeds. Goldberg seems to have no idea that she should source should documenther own claims about basic facts. But uh-oh! When she does deign to source her claims, she does so quite unwisely:
As the Boston Globe reports? In fact, Goldberg links to this Boston Globe editorialan exceptionally unintelligent editorial at that.
According to Goldberg, Palin went on an infamous $150,000 shopping spree. According to Goldberg, theres overwhelming evidence that Palin is lying when she disavows all responsibility for this spree (whatever that means). In a rather murky way, the Globe editorial seems to semi-agree. No one close to the campaign backs up Palins version of this matter, the editorial murkily says; it then offers three clipped quotes from campaign officials who werent talking about the wardrobe matter when they made the clipped statements in question. The Globe doesnt quote anything Palin specifically said about the actual wardrobe matter. The Globe simply makes a sweeping assertion: No one backs up what she said.
No one backs Palin, the Globe dumbly said. But wouldnt you know it? Just three days later, the New York Times reported a detailed interview with the well-known stylist who bought all those clothes for Palin and her familythe person who actually went on that spree. (Palin wasnt present, she says.) And wouldnt you know it? Overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Lisa Kline, the stylist in question, agrees with what Palin has said:
Kline was thereand she backs Palins account. Does Goldberg have any real evidence to the contrary? We doubt it. (There certainly isnt any evidence in that Globe report.) But this is very much the way we Heathers now manage the news.
You see, the modern Heather invents or chooses the facts he or she will run with. He or she simply decides whose account of the facts to accept. Presumably, The Doctor was itchin to diagnose, much as her Heather pals did ten years back. And so, much like her colleagues before her, she tended to pick-and-choose facts. (Back then, they largely invented.)
The facts fit her novelher diagnosis. Unfortunately, your nations culture has become a joke in the hands of good doctors like this.
Sometimes senior officials are wrong: Sometimes senior officials misstate, whether on purpose or from error. This too was part of that Balz report:
Sometimes, campaign officials say things which turn out to be false. Unless their names are Wallace or Schmidt, in which case we Heathers have now decided thatnot unlike with the pope in Rometheir claims are considered infallible.