Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Rachel Marsden watch: Part one in a new series.

In the updated, paperback edition of his bestseller "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them," comic Al Franken has an addendum to his Ann Coulter chapter in which he describes waiting for his wife to get ready to go out and, cooling his heels in his home office with colleague Andy Barr, he notices Coulter's slimy little treatise Treason (OK, my adjectives, not his) on the book shelf. As Franken writes:

Taking Treason from the bookcase, I said, "Andy, I'll bet you I can find a lie in this piece of shit before Franni gets her lipstick on." Andy knew just what to do. He cranked up Nexis, and we were on our way.

I told Andy, "There's a lie on every page of her books, so I'll just open to a random page." Boom. I opened to page 265 and scanned down the page and saw a paragraph beginning with the words "New York Times." Boom. There's always a lie when Coulter mentions the New York Times.

Franken goes on to describe how Coulter does indeed hideously and dishonestly misquote columnist Thomas Friedman and, yes, this is all done before Franni's appearance.

It's in this vein that, with the debut of Canadian right-wing hack Rachel Marsden's column in the National Post (for which paper I desperately need a snarky, derogatory euphemism so put on your thinking caps), I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that you'll be able to find some kind of distortion, misinterpretation, misrepresentation or (let's just come right out and say it) an outright lie in each and every piece of crap that she writes.

As a warmup to this , I decided to pop over to her web site and test my hypothesis. Scanning down the list of previous columns for a random selection, I was grabbed by this one -- "The Dangers of Limiting Free Speech" -- always an amusing topic given the right's predilection for favouring free speech as long as it's theirs and nobody else's. So, self, I says, let's see how long it takes before I can identify the first piece of dishonest swill in that column. It didn't take long. Writes Marsden:

One of the world’s top pollsters -- Frank Luntz, who has been praised by the Right and the Left (and even Air America radio host, Al Franken) for his work -- conducted a study of Ivy League professors. He found that 79% deemed George W. Bush to be “too conservative”, compared with only 38% in the national sample; only 3% called themselves “Republican”; and 84% voted for Al Gore over George W. Bush in the 2000 Presidential Election.

How ironic (and, I swear, totally random, picked from the list of columns based on the title alone) that this piece would refer to Franken, with Marsden suggesting that Luntz is admired uniformly across the political spectrum, even by that left-wing gadfly Franken. As Jon Stewart might say, "Whaaaaaaa?".

Did Franken really praise pollster (and, as you'll see shortly, Republican hack) Frank Luntz? This bears looking into, so it's off to Google where we find, right on Luntz's web site, an apparent testimonial from Franken: "Asking Frank Luntz if he understands public opinion is like asking Julia Child if she knows how to make a soufflé." Wow. High praise, indeed. Um ... or is it?

If you read carefully, Marsden claims that Luntz was "praised" by Franken. The quote from Luntz's web site claims only that Franken believes that Luntz "understands" public opinion. And, yes, there's a difference. For example, one can opine that White House braintrust Karl Rove, even though he's a totally unprincipled, unethical hack, certainly does understand how to win an election. Put another way, I will certainly concede that Rove "understands" politics even while I think he's one of the most loathsome, sleazy bottom dwellers in politics today. See the difference? But that's just nitpicking.

What's really dishonest is for Marsden to suggest that Luntz gets high marks from the left and the right alike when most liberals have long accused Luntz of being a Republican hack. One need only pop over to Media Matters and search on "Frank Luntz" to learn what many folks think of Luntz's credibility and objectivity, such as here, here, here, here, here and here, among others. But, gee, you wouldn't know about any of that left-wing dissatisfaction from Marsden's puff piece, would you?

One of the world’s top pollsters -- Frank Luntz, who has been praised by the Right and the Left ...

Poor Rachel. Methinks she needs to get out more often. And learn to read.


Ahistoricality said...

"Irrational Toast"?

Love the Al Franken story, thanks.

Anonymous said...

"National Pest". Best I could do on short notice.

Mark Francis said...

My only problem with watching Marsden is that this is exactely what the Post is betting on: She's a sensationalist, like Coulter, and the Post thinks (I suppose) that to get it's readership up, they need someone like Marsden to attract both the wingnuts and the critics.

That's Coulter's secret too. Neither Coulter nor her client papers believe she's a serious columnist: the sensation she causes sells more papers.

Did you catch the bit about her web page picture being her head placed on a decapitated Julia Roberts photo?

CathiefromCanada said...

And actually, these studies are horseshit too. The "84 per cent for Gore" study was ordered up by David Horowitz's right-wing university hate site, the so-called Centre for the Study of Popular Culture. In the "Frontpage magazine" Luntz story about these survey results, he does not reference how many actual professors were surveyed, the margin of error, and what exactly they were asked. Luntz was censured in 1997 by the American society of pollsters (not sure what it is called) for similar problems with other surveys.

Gazetteer said...

Wow Cathie--

So these would be lies within lies wrapped up in, what......

An enigmatic enema perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Rachel Marsden is an evil, lying skank. After lying through her perfect, shiny-white teeth on Faux News, she's moved onto spewing her vile poisonous hate-speech at The National Post. Watch me take apart a few sentences in her recent column, shooting down her lies with cold hard facts.

LIE: I recently moved to Toronto from the tabloid-driven metropolis of Vancouver, where everyone is far more interested in who you’re doing than in what you’re doing. Vancouver is a town full of sandal-wearing, granola-chomping lefties that doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is: Slackerville.

FACT: The size of Rachel's ego is matched only by her huge, cottage-cheese thighs. She also has a big nose and a long, giraffe neck. I bet she writes her racist rants in a cellar lined with Nazi flags and iron swastikas.

LIE: Business is dead, and networking is virtually non-existent. And I don’t care what the government stats tell you about employment levels. They must be factoring squeegee kid jobs into those numbers.

FACT: Rachel's a lying whore skank. Everything she says is a lie, because she's a lying liar who only knows hate and anger - unlike us progressive liberals who promote kindness and tolerance for views that differ from our own.

LIE: If you’re a media personality like myself and you’re living in Vancouver, you may as well be in Siberia. Vancouver media people — navel-gazers who naturally figure they’re the center of the universe — are unaware of their own backwater insignificance in much the same way that fish don’t know they’re wet.

FACT: Rachel hasn't been laid since the Trudeau adminstration. If she keeps plastering on her makeup with a mason's trowel, she'll never get a man. I bet she doesn't douche. That's her problem, right there. Maybe if she'd clean herself up and stop paying street bums for sex, she'd wouldn't be such a mean, vile, hate-spewing bitch.

LIE: You shun the idea of populist, common-sense conservatism and dismiss those who disagree with your flamingly liberal gay marriage and pro-pot stands as knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, cement-crack-dwelling yokels. Real conservatism and traditional values aren’t “scary,” they’ve been around for centuries and form the basis of our civilization. It’s this untested, liberal re-engineering of society with “progressive” experiments you’ve bought into that’s really scary.


Progressive Paul

Anonymous said...