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August 04, 2006

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SteveMG

Mr. Duck apparently cries foul (yeah, original ain't I?) not because the photo qua photo was wrong but because it handed the rightwing crazies a weapon to use against progressive enlightened forces.

Not right.

I guess if Malkin et al. didn't complain or weren't able to leverage the incident for political gain, then the Duck wouldn't have criticized Hamsher?

Not much of an argument it seems to me. It would be like saying Mel Gibson was wrong to say antisemitic things not because it was wrong to say antisemitic things but because liberal/left forces would use his ugly behavior to criticize the Catholic church or conservative Christians.

No, Gibson/Hamsher were wrong because they were simply wrong. Not for any other reason or reasons.

SMG

noah

Geez TM doesn't take much to catch your attention. Surely you jest!

Pathetic.

Extraneus

Although you have to ask, other than the fact that it's good for politically correct jousting competitions, what exactly is wrong with "blackface," anyway? I mean, I realize "niggardly" and now "tar baby" aren't permitted utterances anymore, but if someone drew a dot on their forehead, or wore a fake fu-manchu moustache, or got decked out in some American Indian body-paint, would anyone complain?

Maybe this one crossed the line, but I don't like it when the right uses the race card any more than I do when the left does.

noah

Extraneous...who on the right forced Hamsher to post the item in question? Get over yourself.

Other Tom

I think the whole thing was tasteless, but not that big a deal other than it's an embarrassment to Hamsher. It will have zero effect on the primary.

Neo

Extraneous...uttering "tar baby" only seems racist to bigots.

Patton

Anyway, on to bigger issues.

Since no one else is saying it in the media - except maybe Rush Limbaugh, but I also believe Isreal knows what the hell they are doing.

Its pretty easy to see that Isreal had a plan from the get-go. They have attacked the strategic targets first and broke a whole in Hisbollahs lines.

I believe Isreal has intentionally not gone after the Katushya because they need them to keep being fired in order to continue the war long enough to envelope Hizbollahs front lines.

I think Isreal has been using much of its air assets to destroy Hizbullahs infrastructure but will soon concentrate on the front lines. They probably have been watching many of the Katushya launchers and haven't gone after them because the Hezbos would change their tactics. Isreal probably wants to hit most of them at the same time or obver the course of a few days so the Hisbohs don't have time to react and change their tactics.

Isreal has knocked out alot of the strategic capability and ability to communicate with the frontlines.
The Hezbos front line troops are the best trained and Isreal will envelope them, cut them off and kill them.

Probably by the end of next week.

jwest

This incident has brought some surprising reaction on the left.

Digby, although slow on the uptake, has a group of commenters who recognize not only the arrogance of the liberal elite’s use of this image, but the way it came to being in the sycophantic echo chamber of FDL.

Not since Mao has speech been so thoroughly been monitored and controlled than the blog of FireDogLake. Hamsher’s writing is universally adored and agreed to by everyone who is allowed to comment, under pain of insult and banishment. Without dissent, or even mild suggestion that her pronouncements are less than perfection in print, she has found that the normal bounds of taste and judgment don’t apply to her.

It’s heartening to see at least some on the left denouncing what they see as an oppressive dictatorial cult in their midst.

topsecretk9

jwest

Digby criticized her? Or his commenters went off townhouse message?


I agree that Hamsher is one of the biggest hypocrites of the left-o-sphere. Even Kos allows diarist to criticize him. She led the WAPO comment jihad like a rabid dog at the same time deleting comments on her own blog that didn't even come close to the vile nature of the ones WAPO wiped.

I knew the woman was a joke when invited to WAPO chat and instead of engaging the debate on the larger questions and making any decent contribution shewasted all her opportunities fixed on the actual deleted comments. It was ridiculous.

So as always, sand paper snatch, rape gurney joe, blackface...she's a loudmouth who dishes out crap and puts her fingers in her ears when she blows it.

