Sunday, September 23, 2012

Media: The Lies of David Corn

Didn't he know? Didn't anyone ever tell him?

The lies that you tell
Will leave you alone
They'll keep you down
They'll catch you and trip you up
Keep you hangin' around
-- "Love You By Heart," written by Carly Simon, Jacob Brackman and Libby Titus, first appears on Carly's Spy

Apparently not and it made for a very uncomfortable listening experience when David Corn appeared Friday on the first hour of The Diane Rehm Show (NPR).

David Corn, for those who don't know of him, is a writer. He used to be a journalist. For a long, long time, he was seen by many on the left as far too close to the CIA which led to speculation that he was with the CIA -- at the very least in a Pamela Des Barres' I'm With The Band kind of way. This speculation only grew as Corn did a superficial (and fact-free) takedown of journalist Gary Webb's investigative series for the San Jose Mercury News exposing the links between the CIA and the drug trade.

Corn always hopes to live down the Webb attack but never will. "Who Killed Gary Webb?" (Press Action) asked Jordy Cummings only to conclude, "David Corn and the Democratic establishment killed Gary Webb." Andres Kargar (From The Wilderness) wrote of David Corn while wondering about "A Mole in the Progressive Movement?" He's attacked A.N.S.W.E.R., he's attacked 9-11 Truth, he's even attacked KPFA and other Pacifica stations for the premium gifts they've offered. You sort of picture him on the phone with customer service at Snuggie insisting his Snuggie alone doesn't keep him warm in winter and he thinks he deserves at least a partial refund even though the item was purchased over three years ago.

He's been called "nonprofessional on these issues" (terrorism) by French author Jean-Charles Brisard. And he was smacked down publicly, while he still wrote for The Nation, by its editor, publisher and co-owner Katrina vanden Heuvel. That public correction is why he's not at The Nation but at Mother Jones which, as we all know, prefers not to correct their mistakes.

This was addressed in April 21, 2008 "Iraq snapshot." A TV news producer read the snapshot and put us on three-way as he called Mother Jones -- he couldn't believe  Mother Jones was refusing to correct a basic mistake (by Corn) or that they would be rude to people who pointed it out. He quickly found out that they did refuse and that the woman answering the phone was "a nasty piece of work." He never even got to identify himself, which was the whole point of his call -- that and to prove us wrong. We were right. He'd planned to use the recording to get a few laughs at our expense. Instead, it's been used to get laughs at Corn and Mother Jones' expense and one of the main reasons so few in the news industry take Mother Jones seriously.

That mistake? Barack Obama, in an April 16th debate falsely claimed Bill Clinton pardoned two members of the Weather Underground (Linda S. Evans and Susan Rosenberg). The press ran with the lie. The morning of April 17th, when it was clear the press was not self-correcting on its own, we wrote "There was no pardon, Barack." We wrote that before David Corn got his sad sack ass out of bed. But there he was, later that day, on the Hillary Clinton press conference call, screaming like a banshee about the pardon. He then took to Mother Jones to blog about the pardon. In fact, he would blog multiple times about the pardon. Yet, as we'd noted early on, there was no pardon. David Corn repeated the lies for days and days. This despite the fact that it only took one time writing "Jake Tapper, correct your error" to get a correction from Tapper and ABC News. But then Tapper and ABC News are journalists who care about integrity. Mother Jones is seen by the real press as just a vanity make-work project for two bored women.

When it became a huge issue -- shortly after the news producer began playing the taped phone call with Mother Jones refusing to correct their error -- the 'magazine' and Corn were finally forced to sort-of self-correct. Some of his posts about the pardon (that wasn't) got a little note attached, some didn't. The note never admitted he was wrong (though he was really wrong):

Clarification: Clinton did not issue pardons to Rosenberg and Evans; he commuted their prison sentences. Media accounts often conflate the two different actions. These two commutations were announced by the White House on January 20, 2001, as part of a long list of almost 140 pardons and commutations, which included the infamous pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich--which was a pardon.

Clarification? No, it required a correction. It wasn't one time Corn wrote about it. He wrote about it repeatedly. In the words of an NBC reporter, he acted like "a psycho" on the Hillary conference call as he kept demanding answers (comments) on the pardon (that wasn't). Only after there was a new topic in the news did Corn and Mother Jones issue there 'correction' and, even then, they refused to own their mistake, refused to even call it a mistake.

