November 13, 2008

Martin Eisenstadt, senior fellow at the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy, the hoax MSM swallowed whole.

Here's the NYT report. Eitan Gorlin and Dan Mirvish -- we're told they are real -- have a TV show with a fictional character named Martin Eisenstadt and they set up a blog "written" by him to promote the show. Why did MSNBC, TNR, and the L.A. Times treat him as a real person, an insider to the McCain campaign, and quote his Sarah Palin insults?
“With the 24-hour news cycle they rush into anything they can find,” said Mr. Mirvish, 40.

Mr. Gorlin, 39, argued that Eisenstadt was no more of a joke than half the bloggers or political commentators on the Internet or television.

An MSNBC spokesman, Jeremy Gaines, explained the network’s misstep by saying someone in the newsroom received the Palin item in an e-mail message from a colleague and assumed it had been checked out. “It had not been vetted,” he said. “It should not have made air.”
Oh, it arrived in the email....

How embarrassingly lame.

The NYT makes a point of saying that "most of Eisenstadt’s victims have been bloggers." How meaningless is that? There are millions of bloggers, at all levels of competence and seriousness. You can't compare bloggers to MSM in numerical terms! The shame here is on MSM. And let me add that I never fell for the Eisenstadt story. I rejected the Africa-is-a-country insult as implausible on its face.

132 comments:

Jack said...

Having trouble with links today, Ann? ;)

Ann Althouse said...

Ugh. Fixed.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The shame here is on MSM.

Actually Ann if you just drop the e off of shame, you'll aptly describe the MSM.

I think the point that has been missed is that the charge was made and the damage done. A retraction after the fact is meaningless. Kind of like the judge telling the jury to disregard the incriminating outburst from the defendent.

Trooper York said...

Of course they ran with it because it was what they wanted to hear. They didn't do the most rudimentary of fact checking, they just went with a story that could hurt Palin and help Obama. They were driven by their political agenda and certainly not by any search for truth. They are lying sacks of shit who get every story wrong in one way or another. This story will be barely a blip on the radar screen as they prepare more lies and fabrications that they will serve up as "news."

Nothing to see here, move along.

The only thing worse than a journalist is a lawyer.

AJ Lynch said...

OT.

Anyone having trouble with Yahoo email, etc today?

AJ Lynch said...

On topic- I thought the MSM had layers and layers of editors? Heh.

dbp said...

Ann,

You wrote:

"(She thought Africa was a country? Really? Was this the slip of a tired, inattentive person, or someone who is clearly an ignoramus?)"

The above strikes me as someone who was at least open to the idea that either it was a slip or that Gov. Palin is an ignoramus. It doesn't strike me as rejecting as obviously implausible.

You make clear now what you meant, but your post from November, 6th could be read very differently. I certainly didn't read it as a complete rejection.

laura said...

Exactly, HD, you can't unring a bell. I don't much pay attention to MSM, in part because of this. It's also too slow and no variation on opinion. Thank goodness for the blogworld.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PatHMV said...

According to this story, the media is admitting only to being hoaxed by the identification of Eisenstadt as being the staffer who made the claim about Palin. They're not admitting that the original story was a hoax.

Though why anyone would believe anything they say these days is beyond me.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

Actually the statement "most of Eisenstadt's victims have been bloggers" is important. Just as celebrity divorce articles start in The Enquirer and make their way to People, so do ideological bloggers provide friendly MSM columnists and reporters with topics and source material.

There's a parenthetical in the article that is very telling:

For what it’s worth, another reporter for The New York Times is an acquaintance of Mr. Gorlin and vouches for his identity...

So much of what gets noticed by news people is determined by who and what they already know.

It's not an old boy network anymore. It's more like a callow pal network. The lemming mind is still the same.

Donn said...

Karma's a bitch.

AJ Lynch said...

Theo:

Let's have a contest to see which one the Althouse commentariat can get a phony story published in the MSM.

My money is on Trooper.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roost on the Moon said...

It seems like many people on the right are misunderstanding the story. A McCain staffer really did say those things about Palin, as reported by FOX. This includes the Africa as a country thing. That isn't the hoax.

The "hoax" is that his name is Martin Eisenstadt, as reported by MSNBC.

Doesn't seem like too big a deal. The name didn't really add anything to the story, and it being false doesn't really subtract anything.

But right-wing bloggers need something to celebrate. I guess it's harmless, if a bit pathetic.

halojones-fan said...

From the article:
" Mr. Gorlin said they chose the name because “all the neocons in the Bush administration had Jewish last names and Christian first names.” "

Because bigotry is hilarious as long as you're making fun of Jews.

UWS guy said...

whaa...? A conspiracy theory ann didn't roll around in like a pig in shit!? I kid, I kid.

William said...

The hoax was not an invented report of Palin's ignorance about Africa; the hoax was about the invented person who leaked the story. The misreading of this story shows just how easy it is for a hoax to pass through the peristaltic action of belief and beome a myth. Many commenters here will go to their graves believing that no one ever said what was reported on Fox news about Palin's ignorance. And, of course, many at the Daily Kos will go to their graves believing that they are smarter than Sarah Palin....People believe what they want to believe. They chose those facts that support their belief systems and reject those that do not. The Ayers Center for Cognitive Truth has discovered that most Republican beliefs are based on malicious lies.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Martin is a Christian name??

WOW...some people have no clue.

Pastafarian said...

Prof. Althouse now:

"I rejected the Africa-is-a-country insult as implausible on its face."

As proof, she links to a post where she writes:

"(She thought Africa was a country? Really? Was this the slip of a tired, inattentive person, or someone who is clearly an ignoramus?)"

So that's what you consider "rejecting as implausible on its face"?

Really?

Wouldn't someone who rejected it as implausible on its face have instead written something like:

"(I reject that as implausible on its face)"

...or, at the very least, added a third possibility to the two given above -- she could have been tired, or she might be an idiot, or MAYBE THIS NEVER HAPPENED.

And you'd think that someone rejecting this as implausible on its face might point out that the odds of that last possibility, that it never actually happened, are maybe a little higher than the probabilities of the other two.

Just as a subtle clue, that they're rejecting it as implausible on its face. Instead of, say, considering it, which is not "rejecting it as implausible on its face".

Oh, wait, maybe it was parody, or something. Yeah, that's it.

reader_iam said...

It's clear to me that members of the relevant media failed to do something as simple as Google the think tank in question (I did). I went to that homepage after seeing the Eisenstadt blogpost a few days back and nearly choked on my coffee. But then maybe, that wouldn't have helped. Maybe they wouldn't have recognized the parody, right down to the names of some of the staff.

Now, I grant you that most people don't spend much time hanging at think tank sites. Still.

Roost on the Moon said...

And let me add that I never fell for the Eisenstadt story.

You never blogged about the Eisenstadt story one way or the other. You should clear this up, it's misleading.

reader_iam said...

She thought Africa was a country? Really? Was this the slip of a tired, inattentive person, or someone who is clearly an ignoramus?

Good grief, people are tone deaf. Don't they read with their ears as well as their eyes? OF COURSE, Althouse thought that was implausible. She was being snarky about the memes people had to be buying into in order to believe for one bleedin' second that Sarah Palin didn't know that Africa was a continent. She was MOCKING them.

For cryin' out loud. How long have y'all been reading Althouse, anyway?

Skyler said...

I think we really need to revisit libel law in this country. There needs to be consequences to shattering someone's reputation, even a public figure's - or especially a public figure's - with absolutely no consequences.

MadisonMan said...

So, who was the unnamed McCain advisor who said that Palin thought Africa was a country?

Because, as noted upthread, the only thing that's changed is that Mr. Eisenstadt is not the person quoted by Fox News. I doubt that the original reporter (Cam?) would be credulous to fall for the Eisenstadt since he would be a little more knowledgeable about the campaign than the NYT.

Rich B said...

How long before we find out that Obama is a hoax?

reader_iam said...

Perhaps I have an advantage in that I listened to all of those Audible Althouse podcasts a couple of years back. This permanently affected how I read Althouse.

PatHMV said...

The NY Times article is itself exceedingly unclear about exactly what the hoax was, whether it was just the identity of the leaker or whether it was the story itself.

And it's hardly as if the story itself was terribly well-sourced to begin with, just some person whom the reporter claims was a McCain staffer, with no other substantial details or even specific context given. The article I cited earlier states that this hoax does not cast doubt on the veracity of the original story, but that assumes the original story had some veracity to begin with....

Zeb Quinn said...

Enough with the sophistry about what the real hoax here is. Obviously the gossip was something some people wanted to spread but nobody wanted to own, so they even made up fictitious characters to spread it. That's your first clue it was never true to begin with.

Rose said...

The Africa/Continent story was absurd from the get go - her Dad was a teacher, she's college educated, and Governor of a State.

If, in debate prep, where words are weighed, and how to say something, how to word something is wrangled over - it's not inconceivable that there was a discussion about using the word country or continent, in order to avoid slipping into off-air speech, or to make a point. Maybe just a reminder.

Those kinds of discussions are far ranging, and all-encompassing, and every person participating has to be able to trust that anything can be said and addressed without fear of 'leaks' like that- and that's allowing that there might be some grain of truth in there. Whoever 'leaked' should never be allowed in on another team/forum.

That said, I don't think it is plausible at all that it is true.

As for the media....

There's no excuse.

AllenS said...

Ann, you bought the story. Here's what you had to say: "Even assuming the stories are true, they don't have to be told."

ricpic said...

Any Jew who names his son Kevin
Forfeits the right to enter heaven.

MadisonMan said...

The Africa/Continent story was absurd from the get go

Which is why the identity of the McCain staffer who said it -- according to the Fox News reporter -- is interesting.

reader -- I also interpreted althouse's remark on the Africa comment as one of sheer disbelief.

Oligonicella said...

Paraphrasing Zappa -- Facetiae does not translate to print.

It also provides an easy way to deny intent later.

knox said...

PatHVM,

I agree. The NYT article is very, very poorly written. Is it that hard to give us a comprehensive, intelligible overview of this story?

The MSM is failing us in almost every respect, day after day. Make your choice: lazy writers who can't be bothered to get the simplest facts confirmed, or the ones who knowingly print politically expedient, outright lies. Any honest reporters out there need to start speaking up: your profession is losing all credibility.

How long before we find out that Obama is a hoax?

I am genuinely worried that something very, very damaging is going to surface about Obama. Something that never came up in the campaign because the MSM was too busy protecting him and attacking McCain/Palin. Much as I dislike Obama, we cannot afford for that to happen; the country is in trouble right now as it is.

Oligonicella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pastafarian said...

Reader Iam, Madison Man -- I'm sorry, but you're going to have to explain to me how Althouse was expressing "sheer disbelief" by saying (to paraphrase) "either Palin was exhausted, or she's an idiot."

If Althouse was going to parody someone with PDS, I don't think that the exhaustion possibility would have been there.

Lem said...

The story was easy to spread around because it fit a template.

Piling on comes natural.

Hoosier Daddy said...

It seems like many people on the right are misunderstanding the story. A McCain staffer really did say those things about Palin, as reported by FOX. This includes the Africa as a country thing. That isn't the hoax.

I think you're misunderstanding the complete distrust that many on the right have with regard to the MSM and yes that includes FOX.

If I hear the words 'unnamed sources' I disregard the report. Considering how many times reporters have been nailed manufacturing stories I think I earned the right to be that cynical.

Trooper York said...

Madison Man, this shit was made up. Either by a leaker or by the "reporter." That's what they do, they make shit up. Fake but accurate don’t you know. They will run with any lie or fabrication they can come up with to advance their agenda. You can also be sure that they will suppress news that hurts their candidate as they did with the tape that the LA Times withheld during the election. The mainstream media are partisan players with zero integrity or honor.