Charlie (Colorado)

Extraneous...uttering "tar baby" only seems racist to bigots.

Now, that's not completely true --- you left out idiots.

jwest

TS9,

Sorry for the confusion.

Digby predictably defended Hamsher, but a surprising number of his regular commenters showed a remarkable grasp of facts, logic and intellectual honesty by equating her blog to a North Korean reeducation camp.

Foo Bar

Ah, yes, I vividly remember the Malkin/Matthews incident, as it was the first time I was motivated to email a blogger (Malkin). After the show, Malkin expressed outrage in her blog about her treatment on the show:

Matthews frantically stuffed words down my mouth when I raised these allegations made in Unfit for Command that Kerry's wounds might have been self-inflicted. In his ill-informed and ideologically warped mind, this transmogrified into me accusing Kerry of "shooting himself on purpose" to get an award.

I repeated that the allegations involved whether the injuries were "self inflicted wounds." I DID NOT SAY HE SHOT HIMSELF ON PURPOSE and Chris Matthews knows it.

Yet from the show transcript, there was this:

MATTHEWS: No. No one has every accused him of shooting himself on purpose.

MALKIN: Yes. Some of them say that.

OK, so Malkin did not say he shot himself on purpose. She merely said that some of his fellow soldiers say that. I felt compelled to write Michelle to applaud her for drawing such a subtle but crucial distinction.


Other Tom

Malkin was confused; Matthews was far more confused. Two of Kerry's three purple hearts--the first and the third--were almost certainly awarded for accidentally self-inflicted wounds which did not occur while not engaged with the enemy. For an officer to have accepted either of them (let alone pursue them aggressively) is disgraceful.

Tom Maguire

OK, so Malkin did not say he shot himself on purpose. She merely said that some of his fellow soldiers say that. I felt compelled to write Michelle to applaud her for drawing such a subtle but crucial distinction.

Well, this ties in nicely to the Libby question about the accuracy of one's memory, and the sort of testimony his memory expert will deliver. [LINK]

*ASSUMING* that Ms. Malkin had not reviewed a transcript, she may be perfectly sincere in her memory. For example, in the passage cited by Foo Bar, what Matthews said was "No one has every accused him of shooting himself on purpose" but Ms. Malkin may have reframed that in her mind (either at the moment or afterward) as "No one ever accused him of having a self-inflicted wound".

And of course, Kerry has been accused of exactly that, and correctly so.

All that said, anyone who checks the full transcript will see that Foo Bar had a pretty lame "gotcha" - Malkin and Matthews were going back and forth on "self-inflicted" versus "shot himself on purpose", and neither one did a good job of identifying the distinction between "accidental " and "intentional". To take from one little snippet the notion that Malkin endorsed (or attributed to others) the "shot self on purpose" definition when the two of them are so obviously talking at cross purposes is pretty weak.

Never having been live with Chris Matthews, I don't know whether to blame nerves, lack of preparation, or what.

topsecretk9

How much money has Malkin raised for Lieberman again?

Independence is all for the taking, Lamont didn't take that.

larwyn

TM,
It's not the transcript that should be checked - it's the actual video.
Matthews was screaming at her and cutting her off. Michelle was a bit floored and he kept repeating
and attacking. Transcript will show that she doesn't get to finish sentences - doubt it will show the talk over going on.
This happened when I was watching Hardball to just keep track of the Lefty meme. It was as crazy as Lawrence O'Donnel.

Addison

Lost in the Malkin/Matthews issue is a more important fact:

Malkin wasn't there to talk about that.

She was there to talk about something else. Matthews ambushed her with that, as apparently the only person he could find who had _read it_.

"So, my publicist arranges for me to go on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews on Thursday night to talk about my recent columns on the FBI and national security profiling and my new book. "

So to critize her for not being on-the-spot with defenses of a book she didn't write, and had merely been an interesting reader is completely out of the pale.

