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Monday, August 14, 2006
NewsBusters Makes False Claims About Letters
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 13 NewsBusters post by Dave Pierre claimed that "the majority of the published letters" in the Los Angeles Times regarding an Aug. 5 Times column by Tim Rutten calling for the reopening of a discussion about whether Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ" is anti-Semitic in the wake of Gibson's spout of anti-Semitic remarks during a drunk driving arrest -- a column Pierre described as "especially ugly and vitriolic" and "builds the case that anti-Christian and anti-Catholic prejudice is alive and well at the Los Angeles Times" -- "defended Rutten and his hate."

Now, the Times printed four letters; therefore, a "majority" would be more than two. Pierre does finally say as much at the end: "Three letters defended Rutten's bigotry." But that isn't true either. Two of the letters agreed with Rutten's contrention that "the Passion" took an unfair, if not anti-Semitic, view of Jews. Pierre does not explain how supporting that view is "bigotry."

Further, the third letter that Pierre claimed "defended Rutten and his hate" did nothing of the sort. In fact, it suggested that Gibson's alleged anti-Semitism "pales in comparison to the Hollywood Jews who seem to revel in using Christians and Christianity as backdrops for evil." Does that sound like support for Rutten? Nope -- sounds more like support for Pierre's view. That makes it two letters of support for Pierre's side, not one -- and points of view evenly divided, not a "majority" for one side.

Pierre needs to revisit this post and publicly retract what's false. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 AM EDT

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