Luckily their industry is dying.

The only thing worse than a journalist is a lawyer.

Lem said...

The NY Times article is itself exceedingly unclear about exactly what the hoax was, whether it was just the identity of the leaker or whether it was the story itself.

The defence is fake but accurate.

reader_iam said...

reader_jam, there is no tone in print other than what the reader injects or the little funny symbols inserted or the [xx] indicators.

If you actually believe that, there is exactly -0- point in my continuing this discussion.

(Sorry, I had to use the [xx] device in order to get this comment to post ... it was being perceived as code on account of my using html in quoting you.)

Oligonicella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hoosier Daddy said...

Good grief, people are tone deaf. Don't they read with their ears as well as their eyes? OF COURSE, Althouse thought that was implausible.

Evidently you have much greater insight in interpeting the hidden meaning of Ann's writings than the rest of us.

I'm with Pasta and dpb in that parody is certainly not how it came across to me. Honestly, considering the pile on Palin atmosphere, it's rather hard to sort the snark from the real criticism.

Oligonicella said...

reader_iam, there is no tone in print other than what the reader injects or the little funny symbols inserted or the < indicators.

Ann fancies herself a wordsmith, Ann knows this.

Trouble with Blogger and it's deleting, so I reposted a repost.

Oligonicella said...

reader_iam -- you can fake the HTML by supplying &LT; -- for instance.

Matt Eckert said...

Ann is not doing so well with her fan base when she gets all bitchy about Palin. She is coming off like Lindsey Lohan on Ugly Betty where she is trying to pull down Ugly Sarah’s skirt so everyone can see her grandma panties. Not cool. Or not as cool as you think it is in the cocoon of Madison.

I just hope she doesn’t follow in Lindsey’s footsteps and announce that she thinks it cool that America has a “colored” President.

chuckR said...

The Harding Institute? The Warren Gamaliel Harding Institute? Shouldn't that name instantly raise a cautionary flag amongst the ignorant and unlettered masses of the mainstream media? I guess not, for that would suggest a rudimentary grasp of US history over the past century or so.

How can they report on current events when they have no clue about history?

Henry said...

Evidently you have much greater insight in interpeting the hidden meaning of Ann's writings than the rest of us.

I start with the assumption that Ann is skeptical and inclined to mockery. And she hates bad style. With those axioms, her tone is usually obvious.

Except for "I [heart] Mitt Romney" -- that one I don't know.

MadisonMan said...

I think that some members of the commentariat forget althouse's initial reaction to the Palin sleeze from Andrew Sullivan at al, and have for some reason put her in the Obama Supporter therefore Palin Sleezer category.

When I read althouse, I picture her father reading the Paper and yelling out things he finds of interest. It reveals very little -- unless explicitly stated -- of the true beliefs of the shouter. The shouter is just relaying things found interesting for one reason or another.

It seems commentariat members wish to believe the worst in people. I attribute this to the shock of Obama winning. How many comments did I read two short weeks ago that assured me that the Polls were showing Obama faltering. Rude awakening.

MadisonMan said...

Henry: Yes. Mockery.

Think of that when you read.

Simon said...

Well, a month or so ago, I commented on something or other here and said that a story that rested entirely on anonymous sources should probably be assumed to be made up. Why, in light of this new information, should we not strengthen the presumption? Why should we not presume that any story confirming the media's preferred (i.e. liberal) narrative that doesn't rest in all significant aspects on named on-the-record sources has been distorted or fabricated by the journalist(s) who wrote it, absent good reason to think otherwise?

I feel sorry for the few good, professional journalists - those who really do try - because you're going to be professionally associated with a profession that has thoroughly discredited itself this year.

reader_iam said...

Obama Supporter therefore Palin Sleezer category.

Yes, but I think it goes beyond that, MadisonMan: I think that if you're not a Palin fanatic then you're categorized as a Palin hater/sleezer. It's an all or nothing thing, coupled with massive projection. It's similar to the idea that if you don't HATE Obama with an ABIDING AND DEEP PASSION, you must be a KOOL-AID DRINKER incapable--and in any case, UNWORTHY--of criticizing him.

Obviously, one can give examples from the other side of the aisle.

It's all baloney.

Trooper York said...

What Simon said, or for us regular joe six pack guys out there...they
make shit up.

The only thing worse than a journalist is a lawyer.

Meade said...

Here, I found something with credibility in the New York Times!

And as a bonus for all you lovely loyal Althouse readers - my own personal op-ed which I dedicate to you. NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Copyright-free. Won't take you two minutes to read and digest. Ready?

Species tulips rock! No hoax, folks.
-Meade

(Visiting Op-Ed contributor Meade is a fully licensed and credentialed hortgeek and part-time "journalist" who lives with his dogs, his laptop, his books, and sometimes a guest groundhog in the crawlspace under a greenhouse somewhere in the hills of southwest Ohio. He is a fanatical and frequent contributor to a blog called Althouse, a blog about odd things found over the odd last few day on a blog called Althouse.)

MadisonMan said...

Enough psychoanalysis and perseveration (that is my new favorite word!)

I want to see a picture of a dog!

And Simon, I agree: A good Editor should reject any story that does not include named sources. But I am not holding my breath.

Trooper York said...

Hey it is tulip planting time.

I have this really great tulip that everyone in Holland is investing in as a tulip craze is going on in Europe right now. Let me know if you want to pour millions into investing in it. What could go wrong?

MadisonMan said...

Can I give my proudest plant moment? I managed to grow meconopsis betonicifolia from seed one year.

(I also hate the smell of paperwhites)

Hoosier Daddy said...

I think that if you're not a Palin fanatic then you're categorized as a Palin hater/sleezer.

