Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Sunday, July 27, 2003
by Scoobie Davis
Treason is Scaring the Right
David Horowitz's Front Page Magazine has a symposium on Treason and Treason doesn't fare well. Sam Tanenhaus of Slate on why Coulter scares the American right. Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post Book Review on the badness of Treason.
Friday, July 25, 2003
by Scoobie Davis
Ann Coulter: Plagiarist
The following is an article by Daniel Borchers of CoulterWatch:
Jayson Blair Redux: Ann Coulter’s Plagiarism and Truth-Twisting
My previous essay provided a cursory examination of Ann Coulter’s post-9/11 Human Events columns. This essay provides a detailed look at how plagiarism has plagued Ann Coulter’s own work.
The (Almost) Lost Art of Plagiarism
With the release of two anticipated best-sellers this June, political junkies are poised for the battle between two women in Bill Clinton’s life. Senator and possible presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s Living History challenges columnist and jingoistic guru Ann Coulter’s Treason (subtly subtitled, Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terror).
In 1998, Regnery’s clever marketing ploy for Coulter’s first book, High Crimes and Misdemeanors, was “Bill’s Last Blonde.” Now, Crown’s clever marketing ploy for Treason is, “Which blonde would Bill Clinton rather go to bed with?”
Chris Matthews recently asked Coulter about these new book releases (Hardball, 5/1/03):
MATTHEWS: “Let me ask you, why’s your book going to be better than Hillary’s?”
COULTER: “Well, for one thing, because I wrote my book.”
MATTHEWS: “Are you charging Hillary with plagiarism or having a ghost writer?”
COULTER: “No, no, well, of course, she has a ghost writer. I mean, I don’t think that’s disputed or particularly dishonorable. But I believe you write your own books.”
Coulter chided Hillary Clinton for not writing her book when, as it turns out, Coulter’s first book, High Crimes and Misdemeanors, was not entirely her own. Coulter borrowed some sections from a co-worker whom she later disavowed even knowing. Portions of High Crimes and Misdemeanors were unquestionably plagiarized from Michael Chapman and portions may even have been ghostwritten by David Wagner.
1998 – Other Authors of High Crimes and Misdemeanors
Circa Feb. 12th – Terence P. Jeffrey (Editor, Human Events) and Michael Chapman (Clinton reporter for Human Events), were originally tasked with writing a book on impeachment.
Circa Feb. 13th – Jeffrey dissolved the agreement because he didn’t believe that Clinton had committed an impeachable offense.
Feb. 19th – Regnery asked Chapman to ghost-write the Coulter book.
Feb. 20th – Chapman presented Regnery with a proposal containing similar terms and conditions as his previous agreement with Jeffrey.
Circa Feb. 23rd – Mark Ziebarth rejected Chapman’s conditions, which included insistence on co-authorship credit and copyright retention.
Circa March 2nd – Ann Coulter entered Chapman’s office, demanding his files and research. Chapman says, “She was adamant, impatient, and acted as if she deserved those files.” Chapman later gave those files (paper and electronic) to Thomas M. Winter (Editor-in-Chief, Human Events). “Tom told me that he was sure they would have to give me some type of credit or acknowledgement.”
Early March – David Wagner (former writer for Insight magazine) took possession of the office next to Chapman’s to ghost-write the manuscript for Coulter. Chapman says, “Wagner was ghostwriting the Coulter manuscript. He had Human Events articles and the booklets on impeachment and other materials in his office. Everyone in the office knew what was going on. It was no secret.”
August – Regnery published High Crimes and Misdemeanors under Coulter’s sole byline.
Dec. 17th – Michael Chapman sent a letter to the Trustees of the Phillips Foundation:
From what I have seen so far, verbatim passages from my writing are found on pages 121, 122, 219 and 220 of the High Crimes book. Rewritten passages are reproduced on pages 125, 126, 127 and 220. Other material I wrote is paraphrased on pages 123, 124, 203, 204, 205, 214, and 218.
