Monday, June 16, 2008

Low-hanging fruit: a challenge

I’m not a journalist and have never claimed to be, so journalistic ethics don’t apply to me. I’m a polemicist and proud of it. --Kathy Shaidle

Former poet, former occasional Toronto Star columnist, former just about everything Kathy Shaidle--a wannabe who became a has-been with no intervening stage--takes on commenter "truewest" here. Her challenge:

Please elaborate on my “frequent factual errors” , oh anonymous coward truewest.

The floor is open.

To start things off, let me provide a few that I know about personally: she has publicly accused me of calling her a "Nazi." She has claimed (more than once) that Mark Steyn chastised me over the publication of an alleged photograph of speech-warrior Marc Lemire. I dealt with these and other inaccuracies here. And here. She never retracts: but, as she notes, journalistic ethics don't apply to her.

I was going to leave this bilious creature alone, henceforward: I really was, even though she has taken to following me around the blogosphere, sniping at me from other people's comboxes. After all, she's about to get married, and, besides, she has an increasing obsession with guns. But this is really too much. She wouldn't know a fact if it bit her on the arse, to be blunt. For people like this, accuracy is just a sign of weakness.

But for the rest of us, who like to get things right, let's put a list together. She's thrown down one gauntlet too many. Time for a reckoning.

UPDATE: (June 17) Kathy's the gift that goes on giving, isn't she? Global warming is a hoax because (cough) coffee in a thermos doesn't get any hotter. Canadian Cynic and assorted commenters have skewered that egregious howler here. Heterosexual AIDS is a hoax, because a mischievous article in the Guardian says so.

(The article is so packed with straw persons that one wonders how the Brits will feed the horses come winter. The author can't even spell "AIDS" correctly, and* dishonestly fudges the question of heterosexual AIDS in Africa. He claims that malaria and TB kill more Africans than AIDS, but a huge part of that death toll is amongst AIDS-infected Africans with weakened immune systems: statistics here and here. Chasing this stuff down requires only a modicum of critical intelligence--but Kathy doesn't do real research. She's "a polemicist, and proud of it.")

Oh, and Kathy? James Kirchick isn't a "Lefty reporter," either. Good grief, can't you get anything right?

*Commenter James Goneaux points out that this is the approved media spelling in the UK. Mea culpa.


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