Foo Bar

*ASSUMING* that Ms. Malkin had not reviewed a transcript, she may be perfectly sincere in her memory

Well, TM, in that same blog post of hers she links to the transcript (right after the "Keep bringing it on" and the ***). Plus, I emailed her at the time after reading her post and pointed out to her the "yes, some of them say that" sentence in the transcript. Yet there's not even a "at one point I misspoke"-style admission in any kind of update to her post. You're right, though- she may well be sincere in her memory, since she may not have carefully read the transcript she linked to and may not have read my email. One can maintain quasi-sincere beliefs in the face of contrary evidence if one is sufficiently motivated to avoid contemplating any such evidence- we certainly all saw how that worked in '02 and early '03.

anyone who checks the full transcript

To take from one little snippet the notion that Malkin endorsed (or attributed to others) the "shot self on purpose" definition when the two of them are so obviously talking at cross purposes is pretty weak.

Anyone who checks the transcript thoroughly will also note this exchange:


MATTHEWS: I want a statement from you on this program, say to me right, that you believe he shot himself to get credit for a purpose of heart.

MALKIN: I‘m not sure.

and this exchange:


MATTHEWS: If he shot himself on purpose. No. I have not asked him that.

MALKIN: Don‘t you wonder?

That is clearly an endorsement by Malkin of the idea that "shot himself on purpose" is a plausible theory. So we have one instance of her misspeaking (?) and two instances of her floating the hypothesis that he did it on purpose as something with real plausibility. And we know she's aware of the transcript- she even links to it. And despite all that she still had "I DID NOT SAY HE SHOT HIMSELF ON PURPOSE" in her post. I'd say that kind of outraged denial is reminiscent of the finger-wagging "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" (with "she merely serviced me" left unstated).

Foo Bar

Ms. Malkin may have reframed that in her mind (either at the moment or afterward) as "No one ever accused him of having a self-inflicted wound".

"Yes, some of them say that" was in response to the sixth time Matthews had used "on purpose". At that point, do you really think it was unclear to Malkin that Matthews was asking about whether intent was being alleged?

Malkin and Matthews were going back and forth on "self-inflicted" versus "shot himself on purpose", and neither one did a good job of identifying the distinction between "accidental " and "intentional"

...

the two of them are so obviously talking at cross purposes

I disagree. Matthews clearly recognizes that "self-inflicted" is ambiguous, and might be taken to imply "on purpose" but does not necessarily imply that. That's why he was so insistent on getting Malkin to clarify herself. So what you call "cross purposes" I would call "Malkin refusing to answer the questions Matthews was asking". For instance, when Matthews asked "Is there—is there a direct accusation in any book you‘ve ever read in your life that says John Kerry ever shot himself on purpose to get credit for a purple heart?", why couldn't the response there have been "No" ?(or "Yes"- who knows, maybe there is an accusation like that in one of the books)

So yes, Matthews kept interrupting her, but that was because she was refusing to answer his question. Malkin clearly wanted the best of both worlds- she wanted to state the evidence in a way such that some of the viewers might infer intention on the part of Kerry, but she wanted to do it without explicitly saying anything about intention. Matthews called her on it and was trying to get her to clarify herself. Indeed, eventually, he does squeeze out of her "I'm not sure" and "Don't you wonder?", i.e., explicit statements that it's plausible that Kerry did it on purpose.

Cecil Turner

So yes, Matthews kept interrupting her, but that was because she was refusing to answer his question.

Sorry, not buying any. Malkin stated clearly that there were legitimate questions about the wound being self-inflicted (which wounds, in general, do not entitle one to a Purple Heart). Matthews asked if it was intentional, which was neither asserted nor particularly pertinent to the discussion. As such, his question wasn't "clarification" but a change of the subject. (And, obviously, neither Matthews nor Malkin are particularly well-informed on the subject matter, and so tend to miss the point.)

Foo Bar

Matthews asked if it was intentional, which was neither asserted nor particularly pertinent to the discussion. As such, his question wasn't "clarification" but a change of the subject.

