NewsBusted: The Coleman File
NewsBusters blogger Jack Coleman is such a "recovering former liberal journalist" that he's a right-wing demagogue who cares nothing about facts as he bashes Rachel Maddow and defends right-wing crazies.
By Terry Krepel
NewsBusters blogger Jack Coleman portrays himself as "a recovering former liberal journalist from Massachusetts."
He's so "recovered," in fact, that not only has he renounced journalism, he has renounced telling the truth as well, trading the reporting of facts for regurgitating right-wing myths and demagoguery.
Coleman vs. Maddow
Coleman's sole evidence for this is a statement by Maddow: "I know that al Qaeda is al Qaeda, right? But is it OK to point out that they're ridiculous, that their propaganda is inadvertently funny, as in ha ha I'm laughing at you?" But Coleman quotes only this statement, and the accompanying video shows only this statement.
In fact, Maddow's statement placed in the full context of what she said shows that Maddow was pointing out that the media wasn't ridiculing al-Qaeda enough, that it is instead being portrayed as the "mightly al-Qaeda" despite its amateurish recruiting videos:
Here's the thing I always forget about al-Qaeda. For all their murderous intent and demonstrated capacity for all their global plotting, for all the deadly serious implications of them getting access to even more deadly means of targeting us than they have already figured out, for all the truly scary things we have already figured out about al-Qaeda, it is easy to forget that on their own terms, they're often freaking ridiculous.
Maddow went on to mock "the al-Qaeda AV club," adding, "These guys are like the reject pile at talk radio tryouts." You'd think the latter statement would be more offensive to Coleman than the statement he highlighted; instead, he had to take Maddow out of context to smear her.
As if blatantly misrepresenting Maddow by taking her words out of context wasn't bad enough, Coleman suggested that Maddow is rooting for the deaths of U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, claiming she was "oddly upbeat" in noting deaths of Australian troops to her guest, former Petraeus adviser and Australian native David Kilkullen.
Again, Coleman took her out of context. Maddow's full interview of Kilkullen focuses on the mostly separate goals in Afghanistan of destroying al-Qaeda and nation-building. Maddow's statement on the Australian deaths can only be described as "upbeat" only if you divorce it from its full context -- which is exactly what Coleman did.
In an October 2012 post, Coleman unleashed a torrent of hate against MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, under the headline "It's Official: Rachel Maddow Completes Conversion to Baghdad Bob." What did Maddow do that made Coleman so mad? She committed the offense of catching Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in a lie -- his statement that "I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China." In fact, as Maddow pointed out, Chrysler is adding workers at U.S. plants that make Jeeps, and that production in China would be to serve that market, not shift production out of the U.S. Romney apparently got a right-wing blog's distorted view of a Bloomberg story stating that Chrysler owner Fiat "may eventually make all of its models" in China. Coleman then wrote:
Still unclear to me where Romney lied about this. Chrysler is majority-owned by Fiat and hence it is within Fiat's power to move Jeep production wherever it wants. Since the company "may eventually" make all its Jeeps in China, as Bloomberg reported, citing a company executive as its source, one can only conclude that Romney's lying about this, as far as Maddow is concerned, stems from him not actually reading a story about it as he claimed, but getting his information elsewhere.
But Coleman overlooks a statement in the Bloomberg story, made by Mike Manley, chief operating officer of Fiat and Chrysler in Asia: "Manley referred to adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China."
Meanwhile, Chrysler itself has stated: "Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It’s simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world’s largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation."
So who's Baghdad Bob now? Hint: It's not Maddow.
Coleman had another Maddow Derangement Syndrome moment in a Jan. 22 post complaining how Maddow was enthusing over an inauguration ball for President Obama. He warns "nausea may ensue," and grumbles, "OK, that settles it. This is what it's like to watch the news in North Korea."
First: Maddow is a commentator, not a journalist, so gushing a little too much over Obama is hardly a capital offense.
Second: Coleman would likely be just as gushy had Mitt Romney won the election.
Third: Does Coleman really want to see "what it's like to watch the news in North Korea"? He should try Fox News, where Obama is nothing less than an enemy of the state. Or maybe read, say, NewsBusters, where conservatives who aren't conservative enough get the gulag treatment (well, Heathering).
