Saturday, August 14, 2004

Ms. Malkin's facts

Semi-responding to her critics, Michelle Malkin complains about a CBS anchor named Julie Chen, who administered the following "cheap shot" during a press conference with President Bush:
I wanted to ask you about protecting all Americans, as well. There are many Arab Americans and Muslims in this country who find themselves unfairly scrutinized by law enforcement and by society at large. Just yesterday we had arrests in Albany, New York. Immediately afterwards, some neighbors in the community said they feared that the law would come for them unfairly next. We have a new book out today that suggests perhaps we should reconsider internment camps. How do we balance the need to pursue and detain some individuals from not well-known communities, while at the same time keeping innocent people from being painted by the broad brush of suspicion?

Just a reminder: The book's title is In Defense of Internment. It clearly calls for a reassessment of the meaning of the World War II internment, evacuation and "relocation" process.

Does anyone else see a "cheap shot" there? Hm. Me neither.

In any event, as you can see, Michelle promptly fired off a letter to Julie Chen -- who among other slots at CBS, is the host of the game show "Big Brother" -- outlining her thinking. Evidently, Michelle believes that writing a defense of the Japanese American internment and linking it to post-9/11 racial profiling should not lead anyone to conclude that she was suggesting that internment is an appropriate response in the current "war on terror". Heavens no. She's only laying down the dots. God forbid anyone would connect them.

Well, in any event, before firing off her nasty letter, Michelle forgot to perform one of those good ol' Journalism 101 functions: Double-check your source.

Does this sound familiar? It should. Because this is the kind of approach to basic standards of factuality we've come to expect from Malkin.

Malkin was clearly working from the White House transcript, which as it turns out, misidentified the questioner.

Had Malkin taken the time to, say, review the tape or double-check by placing a quick phone call with UNITY officials, she'd have discovered that the questioner was none other than CBS's Joie Chen.

Now Malkin has two more letters to write: An apology to Julie Chen. And a nastygram to Joie Chen. Though she might want to forget the latter, since A) Chen's question was eminently reasonable and fairly put, and B) the more she continues with this "but I didn't mean to defend internment!" (or: "I'm just defending internment then, I'm not defending it now!") line, the more ridiculous Malkin makes herself appear (a real feat in itself).

But hey -- that hasn't stopped her yet.

No comments: