Monday, November 1, 2010

Why ABC Also Should Not Put Dana Loesch On The Air

ABC News set off a firestorm when they announced that professional media manipulator Andrew Breitbart would be part of their election coverage. After severely damaging their credibility as a news organization (after all, Breitbart's whole career is based on spreading misinformation, even when doing so destroys innocent people's lives), they tried to walk back their claims by issuing the following statement:
Since conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart announced on his website that he was going to be a participant in ABC’s Town Hall meeting at Arizona State University, there has been considerable consternation and misinformation regarding my decision to ask him to participate in an election night Town Hall event for ABC News Digital. I want to explain what Mr. Breitbart's role has always been as one of our guests at our digital town hall event:

Mr. Breitbart is not an ABC News analyst.

He is not an ABC News consultant.

He is not, in any way, affiliated with ABC News.

He is not being paid by ABC News.

He has not been asked to analyze the results of the election for ABC News.

Mr. Breitbart will not be a part of the ABC News broadcast coverage, anchored by Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos. For the broadcast coverage, David Muir and Facebook's Randi Zuckerberg will contribute reaction and response gathered from the students and faculty of Arizona State University at an ABC News/Facebook town hall.

He has been invited as one of several guests, from a variety of different political persuasions, to engage with a live, studio audience that will be closely following the election results and participating in an online-only discussion and debate to be moderated by David Muir and Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg on and Facebook. We will have other guests, as well as a live studio audience and a large audience on and Facebook, who can question the guests and the audience’s opinions.
However, if ABC News is going to prevent Breitbart from appearing on air, they also should not tarnish their name by allowing Dana Loesch to appear. Loesch has many things in common with Breitbart. One is that she repeatedly spreads false information that is never corrected even after the facts are as plain as day. But just as important is her record of using misinformation to try to destroy people's personal lives and careers for the sake of advancing her political agenda and promoting her career.

The first example of this is St. Louis County Counselor Patricia Reddington. Loesch lied about Reddington and claimed that Reddington decided to file misdemeanor rather than felony charges in the Gladney case without looking at the hospital records. This was completely false, as Reddington's office had reviewed the hospital records with the original police report, as is standard procedure. When Loesch was busted on this, she tried to invent a new fake story that she was referring to medical records other than the hospital records, but this also turned out to be verifiably false. In other words, Loesch, without bothering to do the most rudimentary research, was attempting to destroy the career of a public official whose job it was to administer the law.

If you think that all public officials are fair game for smear campaigns, keep in mind that Loesch also lied about a local school teacher and accused her of indoctrinating her students. Loesch claimed that the teacher forced all of her students to watch Michael Moore's movie Sicko as part of a "Great Literature" course and called a student a "teabagger." In fact, the movie was shown specifically for the purpose of asking students to evaluate how Moore used rhetoric to try to make his point (so it was educating students to think critically about rhetoric, the exact opposite of "indoctrination"), and the other students from the classroom all testified that the teacher did not call the student a "teabagger." And after trying to destroy a teacher's credibility without even bothering to get the full story, Loesch never bothered to offer any context or issue any corrections. And the funny thing is that it doesn't even matter to Loesch whether the teacher is actually a liberal or not. If Loesch had cared about that, she would have bothered to do basic research. But for Loesch, the actual facts about the teacher were irrelevant; whether the teacher was liberal or conservative, Loesch recognized her only as a target whose destruction would help promote her own career.

Then of course was the Shirley Sherrod issue. This is probably the issue that put the final nail in the coffin of Breitbart's credibility, since he presented an out-of-context video claiming that Sherrod was racist, which resulted in Sherrod getting fired. But Loesch, although not being the originator of the story like Breitbart, did her very best to push it. She hosted Breitbart on her radio show to lie about the incident. She claimed that Breitbart was forced to smear Sherrod by "hyper-racial awareness" created by the NAACP. She quibbled about whether Sherrod's relatives had been lynched, because she mistakenly believed that being beaten to death by racists didn't meet the definition. And she continues to smear Sherrod even to this day. So Loesch was also a willing participant in the smearing of an innocent woman.

As I mentioned yesterday, Loesch is also using her role as editor at the Big Journalism site to try to smear a media outlet with more out-of-context audio.

And finally, though this isn't quite the same as the other examples, I think it speaks volumes about Loesch's character: Dana Loesch, far more than Andrew Breitbart, aggressively attacked Lauren Valle, the woman whose head was stomped on by a Rand Paul supporter. Loesch claimed that Valle owed an apology for "trying to incite violence." She said that wasn't chivalrous because they allowed a woman to attend the debate.
She said on her radio show that Valle was trying to "incite a riot," and that Valle shouldn't complain if she got in to trouble while going to an event "looking for trouble."

If ABC News wants to retain any credibility as a media outlet, they should not allow Dana Loesch to be on their election night broadcast as an "analyst."


  1. Douche-bag Loesch as an analyst? Laughing my brown ass off!!!!

  2. She looked like such an idiot on Bill Maher's show a couple of weeks ago. She was completely debunked and looked like a fool. Mr. Ryan of the WSJ schooled her ass in about 30 seconds with respect to the effect of the stimulus. She then went on her show the following Monday to claim she was still right. This woman gives retards a bad name.

  3. Jesus, giving retards a bad name is tantamount to being dumber than a dandelion, where someone else tells you when to sit, move and how to vote. Back in the fifties for christs sake.

  4. Breitbart and Loesch should be "kept off the air"? So refreshing to meet someone with your commitment to free speech and open debate!

  5. Lester, you seem to be misunderstanding my point. Of course I agree there should be free speech. However, there's a difference between, on the one hand, allowing free speech and, on the other, being a news organization that elevates the misinformation of dishonest actors. Breitbart and Loesch have a history of spreading blatant misinformation, and so providing them with a platform discredits any news organization that has them on without providing the relevant context. Of course, you could call it "free speech" for the news organizations to air Breitbart's bogus smear on Sherrod without bothering to get the background information, but that doesn't make it a good idea. So I'm not arguing that they should be *legally* prohibited from speaking; however, I am saying that (1) as a news organization and (2) as an entity who's business depends, in part, on presenting honest information, ABC shouldn't invite them on as political commentators. There are plenty of other people who represent conservative positions without having to be dishonest.

    A further point is that the format of "election night coverage" and many other news broadcasts does not permit the kind of pure debate that is represented in the ideal of free speech. Let's say Person A says a falsehood X that takes 20 minutes of background information to adequately refute. Well, that just will not happen in a news cast. So by putting people on who regularly spread that type of misinformation, you will, as a matter of fact, be misinforming the public. Now maybe you could say, "well, that's why blogs exist; they can correct the misinformation." That sounds great for the Ideal Realm of Debate. However, in the real world, where people's lives are at stake, it's a pretty naive position. Because if ABC news reaches 10 million people with election night coverage that spreads falsehood X, and some blog perfectly lays out the why X is false but only reaches 2,000 people, well then the public is on balance misinformed. And, as a news organization, that is precisely what you should be resisting.