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Huh?!?: The American Prospect Controversy

| 17 Comments | 1 TrackBack

OK, this is annoying.

Tapped - The American Prospect - now throws down the legal gauntlet toward a critic.
The Prospect has taken the appropriate legal steps against Nevaer to ensure that he not persist in spreading these defamatory and false allegations. Any individual or organization who reproduces his false allegations may face similar action.
OK, so what the hell are these nuclear allegations? Clicking through Steve Sailer's site to the "afro-american-and-hispanic-dialogues" site, there's this:
Special Report: Ana Sofia examines if there is an anti-Latino bias at the American Prospect magazine.
But the link doesn't work Just scroll down and read about a conflict between a journalist and a curator...

As far as I can piece together, Sailer noted (as have others) that the demographics were working against the Democratic Party as the exurbs trend redder and grow faster. He may have wrapped that in some racially-tinged comment about "white births".

Tapped uncorked on him by pointing out that he's involved in the far-right vdare site, and slamming him as a racist.

He replied that pot=kettle, and that the above quoted article cited Tapped for racism.

Tapped replied by slamming the credibility - and existence - of the above article's author, and suggesting instead that it was written by someone who is involved in some messy lawsuits - involving accusations of stalking, partner abuse, and God Knows What Else.

There are just sooooo many problems here.

First, I can't for the life of me understand Tapped's reaction (in the form of the above post by Garance Franke-Ruta).

The guy (Sailer) made some political claims, they either can or can't be refuted, there's evidence on both sides - let's have a debate.

It's legitimate to point out that the guy has a history intellectually as a way of framing the argument. It's legitimate, but not dispositive, because at some point you have to get back to what facts we can find and argue about those.

Accusing him of racism does leave one open to accusations back at you - in both cases, it's throwing sand in the hopes that the reader will be blinded.

But Tapped steps far over the line in two ways - first, by the overt threat quoted above to act against Nevaer and anyone who has the temerity to reproduce the allegations; and second, in failing to confront the allegations and instead dredging up a messy-sounding but inconclusive legal contremps as a way of attacking the messenger and believing the issue will go away.

I've said in the past that I think these tactics are cheesy and worthy of public opprobrium when they are done by amateur bloggers.

To see it being done by a professional publication beggars belief.

1 TrackBack

Tracked: December 30, 2004 3:26 PM
How It's Done from chez Nadezhda
Excerpt: Self-described intellectual elitist Abiola Lapite is a math whiz who is up to speed on the shoddy arguments of white supremacist cranks like Steve Sailer. So up to speed in fact, that he

17 Comments

Seems like there's an easy way to take care of this. They could call the people who read American Prospect - all six of them - and ask if any of them are Latino.

If one of them says yes, they could say "Oh God, oh God, we love you guys, please don't believe anything you might have heard." Problem effing solved.

Annoying? You kidding me? This is hilarious. To summarize, Ana Sofia's report at the link A.L. provides lays out this sequence:

  • A Hispanic foundation's post 9/11 tribute to the missing is attacked in a mean-spirited article by a leftist reporter from the Prospect.
  • Complaints are lodged that this article is an attack on Latinos. Which isn't so clear to me, but DOES create a leftist dilemma: Hate Amerikkka, or support a designated victim group that says it's aggrieved? Choices, choices...
  • Ana Sofia claims that the Prospect writer, Franke-Ruta, began to make harassing phone calls to the complainants, and began making attempts to set them up through third parties. This should be easy enough to verify or disprove.
  • On April 9 the linked piece notes that Franke-Ruta quoted from the exhibition literature, but by April 24 she is denying having been informed of the contents of the exhibition material. Franke-Ruta also says she took notes, but Sofia alleges that Franke-Ruta has not presented them when asked.
  • Jose Martinez, Director of the Centro de Estudios Eticos, who surveyed American Prospect's articles at Ana Sofia's request request, claims that he randomly selected 300 articles available at Prospect.org, and did an authorship diversity and content analysis, as well as a diversity analysis of the editorial staff. I make no claims about its methodological rigor, but this sort of activity is certainly familiar to any followers of liberal-backed diversity initiatives, which are then used to judge and/or allege racism if the sample is judged to be unrepresentative. Amusingly, Mr. Martinez did so judge.