That's David Corn for you, a man who used to call out lies by others but now spends more time lying himself and raving like a lunatic whose family desperately needs to stage an intervention.

A journalist who can't correct themselves isn't much of a journalist. And we were reminded of just how far from journalism David Corn has strayed as we caught his stunts on The Diane Rehm Show.  He'd foamed at the mouth and bored us all long before Susan Page (guest hosting) took a needed call. Most of the hour was spent with David plugging the latest story someone else had found and handed him. This time it was a grandson of former president Jimmy Carter who found a video online of Mitt Romney speaking to donors and the grandson then shopped it around before Mother Jones bit and grabbed the story. Consider it Journalism Helper and David just added water (or milk if he wanted a creamier sauce) to it.

From Friday's show:

Nancy Jean of Florida: I have a comment. David Corn is bordering on gleeful, maybe even a little pejoratively mean-spirited, and repetatively describing Romney as condescending, dismissive, even sneering towards half of the American populace. I don't interpret the comments that way. They weren't well stated but I am concerned about the growing entitlement issue. And I'm wondering why it's kosher to simply go on and on and on ranting about a candidate? I think it's disrespectful and it helps me decide for Romney.

Susan Page: Alright, Nancy Jean, thank you very much for your call. We've gotten also an e-mail from Virginia who makes a similar point. She says, "I've always depended -- I've always defended NPR against those who've bemoaned your extreme media bias and blatant salavation for Obama. Listening to the show today with all three media people speaking disdainfully of Romney and fawningly of Obama, I am concerned."

David Corn: Well, uh --

Susan Page: What do you think?

David Corn: I haven't heard Matt beforning about Obama throughout the show. He called him --

Matt: Nor will you, David.

David Corn: He called both candidates weak. I don't think I've fawned either. All I can say about the tape is, the great thing about this tape, I said it earlier, is everybody can look at it for themselves, go to Mother, I can't help but plug it, and, uh, and you can see -- I think the overall reaction is-is different than the caller from Orlando. He said without doubt that he believed that half of America did not take personal responsibility for their own lives. Now I th -- I equate that with disdain. But Bill Kristol, of The Weekly Standard, David Brooks, uh, The New York Times, uhm, conservatives who have all sat in this studio and argued with me in the past, all took that same interpretation of the remarks. I think Bill called him "arrogant and stupid." So, uh, the caller can watch for herself and come up with her own conclusion. But I do think on this one, she's in the minority.

First off, "beforming"? Who knows what word he thought he was speaking? What he said was "beforming."

A listener calls in and that's his response? Can you believe the arrogance from David Corn?
Let's go through his statements slowly.

David Corn: All I can say about the tape is, the great thing about this tape, I said it earlier, is everybody can look at it for themselves, go to Mother, I can't help but plug it, and, uh, and you can see -- I think the overall reaction is-is different than the caller from Orlando.

Caller from Orlando? Again, is he so self-involved that he can't listen. The caller is from Florida. She gave where she lives on air and, no, it wasn't Orlando.

And whose overall reaction is David Corn speaking of? There were no polls on the tape at that point or Corn Nuts would have cited them.

David Corn: But Bill Kristol, of The Weekly Standard, David Brooks, uh, The New York Times, uhm, conservatives who have all sat in this studio and argued with me in the past, all took that same interpretation of the remarks.

Oh, okay. He's Cokie Roberts now. Because the pundit class has ruled, that's all that matters?

David Corn: I think Bill called him "arrogant and stupid."

No, William Kristol did not call Mitt Romney "arrogant and stupid." He called the remarks that. There is a difference between saying someone said something stupid (or arrogant) and calling them that. David Corn is supposed to be educated enough to grasp the difference.

David Corn: So, uh, the caller can watch for herself and come up with her own conclusion.

Did he listen to Nancy Jean when she spoke? Or is he one of those asses that can't hear criticism? Nancy already formed her opinion, already knew what was said. She doesn't need to visit Mother Jones' crappy website.

David Corn: But I do think on this one, she's in the minority.

And that's where we wanted to scream. Nancy was bothered by the fact that all the guests were attacking one candidate while praising the other. (Matthew Continettie and Jeanne Cummings did praise Barack  -- Jeanne more than Matthew with her gush of, "Well he would defy the odds, but, let's face it, he already has.") Corn's response is "she's in the minority." That crap'll work at the one-note Mother Jones but Corn Nuts was on public radio. Public radio is supposed to provide a diversity of opinion and it is supposed to allow for minority viewpoints to be heard.