Ah I don't think so. Palin is not immune from criticism. I'll be the first to say she blew the Couric interview. I also think she could have done better with Gibson. That said, rather than go after her on that basis, she was pilloried as being a dipshit. Heck I have co-workers who were convinced she'd set back women's rights 100 years.

You know, I don't see anyone slamming Ann for mis-interpreting her 'mocking' of that report. All I saw were reasoned questioning from a few people who didn't think her current post reflected her previous one. You know as well as I, the usual suspects would be calling her a hypocrite and other terms of endearment.

Meade said...

"meconopsis betonicifolia from seed"

What a weirdo.

chuckR said...

Trooper

What could go wrong with tulips?

Someone could eat your investment.

Which I'm sure is tastier than CDS'es of equal or lesser value.

Synova said...

Oh! Tibetan Blue Poppies. :-)

Did they make it? Are they still alive? I'd heard they were particularly picky, at least unless one lived in the Pacific Northwest.

Trooper York said...

"I managed to grow meconopsis betonicifolia from seed one year."

I think they have pills that will clear that up now a days.

MadisonMan said...

The poppies limped through one season, produced a couple of sad looking flowers, and then I decided it wasn't worth the trouble. Now I see it in catalogs everywhere, but I'm never tempted to buy it. I don't think the climate here in Madison works for it.

The favorite flower in my garden is native Lupine. We brought seed heads back once from near Lake Superior and the plants keep reseeding themselves. What a nice blue color!

Henry said...

meconopsis betonicifolia?

Pretty!

My goal is to winter over a fig tree in zone 6.

Roost on the Moon said...

This post really does need a correction. As Althouse herself said, pointing out mistakes is dangerous.

'Eisenstadt' had nothing to do with the reports from the McCain staffers that Palin was ignorant and hard to manage.

The idea that 'he' did was the hoax.

If you think this discredits the initial reports, then you're swallowing the hoax, same as MSNBC.

The Exalted said...

So does Ann acknowledge she misunderstood the nature of the hoax?

knox said...

reader,

Your assessment of partisans is accurate only to a point. The situation with Sarah Palin is exceptional. She was in the race a total of what, 9 weeks, and the list of lies and smears--covered by the MSM, who were fast to report them and slooooooooow to report the corrections--is long and sordid. The baby. The daughter. The rape kits. The book bannings. The clothes. The Country of Africa.

All lies. Any wonder that her supporters are extremely angry and defensive? It's unfair to dismiss them as mere partisan idiots. It's obvious, on its face, that the media set out to destroy her. I don't know how else to account for the items I've listed above.

I'll add that if people are pig-headed in their defense of Palin, it's because so often criticisms of her are founded on one, some, or all of the lies that have circulated about her.

knox said...

madisonman said I want to see a picture of a dog!

rh....?

dualdiagnosis said...

Can you imagine the uproar and the ridicule heaped on a Palin administration if they had spent months pondering the new hypoallergenic puppy they would be bringing to the White House?

Matt Eckert said...

Roost wants you to concentrate on the original lie not the new lies they made up to reinforce the first lie.

PatHMV said...

Roost, how do you know that? Are you relying on the NY Times article? I quoted an AP TV critic's report which says that, but that report is hardly clear as to how he knows that, either. Has this "Martin Eisenstadt" confirmed that he wasn't Carl Cameron's anonymous source? Should we believe any such denial? Has Cameron come forward to assure us that his source was an actual, real cowardly McCain staffer?

I wouldn't be asserting definitive knowledge about any aspect of this story, if I were you.

OldGrouchy said...

Is "Eisenstadt" the "person" who reported that Obama said he'd visit all 57-states or that his grandfather liberated Auschwitz!

Might have been another person who reported those errors!

MadisonMan said...

My goal is to winter over a fig tree in zone 6.

Outside? Good luck!

I had actually ordered a miniature fig tree from a garden catalog last year, along with a bunch of plants, but it took so long for the order to ship that I eventually cancelled everything. I wasn't gonna try to overwinter it outside though.

I'm hopeful that the winter is mild enough this year that our Peach tree produces fruit next Summer.

reader_iam said...

It's unfair to dismiss them as mere partisan idiots.

Screw you, Knox. That's not what I said or did. You were among the people I thought would know better. Apparently not.

And I was furious from weekend one over how Palin was treated, something commenters here with an ounce of memory or integrity would recall and acknowledge.

As I said, screw you.

dualdiagnosis said...

OldGrouchy said...
Is "Eisenstadt" the "person" who reported that Obama said he'd visit all 57-states or that his grandfather liberated Auschwitz!
Might have been another person who reported those errors!


Ummm, both of those incidents are on video.

John Stodder said...

Roost on the Moon and others are right. The nature of this hoax is being widely misunderstood. What's hilarious about it is: How many reporters were covering the McCain campaign? Shuster is a political reporter? Didn't it strike him as odd that there was a McCain advisor in a position to make such a claim that he'd never heard of?

That's why the idea of the Christian first name/Jewish last name is one of the funniest parts of this. To most reporters, Martin Eisenstadt is a classic neocon name, fits right into the scenario in their heads.

But the actual leaker of Palin's alleged ignorance has yet to be unveiled. I think reputation-damaging leaks that aren't related to a public act, but are instead just an opinion about someone's competence or character ought to be treated without honor.

Cameron should just flat-out bust the guy, on the theory that so many of the other campaign people, none with any ties to Palin, have all debunked it. Cameron got played. Why protect a dishonest source? Expose the "official" with a big Fuck You, and put an end his slovenly career. For all the future leakers who would be made nervous about dumping their shit on Cameron's plate, he would gain in reputation among the people who count, his viewers.

Shanna said...

Yes, but I think it goes beyond that, MadisonMan: I think that if you're not a Palin fanatic then you're categorized as a Palin hater/sleezer. It's an all or nothing thing, coupled with massive projection.