See under "Petard, Hoist With Own"...

Meanwhile, TAPPED claims that this investigation is without merit and malicious, everything in it is "categorically untrue," and they're gonna sue. Nevertheless, Ana Sofia notes that they seem to have:

1) Removed Franke-Ruta's biography from its "Editor's [sic] Biographies"? (JK: all I can say is, it ain't there right now)

2) Cancelled her weekly column? (JK: no opinion, I'd have to read TAP to know)

3) Removed "Franke-Ruta" from their "Search Engine" function - a touch reminiscent of Stalin - at Prospect.org? (JK: tried this - it returns 0 search results... odd if she wrote a weekly column and at least 1 article, no? But one reader managed to find the info. )

4) Removed Ferrelli's Letter-to-the-Editor and Franke-Ruta's rebuttal that document both his challenging her veracity in April 2002 and her quoting from material she received at the exhibition that she proclaims she never received? (JK: "Ferrelli" also returns 0 results)

Ana Sofia forgot the part about TAP suddenly deciding that all that lib-left hoo-hah about diversity isn't supposed to be applied to THEM. Good Lord no, that's only for plebes! And maybe red-state types (in New York, same thing).

Bottom line: Ahhh hahahahahahahaha!!!!

Oh, and one more thing...

"Erin Pressley and Garance Franke-Ruta of American Prospect were granted the right to reply to this article almost SIX weeks prior to publication in a good faith effort to exercise due diligence. The first version was sent, certified mail 7004 0750 0000 0165 1846, on June 24, 2004. The second version, published now, was sent, certified mail 7004 1160 0001 3503 2528, on July 22, 2004. Neither Pressley nor Franke-Ruta reported any error of fact, but their attorney threatened to sue Mesoamerica and this writer, and harassed individuals who made material available in the course of this report. Mesoamerica Foundation is one of the sponsors of the "Afro-American-and-Hispanic-Dialogues.org." Miguel Bretos sits on the committee supervising the application of "Missing" to become a Smithsonian Affiliation program. "Missing" traveled to 17 cities throughout 2002 and was seen by 435,000 visitors."

That's it. My Christmas is made! Thanks, A.L.!!!

I suppose this could get funnier. I hope it does. You just can't make this stuff up.

Hit-piece journalists have been getting away with this, and worse, for years and years. How delightful to see that the blogosphere can catch them out while they are still at a relatively early stage in their careers.

Franke-Ruta will now either have to find a different line of work, clean up her act, or be dogged by this story the next time she pulls the same trick, and the time after that, and the time after that. Hooray!

He may have wrapped that in some racially-tinged comment about "white births".

But actually it wasn't racially tinged. Sailer was just pointing out that the super high correlation with Bush's vote only holds if you look at the white fertility rate. If you lump everyone together then the correlation doesn't show up.

That's not "racially tinged". It's just a number - the number of babies per white woman rather than the number of babies per woman - that happens to predict Bush's vote on a state by state basis at a very high level, more than any other number trotted out to date. More than the percentage of blacks, more than education level, more than income, more than all that stuff.

I don't know why that's so. But for Franke-Ruta to attack the number is really weird. It's really a case of shooting the messenger rather than scratching your chin over why that correlation exists and what to do about it, if anything can be done. Surely the Democrats shoudl be interested in the single best state-by-state predictor of Bush's vote so that they can combat it.

Steve Sailer here:

In defense of Franke-Ruta, let me quote what I wrote on my iSteve.com blog:

http://www.iSteve.com/04DecA.htm#ruta

Franke-Ruta Accused of Racism! Amusingly, Franke-Ruta has herself (himself?) been accused, at vast length, of racism by a civil rights activist organization, who objected intensely to an article she wrote for The American Prospect. (This was discovered by the blog Across Difficult Country.)

To read the original indictment of Franke-Ruta's purported racism, go here and scan down to "Special Report: In Attack on Hispanics, American Prospect's Garance Franke-Ruta Is Accused of Journalistic Fraud." (http://www.afro-american-and-hispanic-dialogues.org/pages/3/)

I must confess that my eyes glazed over while reading about Franke-Ruta's and The American Prospect's alleged high crimes and insensitivities against Latinos. What I saw of it before nodding off seemed no more persuasive than what she wrote about me.

