February 03, 2005

Things That Keep Me Up At Night

Sometimes, I'll get into comment debates that just burrow into my mind and I can't let go. Such is the case regarding this post which, in turn, got me over here.

The backstory: a graduate student wrote an op-ed piece for the Star-Tribune, attacking the blog Power Line for inadequate fact-checking (on this post), as opposed to the in-depth fact-checking supposedly conducted by newspapers like the Star-Tribune. The kicker, of course, was that the Star Tribune didn't fact-check the op-ed piece. Ironical.

Well, the grad student did provide her "research" to a blogger who requested it, and I think I've spent an unhealthy amount of time over there debating the "evidence," or lack thereof. And, because a lot of thought and time went into it, I thought I'd repost the comment string here, in the extended entry:

Thanks for the link.

Here's were we agree (I think): I don't think blogs in general should be anyone's primary source of news. A combination of news sources, with a few blogs thrown in, would be ideal, in my opinion.
LB | Email | Homepage | 02.01.05 - 2:31 pm | #


It's not my intent to go after Gage, beyond questioning her qualifications to opine within the biggest newspaper in Minnesota. If that's what the Strib is allowing nowadays, I have some pretty strong opinions about low flow toilets that I'd like some exposure on.

But, no editorial oversight on the part of the Strib? That's a tad disconcerting. Checking over this site, I admit that it looks as though Gage did some admirable footwork, but where was the Strib when it came to vetting?

Look at the weird way in which Gage allowed her footwork to veer:

I began by calling Tom Farley, the news editor at the Racine Journal Times. Mr. Farley had no knowledge of the allegations. He pointed out that there is no city position with the title "Deputy Registrar of Voters" (what the post cited).

Gage makes it seem as if Power Line was doing their own reporting, when in fact they were "citing" from and article from Agape Press. If Gage is going to go after anyone, it should be Agape Press. From where I'm sitting, Hinderaker's (never met him, don't know him) actions were the equivalent of circling an article in a newspaper and passing it along.

She declined to name the individual, but said the group was Voces de la Frontera, a group that works with Hispanic immigrants. I asked her directly how she knew the individual in question was an illegal immigrant and asked if she had spoken to them. She quickly admitted that she did not actually know if the individual in question was an illegal alien. I asked her when the alleged voter fraud occurred. She informed me the incidents took place in August and September, 2004. I then asked her which law enforcement agency she contacted and she told me she had called the FBI.

So, Gage is getting pretty close to sniffing out that there may be some real truth to the claim, although she's only lacking a name at that point, which Tully wouldn't give her. But, isn't Tully basically admitting that there was SOMEBODY? Gage basically had a smoking gun at that point, so to say there's no evidence to back up the claim is misleading at best, bogus at worst. But Gage opts to do some sleight of hand by switching gears and doing some Internet sleuthing:

I then did an Internet search on Voces de la Frontera. The first hit was a recent press release, released jointed by Wisconsin Citizen Action and Voces de la Frontera regarding their successful voter registration drive.

And, of course, Voces won't confirm anything, so Gage gets the answers she wants, forgetting, of course, that Tully gave her every bit of evidence except for a specific NAME.

There are some other peculiar things here:

I then called Ms. Moskonas at the City Clerks office. She was unaware of this matter.

Yet, in a JSonline (subscription required) Sept. 28, 2004 article, we learn that:

Moskonas said that in each of the six potential fraud cases, the people named on the Project Vote applications told
Ryan | Email | Homepage | 02.01.05 - 4:01 pm | #


Whoops. Got cut off there.

Yet, in a JSonline (subscription required) Sept. 28, 2004 article, we learn that:

Moskonas said that in each of the six potential fraud cases, the people named on the Project Vote applications told her office they had not signed the forms and had not been contacted by any voter registration drives.