Here is where she originally brings up "self-inflicted":


MALKIN: Well, yes. Why don‘t people ask him more specific questions about the shrapnel in his leg. They are legitimate questions about whether or not it was a self-inflicted wound.

Are you denying that some casual viewers without military experience might interpret that to mean that it was intentional (or, at least, that there is a significant possibility that it was intentional)? Maybe it's obvious to you, as a veteran, that there's no implication of intent there, but I don't think it's obvious to the average person, so I think Matthews was correct to insist on clarification. It was certainly pertinent to the larger question of whether Kerry was fit character-wise to be president, which was the larger point of the whole discussion. And in fact, as Matthews eventually extracted from her, she did think, on the basis of the evidence, that there was a possibility the wounds were intentionally self-inflicted. So, although you say it was "not asserted", she had indeed asserted something which she herself believed to be somewhat suggestive of intentional self-wounding. Matthews was just trying to get her on the record explicitly regarding that.


In any event, he is the host of the show and as such generally is understood to have the prerogative to ask the questions he wants and "change the subject" when he wants to. If a pundit had an explicit policy of refusing to answer any talk-show hosts's questions whenever the topic drifts in the slightest, do you think that pundit would get invited on many shows?

Tom Maguire

FWIW, and I am engaged in an even sillier argument elsewhere:

1. Earlier in that same dhow Thurlow explained the self-inflicted grenade shrapnel quite cogently but did not use the phrase "self-inflicted; I presume Matthews was not listening.

2. *AFTER* the "gotcha" on which Foo Bar hangs his hat, Matthews says this to Malkin:

I haven‘t heard you say it.

Well, I don't expect Mathews hears much of anything. But in the great gotcha game, it sounds like Malkin and Matthews agree that she never addressed his point.

I suspect the video would be helpful, as Larwyn notes. Meanwhile, sorry, Foo Bar, you are not going to convince me that Malkin was promoting the notion that Kerry shot himself on purpose. There's no question she did a bad job and was not prepared, but she had not been booked for her expertise in the Swift Boat arcana anyway.

Foo Bar

sorry, Foo Bar, you are not going to convince me that Malkin was promoting the notion that Kerry shot himself on purpose

No need to apologize for being unconvinced. You are not the only audience for my comments, of course. There's also no need for you to apologize if you choose not to address whether "*ASSUMING* that Ms. Malkin had not reviewed a transcript, she may be perfectly sincere in her memory" is still operative now that I've pointed out that she linked to the transcript in her own post. It's your blog and you're free to address or ignore what you wish, of course.

I haven‘t heard you say it.

That's a fair point. It certainly was a confusing, heated exchange, and what she was and was not saying was certainly a bit muddied. What he did or did not hear doesn't change what she said, though, and in combination with the "I'm not sure" and "Don't you wonder" responses, it does seem to me that she would not have been displeased if viewers came away from that show wondering if he hurt himself on purpose.


I am engaged in an even sillier argument elsewhere

I agree, in that dwelling on the details of what Michelle Malkin did or did not say 2 years ago is probably not the best way to spend a weekend. You brought it up, though.

In any case, I wouldn't shed too many tears over her rough treatment on the show. She got plenty of new blog readers out of the incident- including me, for a while, until I found more talented and reasonable conservative bloggers to read...

Foo Bar

OK, because there's really no topic too trivial to obsess over, I've got the YouTube for you folks.

If you can watch this clip and still contend that Ms. Malkin was scrupulously and diligently avoiding any implication that he might have shot himself on purpose, well... I give up.

Another data point (around 1:07 in the clip):


MATTHEWS: This is not a show for this kind of talk. Are you accusing him of shooting himself on purpose to avoid combat or to get credit?

MALKIN: I‘m saying that‘s what some of these

What do you suppose the referent of "that's" is? And I suppose the snappy comeback is "he didn't let her finish, so we'll never know", but I don't see how you can parse even that fragment without "that's" referring to "he shot himself on purpose".

