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Pirate Smile Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-25-11 08:48 PM
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"How Bullshit Magically Turns Into Fact"
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Edited on Fri Nov-25-11 09:06 PM by Pirate Smile
How Bullshit Magically Turns Into Fact

by Karoli on November 25, 2011 8 comments

I used to write these stories debunking the right wing only, and usually in the context of Fox News. But lately, it seems as though the entire angry political blogosphere, whether right, left or libertarian, seems to need to magically transform bullshit into fact. Im going to give you two examples of how this works so you can actually figure out for yourself why its important to keep your critical thinking cap on.

Naomi Wolf wrote a nonsensical piece today thats being spammed all over Twitter. It asserts that there is a deliberate plot afoot via collusion by the United States Congress, the Department of Homeland Security and our oligarchical overlords to undermine the very populist, leaderless Occupy Wall Street movement. One of her key pieces of evidence is an unsupported and unverified report that 18 mayors coordinated their crackdowns with the Department of Homeland Security. Theres only one problem with that: Its nothing more than innuendo. Here, let me show you.

Got that? The headlines on both of these stories (Wonkette and WashingtonsBlog) were splayed across the sites in very large heading fonts: Homeland Security Coordinated. and yet the AP confirms everything BUT DHS coordination. Still, that didnt stop Wolf from ignoring the AP story entirely and writing a piece for the Guardian that included links to bolster her argument that clearly dont.

Why? I reiterate. No one has a source, no one has any evidence, and the originating story which Michael Moore and now Naomi Wolf breathlessly spread quotes an anonymous source with the promise of still more to come in the future. Well, its the future. Its two weeks later and crickets from Mr. Ellis. Mission accomplished, though. Ask people who are paying attention to the OWS movement and theyll swear up and down that yes, it was coordinated by DHS because MICHAEL MOORE and now NAOMI WOLF say so. /

edit to add:

#OWS: The Shocking Truth about Naomi Wolfs Journalistic Hackery
Rumormongering at its most despicable.

Two weeks ago, a rumor circulated that the Department of Homeland Security was behind the crackdown at Zuccotti Park. The rumor originated with Michael Moore who got it from a thinly-sourced article in I wrote about it here and here.

The author of the article, Rick Ellis, published multiple updates to his thinly-sourced post, and promised that he would provide more information once he had it. That was on November 15. No further information has been provided.

I figured it had been settled. As Joshua Holland, writing for Alternet noted, Theres a lot of speculation, but very little substance to the tale of the nationwide crackdown on the Occupy movement.

So I figured this rumor would be put to bed. I was wrong.

Today ten days after the rumor had been debunked Naomi Wolf saw fit to write an article so fraught with hyperbole what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war and so utterly fact-free that its publication should hang like an albatross around Naomi Wolfs neck for the rest of her career. It is Judith Miller-style hackery, and it is shameless.

Naomi Wolf should supplement her article with information necessary for readers to make a judgment as to whether her claims are merely opinion fueled by conspiracy theories and designed to exploit the emotions and tensions running high in the wake of the various Occupy crackdown, or whether her claims have the sort of basis in reality that publication in an international newspaper of the Guardians stature should require. Its what a real journalist would do. Then again, perhaps Drudge journalism is winning the day and we simply cannot trust what we read at all anymore from any source. With rare exceptions, Ive already given up on American newspapers. Am I going to be forced to give up on papers in the UK as well? If publication of this sort of tripe is any indication, then yes yes I will.

This is an egregious failure on Wolfs part, and she should correct it. /
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