Furthermore, mostly all of chapter 18, ‘Wampumgate,’ is a rewrite or paraphrase of reporting I did for HE. …
No one else did this work. No one else sifted through hundreds of pages of documents and depositions. …
Maybe I’m naïve. But I don’t believe in taking another reporter’s work and publishing it under someone else’s name without at least some acknowledgment or citation. That’s deceitful, misleading – ironically, two of the labels ascribed to Clinton in the High Crimes book.
2001 – The Truth is Revealed (Briefly)
October, 2001 – Rumors about Chapman’s work reached the Boston Globe and Coulter’s attack machine immediately went into action. Coulter threatened lawsuits and denied ever knowing – or having heard of – Michael Chapman (rather strange as Coulter and Chapman attended weekly editorial meetings at Human Events).
Richard E. Signoreli, Ann Coulter’s lawyer, sent Alex Beam an email to dissuade him from publication.
I am legal counsel for Ann Coulter. I write in connection with an article that I understand you are preparing about my client and her book, High Crimes and Misdemeanors. You should know that Ms. Coulter’s book was not ghostwritten at all. Ms. Coulter researched and wrote the entire book from beginning to end with no assistance whatsoever from any ghostwriter.
This e-mail will put you on notice that the information you are receiving from a Michael Chapman about this subject is completely false. Ms. Coulter does not even know who Mr. Chapman is and Mr. Chapman did not contribute any writing or research for her book.
We consider any statement by anyone that Ms. Coulter’s book was ghostwritten not only to be totally and recklessly false, but libelous as well. Ms. Coulter’s reputation will be significantly harmed if such a statement was printed in your newspaper. Please be advised that legal action will be taken against you, the Boston Globe, and Mr. Chapman if your article states that Ms. Coulter’s book was ghostwritten, or was even partially written by someone else.
October 18, 2001. The Boston Globe story was published.
…But now Coulter is facing less welcome publicity – the suggestion that she is not the sole author of the 1998 bestseller “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” that brought her to national prominence as a telegenic Clinton-basher and poster girl for the right-wing establishment.
The charges were first leveled in a memo by Michael Chapman, formerly a colleague of Coulter’s at the conservative weekly Human Events. In December 1998, shortly after Coulter’s book came out, Chapman complained to his bosses that a lot of his original research and reporting – carried out for a special 1997 Human Events supplement called “A Case for Impeachment” – ended up in Coulter’s book. In several instances, he wrote, his work was reproduced verbatim, paraphrased, or slightly rewritten, but never acknowledged. Chapman had originally volunteered to ghostwrite the impeachment book, but Regnery Publishing, which is owned by the same company as Human Events, didn’t sign a contract with him. Instead, David Wagner, then a writer at Insight magazine, was hired to write a draft of the impeachment book project. …
Regnery’s executive editor Harry Crocker said Wagner “drew some stuff together. Ann read those chapters and she read Chapman’s work as well. They offered some basis for source material, but it was my impression that she threw those drafts away as irrelevant. ... If you took a page of [Chapman’s impeachment report] and a page of her book, she thinks you wouldn’t find any overlap. The book is 100 percent Ann Coulter.” …
Richard E. Signoreli, Ann Coulter’s lawyer, sent Beam a second email, this one to encourage a retraction. In the second, Signorelli wrote:
Your October 18, 2001 column suggesting my client Ann Coulter engaged in a misuse of the May 23, 1997 Human Events Impeachment Report is recklessly and intentionally false. You have falsely identified a Michael Chapman as the author of the Report. In fact, Ann Coulter was herself a co-author of the May 23, 1997 Human Events Impeachment Report.
As is obvious on the face of the report, Chapman was the sole author only of the introduction to that report (which is not the source of the statements you cite as evidence of misuse.) The rest was a Human Events staff report that lifted passages directly from, among other things, Ms. Coulter’s earlier columns in Human Events. It is outrageous – intentionally malicious – that you neglect to mention the indisputably crucial fact that Ms. Coulter herself was part author of the very report you accuse her of misusing. Incidentally, Ms. Coulter still does not recall knowing Mr. Chapman. …
As I repeatedly informed you, Ms. Coulter researched and wrote all of High Crimes and Misdemeanors from beginning to end with no assistance whatsoever. Her editor and publisher can confirm this. …
Errors in these two emails from Coulter’s lawyers include:
· If Coulter was a co-author of the Special Report, this contradicts her claim of not knowing Chapman.