So, either Moskonas simply didn't remember this when asked by Gage, or Moskonas was lying. And, Gage's research probably should have exposed that conflict, no?
Ryan | Email | Homepage | 02.01.05 - 4:34 pm | #


I think Tom Farley just didn't know, although he must have been aware of some issues over irregularities. Curiouser, I wonder why Carolynn Moskonas, the Racine County Clerk didn't mention the multiple Election Fraud/PTAC Misconduct in Public Office investigations?

I do notice that you limited the focus of discussion to "this matter" & I quote "...She was unaware of this matter. Ms. Moskonas explained to me that at the direction of the state legislature, volunteers involved in voter registrations drives must attend a training. They are then considered "deputy registrars."

To wit, where there's smoke, there's fire;

4 Counts of Election Fraud, 4 counts of PTAC Misconduct in Public Office:

Racine Journal Times | Failure to validate new voters:

Ref Racine Journal Times' 6 Oct 04 article:

AP | Congresswoman's son, four others charged with slashing Republican van tires on Election Day:

Joel McNally: Right fears voter growth:

Compendium of published newspaper articles (28 Sep - 3 Oct 04) regarding voter fraud, arrests & investigations (Pages 198 - 209):

29 Oct 04, Authorities Thursday filed felony election fraud charges against two Milwaukee men accused of falsifying voter applications in Racine and Kenosha:

Milwaukee D.A. Expresses Anger About Voter Fraud Investigation (At FAIR, Not the Registration of Noncitizens):
Alas for Mr. McMann, he's now a target of a federal investigation bwahahaha.

Q: Is it true? Lawsuits for-No ID to vote? Illegal aliens to vote? Felons to vote?

And the list just goes on & on & on. If you want more, Google "Racine vote fraud register"

Bottomline, both parties should be 100% against fraud of any kind. Otherwise, the day will come when the shoe is on the other foot. It just so happens that the shoe fits the Democratic party.
Andy | Email | Homepage | 02.01.05 - 4:37 pm | #



There are sooo many points I wanna comment on here...

First, it is a full 24 hours since Powerline posted it's 'miscreant' slam and promise to deliver it's fact-checked Racine story rebuttal.

I won't hold my breath.

Second, don't you f**king dare lump Lefty blogs in with the Right blogs, judging us equally guilty of sloppy fact-checking. I could offer up examples from La Shawn Barber, Wizbang and Say Anything right now, and dare you to match it in scope.

Just for starters, I have Media Matters, The Progress Report and DU Archives as frequent sources for supportive evidence when I blog. I cannot recall any instance in the last two years of blogging, where my writing has been effectively challenged as Powerline has been.

I also happen to write for the political commentary site WatchBlog.com, and there is a reason why we have a constant problem of attracting Conservative writers.

Wanna venture a guess?
thatcoloredfella | Email | Homepage | 02.01.05 - 5:08 pm | #



Didn't mean to lump lefty and righty bloggers together on the grounds of faulty fact-checking, just that there is a tendency for hype to cloud reasoning. Reading that last bit over, I can tell it wasn't very clear.
John | Email | Homepage | 02.01.05 - 5:36 pm | #


Um, TCF? I wouldn't brag too entirely much about using DU as a reference for anything. Or Media Matters, either.
Ryan | Email | Homepage | 02.01.05 - 6:00 pm | #


Aw John, don't cave in so fast! Stand fast to your lumping of Lefty & Righty blogs as deficient in fact-checking.

Media matters has dsylexia, and dare I say 2/3 of what should be in DU Archives is permanently filed in the memory hole. So what!

[quote]Second, don't you f**king dare lump Lefty blogs in with the Right blogs[/quote]

What's thatcoloredfool gonna do, if you dare? Come over and slit your throat, like that Coptic family? Please!!! Dude needs to take a chill pill or two and slap McGruder in the morning
Andy | Email | Homepage | 02.01.05 - 6:19 pm | #


Ryan and Andy,

Here's where you need to put up, or...

Read what I said about Media Matters and DU:

as frequent sources for supportive evidence when I blog

Pretty clear, huh? I know you CEC dwellers have successfully demonized these groups, but I don't quote them. Instead, I use the wealth of evidence, facts and source links to bolster my case.

