Sunday, May 11, 2008

May 11 ‘Media Critique’: “Hari Seeks to Smear HonestReporting”

How so (Hari's response here)?

HonestReporting critiqued Johann Hari's op-ed in the Independent, systematically exposing the many distortions, omissions and Hari's reliance on fringe revisionist sources and individuals.

Distortions. Nasty. Pity HR didn’t take the opportunity to explain its own monstrous distortion of Hari’s story when it fabricated this - “Hari compares Israel to excrement”.

Hari never even suggested this. HR’s silence on its own appalling transgression of basic standards of honesty says it all.

HR point to another op-ed in The Independent to defend them. Howard Jacobson writes

Indeed, accusing your detractors of carrying out a campaign often amounts to carrying out one in return - for it is a smear in itself to accuse people who disagree with you of acting out of no other motive than malice. He who says I smear him when I don't smears me.

Unfortunately for HR, Howard constructs a defence one could drive a truck through…sideways. See, Hari didn’t criticize HR for no reason other than malice, but because HR misrepresented what he wrote by falsely claiming, amongst other things, that Hari compares Israel to excrement”, . He didn’t. That was dishonest. A fabrication. A lie.

Yes Howard, it was, by your definition, a smear. Thanks for clearing that up.

Not content with that fairly crude and transparent bit of sophistry, Howard had more pearls of wisdom,

Something else doesn't feel quite right to me about Johann Hari's unearthing of this "campaign", and that is his assertion that "it is an attempt to intimidate and silence – and to a large degree it works". To my ear, that answers intimidation with intimidation, since it impugns the intellectual honour of those of whom he speaks, and coerces us into thinking the worst of them. Furthermore, it is patently untrue that "intimidation" has worked. Johann himself is demonstrably not intimidated. Nor is it easy to see who else is.

Well Howard, if Hari had written ‘it totally works’, you might have a point.

And how dare Hari impugn the "intellectual honour” of those who fabricated the allegation against him by pointing out the fabrications, and “coerce” us into thinking that telling lies about others isn’t right. Thanks Howard, that has to be one of the biggest piles of horse-shit dressed up in pseudo-liberal garb that I’ve heard in quite some time.

Intimidation? – it’s Hari’s that seems most problematic to Howard. HR lie about Hari’s writing, asking its readers to complain based on the lies, and they oblige, sending many letters demanding Hari be sacked. Johann shame on you for your intimidation!

Needless to say, neither HonestReporting, nor its erstwhile defender, Howard, have uttered a single syllable about HRs fabrication of the “Hari compares Israel to excrement” lie.