August 19, 2016

"Once the folks at The New Yorker learned of Althouse's callout, the conversation among those involved might have gone like this...."

Tom Blumer at NewsBusters imagines the scene at The New Yorker after its editors read my post telling them that "libtard" wasn't "Rush Limbaugh's favorite epithet" — as stated in Pankaj Mishra's "How Rousseau Predicted Trump." I knew from listening to the show that it wasn't his favorite epithet, and I found out from searching his archive that he never used the word.

Excerpt from the imagined dialogue:
Fact Checker 2: Well, we haven't found any examples yet, so we're already in trouble with your claim that it's his favorite. Our best hope is to try to do what Althouse did. Mishra, search his archives.  I'm sure you'll find at least a few "libtard" uses, and we can get this pesky harpy off our backs by deleting the word "favorite" from your essay....

Mishra: ... Wait a minute, his archive is available only to subscribers for $50 a year. What, people pay for this garbage? I'm not giving that racist, homophobic, sexist bigoted wingnut any of my money!...
I must say, I get uneasy reading even what is clearly marked as imagined dialogue. I don't know that Mishra would call Limbaugh a "racist, homophobic, sexist bigoted wingnut." It's funny to attribute words to a real person for comic effect, but in this case it's so close to the original problem — attributing "libtard" to Rush Limbaugh. I'm saying this here not to call out Blumer — I think the comic spoofing is good — but to show you the strength of my instinct to protect individuals from false statements. This is a justified and humorous effort at figuring out how people — powerful people in media — would have thought about a real problem they faced.
Mishra: Rather than get our hands dirty and commit the crime against humanity of sending Limbaugh money, let's just assume Althouse is right and note at the very end of the online version that "An earlier version of this article erroneously connected the epithet 'libtard' with the radio host Rush Limbaugh." With that language, some readers will still think that he uses the word from time to time.

Fact Checker 2: Then we'll put the correction in tiny letters in a small corner in the next print edition.

29 comments:

jaydub said...

I doubt the New Yorker has more than a handful of readers who expect accuracy or balance from its pages. Probably the same ones who buy it for the hilarious cartoons.

David Begley said...

" It's funny to attribute words to a real person for comic effect."

Hillary: Huma, do you read the Althouse blog?

Huma: Oh,yes, Hillary. I read it daily. Althouse is so clever. Cruel neutrality and all that. And the pictures! And Meade. A love story for the modern age. I love it. Especially the charming commenters.

Hillary: The latest thing is that Althouse caught the vaunted New Yorker in a factual mistake regarding Rush Limbaugh.

Huma: Limbaugh? Well, everyone knows that Limbaugh is a hateful person with less than zero credibility. That's a fact. He called that Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a slut. And he coined the word FemiNazil. Not good.

Hillary: But I have the lowest credibility in America. I'm the biggest liar in the Universe. My life is a lie. My marriage is a cynical lie. I lie about lying. I lied to the FBI and got away with it.

Huma: No Hillary. You are a loving person. You love me. And vodka. We have a passionate affair when you are not sleeping or hung over. And to tell you the truth Hillary I am unhappy with the lack of loving lately. You need to cut back even more on this campaigning so we can have more sack time. The Press won't complain.

Hillary: I am your love slave, Huma. You and the Muslim Brotherhoiod own me. But I can't figure out how Laslo Spatula knew every detail about us.

Huma: Laslo Spatula is really my husband. That's why he knows everything. Carlos Danger. Laslo Spatula. Same person.

Hillary: Good to know.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Stuff like this is worthwhile but only to the extent it serves as a shortcut to feeling confident about knowing who likes you and who does not.

Presume that the double-standard is a force of nature, like gravity.

While we're all imagining, here, I would have no problem whatsoever imagining all sorts of unflattering things about Tom Blumer, but I've just polished off my first mug of coffee and it's now time to go play tug with the puppy, who's coming up fast on six months.

He used to be a complete cuddle-baby but he's wanting to play chase more and more and last night he wouldn't come when called so if he wants his balls cut off sooner rather than later he's going about it in exactly the right way.

Ann Althouse said...

@David Begley LOL

Bob Boyd said...

Hillary: Huma, I don't want you reading Althouse any more. I've used the parental controls on your computer to make sure.

Huma: But Hillary, you know I love that blog! Wait....this is because of the "in her own right" thing yesterday, isn't it?

