Just How Stupid Is John Hinderaker?

Since I’m busy ragging on right wing blogs this morning, might as well point out another — if a bit old — bit of nonsense by John Hinderaker. You might remember Hinderaker as the Powerline blogger who believes that video never lies. That struck me as beyond bizarre at the time — you’d thing conservatives would know just how easily video can lie, given how 60 Minutes and other mainstream media outlets have used selective editing to do exactly that for decades.

But the depth of Hinderaker’s bizarre view of film and photography was made clear to me today in the matter of a dustup over a Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photograph. The photograph shows terrorists in Iraq executing two election officials.

Back in December, Hinderaker all but accused the Associated Press of working with terrorists in order to get that picture. But Hinderaker’s suppositions rest on a very specious assumption — namely that there are no such things as telephoto lenses!

At the time, Hinderaker wrote (emphasis added),

The photographer was obviously within a few yards of the scene of the murder . . .

Obviously? Hinderaker has never heard of telephoto lenses? And this was a key component to the argument, since if the photographer was just a few yards away, its difficult to understand why he’d make himself such an open target by simply continuing to take pictures rather than run like hell. If he’s a few hundred yards away, however, its not implausible at all, and out goes the “the photographer must be working with the terrorists” argument.

In fact, according to the Associated Press, the photographer was about 300 meters from the terrorists when the picture was taken.

You mean photographers don’t have to be within a few yards of an event to capture it on film? I don’t know — better check with Hinderaker to see if such a thing is possible.

More Lies From Powerline on Schiavo

As I noted a couple weeks ago, Powerline helped spread the nonsensical claim that Terri Schiavo had never been given the sort of tests that people would normally be given to determine if they were in a persistent vegetative state. Now, Powerline’s John Hinderaker is simply lying about what his blog said about the controversial Terri Schiavo memo.

This was a memo that the Washington Post obtained that were talking points put out by the Republican leadership about the Schiavo case. Among other things, the memo said that being out front and center on the Schiaveo issue would have political benefits.

After the Post story appeared, Powerline questioned the memo’s authenticity. In fact they said it was a fake. Hinderaker wants to deny that now. He says here (emphasis added),

We were “wrong” in the sense that we laid out the evidence and said that based on the available evidence, we thought that the memo was a fake. We did not report as a fact that the memo was a fake, and we did not purport to have any information that was not publicly available.

That’s a lie. Powerline’s Scott Johnson made a post that can be read here about a Washington Times story that was titled, “Was the Schiavo memo a fake?” The title of the Powerline post was clearly a response to that question and reads:


I guess if you just ignore the post where they came out and said the memo was a fake, then maybe they didn’t really say the memo as a fake. Maybe it depends on the definition of “answer”. . .

At this point I actually have more trust in Daily Kos than I do in the folks at Powerline (i.e., next to nothing)

Powerline Still Sucks

Take it from Powerline’s John Hinderaker — video never lies,

Predictably, mainstream news outlets are trying to defuse the video’s impact. Like this Reuters report: “Schiavo Videotape Misleading, Experts Say”:

Studies of people whose cerebral cortices are damaged in the way Schiavo’s is show that their eyes will respond to stimuli such as movement or a human face, but there is no way for them to be conscious of what they are seeing.

Have you ever noticed how much faith liberals have in “studies”? And I believe it is undisputed that Terri Schiavo has never been given the tests normally used to diagnose a persistent vegetative state, apparently because her husband refuses to allow them.

There may have been a time in my life when I had more faith in experts and studies than in my own eyes. But that was a long time ago.

Who you going to believe — a few second snippet pulled from who knows how many hours of video or experts trained in diagnosing medical conditions such as PVS?

Clearly, the video.

And note that Hindraker is simply wrong about his claim that Terri Schiavo has not “been given the tests normally used to diagnose a persistent vegetative state.” She’s had CT, EEG and CAT scans and all of the usual tests to determine if someone is in a persistent vegetative state. Hindraker’s shot at Michael Schiavo is especially absurd — surely even an idiot like Hindraker has to know that court appointed doctors have performed tests to determine if Terri is in a PVS. It’s not like Michael would be able to step in and say, sorry, I won’t authorize that test Your Honor!

Presumably Hindraker and Powerline might care about the facts if this involved a questionable memo about Bush’s National Guard Service — otherwise, damn the facts and full insinuation and ignorance ahead!

Powerline Points Out Another Bogus Quote Moyers Used

Powerline picks up on the whole James Watt bogus quote that I’ve been writing about the past week. Powerline also notes that Moyers misquoted Zell Miller.

Moyers’ piece claimed,

The only Democrat to score 100 percent with the Christian coalition was Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia, who recently quoted from the biblical book of Amos on the Senate floor: “The days will come, sayeth the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land.” He seemed to be relishing the thought.

And why not? There’s a constituency for it. A 2002 Time-CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies found in the book of Revelations are going to come true…. Drive across the country with your radio tuned to the more than 1,600 Christian radio stations, or in the motel turn on some of the 250 Christian TV stations, and you can hear some of this end-time gospel. And you will come to understand why people under the spell of such potent prophecies cannot be expected, as Grist puts it, “to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth, when the droughts, floods, famine and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the Bible?

Look, those Christians are so nutty, they want famines. Except Miller was not talking about a literal famine. As Powerline notes,

But the quote attributed to Senator Miller had nothing whatever to do with the environment. Here is the full quote, as recited by Senator Miller: “The days will come, sayeth the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land. Not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the word of the Lord.” The subject of Miller’s speech was not environmental policy, but Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction.

All from the same Bill Moyers who a couple years ago was whining about the threat that media-misinformed voters posed to our democracy. But this is pretty prophetic,

It often happens in democratic countries that many men who have the desire or directed toward that light, and those wandering spirits who had long sought each other the need to associate cannot do it, because all being very small and lost in the crowd, they do not see each other and do not know where to find each other. Up comes a newspaper that exposes to their view the sentiment or the idea that had been presented to each of them simultaneously but separately. All are immediately in the shadows finally meet each other and unite.

Take out the word “newspaper” and substitute “weblog” and you’ve got a perfect description of the current state of affairs. Powerline is almost certainly correct that pre-Internet these two small misquotes would have almost certainly never been corrected, and Moyers would have gotten away with bersmirching both Watt and Miller.

Kerry As Coughlin?

Watched the debate tonight. It’s like Diet Coke vs. Diet Pepsi — both of them leave me with a nasty aftertaste. My political views are much closer to Bush than Kerry, but it was interesting to see Kerry go after Bush on relatively conservative issues, such as the fact that Bush never met a spending bill he didn’t sign.

One of the odd things is seeing the nutcases on the right and left out in force. I admired the folks at Powerlineblog.Com for their work publicizing the CBS fake memos, but here’s John Hinderaker had to say tonight about Kerry,

My main impressions: One, I had underestimated Kerry. I’ve always thought of him as a rather dull-witted stiff. But that’s wrong. He is a demagogue of some genius, like Father Coughlin or Huey Long, with, I think, the psychopathology that that implies.

That just takes Powerlineblog.Com over the line into right wing nutcase land. The comparision with the anti-Semitic Father Coughlin is especially outrageous. The psychopathology implied seems to say more about Powerlineblog.com than Kerry.