This is PART II (here’s PART I) of debunking Media Matters’ August 7, 2006, post, which executes a bogus attack on Ann Coulter’s endnotes in her book, Godless. As we clearly show, MMatters falsely asserts that Ann deliberately "misrepresented" or "distorted" her sources or information.
Let the debunking continue:
4. (MMatters #9) MMatters takes issue with endnote 4 in Chapter 9.
First of all, the text of the passage with the note says the following:
On the basis of this intriguing fact, psychology professor Roger Fouts of Central Washington University argues that humans "are simply odd looking apes"4 in a book titled Next of Kin: What Chimpanzees Have Taught Me About Who We Are.
Got that? Well, here’s what the endnote in the back of the book says:
4. Ibid. (quoting Roger Fouts, Next of Kin: What Chimpanzes Have Taught Me About Who We Are ).
MMatters takes issue with the "Ibid," which is supposed to mean it came from the source in note 3, an article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper. Ann, however, clearly cites that the "humans ‘are simply odd looking apes’ line" comes from Fouts’ book, and it does. The exact quote is on page 57. (Want to see for yourself? Go to Amazon; find the book, and use the "Search Inside!" function.)
Ms. Coulter used the quote, and then she cited the book that it came from. That’s what an author does!
Again, this is a trivial clerical error over an extraneous "Ibid"! If anyone’s misleading anybody, it’s Media Matters, who imply that Coulter is somehow deceiving her readers. We have shown clearly that she is not.
5. (MMatters #5) Media Matters takes issue with endnote 39 in Chapter 5.
First, here’s the text of the passage, with the notation, in question:
After [former Rep.] Tom DeLay [R-TX] joked to a Republican audience, "I certainly don’t want to see Teddy Kennedy in a Navy flight suit," [Vietnam war veteran and former Sen. Max] Cleland [D-GA] fired off a nasty letter — a letter, no less! — to DeLay saying, "This country deserves more patriots like Senator Kennedy, not more chickenhawks [sic] like you who never served."
Most Democrats shy away from citing Kennedy’s "military service" with such bravado. The "military service" at issue consisted of Kennedy’s spending two years in NATO’s Paris office after he was expelled from Harvard for paying another student to take his Spanish exam.39
OK. Coulter cites a 2003 Roll Call article that doesn’t say anything about Kennedy serving in Paris and cheating at Harvard. But, as Media Matters relunctantly admits, the DeLay-Cleland exchange two sentences above the note does appear in the 2003 piece. It simply appears that the ‘39′ was placed after the wrong quote. (As for the stories of Kennedy serving in Paris and getting temporarily booted from Harvard for cheating on his Spanish exam, these events have been widely and well documented. See The Education of Edward Kennedy: A Family Biography by Burton Hersh.)
File under: Big whoop.
6. (MMatters #1) Media Matters takes issue with endnote 9 in Chapter 7.
You’d think that the #1 example in Media Matters’ post would really be a doozy against Coulter. Instead, it’s a vicious out-of-context attack.
Media Matters gives the false and misleading impression that Coulter has accused liberals of "foisting" "anal sex, oral sex, fisting, dental dams, [and] ‘birthing games’" on kindergarteners. Here’s the passage that Media Matters took out of context and reproduced:
But in contrast to liberal preachiness about IQ, there would be no moralizing when it came to sex. Anal sex, oral sex, fisting, dental dams, "birthing games" — all that would be foisted on unsuspecting children in order to protect kindergarteners from the scourge of AIDS. As one heroine of the sex education movement told an approving New York Times reporter, "My job is not to teach one right value system. Parents and churches teach moral values. My job is to say, ‘These are the facts,’ and to help the students, as adults, decide what is right for them."
But here is the entire paragraph from which the passage comes. As you’ll see, the topic of the passage is not about teachers foisting sex on kindergarteners. It’s something entirely different! (Emphasis mine:)
Among the most absurd results of liberals’ unbridgeable commitment to nondiscrimination was their insistence on suppressing the truth about AIDS and scaring Americans into believing that heterosexuals were as much at risk for acquiring AIDS as gays and intravenous drug users. Once again, the science had to be lied about so no one’s feelings got hurt. But in contrast to liberal preachiness about IQ, there would be no moralizing when it came to sex. Anal sex, oral sex, fisting, dental dams, "birthing games" — all that would be foisted on unsuspecting children in order to protect kindergarteners from the scourge of AIDS. As one heroine of the sex education movement told an approving New York Times reporter, "My job is not to teach one right value system. Parents and churches teach moral values. My job is to say, ‘These are the facts,’ and to help the students, as adults, decide what is right for them."
Gee. The passage has a new meaning in light of its full context, doesn’t it! The point of the paragraph is "liberals’ unbridgeable commitment to nondiscrimination," not "foisting" sex on kindergarteners.
In this instance, the folks at Media Matters have committed two offenses: 1. They are woefully ignorant of Ann Coulter’s frequent employment of hyperbole and humor. (Hey, guys: Lighten up! Get out and get some air!) 2. They have deliberately and maliciously taken the passage out of context and deceived their readers.
7. (MMatters #8) Media Matters takes issue with endnote 1 of Chapter 8.
At issue is the following passage and notation that Media Matters reproduces from Coulter’s book:
Although God believers don’t need evolution to be false, atheists need evolution to be true. William Provine, an evolutionary biologist at Cornell University, calls Darwinism the greatest engine of atheism devised by man. His fellow Darwin disciple, Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins, famously said, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."1 This is why there is a mass panic on the left whenever someone mentions the vast and accumulating evidence against evolution.
The endnote cites a 2005 Washington Post feature by Michael Powell, but the article doesn’t contain the direct quote by Dawkins. However, the article does contain the following passage (emphasis mine):
One day while browsing in a bookstore, [Dr. Phillip] Johnson picked up a copy of "The Blind Watchmaker" by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Dawkins argued that life was governed by blind physics, that free will was illusion, that religion was a virus.
It is inside Dawkins’ well-known Blind Watchmaker book that his famous "intellectually fulfilled atheist" line is found. (It’s on page 6.)
Again — This is a "big whoop" (roll eyes) clerical mistake. It’s hardly an example of an intentional "misrepresentation" or "distortion" that Media Matters wants you to believe it is.
Are you sensing a pattern here?
8. (MMatters #13) Media Matters misleads their readers! This post has NOTHING to do with an endnote!
Was Media Matters so desperate to find "errors" that they felt that they needed to slip this one in and mislead its readers as to the nature of its post? It appears so.
By the way, here’s the "error" caught by MMatters:
On Page 211, Coulter falsely attributed the quote, "[t]he probability of life originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make it absurd," to Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA’s double-helix structure … [H]owever, the quote actually belongs to Fred Hoyle, a British mathematician and astronomer.
MMatters is correct on its fact, but, again, we can file this minor blooper under, "Big whoop."
Also … Here’s what Media Matters fails to tell its readers: Up until the very paragraph of this quotation, Coulter spends more than a page writing about the work of Sir Hoyle.
Folks, what we have is another simple clerical error, not intentional "misrepresentation" or "distortion."
Readers: When this endeavor of debunking MMatters’ attack on Ann Coulter’s endnotes started, one long post was planned. Then it doubled into two. As it stands, there is still more fallacious and misleading information from MMatters. A third post on this issue can be created!
Whether or not a third post will be published depends on whether time permits. However, one important point has been clearly illustrated: Media Matters has purposefully misled its readers (again) in a bogus and fallacious attack on Ann Coulter.
Until next time …