Coleman wrote in the midst of a Rachel Maddow-bashing rant in an April 22 post:
In fairness to MSNBC viewers, I doubt that most of them and a majority of the network's former primetime hosts are at risk of becoming jihadist bombers. I am equal confident, however, that many MSNBC viewers have adorned a bumper on their vehicle with a "Co-exist" bumper sticker -- like the one placed on the Mercedes allegedly carjacked by the Tsarnaev brothers.
In fact, the carjacked Mercedes did not have a "Coexist" bumper sticker on it.
Coleman loves right-wing petulance
In a Nov. 15 post, Coleman took the side of lying preacher Bradlee Dean in the wake of his lawsuit against Maddow for allegedly defaming him being thrown out of court. Coleman recounted the dismissal in Dean-friendly terms, stating that "Superior Court Judge Joan Zeldon dismissed the case yesterday after Dean refused to pay $24,000 in Maddow's legal costs as ordered by Zeldon in June." But Coleman failed to explain the history of that ruling.
The fine was imposed because Dean and his failed lawyer, Larry Klayman, wanted to move the case to a different court specifically to prevent Maddow from invoking the anti-SLAPP defense cited in her response to Dean's lawsuit, and that $24,000 fine was a condition of the move, meant to reimburse Maddow's legal team for having to come up with a new defense due to the venue change. Dean and Klayman refused to pay, so the lawsuit was dismissed.
This attempt at after-the-fact venue-shopping can't really be seen as anything but incompetence on Klayman's part -- shouldn't he have picked the court in which to file his lawsuit against Maddow a little more carefully in the first place? But Coleman apparently couldn't be bothered to do any research into the background of the case to understand what happened. He's a "recovering liberal journalist," remember?
Coleman also uncritically noted that Klayman "filed a motion requesting that Zeldon recuse herself for bias against Dean and ruling in favor of questionable attorneys' fees for Maddow." He doesn't mention, however, that Klayman's bill of particulars against the judge included such petulant complaints as the judge referring to Maddow's legal team, but not Klayman, as "distinguished." The motion also insulted the judge by claiming she acted like a "woman scorned" by Klayman's attempt to change venue.
Though it seems the next lawsuit Dean files should be against Klayman for incompetent representation, Coleman simply regurgitates the attacks by Dean and Klayman.
Coleman waves away Bolling's petulance by declaring, "Ever reach that point when you realize you're arguing with fools? Eric Bolling got there yesterday on Geraldo Rivera's radio show," and going on to portray Rivera as making an unreasonable, unfounded claim by saying that Bolling was portraying President Obama as a "damn murderer" because of the events in Benghazi.
But the audio clip accompanying Coleman's post chops off what transpired before Rivera accused Bolling of portraying the president as a "damn murderer," and Coleman makes no effort to explain. As the full clip posted at Mediaite revealed, Bolling did in fact claim that Obama and his administration deliberately "left four Americans to die":
BOLLING: For 237 years the motto, the U.S. Marine -- forget the Marines, the U.S. armed force motto is no one left behind, leave no one behind, leave no one under fire wanting or wondering if America was going to come back and help them. That’s what Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the administration did on September 11 of 2012, they left four Americans to die because they said ‘Stand down! Don’t go help.’ And that is a problem.
Coleman also portrayed Bolling's assertion that the stand-down order cost American lives is accurate. But as Mediaite's Tommy Christopher pointed out, congressional testimony shows that the stand-down order came after the four Americans at the Benghazi compound were killed, so nobody was "left behind" as a result of it.
Defending right-wing crazies
Dean is not the only indefensible right-winger to whose defense Coleman has rushed.
In a February 2010 post, Coleman defended the John Birch Society over its longtime opposition to fluoridation of drinking water, even going so far as to liken it to adding iodine to salt. Coleman took yet another swipe at Maddow, who raised the fluoridation issue with the Birchers at conservative confab CPAC, calling Maddow's use of a swear word "a cheap tactic borrowed from Jon Stewart by way of Abbie Hoffman, and the sign of a weak argument."
In February 2009, Coleman criticized Maddow (what a surprise) for allegedly taking Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's post-Obama-speech address out of context by claiming his criticism of governmental failures in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina equaled saying that "government never works." Coleman writes that "Maddow edited the segment to deprive viewers of what Jindal said next." He then repeats what Jindal said next: the story of Sheriff Harry Lee, who "during Katrina ... [w]hen I walked into his makeshift office," was angry over government red tape.
