Sunday, November 29, 2009

Steyn On Hasan: Largely Bullshit

Carol Waino fact-checks articles by right-wing columnists for a hobby. In Mark Steyn's case, somebody's got to do it; Macleans sure won't. Here is her take on Major Nidal Hasan had an enabler. A shorter version was "removed" from the Macleans comments section.

There are errors in Mark Steyn’s article “Major Nidal Hasan had an enabler” (Nov. 26). Castigating Hasan’s “superior officer” Colonel Terry Lee, for fatal “political correctness”, Steyn writes:

"barely had he got to Texas when he started making idle chit-chat praising the jihadist murderer of two soldiers outside a recruitment centre in Little Rock. 'This is what Muslims should do, stand up to the aggressors,' Major Hasan told his superior officer, Colonel Terry Lee. 'People should strap bombs on themselves and go into Times Square.'

In less enlightened times, Colonel Lee would have concluded that, being in favour of the murder of his comrades, Major Hasan was objectively on the side of the enemy. But instead he merely cautioned the major …'You need to lock it up, major,' advised the colonel."

To begin, no reports list Col. Terry Lee as Hasan’s “superior officer” at Fort Hood. Col. Lee is instead clearly identified as “retired” when interviewed by Fox News, and in all other reports (certainly, it would be both foolish, and undoubtedly against military policy, for Hasan’s current or former “superior officer” to phone Fox with self-incriminating comments of the sort Steyn reports). Further, it is not clear that this individual was even a colleague at Fort Hood. Reports state that Hasan was only transferred to Fort Hood in July, a couple of months before the shooting, and Lee is described (in reports more credible than Fox) as having worked with Hasan as a colleague at Walter Reed, not Fort Hood, prior to his retirement.

But even in the Fox interview, Col. Lee makes clear that the quote which Steyn claims Hasan made to his “superior officer” Lee in Fort Hood – that “People should strap bombs on themselves and go into Times Square”, is unconfirmed, third party, material from another time and place. Lee says: “that was from a third source, so I can’t confirm that”. Further, he says that the unconfirmed statement was suggested by a third party at a conference at Walter Reed Hospital “6 months ago” – that is, before Hasan was posted to Fort Hood, not while he was there, as Steyn claims, and not directly to Lee (who did not personally receive it, and who, at any rate, was apparently not Hasan’s “superior officer” at Fort Hood).

If Mr. Steyn is going to try to throw more individuals under the over-used bus of “political correctness”, he might try and avoid further errors of the sort earlier directed at the CHRC, and for which MacLean’s recently published a retraction. In that regard I note that no correction has yet been offered for MacLean’s fictional May story which first inflated the population of Finland by about 6 million, before killing them all off several times over at the hands of a leader (Lenin) who never ruled the country. Does MacLean’s employ fact checkers or editors? Or is factual error now “politically correct”?

Carol Wainio

29 comments:

Terry 1 said...

Steyn is simply a pawn of the right wing hate machine that is left over from the Bush years. They are very active in the US with some nasty comments about Obama that would curl your hair.

And we all know this about Canadian tories.......tories are liars and liars are tories

jim said...

u are full of shit

sharonapple88 said...

Does MacLean’s employ fact checkers or editors? Or is factual error now “politically correct”?

Well, it's known that reality has a well-known liberal bias. ;)

Good work on Wainio's part. As for it being deleted... so much for free speech at Macleans.

Scott Tribe said...

With Colby Cosh now over there, there's going to be a lot of opportunity for external fact-checking.

Gene Rayburn said...

wow jim. How eloquent. Are you 14?

Dr.Dawg said...

NO, he's the Maclean's fact-checker.

Gayle said...

I know I am going to be sorry for asking, but, Jim, could you maybe point out what is wrong about the post? I know you believe simply asserting something as eloquent as "u are full of shit" should suffice, but I fear the rest of us will need something more to be convinced.

Ti-Guy said...

I know I am going to be sorry for asking, but, Jim, could you maybe point out what is wrong about the post?

I'll add: It shouldn't be difficult, Jim. Just make shit up, like Steyn does.

Gayle said...

He already does that. I was thinking more in the nature of actual, verifiable facts. He has a problem with those.

Ti-Guy said...

If you include a link to this post in a comment under Steyn's post at MacLean's, it gets deleted immediately upon posting.

Raging Ranter said...

