Sunday, June 12, 2005

Michelle Malkin Can't Read

Only Michelle Malkin can take an article which PROVES that President Bush, as recently as last Thursday, has been overstating "the government's success in prosecuting terrorists" ("U.S. Campaign Produces Few Convictions on Terrorism Charges" by Dan Eggen and Julie Tate for The Washington Post 6/12/05) and try to make liberal-bashing gravy out of it.

In "PROSECUTORIAL ZEAL" (the Caps Lock button must get all jammed up when she composes her headlines), Malkin maintains that the article only "purports" to show overstatement, even though Bush's assertion that "federal terrorism investigations have resulted in charges against more than 400 suspects, and more than half of those charged have been convicted" is torn apart by WaPo, since the facts show that only "39 people -- not 200, as officials have implied -- were convicted of crimes related to terrorism or national security. Most of the others were convicted of relatively minor crimes such as making false statements and violating immigration law -- and had nothing to do with terrorism, the analysis shows."

But Malkin doesn't even touch that ove-...I mean...lie. Instead, she takes on the "[t]wo leading Bush critics," Paul Krugman, columnist for The New York Times, and The Nation's David Cole, who - she claims - "have falsely asserted that there have been no successful terrorism prosecutions at all since 9/11."

Malkin doesn't care that the President has been caught in a lie, she's after those America-hating, liberal journalists; never mind the facts. She cherrypicks from two year-old Krugman columns and one year-old Cole article to "prove" her thesis.

At least she quotes from Krugman accurately, though she take his words out of context.

In a May 11, 2004 column, Krugman did indeed write "After two and a half years, during which he arrested and secretly detained more than a thousand people, Mr. Ashcroft has yet to convict any actual terrorists." But the paranthetical sentence that followed was conveniently left out of Malkin's post, and she didn't even provide a link to her readers: "(Look at the actual trials of what Dahlia Lithwick of Slate calls "disaffected bozos who watch cheesy training videos," and you'll see what I mean.)"

Except for - arguably - attempted shoe bomber Richard Reid, there haven't been any "actual" terrorists prosecuted since 9/11. A person has to engage in a terrorist act before they can be considered a terrorist (not that stopping folks before they commmit terrorism isn't a good thing...but the "disaffected bozos" successfully prosecuted aren't exactly criminal masterminds).

Then there's Malkin's attempted takedown of Georgetown Law Professor David Cole.

According to Malkin, "Cole argued in The Nation last fall: 'With the latest Detroit convictions overturned, Ashcroft has not convicted a single person of terrorism since 9/11.'"

That goes beyond "overstatement." Malkin is out-and-out lying (or, as the title of this post more-than-suggests, Malkin simply can't read).

Cole never argued that. In fact, Cole never even wrote that.

The sentence is taken from a subheading that AlterNet (to be fair) inaccurately added to Cole's "Taking Liberties" column from The Nation: link.

Cole actually wrote this: "On Sept. 2 a federal judge in Detroit threw out the only jury conviction the Justice Department has obtained on a terrorism charge since 9/11."

"Jury conviction" not conviction. The "Lackawanna Six" are the only convictions that resulted from a trial, the other 33 all pled guilty to the charges (most probably under threat of being sent to the illegal limbo of Guantanamo Bay).

Do you think Michelle Malkin will print a correction/apology for misquoting David Cole?

Probably not. But I'm not sure it's smart to misquote a Law Professor. He might just sue you.


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