Have I mischaracterized "I'm not sure" at 1:33 or "Don't you wonder?" at 2:10? Are those not instances of her pushing the notion that it's entirely possible he shot himself on purpose?

Moneyrunner

Foo Bar, are you being deliberately obtuse, or is it and act? When Malkin states that Kerry suffered a self-inflicted wound, Matthews literally changes the subject by asking if she claims he purposefully shot himself.

No Swifty ever claimed that Kerry deliberately “shot himself.” Where does Matthews get that accusation? The claim is that he was hit with shrapnel from his own weapons. That means he was a klutz, and that he went after medals for injuries that he caused to himself. If that distinction is lost on you, you are a stranger to nuance.

What Matthews is attempting to do is lie about the claims by deliberately exaggerating the accusation. And he prevents an explanation by Malkin by deliberately not allowing her to finish her sentences.

Foo Bar

What Matthews is attempting to do is lie about the claims by deliberately exaggerating the accusation

No Swifty ever claimed that Kerry deliberately “shot himself.” Where does Matthews get that accusation?

Moneyrunner,

How do you figure that Matthews was lying/exaggerating about the claims when he himself said during that segment:

MATTHEWS: No. No one has every accused him of shooting himself on purpose.

???

So when Matthews makes his own declarative statement about the Swift Vets claims, he correctly notes that no one said Kerry did it on purpose.

With his persistent questioning, he was simply trying to get Malkin to acknowledge explicitly what he (Matthews) himself had said, i.e., that none of the vets said it was on purpose. All she had to do to put an end to the badgering was begin one of her responses to one of his "on purpose" questions with a "No". Unfortunately, it appears she was in some special "Chris Matthews=Enemy => must not respond to any question of his in a way that might sound like a concession" mode, so she couldn't bring herself to say "No" to his repeated question, and when she finally does answer it directly she says "I'm not sure".


That means he was a klutz, and that he went after medals for injuries that he caused to himself. If that distinction is lost on you, you are a stranger to nuance.

No, of course that distinction is not lost to me, as I would have hoped my previous comments, indicating that "self-inflicted" might be taken by some listeners to imply (but does not necessarily imply) intention, would have made clear.

Here is how things are supposed to work: Suppose Person 1 makes a claim, X, that does not necessarily imply a more outrageous claim Y, but might be interpreted by some to suggest it. Then, if Person 2 asks, "Wait, are you claiming Y?", all the first person has to do is answer "No". See how easy that is? By asking a question rather than declaring that Person 1 claimed Y, Person 2 is not stuffing words down Person 1's mouth. Person 2 is merely trying to achieve some clarification. If Person 1 responds unambiguously in the negative, then all is well. But Person 1 has to do that for this thing called a "dialogue" to work.


Cecil Turner

Are you denying that some casual viewers without military experience might interpret that to mean that it was intentional (or, at least, that there is a significant possibility that it was intentional)? Maybe it's obvious to you, as a veteran, that there's no implication of intent there, but I don't think it's obvious to the average person, so I think Matthews was correct to insist on clarification.

If the question is whether or not Kerry deserved a Purple Heart, the main question is whether or not it was self-inflicted (not "intentionally self-inflicted"):

Examples of injuries or wounds which clearly do not qualify for award of the Purple Heart are as follows: [ . . .]
(h) Self-inflicted wounds, except when in the heat of battle, and not involving gross negligence.
There is no objective reason to pretend "intentional" was the issue, nor for Matthews to pursue that point as he did.

If you can watch this clip and still contend that Ms. Malkin was scrupulously and diligently avoiding any implication . . .

Thanks for the clip link (and I think it supports nothing so well as larwyn's point above). That certainly wasn't the implication of her original statement, which is precisely the question that should have been asked of Kerry, exactly as she said. Matthews's badgering over "on purpose" is a red herring, and looks to me like an attempt to pretend that was the main issue and avoid the subject of illegitimate Purple Hearts.

