Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Bitch-slapping David Horowitz around the room: Part deux.

If you're visiting for the first time, don't start here -- start over here. Really. I mean it. I'll wait ... dum de dum dum ... OK, now we're set and, like I said, I'm not done with David Horowitz -- got a few loose ends to tie up.

First, let us return to Dave's recent smarmy piece over at the SAF website, the one entitled (and I'm paraphrasing here) "OK, so I lied. Who wants to know?", in which Dave opens really badly:

You have to admire the left, or at least its ability to conduct political warfare.

Now, rule number one regarding snark: you can only get away with it if you're right. If you're right, then snark makes you look clever. If you're wrong, well, it just makes you look like an asshole. Sorry, Dave, I calls 'em as I sees 'em. When the title of your article contains the phrase "Some of our facts were wrong," snark just doesn't work. Trust me on this one.

Unfortunately, Dave follows this up with the rather baffling claim:

We have mounted a campaign for academic freedom based on hundreds of testimonies from liberal as well as conservative students in more than 30 states and at colleges from coast to coast ...

Um ... say what? Liberals? Regardless of what the SAF website might say, you'd have to be a complete idiot to not understand that SAF and Davey boy are pretty hard right wing and don't have a lot of enthusiasm for left wing philosophy. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to see Dave investing a whole lotta time defending the radical left on campus. Kind of like this:

Not one leftist or liberal media outlet has attempted to find out for itself what is taking place on college campuses and how extremist ideologues like Ward Churchill are conducting themselves in the classroom.

Gotcha. Apparently, one man's persecuted minority is another man's extremist ideologue. Funny how that works. But all of the above pales in comparison to what follows:

But a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and an army of Internet bloggers has taken the time to zero in one of the hundreds of cases we have identified with the obvious intention of bringing the entire campaign for academic freedom and just plain decency in the classroom to a halt.

Where to even begin to eviscerate this idiocy? Um, first, unless he's changed careers in the last few days, Singham is not "a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer"; he's a faculty member at Case Western Reserve. See? It's that lack of attention to detail, Dave, that sort of inspires people to think that you're -- what's the phrase I'm looking for? -- a total sleazebag. Or, in the spirit of Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, a douchebag for academic fairness.

And this "just plain decency" thing. When exactly did the SAF suddenly become "Students for Academic Fairness and Just Plain Decency"? That must have happened while I was out of the room. Take some advice, Dave -- you have enough on your plate trying to keep up with this academic fairness thing. Let's not take on more than we can handle, OK? But here's the best part, the very best part, in all of this, when Dave complains:

... but leftists have pounced on a single student’s testimony about a single exam at the university of Colorado in an attempt to discredit all the evidence we have gathered and the case we have made.

Well, yeah, Dave, they did, only because you made such a big fucking deal out of it! From this online piece over at Media Matters, let's refresh our memory of Horowitz's involvement with this poor, solitary case, where we can all see how Horowitz flogged this bullshit like a rented mule:

Notwithstanding his failure to document the alleged incident, Horowitz has repeatedly pushed this story as an example of what he considers anti-conservative bias in America's universities. In a December 5, 2003, FrontPageMag.com column, Horowitz referenced the story, though he attributed it to "a Colorado university," not to the University of Northern Colorado. Other publications have cited the alleged incident, including The Christian Science Monitor; The New York Sun (registration required); and an op-ed on OpinionJournal.com, the website of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, by Brian C. Anderson, senior editor of City Journal, a quarterly magazine published by the conservative Manhattan Institute.

Horowitz also referenced this story twice during an online chat session on "Colloquy Live," hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education's website. In the course of the chat session, a person who identified himself as a teacher from the University of Northern Colorado questioned the need for Horowitz's "Academic Bill of Rights," to which Horowitz responded, in part: "Isn't your school the one where a criminology professor assigned a paper 'Why George Bush is a war criminal'? I think you have problems." None of these references to the alleged incident cites specific details, such as a date or the names of the student, the professor or the course.

And when you milk this single, solitary story for all you can get out of it, Dave, you can't really be surprised when skeptics decide to take it apart and rip you a whole new one in the process, can you? That's the way it works. If you live by the obscenely-hyped poster child fairy tale, you better be prepared to die by it.

(ADDITIONAL OBSERVATION, Mar 16: I just noticed how Horowitz above refers to the "university of Colorado" when all of his initial accusations referred specifically to the "University of Northern Colorado". That's the problem with the Internet, Dave -- it has a long memory and knows when you start changing your story.)

So, any closing thoughts, Dave? Once again, from Scott Jaschik's article, we have academic freedom douchebag Horowitz:

"I consider this an important matter and will get to the bottom of it even if it should mean withdrawing the claim."

Well, given that your article was entitled "Some Of Our Facts Were Wrong; Our Point Was Right", I'm pretty sure that's not gonna happen, is it? And wouldn't it have been nice if you'd thought of that before you pimped your nonsense all over the country and to every media outlet that would listen? It's called "fact checking"; you should try it some time. Really.

And, hard as it is to believe, I still have one more Horowitz/SAF article in me. Later.

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