Kathy Shaidle

Media Matters: where scare quotes magically transform facts into "smears"

Posted on September 24 2009 9:00 am
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."
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One of the left’s favorite (and lamest) rhetorical tricks is to simply reprint one of their opponent’s statements, verbatim, and without comment. You see, the statement’s idiocy and offensiveness is self-evident, and will surely shock the conscience of any “right thinking” reader. No rebuttal required.

It’s a lazy, sophomoric ploy. I suppose the left has been our self-appointed cultural hall monitor for so long they’ve lost the ability, or the need, to offer up sound counter-arguments.

There’s a classic example of this dopey tactic up at Media Matters today.

The Media Matters post is nothing more than a video clip from FOX News, and the headline: “Doocy smears Frank, suggests he tolerated ‘somebody running a prostitution ring out of his house'”.

That is: this morning, FOX News morning host Steve Doocey “smeared” Congressman Barney Frank, by uttering a revolting lie about him on the air.

Except: what Doocy said is inconveniently true, and a matter of public record:

In 1987 Frank publicly announced that he was a homosexual. Three years later the House of Representatives, acting on the recommendation of the House Ethics Committee, voted by a 408-18 margin to reprimand the congressman for having “reflected discredit upon the House.” At issue was the fact that Frank had paid for sex from a male prostitute named Steve Gobie, whom he subsequently hired as a personal “aide.” Frank also had paid for Gobie’s psychiatric treatments; had used his political influence to dismiss 33 parking tickets which the prostitute had been issued; and had written, on congressional stationery, letters on Gobie’s behalf to Virginia probation officials. Gobie, for his part, had used Frank’s Capitol Hill apartment as a house of prostitution for 18 months. The congressman later claimed that he had been unaware of Gobie’s illegal activities inside the apartment, and that he had fired the aide upon learning of them.

Reflecting later on the nature of his relationship with Gobie, Frank characterized himself as an unwitting “good liberal” who had gotten “suckered” and “victimized” while “trying to help” the young sex worker. “Thinking I was going to be Henry Higgins and trying to turn him into Pygmalion was the biggest mistake I’ve made,” Frank said at a news conference. In a 2004 retrospective discussion about the Gobie affair, Frank accused Republicans and conservative media outlets of “plotting to ruin my social life,” and suggested that he, like the sex-scandal-plagued former President Bill Clinton, was fighting a “fundamental battle for the soul of America.”

The ACORN/Fannie & Freddie jokes write themselves…

As we’ve noted here before, the left has now redefined the expression “smear campaign” to mean “rudely publicizing actual facts about one of our friends that make them and us look bad.”

Increasingly, the left’s vaunted “bag of tricks” looks to contain nothing but a broken wand, some cheap scarves and a dead rabbit.

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