Leo Walsh's Reviews > Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America

Guilty by Ann Coulter
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Oct 16, 09

Read in October, 2009

Shrill, opinionated, one-sided and poorly argued: Personal versus substantive attacks. If this book was researched like her other books, a lot to the "facts" about the "Liberal Media" are based on misleading Nexus/Lexus search results. Takes offense at the mainstream, and calls it Liberal. Bunches together all sorts of groups into an amorphous mass of undifferentiated "Liberal."

And, she is wildly inaccurate in a lot of places. Take, for instance, her scoffing at the Obama campaign's fears of the "Right-Wing Attack Machine." Yet this machine actually does appear to exist, just below the radar.

Here's an example from "W's" 2004 bid: In the SC Primary, ads suddenly "appeared" hinting that John McCain had a love child w/ a black woman. Asinine. Unfounded. But the target audience is clear: either overtly or covertly racist white people. Follow that up with the Swift Boating of Kerry in the general election.

Twice, the same thing happened: An unfounded, hearsay attack, running counter to established facts appeared at the right time to push W into office. Plausible deniability from the campaign. Empirically, such strongly correlated phenomena point towards one conclusion: Something is likely happening. I doubt it is a conspiracy. But it does smack of a well run marketing campaign.

So, here's the net result of W's election and the "Right-Wing/ Republican (Rove's ?) Attack Machine:" Two Vietnam vets who served with honor are dragged through the public square. A half informed public running around, trying to distinguish the real from the false--If they have the time or energy after school and soccer practice and laundry and dishes and home improvement projects. Is that the America we want? Is it ethical for political wonks, who know the facts, to willfully deceive? Is there no decency left in this country? Think of that when you listen to claims of Right-Wing patriotism.

The likely reason why the attacks did not take place in 2008 is that A) Democratic strategists, by mentioning the attacks before they actually happened effectively "inoculated" the masses against spurious, viral smears; and B) McCain was, at base level, a man of extreme honor. Not perfect, but a man worthy of respect.

Coulter's style throughout the book is more mean spirited than funny. Though I thought that her calling Obama O-Bambi was witty. But not particularly moving.

BTW: I found her take on the potentially destructive impacts single motherhood has on children and society thought-provoking. Even through her insensitive shrillness. But I question whether her data is accurate: Is it coming from peer reviewed sources? Or from rightist think-tanks without the requisite intellectual rigor that peer review entails, like the Cato Institute? Is single motherhood the cause or the symptom of societal ills?
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Alex I believe single motherhood is directly responsible for much of country's problems.


message 2: by Leo (new) - rated it 1 star

Leo Walsh Alex wrote: "I believe single motherhood is directly responsible for much of country's problems."

And your evidence? That is the difference between truth-based inquiry and opinion. To keep things simple, I am choosing a relatively lame example to show this, since I do not think it is worth a real argument.

A person can assert that the Holocaust never happened. But there is a lot of evidence - eye witness accounts from victims, guards and liberating soldiers. There was evidence on the scene when the War Crimes Tribunal sent their investigators into the camps.

There are many people who would agree with this hypothetical person. They could point to this or that ambiguous document. Or, they could a letter from a news editor that says, when a reporter mentions that they want to interview a well-known Holocaust denier, "Rejected. We don't want a nutter like this spoiling our panel." To this group, who are predisposed to see a "Pro Jewish Bias" in the press.

A conspiracy of nutters aside, the position is rocky. Most facts are against it. So it would be a silly position to maintain.

So, is your position fact based? And are those facts from reliable sources? For social sciences, this means "peer reviewed journal." Not, pray tell, FOX News...


message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim Not to comment on this book in particular but about her style in general:

She is indeed "Shrill, opinionated, one-sided, and mean-spirited" but would not say she argues poorly - that is if her notes accurately render their sources.

The examples you cite - of political battles, clean, dirty, and despicable - are the sorts of things I tend to gloss over as "business as usual" (a big yawn).

Of more interest to me are the so-called "culture wars" (and not particularly Coulter's comments thereby).

By at least one objective measure the "mainstream" is "liberal" - how journalists have registered to vote, which is heavily Democrat - so I don't think she has committed much of a category error there.

(I think political labels often don't work well when speaking about individuals - but work as a somewhat valid shorthand when applied to groups)

So far as single-motherhood goes, taken a-priori, destructive impacts are no big stretch.

Much has been made of correlations, which is Coulter's usual tack - but even NPR fairly regulary cites such correlations. When you factor that single-motherhood correlates strongly with poverty which in turn correlates with destructive impacts (and never mind lumping children with "society" - one category is clear and the other is highly amorphous).

(yes, correlation does not always imply causation, but ...........)

BTW, it wasn't clear, but do you regard CATO as intellectually rigorous? They are NOT "right" - rather they are classical liberal - or libertarian. I occasionally read their pamphlets and judge (or at least infer) that they have respect for evidence and can not only add and subtract but can multiply and divide (and can do valid statistics).

Anyway, I ran across your incisive comment on Keely's "Giver" review* and found this. I appreciate that you "took Coulter on".


*I was an early and persistent critic early on before Keely rewrote his review.


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