Friday, June 18, 2004

Dueling Lie Detectors At Dawn

Here's an interesting conundrum. Joe Scarborough of the Scarborough Report picks up an accusation by Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard editor that's currently under heavy circulation in right wing media that Michael Moore totally fabricated an alleged 1988 interview he then went on to publish in his 2002 book "Stupid White Men". Right wing pundits across the board are using this to discredit Moore's upcoming Fahrenheit 9/11 movie. Michael, of course isn't backing down and posted his rebuttal where he wonders why Barnes is only *now* crying fowl when the ultra-conservative Washington Times (of Rev. Moon fame) also published his interview back in 1988. Even if Barnes himself didn't happen to pick up the Times that day, you'd think someone in the right wing journalistic circle would have seen it and informed him of it (if not someone from the Times, itself). I mean, Barnes' own Weekly Standard lists the Washington Times in their weblinks which implies that Barnes finds them a credible news organization.

I can see where less politically-minded folks would get very frustrated with all this "Liar! Liar! back and forth fingerpointing by the right and the left. I'm starting to get more than a little sick of it myself. But here's the difference I've seen lately in the wild accusation department. The left wing, like Moore (and Franken who I've been listening to a great deal) will actually back up their accusations of Liar! by going straight back to the source. They'll let the audio tape or publication speak for itself, and proves how the right wing takes that same information and takes it totally out of context (or pulled it out of thin air). The right wing, on the other hand will quote "so and so said they heard/read it on so and so... and that person surely wouldn't have run with it if they didn't think it was true". You can see exactly how this happens in Alexandra Polier's own account of how the right wing "journalists" (and yes, I use that term very, very lightly) took totally unsubstantiated rumors about her and spun it into a "known" affair with Kerry.

In this case, it doesn't look like there are any first hand sources to corroborate either of their positions. Unfortunately Moore, apparently didn't tape the interview or he'd have made the tapes available, I'm sure. Barnes, however can't be as certain the interview did *not* take place as he's leading his readers to believe or he'd have slapped Moore with a libel suit in a heartbeat. Isn't that's what you or I would do if somebody had totally made up something that we'd never said and made *us* look bad, then tried to make money off of that lie?? If you're wanting to discredit someone there's no better way than to sue their ass, right?

So that leaves us with one option as I see it. Dueling lie detector tests at dawn. You could have Rush and Franken as seconds. My bet's on Mike, though.... any takers?

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