Just one little problem: Jindal's anecdote appears to be mostly made up. As TPM Muckraker detailed, Jindal's office has now admitted that Jindal was never in Lee's office "during Katrina"; rather, Jindal overheard Lee talking about the episode to someone else by phone "days later." (Though Jindal's people later sorta tried to take that back.)
It seems to have worked out for the best that Maddow "deprived" her viewers of a lie, eh, Jack?
In a November 2012 post, Coleman ran to the defense of lying preacher Bradlee Dean, spinning the dismissal of Dean's defamation lawsuit against (wait for it) Rachel Maddow in Dean-friendly terms, stating that "Superior Court Judge Joan Zeldon dismissed the case yesterday after Dean refused to pay $24,000 in Maddow's legal costs as ordered by [Judge Joan] Zeldon in June." But Coleman fails to explain the history of that ruling.
In fact, the fine was imposed because Dean and his failed lawyer, Larry Klayman, wanted to move the case to a different court specifically to prevent Maddow from invoking the anti-SLAPP defense cited in her response to Dean's lawsuit, and that $24,000 fine was a condition of the move, meant to reimburse Maddow's legal team for having to come up with a new defense due to the proposed venue change. Dean and Klayman refused to pay, so the lawsuit was dismissed.
Coleman also uncritically claimed that Klayman "filed a motion requesting that Zeldon recuse herself for bias against Dean and ruling in favor of questionable attorneys' fees for Maddow." He doesn't mention, however, that Klayman and Dean's bill of particulars against the judge included such petulant complaints as the judge referring to Maddow's legal team, but not Klayman, as "distinguished." The motion further insulted the judge by claiming she acted like a "woman scorned" by Klayman's attempt to change venue.
Coleman complains in a June 6 NewsBusters post that Robert F. Kennedy Jr., in a radio interview, "gratuitously smeared Liddy as 'an admirer of Adolf Hitler.'" Of course, it's not a smear if it's true -- and Liddy was very much an admirer of Hitler, as documented by the British paper The Independent in 2004:
The Fuhrer was G Gordon Liddy's first political hero. Liddy was a sickly, asthmatic child when he grew up in Hoboken, New Jersey, in the 1930s. The town was full of ethnic Germans who idolized Hitler. Liddy was made to salute the Stars and Stripes Nazi-style by the nuns at his school; even now, he admits, "at assemblies where the national anthem is played, I must suppress the urge to snap out my right arm." His beloved German nanny taught him that Hitler had -- through sheer will-power -- "dragged Germany from weakness to strength."
While Coleman doesn't acknowledge this undisputed fact about Liddy -- remember, to him it's nothing but a gratuitous smear -- he does make sure you know that Kennedy's uncle, John F. Kennedy, was a "Nazi sympathizer." Well, no -- JFK wrote some contemporaneous praise of Germany after a 1937 visit and wrote in 1945 that Hitler was "the stuff of legends" (arguably true since he is the benchmark for genocide, warmongering and overall human depravity).
Coleman provided no evidence that JFK offered any such praise after 1937, a time when Nazi Germany still had a significant number of supporters in the U.S., and he certainly offers no evidence that JFK issued such gushing praise of Hitler on the level of Liddy's.
Coleman then got really pissy after RFK Jr. reminded people of why Liddy is a convicted felon, such as "an alleged plot involving G. Gordon Liddy to kill columnist and longtime Nixon nemesis Jack Anderson." Coleman then sneered, "And just out of curiosity, did that conspiracy against Anderson involve drowning him in a car?"
Well, no. Liddy was looking to do it the old-fashioned way -- poison. As Mark Feldstein wrote in his book "Poisoning the Press," Nixon enlisted Liddy -- who, according to fellow operative E. Howard Hunt, was "forever volunteering to rub people out" -- to come up with a solution for "stopping Anderson," and Liddy concluded that the only way to stop Anderson was to kill him. Hunt figured that he and Liddy could easily sneak into Anderson's home and “get rid of the pesky journalist” by putting “a drug-laden pill” in whatever medicine bottles Anderson used.
This is Coleman's hero, the one who "gratuitously smeared" about his love for Hitler.
What does it say about NewsBusters that it employs such a man as one of its premier bloggers?