Corn Nuts' nasty little response didn't belong on NPR.

Equally true, she's not in the minority. If she were in the minority, the hour David was on The Diane Rehm Show would not have been about what a tight race it was between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

He can't stop lying to save his own lying ass.

Meanwhile, in the comments, listeners were complaining about him. It wasn't just Nancy Jean and that's because -- pay close attention -- David Corn isn't Diane Rehm folk. Diane tries to make him that, she has him on the show all the time, but he's rude and nasty and when called on it by listeners -- or called on  his factual errors -- he just gets nastier.

Again, from Friday's show:

Susan Page: You know David, we've gotten a couple of e-mailers complaining that you have said several times that Romney called Americans "moochers." And they point out that that is your word, not --

David Corn: That is my characterization. I would say that's my characterization of his words. He says that they don't pay taxes, they don't take personal responsibility for themselves, they expect the government to give them everything including housing, uh, food, health care, you name it. So put that all together and I think it's pretty close to being a "moocher." He also said they see themselves as victims.

Susan Page: Yes, but --

David Corn: "Victim" was his word.

Susan Page: "moochers" was --

David Corn: "Moochers" was my word, was my characterization. On the air, you don't get to see the quotation marks or the lack of quotation marks.

Again, he was lying and he got called on it and instead wants to whimper about quotation marks on air. He lied about Mitt Romney repeatedly and wasn't mature enough to say, "You know what, the listeners are correct. My bad." Instead it was try to distract by bringing up "victims" and refuse to take accountability. This is now a David Corn trait.

That's really sad. A lot of people were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt or a fresh start when he broke the Valerie Plame story. But he couldn't even stay honest there and, as many started to point out, he was writing about a CIA agent being outed -- how was that any different than his other bag work for the CIA?

The Valerie Plame story was handled by other reporters so much better (including, but not limited to, Joe Strupp). And that's all David has to point to for the last ten years.

How sad.

Sad also describes the fact that the video he posted was incomplete. Sad was the fact that it took William A. Jacobson (Legal Insurrection) calling him out online to force yet another non-correction from Corn. Instead of getting honest, Corn Nuts calls what he offers an "Update."

There is a missing section to the recording. Corn Nuts himself admitted that.

Susan Page: Do you know what that was?

David Corn: Oh yeah [. . .] and I asked the source what had happened and the source said during the recording the device shut off [ . . .]

Can someone explain journalism to Corn Nuts? He doesn't "know" if someone told him. If someone told him, his response is, "Well, what I was told was . . ."

That's before you get to the possibility that a server who's going to record an event isn't exactly someone we'd trust. If it was a server, as an early investigation appears to indicate, then Corn Nuts and Jimmy Carter IV have deliberately lied in their characterization of the source for the recording.

Corn claims at Mother Jones currently to provide "full audio" and "the entire transcript." But when your video recording has minutes missing in the middle, then nothing "full" or "entire" has been offered -- no matter how much a "fool" insists otherwise.

Again, sad.

So was Corn's other 'report' entitled "Romney '47 percent' Fundraiser Host: Hedge Fund Manager Who Likes Sex Parties."

To be clear, David Corn doesn't enjoy sex.

Or maybe that's just the opinion of those who've slept with him?

Regardless, David Corn lied yet again.

We had to descend into his smut level and read that bad 'report' so let's point out that David Corn doesn't get invited to too many parties -- are we really surprised?

The "sex parties"? It's one party, reported by The New York Post, and you've got one couple. A man strips down to his briefs and jumps in a pool. His partner strips nude and goes in the pool. They were "making out" and "continued their show outside the pool and performed sex acts on a chair in front of astonished guests."

Notice how David Corn works, one party becomes "parties," one couple becomes a "sex party." He's a regular one-man National Enquirer.

To David Corn, that's a sex party. He's so screwed up sexually, he probably brags he's participated in an orgy just because, alone in bed, he switched from the right to the left hand mid-stroke.

For a large, weekend summer party in the Hamptons, one couple making out is not that unusual. And skinny dipping is even less unusual.

Poor David Corn. Nobody ever told him.


Credit to Marcia who asked us to write about this topic.  See her "David Corn's an ass" for more.

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