Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Coulter's Endnotes

The other day Media Matters did a fine job of showing "Steve Ross, senior vice president and publisher of Crown Publishing Group and publisher of the Crown Forum imprint" that "nineteen pages of hundreds of endnotes contained in Godless" don't mean a thing if Ann Coulter "misrepresented and distorted the statements of her sources," "omitted information in those sources that refuted the claims in her book," and "misrepresented news coverage to allege bias."

From Endnotes in Coulter's latest book rife with distortions and falsehoods:

7. On Page 195, Coulter wrote:

Until Michael Fumento wrote about Hwang Mi-soon, the South Korean woman who began to walk again thanks to adult stem cells, there was no mention of it in any document on Nexis.56

Coulter was claiming that Michael Fumento, a senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute and former Scripps Howard columnist, was the first to write about South Korean Hwang Mi-Soon, who was treated in 2004 with stem cells extracted from umbilical cord blood after she had been paralyzed for close to 20 years; Hwang was later able to walk with the help of braces and a walker. Coulter cited Fumento's October 20, 2005, Scripps Howard column to support her assertion, though she did not provide the parameters she used in her Nexis database search. But a Media Matters Nexis search of all news outlets in the database during all available dates for "Hwang Mi-soon" revealed 47 articles, 36 of which, mentioning Hwang's newfound ability to walk, were published prior to October 20, 2005. Additionally, a week before Fumento's Scripps column was published, Deroy Murdock, another Scripps Howard columnist and a commentator to Human Events, mentioned Hwang's operation in an October 13, 2005, column, titled, "Embryonic stem cell research unneeded."


13. 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, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1962; however, the quote actually belongs to Fred Hoyle, a British mathematician and astronomer.

For some reason, news about the rampant inaccuracies and misinformation in Coulter's work doesn't seem to merit attention. The other week when I showed how messed up Coulter's Willie Horton chapter one cared...then a day later she went on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews and talked briefly about it.

This is what Matthews said to Coulter:

You are a controversial lady. You write beautifully. You have a brilliant brain. I stayed up last night reading your chapter on Willie Horton which was absolutely stunning in its satire, it reminded me of the young [conservative columnist] George Will.

I seriously doubt George Will ever made the kind of mistakes in any of his writing that Coulter either does deliberately or cluelessly. But pundits that call Coulter "brilliant" without even checking her facts come off as even more clueless.

If Matthews took the time to actually fact check Coulter's Willie Horton chapter (or asked one of his assistants to take a look, at least), he would have seen that there were so many errors that whatever point scoring hoped for is pointless.

Coulter wrote there were only two Horton ads. There were four.

Coulter mixed up all four ads and confused part of each one with the others.

Coulter wrote that there were only white prisoners shown in the official Bush campaign video referring to Dukakis prison furloughs, when there were two blacks and one latino in it.

Coulter never even specifically mentioned one of the most notorious political ads of all time, Weekend Passes, except when she confused its contents with the two that she inaccurately spotlighted.

Coulter falsely claimed that one of the two ads (remember...actually four) only "was probably seen by about six people in West Virginia" when it was broadcast in California to begin with, as part of a large television buy.

Just think how smart a television pundit could look if he or she actually spent a couple hours fact-checking one of Coulter's chapters and confronted her with the mistakes, inaccuracies or downright lies and revisions.

(Hat tip to Agitprop)


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