Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Fake Foonotes and False Facts - Yes, Another Ann Coulter Post.

Media Matters - Endnotes in Coulter's latest book rife with distortions and falsehoods

Media Matters actually checks out the pages and pages of end-notes in Coulter's book to find this:

Among other things, Coulter:

  • misrepresented and distorted the statements of her sources;
  • omitted information in those sources that refuted the claims in her book;
  • misrepresented news coverage to allege bias;
  • relied upon outdated and unreliable sources;
  • and invented "facts."
I think the end-notes do substantiate the general nature of Coulter's work and the quality of her scholarship. That is to say, they prove that she knows how to create the appearance of credibility, but depends on that credibility to forestall any actual fact-checking.

If she offered this twitter-pated, hysterical screed as, say, a master's thesis, she would have been laughed out of University, so if she doesn't know exactly how to do it right, she at least knows how to cheat better than this!

Of course, it would have been beyond the resources of most individuals and many publishers, in a practical sense, to research many of her critical footnotes; one of the oldest tricks is to rely on ephemeral and obscure sources so that harried teacher's aides and research assistants will not bother to check.

That was probably still true in a practical sense for her previous books - but it is not at all true now. Anyone with an Internet connection can fact-check her ass, your ass, or mine.

Personally, I like being fact-checked; it keeps me honest. And it's always the things that you know absolutely to be true that turn out to be - well, wrong. I like learning of these things. Color me odd, if you will.

But Coulter is clearly not just incorrect, she is knowingly trying to misinform, mislead and misdirect. And to the extent that Coulter's arguments parallel those of more respectable people who agree, you have to start to consider that they are either self-deluded, or simply better liars.

I say this, because if Coulter had a factual case that "liberals" in general were actually "Godless" and out to destroy the Christian faith inside and out of Church, she clearly would have made it. She knows how to do it, and obviously believes in the cause, or at least the financial rewards of supporting it.

So why couldn't she come up with a more plausible case? Largely; there is no such case. It's a transparent fraud, on the order of an incontenent cat trying to blame their crap on an invisible puppy.

I don't consider myself a "liberal" in any usual, meaningful sense, though I'm sure that Coulter would have you think of me that way. But then, Coulter's idea of "Liberal" is mainly someone who Questions Authority and expects a coherent, sensible answer with evidence to support it.

Far too many people like being "Right" without having to do the hard work involved in first being Correct.

Coulter consistently relies on superficials, false dichotomies and (to put it charitably) oversimplifications while beating the drums of unthinking hatred and judgmental prudery.

I am minded of a pop-culture quotation from the latest Star Wars movie; "Only the Sith believe in absolutes." Specificly, such people believe that those who do believe in either or politics are easily misled in profitable ways.

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