I think this is true and I suspect it’s because there were so many ridiculous, low down smears about Palin when she burst on the scene that some people have a reflexive response to any criticism of her. I have a friend who severely dislikes Krauthammer, and I’m guessing it’s solely because he wasn’t fond of the Palin pick from day one. I don’t know if she gave him a second thought before that.

The situation with Sarah Palin is exceptional.

Exactly. Exceptionally awful coverage from day one, reflexive hatred from people who had no cause, and a whole bunch of anti-woman bullsh*t. I think it made some people twitch and become extra sensitive.

Roost on the Moon said...

Pat,

I clicked the links when I saw the story, and found Eisenstadt's blog. I didn't see anything about Harding. I did see something about how he is convinced this BBC reporter is out to get him, how she made a documentary that made him look like an ass. Then he presented clips. Fishy, right? I watched one. It was too funny; it was fake. The guy is a hoax, an actor pretending to be a jingoistic Republican.

But all this was a week after the McCain staffers told FOX about Palin. (You'll notice FOX didn't run anything about how Eisenstadt was the source.) It was bad, lazy journalism all around, but it really has nothing to do with the week-old story. If you want to use it to dismiss everything the MSM says, I don't blame you, but it doesn't have any special bearing on the McCain camp slams Palin story.

For the record, I find the country/continent Africa thing implausible. But I do think the McCain staffers said it.

Ah, another wrinkle! Still in character, Eisenstadt points out that this prank is actually helping Palin because confused bloggers (like Althouse) and shabby writing (like the NY Times article) have served to muddy the waters.

OldGrouchy said...

Dual: Really! Fascinating if true!

Trooper York said...

Madison man I have a fig tree in my back yard that took over the entire yard like something from the Little Shop of Horrors. I would be happy to send you a branch or two. I have had some luck with transplanting it so it should work. I don't know where Brooklyn is on the weather chart but it gets pretty cold.

Roost on the Moon said...

Stodder,

I suspect the original leak was sanctioned sub rosa by the republican establishment. Conventional wisdom is that "Palin 2012" would kick ass in the primaries and lose hard in the general. For the good of the party, I think we'll see her sniped at by the more centrist republicans.

Zeb Quinn said...

Palin is not immune from criticism. I'll be the first to say she blew the Couric interview

I don't know that she blew the Couric interview. I'll agree to this much, as CBS edited the interview, it didn't look so good.

As for criticism of Palin, I say she needs to show she can get out of her down home just us folks mode and give a serious detailed presentation in some forum. I believe she can, but she has to show it. Oil drilling and energy generally would be a good topic for her to do it with.

dualdiagnosis said...



Obama Claims He's Visited 57 States


Obama's uncle liberated Auschwitz?

Skyler said...

Yes Grouchy, very true. But not very important. He clearly meant to say 47 states, it was a simple error. As for his grandfather, how many people have remembered stories about their grandfathers that are slightly inflated from reality. Again, nothing to get worked up about.

The fact that he wrote in his memoirs that his strongest philosophical influences were communist, now that's something to get worked up about. No one seems to care about his real problems, they'd rather make up lies about Palin.

PatHMV said...

Roost... my question was not of your motives or anything, but to try to pin down, specifically, the source for the claim that the hoax is only in "Eisenstadt" claiming to be the staffer.

I agree that the "Sarah Palin supporters should thank me" post suggests that he is specifically not admitting to having been the original Fox News source for the "Africa" story. My point is that, based on what I've read so far, the admission "I am the source" could actually be true, with the only falsity being his claim to have been a McCain staffer. See what I'm getting at?

Not saying that that proves that he is the source for the original story, but that nothing in the story so far in any way disproves that he was, nor have I seen any denial by him of being the original source. Has anybody asked Fox News yet? A simple statement from them that he was not the source would put that aspect of the issue to rest.

reader_iam said...

Irony personified from Transition Team Obama.

Ignore the source; download the PDF under media in the left sidebar.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"And Simon, I agree: A good Editor should reject any story that does not include named sources. But I am not holding my breath."

At absolute minimum, the editor should ensure that, on pain of termination, the journalist who wrote the story (a) knows the names and has simply withheld them, and (b) vouches for their source's credibility.

Hoosier Daddy said...

It's unfair to dismiss them as mere partisan idiots.

Screw you, Knox. That's not what I said or did.


Give her a break. I think you referred to them as Palin fanatics.

PJ said...

Wow. That guy is the definition of "living in mom's basement."

Sort of a Michael Moore / Drudge amalgam.

MadisonMan said...

Trooper, does it bear fruit?

NYC is zone 7, IIRC, and Madison is zone 4. That's an annual low around 0 for NYC and around -20 for Madison. Not good for figs here. So I'll pass, but thanks!

knox said...

Screw you, Knox.

??

I honestly don't get what made you so mad?

OldGrouchy said...

Dual: Yes, you've now proved you're no longer an Obamanon, if ever!

BTW: while it took two pulls, your legs are now considerably longer! Cheers!

Lawgiver said...

Madison man I have a fig tree in my back yard that took over the entire yard like something from the Little Shop of Horrors.

Knock it off Trooper. Everyone knows there are no backyards in NYC, only piles of rubble, pigeon crates or crackhead filled alleys. Who are you really and why do you root for the MSM darling giants?

Trooper York said...

Yes it bears a huge amount of white figs. Bushels of them to be exact. I have more fruits hanging around in my back yard than you have in the Althouse comments section. And that's saying something let me tell you!

Trooper York said...

Hey I will have you know I have a beautiful back yard. Sort of like the one you saw in "Easy Money" surrounded with a hurricane fence on all four sides. All brownstones have backyards. Of course all of the neighbors from across the way can look in. If they want to watch me fart and scratch my balls that's on them. But that's ok because you feel like you are Jimmie Stewart in Rear Window as you look at what everyone is doing while you munch on your figs and drink wine and smoke a cigar.

Donn said...

TY:
I have more fruits hanging around in my back yard than you have in the Althouse comments section.

LOL.

Pogo said...

