Monday, June 05, 2006
Random House’s Real Shame: An Open Letter to Peter Olson, Chairman and CEO, Random House
As you know, several months ago, Random House Publishing was the target of widespread (and justifiable) condemnation for its lack of fact-checking of James Frey's purported memoir A Million Little Pieces. A media firestorm erupted after The Smoking Gun web site reported that Frey fabricated incidents about his life in the book. Frey's embellishments portrayed his earlier life as more dysfunctional than it really was in order to be more dramatic. As a consequence, Random House acknowledged errors and took some corrective action.
In 2002, Random House (through its imprint Crown) published Ann Coulter's book Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right. I received an advance copy of the book and when I did some preliminary fact-checking of the references in just the first few pages, I found that what was written in the references did not match Coulter's portrayal of what was written. I found that Coulter intentionally distorted the words of Frank Rich and Bruce Ackerman to make them appear to be soft on Islamic terrorism (the nonpartisan web site Spinsanity reported on this). In addition, in the first few pages, I found that Coulter deliberately misrepresented Jerry Falwell’s outrageous statements in the days following 9/11 that put partial blame on the various liberal groups and gays to make them appear less outrageous than they really were. As I read further, I found more distortions and calumnies in the book (I created a blog devoted to correcting the misrepresentations in the book). Other bloggers joined in--notably Dr. Limerick and the Daily Howler (scroll down to July)--and found many more examples of literary misconduct. Those of us who took the time to fact check Slander found that the book is an exercise in postmodernist absurdity. The stated premise of the book is that the decline in American political discourse is "all liberals' fault" yet the author and the very book itself epitomizes the intellectual dishonesty of the contemporary American right (to compound the absurdity of the situation, the forward for the paperback edition of the book was written by Rush Limbaugh). Thus, a small group of bloggers had exposed the book as a literary hoax full of intentional misrepresentations.
Let us quickly compare Coulter’s and Frey’s literary dishonesty. Frey embellished his own activities to make his book more interesting to the reader. On the other hand, Coulter intentionally attempted to inflict damage to the reputations of others for political and financial gain. Frey’s dishonesty was exposed only after representatives of The Smoking Gun did a painstaking search of public records and interviewed Frey’s acquaintances. On the other hand, Coulter’s falsehoods were easily debunked by internet searches. Thus, Coulter’s misconduct was not only more serious than Frey’s, it was apparent to anyone who bothered to examine her endnotes.
Unfortunately, the response to the literary misconduct in Slander by the mainstream media and Random House was much different than the response to Frey’s dishonesty. Although, the prestigious Columbia Journalism Review and the St. Petersburg Times reported on the episode, the larger newspapers and media outlets largely ignored the scandal (in fact, the book reviews for Slander in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times were largely positive). Crown made some revisions in later editions such as correcting false statements in the book (such as Coulter’s flubbing of New York Times' reporting on Dale Earnhardt's death) but no retractions or apologies were made about Coulter's flagrant libels in the book.
In fact, Random House continued to publish Coulter’s wild diatribes (the argument in Coulter’s next book Treason that Joe McCarthy was a hero was panned by even David Horowitz’s far right web site—-quick note: Coulter began refusing to return Horowitz’s phone calls after this symposium was published).
My questions to you:
1) Why were Random House's actions in response to Frey's less serious infractions more serious than its actions in response to Coulter's libels? Was it because of the massive media response to Frey's misconduct and the tepid response from the mainstream media to Coulter's misconduct?
2) What will Random House do to correct this disparity?
3) If it is discovered that there is literary misconduct in Coulter's latest book Godless: The Church of Liberalism, what action will Random House take?
4) Does Random House have a literary code of ethics? If so, could you e-mail it to me?
Okay, I know one isn't supposed to feed the trolls, so I'll stop. What I meant to comment here is that as a literary nonfiction aficionado, there is no alleged memoirist alive who pisses me off more than that waste-of-oxygen dipshit, James Frey. So the fact that you've even tangentially tied Frey to Coulter is just gorgeous. (Is Frey married? Seriously, Coulter may have found her ideal groom at last...)
Remind me to not send my manuscript to that publisher!
Darwin believed in creation of the world by God. And he believed that God used the mechanism of evolution to create all the diffuse varieties of species. But most GOP really are functionally illiterate, so they don't know what they are talking about most of the time. Ann Coulter often writes for the propaganda machines of the far right, which is composed of JBS (John Birch Society) members of the old days of Goldwater & Nixon. The JBS founded in 1958 by Robt Welch, who started it up with 12 GOP millionaires, to take over the GOP, & use it as a vehicle to take-over power in the US govt -----so that eventually they could erase ideas of American democracy & substitute a fascist rule in US.