Hillary: This is because I love you and want you to be happy.

Huma: But I am happy, especially when I'm reading Althouse.

Hillary: Don't take it personally. When I'm President I will have parental controls on everyone's computer.

rhhardin said...

True statements are hurtful too. That's why Trump is apologizing.

Women's anti-hurt vote.

William said...

Just because you've never seen a black swan is no proof that black swans do not exist. No amount of white swans disproves the existence of white swans. Just because Limbaugh has never said libtard in the past is not proof that he will not say it in the future. It might even become his favorite epithet........While in the narrow, literal sense what Althouse says is true, in the larger metaphysical sense, the New Yorker is correct in asserting the larger, grander Truth that Limbaugh is ontologically wrong in everything he says and does.

rhhardin said...

I don't mind that libtard is attributed to Limbaugh; it's just so out of character for Limbaugh that you get the ridiculous collapse of credibility in a magazine that flatters itself with it, which is one of those great events in unintentional humor.

rhhardin said...

I don't get why retard is a bad word, by the way.

Airbuses shout it as soon as the wheels touch on landing, to keep the pilots from getting cocky.

rhhardin said...

No amount of white swans disproves the existence of white swans.

It does if you know how many swans there are.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Airbuses shout it as soon as the wheels touch on landing, to keep the pilots from getting cocky.

Yes, but it sounds better in the original French.

ndspinelli said...

I don't watch any show w/ "dramatic reenactments" or read "imagined dialogue"..or monologue for that matter.

This is a classic "look @ me" post.

Leslie Graves said...

Good to know.

David Begley said...

@Bob Boyd.

Good one.

We know Rush reads Althouse. Huma and Hillary surely do too. At least when they are not in the sack!

Lem said...

Another similar version of this post speared in person on Charlie Rose.

https://youtu.be/0MwLOq1mU74

Rusty said...

Good job Althouse.

Bill Peschel said...

So Althouse equates a falsehood stated as fact by The New Yorker and a deliberately over-the-top spurious conversation preceded with the phrase "might have gone like this" in Newsbusters.

I guess because Americans are just too dumb to tell the difference?

bagoh20 said...

Fake but accurate

Sebastian said...

"I must say, I get uneasy reading even what is clearly marked as imagined dialogue. I don't know that Mishra would call Limbaugh a "racist, homophobic, sexist bigoted wing nut."" Satire, right? I mean, you don't really care that the comic ridiculing of presumed prog instincts of someone who has already shown gross prejudice might not be the whole truth and nothing but, and needs to sensitively tut-tutted by an I-don't-know, do you? If it isn't meant as comic reaction in its own right, I get very uneasy about such misplaced uneasiness.

Rob said...

Imagined dialogue is a great rhetorical device. Bill Maher is a master of the form. He wants to tell racist and sexist one-liners, but how in 2016 can he get away with that? Easy. He prefaces his racist or sexist one-liner by saying, "I'm sure the Republicans are thinking . . . ."

Laslo Spatula said...
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Laslo Spatula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FullMoon said...

Ya know what never gets old?
Huma/Hillary lesbian "jokes".

R.J. Chatt said...

Does Althouse appreciate the flattery of being recognized as a powerful female or is there something off putting about being referred to as a "bloggress?"

Ann Althouse said...

Bloggress has been aroind for a long time. James Taranto uses it a lot at the WSJ. I don't mind.

Ann Althouse said...

around

Sam L. said...

The NYT, demeaning itself every day, some more than others, but heading from the gutter to the sewer.

R.J. Chatt said...

I asked James Taranto how that word bloggress got started and here's what he said:

@RChatt I coined it in 2002 for a headline about dissident girls blogging in Iran. "A Teen Blogress? Now That's Progress."

mikee said...

There was once a scifi novella about an invention which could observe any scene in the past. The invention, however, did not have sound.

The inventor used it to make himself fabulously wealthy by producing movies, dubbing in dialogue for actual historical events, making the most realistic and stunningly historical movies ever seen.

Then he made one last film, hiring lipreaders to provide dialogue in a movie about world leaders and how they behaved in the run-up to WW II. Nuclear war broke out worldwide within days of the movie opening.

Sometimes fiction is better than fact. Sometimes fact is more important than fiction. Sometimes not knowing is best.