It's not like I needed another reason never to read or watch or purchase anything arising from the MSM ever again.

They're all just various arms of the DNC. Aside from the internecine fighting, it's all the same old propaganda.

ricpic said...

He should have been Shmuel, but they named him Olaf,
So he grew up to be a big square head gonif.

John Stodder said...

Conventional wisdom is that "Palin 2012" would kick ass in the primaries and lose hard in the general. For the good of the party, I think we'll see her sniped at by the more centrist republicans.

That's the conventional wisdom all right. Those Republican operatives are geniuses, so they've obviously got 2012 figured out.

I have a strong suspicion that Palin will not stay in the box the media has built for her. While she is personally religious and against abortion, I don't think she's actually a hard-core right winger. The social conservatives like her, but I don't think she's one of them. I think she's closer to a libertarian than a Gary Bauer type.

The political consultant in me would say: She's got a base, and no one else in the GOP has one. Ergo, she starts way ahead. A bunch of faceless McCain campaign weasels thought they could stop the love she gets from her base by calling her stupid? It shows how little they know. But because she has a base, she has more freedom than her rivals to win "strange new respect" on other issues, selectively.

If Obama is successful, then it doesn't matter who the GOP nominates in 2012. The wave we're seeing now will just continue. But if he's not, a candidate like Palin has a much better chance to beat him than another faceless white boy.

P.S. I don't think Jindal's going to run in 2012. Which we've discussed elsewhere.

Donn said...

If Obama is successful, then it doesn't matter who the GOP nominates in 2012.

If things really turn around an idiot would have to run against BHO in 2012. It will be interesting to see who the real idiot(s) will turn out to be.

Michael McNeil said...

Here's what Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and an opinion writer at the New York Times had to say on last Sunday's Fox News Sunday about the post-election Palin smears emanating from a couple of McCain staffers. (All the rest of the posting is quotation, transcribed by me.)

Chris Wallace: Bill you have sources in the Palin camp, what's the truth to all this?

Bill Kristol: I have sources in the McCain camp — it was one camp, you know. These are McCain staffers who worked for Palin. A couple of them unfortunately behaved like jerks after the election and thought they could help themselves by telling Newsweek — of course, always on background, not a single person has stepped forward with a name, you know, to say anything negative about Palin — but on background these stories. I've talked to Steve Beagin (sp?), who's a very well respected Washington foreign policy hand — never met Sarah Palin until they asked him to go work for her for the two months — he was there at these briefings, and he's told me the truth about them. And it's so… these stories have so little resemblance to reality that they're purely malicious and really false — and frankly reporters shouldn't print this kind of stuff unless they can get corroboration, in this case they could have called Steve Beagin, who was in the room, they could have called others, they didn't, so….

Wallace: What is the truth about Africa, or about NAFTA?

Kristol: The truth about NAFTA is she had a long day of briefings, she went through NAFTA, CAFTA; there was a lot of stuff going on. At the end there had been distractions, and stuff. Let's just go through it one more time. And what exactly, what's the relationship of NAFTA, which countries are in CAFTA — that's the Central American Free Trade Agreement — I [motioning at himself] couldn't tell you what countries are in there. Which countries do we have free trade agreements with in Latin America — is it Chile? Perfectly sensible question at the end of a long day just to get it clarified. And that makes it seem like she doesn't know like what's North America!

The Africa comment was, she was doing apparently… Steve Schmidt was firing her rapid… giving her rapid-fire questions, in sort of debate prep, and she'd actually gotten in a long discussion with Beagin and others about Bush's Africa policy, the AIDS policy, what was happening in the Congo and all this, and she began the answer by saying something like — you know, as a practice thing, and they asked her the question — and she said, “Look, Africa is a country with a lot of problems….” It was a slip of the tongue! You know. And she went on to discuss what was happening in Africa. It doesn't mean she doesn't understand that Africa is a continent not a country.

That tells you something about just the petty maliciousness, unfortunately, of a few staffers speaking on background. Senator McCain, I'm told, called up Thursday from Arizona to his senior staff and said, “Stop it, cut it out, this is totally outrageous.” Nicolle Wallace went on TV Friday morning and said it's over, we all like Sarah Palin; and I think they've tried to end it.

Wallace: And why was this happening?

Kristol: I don't know.

Juan Williams [liberal, black, Obama-supporting commentator from PBS]: I can tell you: Because a lot of people right now, in the midst of a loss, want to avoid blame, and they have political careers coming.

But, you know, let me just say this: As someone who thinks that Sarah Palin was inexperienced, and, you know, it's not a matter of Sarah Palin not being smart and capable — you can learn that stuff! — she wasn't on the national stage, and that's why she might not have been familiar with that stuff up front. But just speaking, you know, in terms of defending a woman — gosh, I would think that feminists all over the country would be up in arms about the way that Sarah Palin has been treated. [Shakes his head in bemusement.]

Roost on the Moon said...

That Kristol stuff sounds about right.

I'm surprised we haven't seen a correction from Althouse yet. What gives?

Joan said...

Rich Lowry over at NRO's The Corner told the same story as Kristol in the above post.

Trooper York: how would you feel about shipping a fig cutting to AZ? My kids have been begging me to get fig & peach trees since our recent round of landscape work. Unfortunately, new brakes in both our cars and a new transmission in one are taking priority. Email me if you were at all serious... I'd be happy to cover shipping.

reader_iam said...

Defending Palin against smears is not the symptom to which I'm referring.

(You know, I still haven't clicked over to Andrew Sullivan, and I've continued my boycott of the Atlantic in all its manifestations**, along with a couple of other places, since the morning of Sept. 1, when I strongly expressed my contempt for those smearing Palin in a comment here at Althouse, reproduced as a blogpost elsewhere.

**The one exception is Megan McCardle's blog, which I did retain and sometimes read in feed and have clicked over to maybe two or three times in that time period.)

Michael McNeil said...