This was all written in Welch's book, The Blue Book, a membership manual of the JBS. He set himself up as the monolithic leader, who made all the decisions & policies of the group. It operated as a secret society, & had weekly meetings in "cells" like the old Commie Party. They also used the modus operandi of the Commies such as sabotage & infiltration of existing groups, they used massive propaganda & media control, & even the pulpits of many hundreds of churches. It has had over 40 yrs of subversion, & has very much succeeded in taking over the US govt with right wing kooks, dirty crooks, & Commies. We have been led down the path toward more & more fascism, & leading us ever deeper into economic bankruptcy, which is a leading method of defeating an enemy -- to bankrupt him, & make him Weak. We don't need any enemies to do this to us, with the GOP in power. We are now very much bankrupt already, to Red Communist CHINA. Our military is depleted due to Bush policies & unnecessary War in Iraq --- while our industrial base is sent overseas, & we no longer mfr much of anything in the USA any more. Our role as a super power is ruined as a result of Bush's foreign policy. Ann Coulter & other right wing writers (who are just propaganda specialists) have brain washed many ignorant Americans to believe that the liberals are the enemy- but the really worst enemy of the USA today is the GOP right wing branch of the Republican Party.
Another guy who knew Oswald was DeMohrenschildt, an oil exec & also in CIA just like Bush Senior was. When DeMohr was suddenly found dead just before he was due to testify to Senate Comte about JFK Ass'n, a card was found in DM wallet, with the name George Poppy Bush on it. So DM knew old daddy Bush AND Oswald.
Because it gets obvious who profited the most from death of JFK, was the right wing GOP, who gained office for the next 20 +years. And got rid of their worst enemies in the Dem Pty at the same time. You might say it was a coup d'etat ---- & one party of the US govt began to use bullets instead of ballots to choose our leaders. It should not surprise you then that they would tell any lie, commit any act of crime or treason, to cover-up their true agenda, since they are basically pure traitors to this govt & to this nation & to our sacred Constitution. Not to mention the 300 million people of the USA who do not have a clue as to whatever happened to this nation ? The whole (scenario) was created & manipulated by top rung rightwingers in 1958.
Deliberate deceit, sabotage, & treason. We have now had two (2) "rigged" elections, 2000 & 2004 which means Democracy is DEAD. We owe it all to the good old GOP, who are now operating mass "media control" to keep anyone from ever finding out the Truth.
You can see the proof of "rigged" election in The Rolling Stone mag --June 15, 2006, in an article by RFK, Jr.
"When you take away a man's right to vote, you reduce him to slavery -- and when all other rights are taken away, then the right to REBELLION is made perfect." ---First Principles of Govt, 1795 --- by Thomas Paine
The Media should be the VOICE OF THE PEOPLE, & work against tyranny. We have had the beginning of tyranny under Bush, & the sacred Constitution has been shredded in favor of the Patriot Act. As our Economy sinks into $43 trillion deficit spending, which means we are now officially bankrupt, it means we are no longer able to defend ourselves, since it takes a LOT of money to keep an Army & Navy & Air Force working in any functional capacity. Now, the govt is weak, and nearly bankrupt, our troops are either dead or totally disabled, we are up to our ears in debt to at least ONE Commie nation, who is threatening us with nuke missiles, & GOP has now outsourced all of our American industry base to foreign agents overseas. We have just seen America disappear on the ash heap of history -- without a bang, or even a whimper. It was a deliberate coup d'etat by GOP forces, that wanted to erase our democracy & replace it with some kind of Nazi &/or Commie fascism, to takeover the reins of power, away from the people, & give it to the corporations & military. But it looks more every day that they are giving the power to COMMIE nations abroad, like Russia & Red China. Unless the people of the USA get wise really soon, we've seen the last days of America.
OUR FUTURE & the future of all American children depends on all the citizens being educated & warned of the peril they are in, by ALL responsible Media, in an act of heroism & self sacrifice, in loyalty to their nation. We have not been asked to do this since 1776.
----So what is the Bush guy's major malfunction? Then you add in the outsourcing of all our jobs. How would that work? Our people here with NO jobs & all the jobs to be overseas ---- it did not compute -- & I searched my brain for any kind of rational explanation ---- & none did appear.
Then I realized that the GOP did not care what happened to our economy or our Army troops, or our forests or our govt (democracy) --- they intended to loot & rob all our govt agencies, like Social Security, Medicare, state & local govt funds,stock marketfunds (insider trading & stock manipulation) -- take all the workers pension funds & tax revenues --
& when all hell breaks loose here, after our bridges & dams are all broken & useless, when we are bankrupt, we have no industry left here to build weapons to protect ourselves, then the GOP would hop on a jet & leave this nation behind. -----------They could take all OUR money which they looted out of FEMA & Red Cross & anyplace else they could think of -- & go off to Switzerland or any Arab place where Bush family has sucked up to oil sheiks for generations
---- & it would take us ordinary Americans a long time to figure out what the HELL happened to this nation --- so Bush Inc would remain very safe. They could all live like Kings in any nation except the US & France
------just a thought of why Bush & groupies do not care how bad things get here in the USA, & they often help make the situation get worse, without any fear of the consequences. We should look into any real estate transactions of Bush & family in overseas markets. To see where is his future destination if/when he runs off with our $$ & national treasure. -----------It is just a thought.
What a concept. And maybe Ann will now remember the 10 Commandments --- "Thou shalt NOT bear FALSE Witness against anyone."