On the other hand, as Across Difficult Country asks, why should the benefit of the doubt be extended to Franke-Ruta if she won't extend it to me? Good question. It's often those who live in the glassiest houses who are most inclined to throw stones to distract from the fragility of their own abodes.

Well, it being the Christmas season, I shall give Franke-Ruta the benefit of the doubt anyway.

Steve Sailer here again:

Although Franke-Ruta wrote some obnoxious and absurd things about me (my response is at http://www.iSteve.com/04DecA.htm#smear ), she shouldn't be silenced for her own political incorrectness.

In further defense of Franke-Ruta, let me point out that she is sometimes quite a bit more honest than most liberals about issues like race and crime. For example, in a 2002 review of Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine," she attacked the movie for roughly the same reason I did in my "Baby Gap" article ( http://www.amconmag.com/2004_12_20/cover.html ).

She wrote:

http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2002/11/franke-ruta-g-11-22.html

"My beef with Moore is this: He has managed to make a movie about gun violence in America -- where 53 percent of the gun murder victims are black -- without interviewing a single black victim of gun violence, or even asking black community leaders, who have spent decades successfully trying to combat the problem, for their insights. Instead, to explore a phenomenon that has devastated inner cities and is a horror primarily in urban areas -- nearly 70 percent of gun murders take place in cities, according to U.S. Deaprtment of Justice statistics -- Moore has made a movie that takes as its focal point the Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colo., a type of crime (five or more victims) that represented one-tenth of 1 percent of murders that year and that occurred in a white, prosperous, suburban community...

"Young black men ages 14-24 make up only 1 percent of the U.S. population but around 15 percent of the murder victims. Nor are Moore's suburban white gun owners, no matter how ridiculous their fears, the reason that black Americans were six times more likely to be murdered than whites in 1999, and seven times more likely to commit homicides."

Personally, I think The American Prospect could use more of the kind of honesty Franke-Ruta is showing in the two paragraphs I quoted above.

What she appeared to be doing by attacking me in such a frenetic and irrational manner is the old trick that when the wolves of political correctness are closing in on the sleigh, throw somebody even more politically incorrect to them to distract them. "When they came for Steve Sailer, I led them to him, etcetera etcetera"

Obviously, I don't appreciate her ploy, but I certainly don't think it's in American political discourse's best interestes for her to be devoured by the politically correct either.

Steve -

Thanks for dropping by, but it certainly isn't my intention to silence Franke-Ruta, to the contrary my objection is to her efforts to silence critics through threat of litigation, rather than argument.

A.L.

Finally, let me point out that since I wrote my "Baby Gap" article, I've discovered two more demographic factors that correlate to an extraordinary degree with Bush's share of the vote by state:

You can read about them here: http://www.vdare.com/sailer/041212_secret.htm

(The correlation coefficient for this measure is a spectacular r = 0.91.)

and here:

http://www.vdare.com/sailer/041219_housing.htm

If you want to understand what drives voting in this decade, you really need to read my three articles. Both Republicans and Democrats could benefit from understanding the underlying mechanisms. (Please don't rely on David Brooks' interpretation of my work - go to the source!)

I've read everything that's linked above and I still don't understand under what premise TAP is threatening leagal action. Do they have problems with 1) someone pointing out that they don't have many Hispanics, 2) the accusations of racism, or 3) something else? If it's 2) then they should be expecting lawsuits from everyone they've accused of being racist, and if it's 1) they'll have to sue one of their own writers, since, for example, Matthew Yglesias has pointed out that they don't have any blacks on their staff either.

Franke-Ruta: 3 points deducted for employing the familiar "racist-by-association" instead of factually analyzing Sailers argument. Katzman analyses her actions well above.

Sailer? Well, if your problem is Franke-Ruta is doing something bad by not attacking your claims/statements in an intellectually honest fashion, but rather slinging mud, you can't then attack her claims/statements by slinging mud right back (even if - sweet, sweet irony - it's the same mud she slung at you.)

Sailer did good by pointing out she didn't even address the facts and that her r.b.a. claims are factually wrong, but that's where it should have ended. That extra "Well, you're just as bad as me. Look what X says about you." wasn't called for - especially with the attempt to get the Daily News on her for the same thing too.