Foo Bar

Alright, I just can't seem to let it go. Must be slightly displaced Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Let's contemplate the implications of Matthews' "I didn't hear you say it" a bit more. It's strange enough for her to write "I DID NOT SAY HE SHOT HIMSELF ON PURPOSE and Chris Matthews knows it" when she repeatedly refused to answer "No" to the question "Are you saying he shot himself on purpose?". It's even stranger to write that given that he said to her "I didn't hear you say it" on the air. A suggested addendum to that sentence: "... and Chris Matthews knows it- and said as much during the segment, which... uh... renders my all-caps outrage in the first part of this sentence rather unjustified".

Ah, well, I really ought to let it go. After all, pointing out discrepancies between what someone says and the facts is just a silly, pointless game of gotcha.

Cecil Turner

It's strange enough for her to write "I DID NOT SAY HE SHOT HIMSELF ON PURPOSE and Chris Matthews knows it" when she repeatedly refused to answer "No" to the question . . .

Except it happens to be true. And, however "strange" Malkin's refusal to answer the question might have been, Matthews's asking it in the first place (and pretending she implied "intentional"--or that it was pertinent) was far stranger. Judging by Matthews's modus operandi, his badgering may well have been an attempt to get a flat "no" out of her, and then pretend that applied to the larger issue of whether the questions about Kerry's PH's were legit (supported by stupid cross-talk and derisive guffaws from Brown). I think she was right to avoid the trap.

Foo Bar

Except it happens to be true

First of all, the implication of "and Chris Matthews knows it" is that Matthews had not publicly acknowledged what he believes, and that implication on the part of Malkin is false. Matthews said "I didn't hear you say it".

Now let's turn to the accuracy of "I DID NOT SAY HE SHOT HIMSELF ON PURPOSE". Irrespective of what did and did not register with Matthews, FWIW the proprietor of this blog seemed to acknowledge at one point in this comment thread that the "I DID NOT SAY" statement of hers was essentially false, and that this was a teachable moment about the way that a Libby-like bad memory can lead someone to state sincerely-held falsehoods (under the assumption that she hadn't reviewed a transcript). Then it was pointed out that she linked to the transcript in her post, and the lesson about faulty memories ended early.

and pretending she implied "intentional"

I see, so "self-inflicted" could not possibly have been taken by the audience to imply intentional, yet Malkin herself clearly inferred that the wounds were quite possibly intentional, as her "I'm not sure" and "Don't you wonder" responses demonstrate.

his badgering may well have been an attempt to get a flat "no" out of her, and then pretend that applied to the larger issue

OK, so in response to "Are you saying he shot himself on purpose?" she could have said "Accidental self-wounding does not entitle a soldier to a Purple Heart" or something along those lines. The first word out of her mouth would have cleared things up- no time for Matthews to cut her off- and she avoids saying "No" and avoids appearing to give up an inch.

Even if she hadn't been that quick on her feet, she surely could have squeezed something in about accidental self-wounding at some point after a "No" response. Even if he changes the subject after that, a determined guest like her on that type of show can manage to get that point across at some point.


And regarding the idea floated by others earlier in this thread that she's somehow excused because this was not what she was booked for, there is this from her blog (emphasis mine):

A few hours before the show, a producer calls to tell me I will be on for two segments--the first topic will be the Swift Boat Veterans, the second topic will be related to the book. Fine. This is the news business. I understand the need to go with the flow and cover the hot issues of the day. I am prepared to discuss both topics.
maryrose

FooBar:
What a ridiculous discussion and yes your BDS is in full view. Bottomline-Kerry would do anything and everything to shorten his Vietnam stay once he realized the danger of his location and posting. Whether he was a Klutz or did it on purpose is besides the point. He obtained his ultimate objective which was to get out in 4 months time so that he could come back and then trash all his fellow soldiers as they tried to survive and defend our freedom and ultimate security. A lousy excuse for a human being? You will find no argument here.

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