The problem for you, is that you can't (scared?) prove the carefully researched evidence like at Media Matters is wrong, with something more credible than your opinion.
thatcoloredfella | Email | Homepage | 02.01.05 - 8:00 pm | #



Just for starters, I have Media Matters, The Progress Report and DU Archives as frequent sources for supportive evidence when I blog.

Dude, do you have any idea how often (at least the DU) they've been debunked? Let alone "allowed" their posts to be dropped through the memory hole, for some inexplicable reason? Come on, man, drop the tinfoil hat, if even just for a moment. Read www.noematic.org/mine, he's at least leftist, without the nonsense. And he's smart.
Ryan | Email | Homepage | 02.01.05 - 9:57 pm | #


People, People just read what John said.
If Hinderaker, et. al. really had a problem with Gage's allegation, all they had to do was send her an email and ask her nicely to verify the source and information. But, clearly it was far easier for them to impugne {sic} her credibility than to take a few minutes to check her story out

Media matters and DU are great resources but the do not replace primary sources. Blogs can be a rumor mill (remember High School?), isn't it better to talk to the people directly involved before adopting a position based on hearsay?

Bloggers may want to be journalists but the should first be investigators. Talk to the people who are primary sources and distinguish between those with an agenda and bullshit.

It's the only way for the amateur sleuth to blog....
Scaramouche | Email | Homepage | 02.01.05 - 10:58 pm | #


Scara, you can talk directly with the raving paranoid on the street. That doesn't make the raving paranoid any more correct. Come on. There are holes so huge in Gage's "research," the Strib should never have run her piece. But, they did. All bloggers may not be journalists, but neither is Gage.
Ryan | Email | Homepage | 02.02.05 - 4:40 am | #


Bloggers are so sensitive...
I've gotten into arguments with bloggers who claim that things I was an eyewiness to never happened. John, maybe you want to bring up the me and BillC example here about the Ottawa protests. He's an actual columnist on top of that and his piece went to print, plus It's a little less recent, so it might not be such a sore spot and can illustrate your point.
Enjoy the widening interest in your blog! there's definitely some new names in the comments section.
Ottawarotic | Email | Homepage | 02.02.05 - 8:20 am | #



You are correct, talking to raving paranoids on the street doesn't make the story any more correct. However, not talking to an eyewitness doesn't make the story any more correct. We can parse witness testimony and consider the source, but if one doesn't do the digging and just make bald statements of fact that doesn't give them any more credibility in my book.
Scaramouche | Email | Homepage | 02.02.05 - 9:55 am | #


Danica McKellar, if I read a newspaper, circle an article I found interesting, and hand it on to you, whose credibility would you question: me, or the newspaper? Because, in essence, that's what pretty much most bloggers do, including Power Line. Power Line didn't make a "bald statement of fact." They cited a news source. And the facts, then and now, back them up. So, Gage is barking up entirely the wrong tree, in my opinion. Besides that, she skewed her own research to fit her preconceptions. It's right there in her "research."
Ryan | Email | Homepage | 02.02.05 - 10:41 am | #


Hinderaker cited Agape Press...not exactly the Washington Post or Wall Street Journal. Either he knew he was passing along info from a shady source, or he isn't as smart as his readers think he is.
Danica McKellar naked. | Email | Homepage | 02.02.05 - 11:10 am | #


Considering that commenters here have been gleefully stating that they cite from the DU and Media Matters, I don't think anyone here can really point fingers at Power Line for citing a "shady" source. Pot meet kettle; kettle, pot.
Danica McKellar nude. | Email | Homepage | 02.02.05 - 11:28 am | #


That person wasn't posting information from those sources and passing it off as though it were fact. Slight difference there.

The difference between Gage and Power Line, is that Gage did do some fact-checking and went to the source of the issue. Power Line didn't, and not only that, but relied on a sketchy source.

