Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Sirota the Liar
Get a load of this:
Well, if we needed any more proof about how the Ohio Senate Democratic primary is shaping up to be a battle over who will proudly represent progressives on the actual issues and who won't, take a look at this Toledo Blade article. In the piece, Paul Hackett (D) - who bills himself as progressive despite no positions on issues - is now attacking longtime progressive champion Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) for being "too liberal." Let's repeat that - the self-described "progressive" champion of the blogosphere, Hackett, is attacking a fellow Democrat, Brown, for having the guts to stand up and fight for progressive convictions. Incredible, sad and disgusting.Sounds pretty damning, right? I mean, after all, Sirota used the words "incredible, sad and disgusting" to describe it. But Sirota made the mistake of including the links to the articles he was misquoting. And if you read them, you find out that Hackett didn't say that at all. As the very first commenter said in the comments thread: David you put "too liberal" in quotes as if Hackett were the one who said it. But Jim Provance is the one who says it. In fact, of all the quotes Provance provides from Hackett, none of them even mention Brown. Contrast that with the Brown quotes, which specifically single out Hackett for ridicule. The only thing I get out of this Toledo Blade piece is that Hackett thinks he'll do a better job of winning over independent and conservative voters. While that doesn't exactly comfort me, it's hardly an attack on Brown. Am I wrong? Here's the deal, David Sirota (and I won't even go into your lies about Hackett's positions -- anyone who wants to see them can go to Paul Hackett's website and see that you're lying about them, too): Brown thinks he can win Ohio by winning Cleveland and the other big cities and writing off the rest of the state. Well, that didn't work for him in 1990 -- back when Ohio was a lot more Democratic than it is now. (Oh, yeah, and the Republican who beat him was none other than Bob Taft III, who's currently at 15% in the polls right now.) It didn't work for John Kerry last year, as we all know. What makes you think it'll work now? Brown has two (2) things going for him, electability-wise: The $2 million he's saved up over the past decade and a half, and the backing of the big union chiefs. Let's look at these two things: 1) While $2 million is nothing to sneeze at, the Ohio Senatorial race will cost the Democrats a minimum of five times that -- and more likely ten, if they want to be sure. So the money it took Brown fifteen years to get won't go very far. Plus, Paul Hackett was able -- with only the backing of the lefty half of the blogosphere -- to rake in over half a million in less than a month, before the national Democratic party deigned to provide any assistance. 2) It's not 1950 any more. Union members don't always -- or even often -- vote the way their union heads say they should. Especially in Ohio, as a recent Mother Jones article showed. I'd like the Brown backers a lot more if they would actually tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, every once in a while. But I've yet to the most prominent Brown backers in the blogosphere make a case for Brown that didn't involve making deceptive insinuations -- or, as in this case, outright lies -- about Paul Hackett. [UPDATE: As Majikthise notes, Sirota has a history of bizarre, over-the-top, and not-quite-truthful (to say the least) attacks against Paul Hackett. I wish I could give Sirota the benefit of the doubt on this piece, but his past history on Hackett makes that impossible.]
[UPDATE #2: Sirota's blog posts not only attack Hackett, but they even slime friends of Sirota's who back Hackett, such as Bob Brigham. Charming.]
The topic is Sirota, not Hackett or Brown.
I think this is important to remember.
Sirota was, at best, extremely sloppy in his use of quotes. Whether he was being DELIBERATELY sloppy in order to attribute a quote to Hackett that Hackett didn't make I don't know. I prefer to err on the side of incompetence and laziness before resorting to accusations of malice.
Sirota could have made a legitimate criticism of Hackett based on the article he points to, using it as the foundation for questioning whether Hackett is running away from liberal or progressive values in his campaign for the Senate. But in his apparent haste to post something in response to this article he sloppily(?) misattributed a quote as a shorthand for a more comprehensive criticism.
Regardless of Sirota's motivations in this matter, we should keep in mind that the heat of this particular fight is over Sirota's behavior, not Hackett's or Brown's. Don't let Sirota's poor journalism distort your image of either candidate. Don't tar them with the misbehavior of one of their supporters.
You are calling the guy a "deceptive individual" over this?
Or are you saying that he was "deliberatley misleading?"
Or is it perhaps that you believe if he were under oath, his statements would have been "perjury?"
Is the substance of Sirota's statement not accurate? Has Hackett demonstrated in his statements that he believes Brown does not have enough conservative views on certain topics to win in Ohio? Doesn't Hackett believe himself to be more towards the middle than Brown? Hasn't Hackett made statements which would lead one to believe that he believes Brown is further to the left on certain issues than himself?
Did you notice I never used "too liberal," yet everything was accurately restating preciscely what Hackett believes?
Is the issue that Sirota used quotes in an inappropriate location? Or is the issue that it was about your candidate?
I would have had no problem with Sirota if he had said something like "Paul Hackett is described by Jim Provance of the Toledo Blade as thinking that Brown is 'too liberal' to win a statewide race in Ohio. However, I believe Brown can win a statewide race, and here's why..."
But that's not what Sirota said.
Instead, he a) spun Provance's synopsis of Hackett's into a "quote" of Hackett, and THEN b) called it "incredible, sad and disgusting", making it sound like Hackett had just accused Sherrod Brown of French-kissing Jane Fonda in downtown Hanoi while he was being felt up by gay Communist drug users.
And this is not the first time Sirota has done garbage such as this against Paul Hackett. This wasn't an accident.
What I'd like to do, would be to get the saner Brown and Hackett people together to debate the question of who can win a statewide race in Ohio.
I'm talking an actual debate, with facts in context.
Does Hackett think Brown is too liberal on certain issues?
If so, what's the point?
But we'll cut you some undeserved slack here. Let's pretend that Hackett really did say to Jim Provance, in so many words, that Sherrod Brown can't win a statewide race in Ohio because he's "too liberal". You tell me: If true, is Hackett's saying this really "incredible, sad and disgusting", to ACCURATELY quote Sirota?
The thing is, this is isn't the first time Sirota's pulled this kind of crap. He gets reamed out for it on a regular basis in the Working Assets comments threads.
oh that's right. wellstone was denigrated as being too liberal. good thing he didn't listen to his critics.
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