· Material from Chapman’s article (“Casino Lobbyist: ‘I talk to Al Gore a Lot,’ Wanted Veep to Intervene with Babbitt,” by Michael Chapman, Human Events, February 13, 1998) was not in the Special Report, but was in Coulter’s book.
· The Special Report first appeared as a special supplement in the May 23, 1997 issue of Human Events. Michael Chapman was the sole byline, with no reference to “Human Events editors.”
· The booklet version of the special report (“A Case for Impeachment?”) also has a sole byline for Chapman. Of its approximately 50 pages, Ann Coulter provided short sections subtitled “The Law” on pages 10, 15, 23, 27, 31, 34, 38 and 43 (a total of 24 paragraphs out of 50 pages). The remainder of the material was not Coulter’s. The plagiarized portions were not part of those paragraphs.
· Coulter’s editor and publisher do not confirm that Coulter had “no assistance whatsoever.” Coulter had the benefit of the writing, research and analysis of both Michael Chapman and David Wagner.
Pundette’s Pattern of Prevarication
Coulter’s credibility credentials have become a journalistic joke. Last year a whole host of publications weighed in to criticize Coulter. Among them, the Chicago Sun Times (twice), the St. Petersburg Times, and the Columbia Journalism Review. A number of websites arose to debunk Coulter’s flights of fantasy, including anticoulter and Slannder.
George Deutsch, in “A sign of the times,” writes:
As Universal Press Syndicate columnist Ann Coulter put it, “Blair’s record of inaccuracies, lies and distortions made him a candidate for either immediate dismissal or his own regular column on the op-ed page.” … But the facts are clear. Blair’s decisions and actions lacked ethics and integrity. As a reporter, he cared only about himself and furthering his career at the expense of the truth – the one thing every reporter should hold dear. Then why did The Times keep him around?
One could similarly ask why Human Events keeps Coulter around. Despite Coulter’s own questionable journalistic credentials, she continues to castigate the New York Times for the Jayson Blair affair:
COULTER (5/21/03): “In the current Newsweek magazine, Seth Mnookin reports that Blair was forced to resign from the student newspaper at the University of Maryland, The Diamondback, for precisely the same misconduct he engaged in at the Times – phony reporting, plagiarism, irresponsibility and fantastic lies.”
As we have seen, Coulter has her own problems with “plagiarism, irresponsibility and fantastic lies.” If the shoe fits, Ann, should wear it. It’s high time Coulter got off her Times-bashing obsession and entered into serious discussion of the issues. It’s equally imperative that Human Events exercise the same integrity as the Times by examining Coulter, who has engaged in “precisely the same misconduct” as Jayson Blair.
Daniel Borchers, Founder and President of Citizens for Principled Conservatism, is available for interviews in person, by telephone at (240) 476-9690, or via email at PrincipledConservative@yahoo.com.
Primary research and reporting for this piece was done by Daniel Borchers, with initial articles published in BrotherWatch – “The Plagiarism Trap“ – and issued in a press kit released in June 2002 – with a copy forwarded to Human Events. The editors of Human Events have refused to comment on these issues, as recently as June 9th of this year.
Unrelated Googlebomb: Sean Hannity
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Monday, July 14, 2003
by Scoobie Davis
The Los Angeles Times Finally Gets It Right
Last year, in the book review for the Los Angeles Times, Slander received a free pass mainly because the reviewer was a former flack for George W. Bush (click here and here). The Times got it right this year by assigning the review to Jacob Heilbrunn, a distinguished writer and policy analyst. Heilbrunn lets Coulter (and Andrew Sullivan) have it.
Also, James P. Pinkerton wrote a good commentary in the LA Times on Coulter and her love affair with Joseph McCarthy.