I'm still not sure how you can argue that the facts back them up then and now.
Danica McKellar naked. | Email | Homepage | 02.02.05 - 12:55 pm | #


I'm still not sure how you can argue that the facts back them up then and now.

Um, because they do?

Allegations of voting fraud in Racine had been reported going back as far as August, and it was reported on many, many times (see also: Andy's comment).

Then, as per Gage's Research:

I asked her if she would name the individual or group in question. She declined to name the individual

Just because she refused to name the individual doesn't mean the individual doesn't exist which, apparently, the individual very much does exist, but Gage chose to ignore that and say there was no evidence, despite said evidence staring her right in the face in her "research." So far, the Agape article and, by extension, Power Line, have been proven correct. I mean, over and over and over again.

How you can't see THAT is what I'm unsure of.
Danica McKellar topless.| Email | Homepage | 02.02.05 - 1:23 pm | #


Ryan, ditto, ditto, ditto. Essentially, PL simply said hey, check this out and presented a link to Agape when excerpting a couple of paragraphs.

Gage's implication of PL pooh-poohing the fact-check issue is to make a mountain out of a molehill.

1) the reports of voter registration fraud had already been circulating since August (anyone remember ACT hiring ex-cons to sign up new voters? How stupid is that? Perfect cover for a sex-convict or burglar to get up close to potential victims, scope em out and come back later--anyhoo). PL, along with Cap'n Ed and countless others have already had a running list of questionable activities. The Agape article was just another in the series that ONLY interested Gage because it was her hometown.

2) Instead of taking PL to task, she should have started and ended with the substance of Agape's story. Many oher bloggers also referenced the article, why bring PL into it?

3) Because of fact-checking? Aha, Gage reports that PL blew her off during the lecture about the need to fact-check. Duh??

Since when is someone obligated to fact-check a story by linking/reference? If you're going to write a story, then by golly, you better check your facts.

If you're merely pointing out a story written by someone else, then this is where the so-called self-correcting comes into play -- IOW, I pass it along and you decide.
Reader A sees it and says, "Hey, I'm from there and I know, I have something to add."
Reader B says, "Hey, I saw something somewhere else that corroborates the story and here's the link."
Reader C says, "Hey, that story is bogus and here's why."
And so on and so forth, etc, etc.

Where in all this is PL obligated to fact-check anything within this scope? Only if he's going to write up a story .

Gage fails to appreciate the fact that this is but one type of blogging, as in linking as opposed to pundit-ting (is that a word?) or opining.
Andy | Email | Homepage | 02.02.05 - 2:53 pm | #



Do me a favor. Bring me an example of Media Matters.org being 'debunked', and let us decide who is right!
thatcoloredfella | Email | Homepage | 02.03.05 - 6:03 am | #


Ooh, a last gasp from TCF.

I say:

Dude, do you have any idea how often (at least the DU) they've been debunked?

To which, TCF responds:

Bring me an example of Media Matters.org being 'debunked'

With sleight of hand like that, TCF, you could write op-ed pieces for the Star-Tribune.

Do you care to actually address the debate at hand, or would you like to continue to try and shift said debate?
Ryan | Email | Homepage | 02.03.05 - 6:52 am | #



For the record (and hopefully the last time), I haven't been able to find one single source of news information from a credible source since the end of October regarding the SPECIFIC incident of voter fraud alluded to in the original Power Line post.

Are there other incidents and allegations of voter fraud in Milwaukee and Racine being reported in the media? Yes, just yesterday I saw one. But there is no indication that they involve the issue that Gage's editorial, and Power Line's orginial post, addressed.

It's actually you that is using sleight of hand by trying to argue that other voter fraud allegations are equal to the one we're talking about here.
Danica McKellar nude. | Email | Homepage | 02.03.05 - 7:39 am | #



John. . . ?

I asked her if she would name the individual or group in question. She declined to name the individual

And now, I ask you to define "credible," because:


Is FAIR any more or less credible than, say, the DU, Media Matters, or even Gage's shoddy research, for that matter?