If your point is "all that should matter are the facts of the argument", then all that should matter are the facts (especially if - perhaps - the person who made the claim against her is an all out loon.)

I know I would have seen red and done worse than Sailer given the news article on him (and that particluar irony is just soooo delicious (and on a liberal too!)), but, if we're keeping score...

Sailer: 1/2 point deducted.

I only write this cause I expect more of "our side" and cause I like Steve's stuff so much.

Steve,

With respect, we're trying to stay on topic here. A.L. and I really didn't get into your views one way or another, and in my case (I can only speak for me here) the reaon I made zero mention of you wasn't because I have anything against you personally, but because it undercuts the clarity of the argument re: the TAPPED situation.

While your material may be relevant in other contexts, it has no bearing in that one except as the incidental trigger for a bizarre but very humourous serious of moves by TAPPED re: Nevaer et. al. There were a few things we could have a very civilized disagreement about, but like I said, none relevant to the issue A.L. is dealing with.

Your comments re: Franke-Ruta were highly relevant, of course, and very much in the Christmas spirit too. Can we agree to cool it on the other stuff in the comments section? Folks have a link to your blog, and can read the rest on their own (as I did).

Hmmm.

shrug it makes perfect sense to me. The modern Democratic Party has an orientation based on it's own bias and beliefs. First that women are continually oppressed by men in the home, workplace, politics and in reproductive rights. Second that minorites, well selected minorities, are being oppressed by whites in all aspects of modern life.

So why would anyone care to associate with those that hold them as the root and cause of modern America's ills and the ultimate source of oppression?

So naturally I'd expect white Americans, most especially white men, to turn away from the Democratic Party. You can see an aspect of this ideological contempt in tv shows. Forty years ago the starring role model would have most likely been a white man. Now that role has gone to minorities and women while white men are quite often portrayed as idiots. And more likely to be portrayed as idiots if they are married.

Horseshit. The Prospect isn't threatening to sue anyone just for calling them racists. They're threatening to sue anyone who repeats Afro-American and Hispanic - Dialogues' accusations against Franke-Ruta of "journalistic fraud"; specifically, of "deceit" and "fabrication" in an article for the American Prospect, and of subsequent "threats", "conspiring to set up an interview under false pretences", "lying", and "harrassing". This isn't, as Armed Liberal pretends, a pot-kettle issue; it's either (as Dialogues claims) an exposure of professional misconduct, or (as the Prospect claims) a vicious personal defamation.

To find the article on Dialogues' web page, Armed Liberal said "Just scroll down". If he'd said "Search for 'Franke-Ruta Is Accused of Journalistic Fraud'", he might have tipped off his readers to the absurdity of his own claims.

This is really bizzarre. Franke-Ruta's bio and the original article are currently available at TAP's site http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?name=View+Author&section=root&id=820. Ana Sofia seems to have caught Franke-Ruta in some ethical lapses; but where does the charge of anti-Latino racism come from? If anyone could be accused of this, it is Sailer. In some respects his work is interesting because, unlike about 90% of commentators on the "Red State-Blue State" divide, he has actually run some numbers and found, surprise, that being married and having children is strongly correlated with voting for the more conservatice candidate. He has a lot of intersting articles like that in which he bothers to do some number-crunching instead of just shooting his mouth off. Unfortunately, he seems always to come back to an assertion that unchecked immigration from Mexico is at the root of all our problems. Franke-Ruta nailed him when she pointed out his ties. So we are supposed to discredit Franke-Ruta because someone unhappy with one of her articles accuses her and her publisher of being anti-Latino? This would have been laughed out of the court of public opinion if TAP had not decided to make a legal threat filled with unsavory details of Nevaer's personal life. What the heck is going on here?

I'd rather discuss the Vdare point of view on immigration.

I have had a few discussions with several of the writers there over the last five or six years.

I find them always civil and considerate if approached in a civil manner with the object of discourse in mind.

So how 'bout a new topic.

The left is comitting the ultimate political sin:

they are boring and uncivil.

M. Simon... a new topic is exactly where discussion of VDARE's views on immigration would need to take place, per my request above to Mr. Sailer.

TAP,the Vermont of political magazines.

Keep it up,this all very revealing(and not just the TAP hypocrisy).

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