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Monday, July 07, 2003
by Scoobie Davis
Liberation Through Mocking the Hard Right
Here are the reasons I monitor the hard right: 1) Their paranoia is entertaining (e.g., Chick tracts) and fun to mock.(e.g., I love telling zombie followers of Lyndon LaRouche in an ominous voice that I’m one of Henry Kissinger’s agents; I also like telling members of Jews for Jesus that I’m a Hindu for Buddha); 2) It is important to inform people that the kook right has taken over one major party (along with neo-confederates, assorted ignoramuses, and people living in the 19th century); and 3) It is a good way to achieve enlightenment. Right-wing rhetoric is like a Zen koan, it serves as “[a] tool of meditation intended to upset and unbalance the mind...[and] helps the open and relaxed mind to conjoin things ordinarily incompatible and to break through conceptual barriers imposed by language.”
Today as I listened to new radio show by Joseph Farah, nutburger conspiracy theorist and Scaife Monkeyboy (click here and here), I experienced satori due to contradiction overload. Farah’s guest was Ann Coulter and they discussed how Joe McCarthy was unfairly maligned. Farah asked Coulter if there was anyone presently who is being as unfairly treated as Tail-gunner Joe. Coulter’s answer: Ken Starr. I got through to the call line and even though the screener didn’t let me past to question Coulter, I was able to communicate to him that the show was tripping me out.
Andrew Sullivan took some well-deserved shots at Coulter. Here’s where Sullivan got it wrong. 1) Michael Moore is not a Coulter of the left; sure, Moore has gotten things wrong, but his errors and rhetoric are not one tenth as poisonous as Coulter’s; 2) the American media is not, as Sullivan claims, “biased to the left.” 3) Sullivan argues: “American politics has been badly damaged by the scruple-free tactics of those like Michael Moore and Ann Coulter.” Everything Moore says or writes is scrutinized and criticized by the right. Coulter, Limbaugh, Ailes, Farah, Scaife, and Christopher Ruddy have been able to get away with murder because people like Sullivan were largely quiet in the 1990’s. In fact, when David Brock came clean about the heavily financed dirty tricks operation he was involved in, Sullivan tried to smear him as a liar. Go figure.
Friday, July 04, 2003
Thursday, July 03, 2003
by Scoobie Davis
Taking up the Slack
Since I'm as motivated to read Treason as I am to go out and help Rush Limbaugh shop for a thong, it is good that others are taking up the slack. Here's one site with a lot of graphics. Don't get me wrong, I know the theme of Treason and it is wrong; it just takes a lot of time to research the claims made in it; I spent a lot of last year's summer researching Slander and I'm proud of the fruits of my labor. It's good that others are out there. I'm am praying that the book review editors of The New York Times. Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post get a clue; they didn't for Slander.
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
by Scoobie Davis
Yes, She is a Racist
Since I began critiquing Slander last year, I've received a lot of emails claiming that Ann Coulter is a racist and anti-semite. I couldn't confirm any of the charges, though I wouldn't put the accusations past her. Today's Daily Howler has an article on Coulter's slur against Arabs that they have body odor problems. That's not the first time Coulter made a crack against the hygiene of the Islamic world: Last year, I pointed out a similar crack Coulter made as the substitute host on the Dennis Prager radio show; here are Coulter's comments in her "Religion of Peace Update":
Now all of this about respect. And we’re always told Muslims feel humiliated—that’s why they slaughter Americans. It really is stunning how the people with the least self-respect are those most obsessed with others paying it to them. What I find is that a little soap and indoor plumbing goes a long way for your sense of self-respect. I would recommend it over flying planes into buildings.
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
by Scoobie Davis
Must Read Article
I apologize for not having read Treason yet. One of the reasons that I wasn't motivated was that I assumed (wrongly) that Coulter learned her lesson regarding at least not outright lying and that Crown Books had employed a factchecker or two for the book. I was wrong. Brendan Nyhan of Spinsanity has a devastating review of the book. Apparently, Coulter came up with a false quote of former President Clinton; I noticed this quote when I browsed the book. According to Coulter, Clinton said, "They have good reason to hate us ... after all, we sent the Crusaders to try and conquer them." I copied the quote and checked the internet and found nothing. Nyhan checked Nexis and Google and found nothing. Coulter didn't footnote the quote. Did Clinton say it? If he did, what words did Coulter remove with her use of the ellipsis? This is relevant because she spent a paragraph denouncing the supposed idiocy of this statement. Nevertheless, Nyhan wrote a great article; read it.
UPDATE: Nyhan has a follow-up article on Coulter and Treason.