You know going in that PL is a conservative blog. It's hardly a secret. And even Agape Press touts itself as Your source for issues-related news from a Christian perspective, which also basically screams CONSERVATIVE.

Cross-check that with Media Matters (this is for you, TCF): For the first time, Media Matters for America has put in place a system to monitor the media for conservative misinformation -- every day, in real time -- in 2004 and beyond.

They don't come right out and SAY they're a liberal spout-machine, partially funded by George Soros, but it's pretty danged obvious. Danica McKellar nude.

All of which is beside the point, anyway. You're saying that PL shouldn't have linked and cited from an article from Agape Press, to which I simply say. . . pffft. Under that reasoning, I can never again link to any news item I ever see (or circle a newspaper article and hand it to someone else) unless I first go out and try to find articles that contradict that. I certainly don't see YOU doing that, and it's pretty obvious that your's is a liberal blog, which is fine. Whatever.

I do think it's admirable, however, that you contacted Gage directly, despite what I think of her flawed journalistic research. That's a little bit of legwork I couldn't do during my workday, so kudos for that.

And, yes, I can maintain a comment debate for far longer than is probably healthy. But, I'm not as bad as that Joshua guy from www.noematic.org/mine, however. He can go on into perpetuity.
Danica McKellar nude.| Email | Homepage | 02.03.05 - 8:11 am | #


Oh, and for what it's worth, PL offered up a rebuttal:


So, TCF? You can stop holding your breath now.
Ryan | Email | Homepage | 02.03.05 - 9:05 am | #

Posted by Ryan at February 3, 2005 04:27 PM

Ha ha. Glad you kept these comments going!

I've got some questions about Hinderaker's response that I'm trying to work out, so hopefully I can post that soon. I'll trackback this comment to let you know.

Posted by: John at February 3, 2005 04:59 PM


Posted by: john at February 3, 2005 06:25 PM

Ryan, how do I post pictures to you? I have a classic (with caption) that I feel that, with your journalistic credibility and all, you'd like to run.

Posted by: Simon at February 4, 2005 09:30 AM


Kerry took a dive in the election race…
now i've got egg on my face…
bushpussy cheated like we knew he would…
our pseudo-democracy appears to be gone for good…

i got drawn in, i even cared…
kerry quit, didn't care if the race was declared…
both were cousins, and were skull and bones…
america collapses, world calls in its loans…

the grand result of a well thought out plan…
manipulate the masses, they all pay the Man…
one world currency, one world police…
micro-chipped population, all freedoms cease…

manipulate the dummies, divide and rule…
dumb down the masses, don't fund the schools…
propaganda is the news and up is down…
democracy's in the past, bunnypants wears the crown…

history repeats itself, the masses never learn…
salem witch trials are coming back, they want everyone to burn…
low-lifes and lizards fight over the spoils of pimping the fear…
we evolve out of their dimension and into the clear…

george bushpussy couldn't finish hitler's poop…
c'mere judith miller, i've got your scoop…
half-wits, nitwits, dipshits and dumb twits…
lizards, politicians and bankers can eat shit…

we're not afraid, we poop out our fear…
the love vibration scares them just like a mirror…
they're on the wrong side of history, it's the evolution of the soul…
these scum can't touch us now even with a ten foot pole…

good riddance lizards, and cRapture heads...
go shape-shift back to your cages before your skin all sheds…
the truth comes out via the internets…
you rule us no more, you become our pets.

== LOVE reduces fear to nothing… LOVE is a stronger vibration…
This is an actual fact... Hate is merely fear of the unknown…
Therefore, with fear eliminated, hate vanishes. ===

Posted by: the girl with the photos of Tom DeLay being fucked up the ass by a rhinoceros at February 4, 2005 09:56 AM

Simon, you can e-mail it to me at yossarian9@hotmail.com

As for that last comment? No comment.

Posted by: Ryan at February 4, 2005 11:13 AM

"...we poop out our fear..."

"You become our pets."

That's some funny sh*t, right there.

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