That's right Jim. You should write thoughtful, articulate comments like this:

"Liberals howling about barley" has replaced "getting laid" for Wilson. Therein lies the problem, which she has decided to take out on every Liberal she can find.

Seriously, you old cunt...don't you ever get tired of trolling?


Author: Ti-Guy, two nights ago.

Gayle said...

RR - really cannot compare the two.

The fact that Ti does not suffer these fools gladly is a different issue than simply stating, as Jim has done here, that BCL is "full of shit".

Though it is nice of you to try and give Jim an out.

meddy said...

I'm not surpised that Macleans deleted the comment, implying as it does that the mag, like Steyn, churns out fact-free confections.

While Steyn is an entertainer, Macleans purports to also be about news.

Ti-Guy said...

RR - really cannot compare the two...

And that was in response to über-troll Wilson.

double nickel said...

Hunh. I didn't know MacLeans was still in business.

Raging Ranter said...

And that was in response to über-troll Wilson.

Therefore completely reasonable.

A sad little man you are.

Ti-Guy said...

It's not surprising that yet another right winger is completely uninterested in the accuracy of one of their leading spokespeople, preferring to support the derailment of a discussion and starting stupid fights...going out of their way to do so, in fact.

Conservatism: It's not an ideology, it's a diagnosis.

Ti-Guy said...

I should credit Dawg for that last sentence, by the way.

Raging Ranter said...

I haven't read a Steyn article recently. He's good for humour, and he makes the odd good point that others are afraid to make. But for anything resembling journalistic accuracy, he's been found wanting. (That goes for nearly all opinion columnists, save for Coyne and a small handful of others.) I don't rely on him for any information. If you don't like conversations being side-tracked by petty name-calling, try to avoid always being the first one to dive into the gutter. As natural as that might be for you.

Ti-Guy said...

If you don't like conversations being side-tracked by petty name-calling, try to avoid always being the first one to dive into the gutter.

Scold!

Jim was the first one in the gutter and you joined him.

If you want to avoid name-calling, I suggest you be rather consistent about it.

Still lurking over at MacLean's and watching you rail against women by the way. Apparently you think civil servants and members of parliament are equivalent and that women have enough control over government already.

Very telling.

Raging Ranter said...

Feel free to join the conversation over there then. For the sake of - you know - staying on topic.

Ti-Guy said...

Feel free to join the conversation over there then. For the sake of - you know - staying on topic.

The original topic's done unless anyone wants to challenge Carol Wainio's fact checking. That leaves us with the ever-present meta-topic: right wing psychotics whose opinions are not informed by evidence, logic and reason, but through a complex of personality disorders and irremediable ignorance.

And I'm not really talking about you here (because you really don't matter), I'm talking about Steyn. Pretentious, grasping, chauvinistic, bigoted, most likely racist although he denies that all the time, possessed of a primitive sense of humour and lastly...unschooled. As Johann Hari pointed out long ago, he does all his research by reading blogs, which have replaced the Information Please almanac and Bartlett's he used to rely on for his "scholarship."

Raging Ranter said...

So you don't like Mark Steyn. Am I reading you right?

Ti-Guy said...

I forgot to add unincarcerated to the Robber Baron's catamite's list of sins.

Mark Francis said...

It ain't the facts that matter. It's the narrative.

Oh, Chris Tindal (@christindal www.christindal.ca) joked on twitter yesterday this gem, which should sound familiar:

===
Mark Steyn protip: make stuff sound dumb by using quote marks: "science," "Europe," "youths," "peer review"
===

So, from now on, it's not Mark Steyn, it's "Mark Steyn"

Raging Ranter said...

That's really clever Mark. Ann Coulter was doing that ten years ago, in all her obnoxious glory. The quotes thing that is. She did it to some New York Times columnist after he wrote a sentence something like: Reagan "won" the Cold War. So "Tindal" is about a decade late with that little affectation. The rabid left is a lot closer to the rabid right than either would choose to admit.

Ti-Guy said...

I don't think Ann Coulter's ridicule of scare quotes is what exactly makes her an extremist. It's usually when she say things like "Every liberal needs to be killed."

Raging Ranter said...

She's and extremist and a buffoon for reasons too numerous to mention here.

Wakefield Tolbert said...

Dear author.

I know this sounds overly pedantic, but if you're going to quote people, please properly format the text if using italics to point out who said what somewhat more clearly.

Then we can begin the dissection with some clarity on just what Steyn said that is so damnably awful and supposedly fibby.