Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lesson in Credibility

(I was going to post this as a comment, but just to make sure that everyone gets the point I’ve posted it here.)

To all, but especially Jensen and Cameron,


I’m sure that all of us here have written at least a handful of research papers in our academic careers. And in writing those papers, I’m sure our teachers told us that in citing information we must only use credible sources. No matter which way you may consider their political leaning, the most credible sources in news reporting are the NY Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, LA Times and most major metro papers. Here are some sources that ARE NOT credible: Newsmax, and The Drudge Report.

So in the same sense that you wouldn’t use a quote from a blog on MySpace in a research report, please don’t use any of the above mentioned sources to support your claim on this blog. Just because something is written on the internet, or even in print, doesn’t mean that we can just take it at face value for fact. And Jensen has been so kind to have given us our first example of why we shouldn’t believe everything we read…

In one of his previous comments, he gives a link to an article written by Dick Morris on to support his claim that Clinton is and was nothing but a terrorist-loving, crazed, lunatic. However, if you knew the history behind Dick Morris you’d know that he has about as much credibility writing about Clinton as Hitler does writing about Judaism. You see, ol’ Dick here was a former Clinton advisor who had to resign in 1996 after getting caught in a long-time extramarital affair with a hooker who he had shared classified information with and had allowed to listen in on calls to the President. After resigning, he basically sold his soul to Fox News, where he is a constant guest (more than 400 times in a single year) often speaking out against both Bill and Hillary Clinton. In fact, Morris’s hatred for the Clintons goes so deep to have written three (yes, three) books criticizing them (one of them includes an account, which he later contradicted, about Mr. Clinton attacking him and Hillary having to desperately pull him off). Sounds like someone has some sour grapes about ending his own career after desperately seeking the approval of a prostitute.

So knowing Dick Morris’s past, a past in which he basically made a living Clinton-bashing, you, Jensen, want to quote him as a credible source to discredit former president Bill Clinton? I’d suggest that next time you check your source before you make your claim. And that goes for everyone (here’s the public service announcement): ALWAYS do a little research before you tout something out as your smoking gun.


Cameron said...

Especially Jensen and Cameron?

Here is an excerpt from the original post by Peter,

"This website, Media Matters, expresses my sentiment by showing how Fox News has tried to cover up for Mike Wallace. While they are much too far to the left for my taste, they've done some excellent analysis on this subject."

I'm going to assume that Media Matters is on your list of biased sources.

Here is the only comment of mine that used sources. I used dueling biased sources, including media matters, to point out their lack of real information. Then I posted the actual transcript. Then I posted a link to the Washington Post, which thankfully was able to make it onto your list of approved sources.

"I've been doing a little reading about some of the claims made about President Clinton. One of the major ones is that Sudan offered bin Laden to the US and President Clinton refused. I've found that this issue arose out of a function that President Clinton attended and spoke at in 2002. What he said and what he meant are in dispute. Here is one side of the story as reported by Media Matters. Here is another side as reported by Newsmax. They basically amount to "yes he did" vs "no he didn't". However, the Newsmax link has the transcript of what President Clinton said that day. Here is an excerpt:

"So we tried to be quite aggressive with them. We got - uh - well, Mr. bin Laden used to live in Sudan. He was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991, then he went to Sudan.

And we'd been hearing that the Sudanese wanted America to start dealing with them again.

They released him. At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America.

So I pleaded with the Saudis to take him, 'cause they could have. But they thought it was a hot potato and they didn't and that's how he wound up in Afghanistan."

I have also found a Washington Post article from October 2001 that reports on this issue as well. It agrees with the version of the story that the US was offered bin Laden in 1996."

I have not taken the time to reproduce the links, you can find them in the original comment.

Blake Roberts said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jensen said...

This post is kind of like the pot calling the kettle black. I am sorry about my past posts, but I stand by them. Even if you did not like my posts, there is still no reason to use a person’s name, and make an example of them. You call that credibility. What is your problem, really? I am a reasonable person. There was no reason to do that, and it was uncalled for.

Secondly, the swine eat with the swine. Don’t blame me for Clinton’s judgment in character. Even though, Dick Morris is a questionable person. He is just as much credibility as Clinton has. When talking about Clinton we need to remember that credibility went out the window a long time ago. Dick has been with Clinton since 1978, and no other political adviser has been with him longer, except Hillary. Yes, I know that he has not participated in some campaigns with the Clintons, but what Clinton adviser has? Morris is also the only political adviser Clinton has hired again, and again. Out of all of the political advisers Clinton had, there was no political adviser closer to the Clintons. Morris knows his stuff, and has every right to criticize the Clintons. Also, he has criticized Republicans as much as he has Democrats and the Clintons. Someone needs to do their research, and watch Fox News more. Yet, I know you won’t because they are just a bunch of political hacks, right! You said something like Morris has sold his soul, so you are saying that Clinton hasn’t! Really, did you actually think you were bringing things to light here?

Another thing is that I never said that “Clinton was nothing but a terrorist-loving, crazed, lunatic.” You said that. Now, is that credibility? Please, do not put words in my mouth, and don’t judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Maybe before you post again you should do some research on me.