I'm surprised we haven't seen a correction from Althouse yet. What gives?

Maybe Ann should, you know, actually watch Fox News Sunday every now and then, rather than just Meet the Press.

reader_iam said...

Sorry, my last comment was posted on the wrong thread.

m00se said...

As far as I can see, Sully is just ignoring the inconvenient lies, and focusing on the convenient ones.

I predict we'll see some more Mormon underwear posts soon...

Revenant said...

If things really turn around an idiot would have to run against BHO in 2012. It will be interesting to see who the real idiot(s) will turn out to be.

The problem is, you have to start a serious Presidential bid at least a good two years out. You can't know, in 2010, how things are going to look in 2012. You have to guess.

A lot of Democrats guessed, in '90 and '91, that the then-popular George Bush would be impossible to beat in '92. They didn't know the economy would sink the Bush campaign. In 2002, a lot of Democrats failed to guess that the younger Bush, with his 80+ percent approval rating, would actually be an easy target in the 2004 elections -- so the decent candidates stayed away entirely.

Skyler said...

It wasn't the economy that cause GHW Bush to lose. It was the "read my lips, no new taxes" pledge that he broke.

Just like with McCain, the right can't stand someone who won't stand up for what's right. McCain totally lost all respect with the bailout, GHW Bush lost respect with tax increases.

John Stodder said...

If things really turn around an idiot would have to run against BHO in 2012. It will be interesting to see who the real idiot(s) will turn out to be.

Martin Eisenstadt: Tanned, rested and ready!

John Stodder said...

I'm surprised we haven't seen a correction from Althouse yet. What gives?

Just a guess, but maybe she's not actually online 18 hours a day. She's got a job. She likes to walk around taking pictures. She seems to have a social life.

Also, this is the blogosphere. You've already corrected her, many times, in this thread of comments. With links and everything. That's why real bloggers allow comments.

Donn said...

Rev:
The problem is, you have to start a serious Presidential bid at least a good two years out. You can't know, in 2010, how things are going to look in 2012. You have to guess.

Good point.

Darcy said...

So this is where everyone is! :)

Excellent post, Michael McNeil. I appreciated the part about McCain calling for this to stop.

The people who froth at the mouth over Sarah will still do the same, but reasonable people will nod their heads and say that makes sense, I think.

Darcy said...

Wrong. This is where everyone was. *checks breath*

Michael McNeil said...

I appreciated the part about McCain calling for this to stop.

Yeah, until I transcribed it, I'd missed that part myself — and wondered what the hell he was doing in stopping this scandal coming out of his own camp.

Simon said...

Revenant said...
"The problem is, you have to start a serious Presidential bid at least a good two years out. You can't know, in 2010, how things are going to look in 2012. You have to guess."

That's true, but it's qualified, I would submit, by Pat Ruffini's comments here (noting that as late as "November of 2007, few people would have predicted Barack Obama or John McCain as the nominees. If we can't predict three months out, what makes us think we can predict three and a half years out?").

blake said...

Actually, I think the hoax is more damaging without the false "Palin doesn't know..." precisely because it is in the "fake but accurate" camp.

Journalist runs with fake story--either wholly made up or dubiously sourced--others immediately latch on to false validations of story.

It makes the whole scam pretty transparent, doesn't it?

jdeeripper said...

Obama the black Jimmy Carter followed by Sarah Palin the female Ronald Reagan in 2012?

Kevin said...

John Stodder said...
I have a strong suspicion that Palin will not stay in the box the media has built for her. While she is personally religious and against abortion, I don't think she's actually a hard-core right winger. The social conservatives like her, but I don't think she's one of them. I think she's closer to a libertarian than a Gary Bauer type.

I would not be surprised if this is the case. I lived in Arizona and Utah for several years, where people tend to be conservative in their personal life yet libertarian-oriented when it comes to government and the public sphere. Alaska is a Western state with a similar tradition.

Palin's first term as governor was focused on good governance and reform, with no action (that I can see) on socially conservative agenda issues. Heck, she vetoed an anti-gay domestic partner benefits law, albeit on constitutional grounds.

But of course, large numbers of people, ignorant of her actual track record think that she is some kind of Neanderthal knuckle crawler.

Trooper York said...

She just has to attack the press the way Nixon used to do. She will have legions of fans and supporters if she just takes the battle to the enemy.

Make no mistake; the mainstream media is the enemy of America. They prove it time and again. They should get no mercy. We need to drive them into bankruptcy and dissolution. No bailouts for these douche bags.

The only thing worse than a journalist is a lawyer.

Pogo said...

Darcy
-perfect.

section9 said...


If things really turn around an idiot would have to run against BHO in 2012. It will be interesting to see who the real idiot(s) will turn out to be.


Trust me on this; this is the chief reason why I believe Sarah Palin will sit out 2012 along with Bobby Jindal. However, you can always count on one thing for the next election cycle:

Reality never, ever gets in between Mitt Romney and his ego.

MadisonMan said...

She just has to attack the press the way Nixon used to do. She will have legions of fans and supporters if she just takes the battle to the enemy.

I don't think Vote for Me! I'm against the press is a successful campaign slogan.

blake said...

You might be surprised.

A lot of people feel disenfranchised by the press.

Darcy said...

Thank you, Pogo!

On the subject of a candidate being seen as battling the MSM, it's usually an uphill battle, no question. But we'll see how well the media comes off after this gross negligence on their part.

Someone might do just fine down the road being seen as holding their feet to the fire.

Ann Althouse said...

allens said..."Ann, you bought the story. Here's what you had to say: "Even assuming the stories are true, they don't have to be told.""

