• And Ye Shall Know Them By The Bullshit They Spin...

    And how. Michael Moore picked up a rumor from Rick Ellis' article at Examiner.com (which is a rather sophisticated content mill that prides itself on "local sourced" news -- uh oh...). That rumor happened to be how the Department of Homeland Security had coordinated a massive crackdown of Occupy Wall Street protests across the nation with a number of federal and municipal law enforcement agencies. Breathing life to that rumor was word from Oakland Mayor Jean Quan on how she was on a conference call with other city leaders to put an end to the protests.

    As it turned out, that report was all hat and no cattle. Joshua Holland explained how such brainstorming among city leaders wasn't uncommon and that there was no real pressure from any federal agency, let alone from DHS, to bring the Occupy Wall Street protests to a close. The Examiner.com story came courtesy of anonymous sources. These days, anyone can make up a story and attribute it to an "anonymous source" for credibility's sake. This AP story confirms everything except DHS involvement.

    Somehow, Naomi Wolf wasn't inclined to believe that the DHS wouldn't have anything to do with the crackdowns, and instead penned her own op-ed, complete with a sensationalist bent designed to tug on the heartstrings of any reader. The main problem? She picked up the already debunked DHS involvement and ran with it, presumably to juice up the op-ed. And here's one of the many problems with this op-ed:

    In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.

    Yet there is no concrete proof that DHS was involved. But if one were to repeat the above line long enough, eventually you'll have the masses repeating it themselves, thereby making an otherwise erroneous statement truth to some and gospel for others. And that's exactly what we need less of -- a fallacy masquerading as truth.

    Karoli from "odd time signatures" broke his/her foot into Wolf's literary ass over this issue:

    There you have it. Bullshit, spread worldwide, with the full cooperation of so-called journalists. It’ll work, too, because she has enough name recognition that people won’t question her claims.
    That's a pretty big problem these days. People with name cred who choose to abuse said cred by peddling bullshit to those who refuse to question their "trusted sources." Sound familiar to you?

    And this is where I break away from everyone else who posted their own articles over this issue. I get the sense that maintaining journalistic integrity here is far more important than doing something to address the rampant abuses inflicted on protesters by police at OWS rallies. Perhaps that's not entirely true, but that's the vibe I get when I read a lot of these pieces.

    We've spent enough time filleting a journalist hack who was caught fishing for more name cred with a juicy, yet rank piece of literary bait. Meanwhile, there's another OWS protester getting hit in the face with America's favorite condiment.