Yet, I still have a question for you. If the same roles were reversed and it was a Republican adviser spilling the beans on the Bush administration, would you go along with it? Think about it long, and hard, because if you say, “yes,” then you have no right to criticize me. If any of you would say, “yes” to this question then you have no argument with me.

Also, for the record I am not a Republican, so don’t talk to me like I am stupid, O.K.

I am sorry about this Peter; I just need to set the record strait.

Anonymous said...

Peter and Lauren,

What is this post? Is it something of a joke or what? I mean even in his funny spelling Jensen has a point. We are all church members here for the most part, and let’s live that first and then are party affiliation. There is no need to make examples out of people here. Ask yourself if Christ would do that? It is really bad though when the person writing the post is hypocritical in her own post. Lauren should take some of here own advice here, and not make up quotes. I mean if you can find the post of were you quoted Jensen that is great, but if you can’t then that is bad research on your part. I am sorry, but it is. I sure can not find Jensen’s quote.

Cameron makes a good point to about Media Matters. If you want to purge this Blog of right wing websites it is only fair that you do it to both sides. Lets be adults here, please.

The Jazz Singer said...

Since we all are so fond of going back to us being members of the Church, I thought I would start this post off the way most start their church talks...

The dictionary (the American Heritage Dictionary, before you all cast your stones) defines sarcasm as "A cutting, often ironic remark." When Lauren "quoted" Jensen's "claim" that Clinton was nothing but a terrorist-loving, crazed, lunatic, she was being sarcastic. I post this because I think it's sad that along with what a democrat actually is, people around these parts don't understand humor or sarcasm. Now that I look around a little, it seems there a few things people don't understand. Mr. Anonymous right above me says "if you want to purge this Blog of right wing websites it is only fair that you do it to both sides. Let's be adults here please." It is only fair that you do it to both sides? Isn't this a blog for Democrats? Or are we trying to be as fair and balanced as Fox News tells us to be? Jensen, you're a fan, and a self-professed non-Republican. You tell me.

Anonymous said...

LOL. I'm not sure how I got dragged into this.

Let me first vouch for Lauren -- she's smart just like the rest of you are, I trust her and she's a Democrat. She's going to make mistakes (I've made plenty) but this is her first post to this blog so let's do something we don't do often on this blog, let's give someone a break.

I agree with Lauren's overall principle that we must use reliable sources. I personally wouldn't have singled people out, but that's me.

I also make no comment on what a reliable source is, only this: when I have used sources, such as Media Matters, I have typically tried to disclose their bias. See my most recent post, "Clinton Slaps Fox News UPDATED".

There is a wealth of information which comes from sources that have apparent biases, it's important to site our sources and then disclose their bias.

But that's just my opinion.

Chaucer Arafat said...

Let me first vouch for Lauren -- she's smart just like the rest of you are

mang, you are such a liar: i am not smart...

This thread (and its subsequent bickerings) cause me to remember a prior discussion on this blog that was somewhat related. I really think it boils down to self-fulfilling prophecy: your prior political leanings will dictate what news sources you deem "reliable" or "accurate" or "fair and balanced." All of us will seek out the source that provides the news that most fits our personal biases (to a point).

I like the Hegelian approach: thesis + antithesis = synthesis. Pull from all the sources and then come to your own reasonable assessment.

Cameron said...

That sucks. Shouldn't news just be news? Commentators, blogs, or left/right websites aren't news sources. They are opinion sources.

Too many of us find a news story written about on one of the opinion sources and forget who it is we're reading. It's ok to hear others' opinions, it's not ok to blindly accept it.

In the case of the Clinton posts,
Peter started a discussion about President Clinton's actions to fight terrorism during his presidency. I had hoped that by posting the transcripts of what President Clinton actually said about capturing bin Laden that it would start a good discussion. Instead, it prompted this post and comment string.

Lauren Bingham said...

A few things to address:

Jensen- How is this the pot calling the kettle black? Yes, I call my post credible in that for one, I've made no false claims and two, I work in communications and spend quite a bit of time studying the media. My problem is that you wanted to discredit Clinton and didn't bother to check your source in doing so. I didn't say that you're stupid or that everyone should stop listening to you. I have no personal vendettas here. I was mearly trying to show how Dick Morris has little to no crediblity in criticizing former President Clinton.

As far as Clinton's cred goes, all I'll say is that HE, not his advisors or Senator Clinton, has just raised $7.3 BILLION for his global initiatives. So, yeah, I think he still has at least a few people out there who respect him and what he's doing.

Jazz Singer- Fantastic name. Thanks for clearing up the sarcasm thing. Not misquoting, not putting words in Jensen's mouth, simple being sarcastic. Sheesh.

Anonymous- As far as I know, no one on the site has come out and professed him/herself a non-Mormon. You said that we're all Mormon here for the most part--is there a part that isn't? And if not, so what? You couldn't possibly be implying that I'm the one putting my party affiliation above spirituality. Because I was almost sure that only my bishop and husband knew I am heretic.
And, yes, Christ has singled people out. Gasp! Christ v. the Pharisees ring a bell? And here's the most credible source of all--you can check my claim, oh, anywhere in the New Testament would be fine. If you want to get specific, try Matthew 23, Mark 7 and especially Luke 11:37-41. How odd that such a heretic would know her Bible like this!

JamesP said...

Please, Lauren. Most heretics know their Bible better than believers.