I wrote: "We don't know who's telling these stories, but obviously, there are many people with the motivation to blame others. Even assuming the stories are true, they don't have to be told. Why destroy Palin, a rising star in the Republican Party? Who wants her ruined? I'm not saying she doesn't deserve to be ruined. I want to know if the stories are true, and I want them in their most accurate form. (She thought Africa was a country? Really? Was this the slip of a tired, inattentive person, or someone who is clearly an ignoramus?) But I also want to know who wants us to know all these ugly things and why. It can't be simply a matter of defending McCain. McCain chose Palin, and if she's no good, he bears more blame than she does. And McCain isn't going to run again, so he would do well to be gracious and low-profile right now."

How does that show me accepting the truth of the story? Don't you understand what it means to assume something for the sake of argument? I didn't believe it and I had an additional argument that I applied even if the story were true.

Michael McNeil said...

From my earlier posting on this thread:
“Steve Beagin (sp?)” → Steve Biegun

ShadowFox said...

And let me add that I never fell for the Eisenstadt story. I rejected the Africa-is-a-country insult as implausible on its face.

Ann, you never had the Eisenstadt story. What you had was the Fox News story, to which Fox is still sticking. The Eisenstadt claim was merely that he was the staffer who leaked the story to Fox News.

Several people have noted as much already, but, for some reason, they keep insisting on referring to the "MSM", when the players are quite clear.

Your skepticism toward the Africa story is somewhat justified, but not entirely. Dan Quayle really did screw up "potato" and he really did laugh like a schoolboy at "anatomically correct" figurines at the Santiago airport, but he did not comment about the connection between Latin and Latin America (was it a Leno joke? Or someone else's?). Just because some fictional things become part of the lore does not invalidate others that really did happen.

In Palin's case, if you read the original report carefully--as you clearly did not do in Eisenstadt's case--you will notice that the "Africa as a country" report is an exaggeration. The actual claim was explained as the staffers talking about Southern Africa--as in the region of the continent--and Palin had assumed that it was a single country, i.e., South Africa. They corrected her, but she continued to insist on the single-country interpretation.

This strikes me as something different than merely being ignorant about Africa being a continent. Instead, it shows Palin as being stubborn in her ignorance even though that ignorance is not quite as pervasive as is being claimed. But I am not sure that this is necessarily better--a stubborn fool is far worse than someone who merely is ignorant.

I am a bit concerned about your own claim, however, because you are making such a point of prescience when none existed. You were talking about a different report that was never debunked, you did not have a complete story back then and you never really rejected it outright. So there is a bunch of things that you are getting wrong in your retrospective claim.

And I am not sure why you're doing it in the first place. Do you need to prove how smart you are? We know that--but getting it all wrong has the opposite effect. Do you want us to trust your prescient opinions? Opinions and predictions can be right and wrong. As long as you state them as such, you get credit for being right and no credit for being wrong. Economists and market analysts, for example, are wrong nearly all the time, but, if they accidentally happen to "predict" a major event correctly, they get credited as prophets. (You have two Peter Shiff posts today, the 17th.) But that's a mistake, not a feature. And economics is far more important than blogging. Does anyone really care if you got one opinion right and another wrong? People will agree or disagree with you because of their own opinions, not based on your past record.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, you never had the Eisenstadt story."

What do you mean I never "had" it? I read it and I never blogged it because I didn't believe any of it.

I realize that there is a larger story of what Palin may have said, and I blogged about that to state my disbelief. I didn't write anything more about it, including the phony revelation of who the leaker was because I wasn't buying it.

ShadowFox said...

My point was that your public skepticism was for the original "Africa is a country" story, not the secondary Eisenstadt story. And even that skepticism was somewhat tempered. If you saw the Eisenstadt item and ignored it, sure, more power to you, but since you are blogging about it now, it seems a bit late to point to it as some sort of personal triumph.

What I meant by "never had the story" specifically was in reference to your blog, not to your understanding of the issue. A more accurate statement might have been, "Ann, you never debunked the Eisenstadt story on your blog. You only complained about the original Africa story that has not been withdrawn."

The Palin and Africa story is funny--in the same sense that many of the Dan Quayle stories were funny, or Bushisms such as "misunderestimated" or "Is our children learning?" are funny. Some of these stories were true as stated, some were an exaggeration and some were fiction (the Quayle and Latin story, for example).

The Eisenstadt story has nothing to do with that. In fact, it has nothing to do with Palin at all! I find the hunt for someone else's story somewhat perverse--does it really matter who the Deep Throat was? Yeah, eventually you want to find out, for historical accuracy, but does it matter to the original story? So it is perfectly understandable (at least, to me) when someone fails to report on a relatively minor story. The fact that this particular minor story turns out to be a hoax does not, in itself, justify any credit to people who ignored it--did they ignore it because it was irrelevant, did they miss it, or did they ignore it because they did not believe the original story--to which the minor one was a follow up--to begin with?

Given the skepticism you had for the original story, you appear to fall into the third category. So you weren't buying any part of the story at all, not just the fake identification of the leaker.

I was in no way insulting you by pointing out that your public comments did not include anything on the Eisenstadt story. The impression that your quoted comment left was that you thought the whole story to have been a hoax, not just the leaker's ID.

I, for one, disagree that the original story is implausible. It may appear implausible in the short version that was often reported instead of the original. Fox is actually responsible for that, as they first reported only the interpretation, then the actual comments.

The claim that Palin was confused between South Africa and Southern Africa is not equivalent to the confusion of Africa as a continent with a single country. It is perfectly possible that Palin really thought that the aides were talking about South Africa, it is possible that she may have been ignorant about either other countries in the region or the issues that were being discussed, or she might have just misheard the question or was distracted. There is no need to jump to the strongest conclusion that she did not know that Africa is not a country. I presume that it is this latter conclusion that you find implausible. But the story, as told, seems perfectly plausible. One can choose to laugh at Palin or provide justifications for her, but there is nothing intrinsically implausible about the South Africa version.

What that means is that you and I disagree on the level of detail, as well as the particular interpretation. But claiming that the entire story is "implausible" is a bit dismissive--far more so than me saying that you did not blog about the Eisenstadt story before today.

If I am being unreasonable in my interpretation, please let me know.