The Washington Gadfly
James Taranto goes monkey fishing... and proves himself quite the bottom feeder...
plus the NYTimes refuses to list Johnny Carson's black granddaughter among his survivors...the paper of record also refuses to correct humongous error about the landmark Civil Rights Act... maybe Tom Friedman should smack some sense into obituary editor Charles Strum. Informed of his misidentiifcation of the Civil Rights Act he hangs up on caller. Three cheers for the Post-Jayson Blair accountability promised by the New York Times after Howell Raines was taken to the woodshed.

Eric Breindel, for whom I previously worked as an editorial writer then press critic, used to say that facts are pesky things.

But they don't seem to much pester James Taranto, editor of the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal.com.

Taranto recently soiled his own editorial page with an odious defense of the Christian Right that included one materially false statement that he could not possibly believed true and required him to withhold from of crucial information about the Christian Right that would have imploded his entire thesis and his exposed his putative dispassion and objectivity as a huge sham.

Taranto, who speaks with traces of a faux British accent, pretends he's an honest bystander whose just the facts ma'am ethos has left him to conclude that the Christian Right's critics are the true intolerant zealots. "I am not a Christian or religious believer...So why do I find myself rooting for the 'religious right'? I suppose it is because I am put off by self-righteousness, closed-mindedness, and contempt for democracy and pluralism--all of which characterize the opposition to the religious right."

Sound familiar?

Conservatives for good reason once decried the stigmatizing of those who bear witness to wrongdoing rather than the wrongdoers themselves. These people were called, with obvious derision, anti-anti-Communists.

Fine, Taranto is entitled to be an anti-anti-Christian Rightist. He's also within his rights, since pomposity is protected under the First Amendment, to refer to himself when writing his "Best of the Web" column with the royal "we," an honorific that sounded particularly curious when he referred to his age, saying something like "We are 36." Oh, yeah? Then how old is the other guy? Or are you both 18 and doubled that makes 36?

But when you tell people only the partial truth that's called lying. In claiming that the Christian Right critics are worse than the Christian Right why did he fail to quote any statement from the Christian Right that critics have or would find objectionable.

The most recent one came from James Dobson who compared federal judges, the target of the Christian Right's current jihad, to Ku Klux Klansman.

Oh, are they? Does Taranto agree or disagree? Is anybody who objects some kind of intolerant anti-Christian bigot? Which judges act like Klansman?

Why did he leave the statement out?

"I'm busy. I can't talk now [click]."

That was his response at around 3pm.

Three hours. "Hey, James, is this a better time?"

[Click]

And these are the people who say liberals shirk personal responsibility.

Taranto is a poseur, in my opinion, and one of his sleights of hand is to quote from the Nation article critical of religious figures at the "Justice Sunday" anti-filibuster rally but omit the most incriminating evidence. Namely, that when Tony Perkins, now president of the Family Research Council, an offshoot of Dobson's Focus on the Family, once paid David Duke $82,000 for his mailing list to "shore up conservative support" when he managed the failed Senatorial campaign for Louisiana senator of his mentor, Woody Jenkins.

He then claims that the Christian Right is so broad-based they even included "conservative Muslims."

Which ones?

Louis Farrakhan?

[click]

The assertion is materially false, counterintuitive not supported by any mainstream media accounts and is in fact contradicted by many. It was the Christian Right's revulsion at any working with conservative Muslims that led to the forced "resignation" from the Alliance for Marriage advisory board, the lead anti-homo matrimony group, of the Islamic Society of North America, after this reporter did a series of investigative pieces about the alliance.

It's well to note (that's yet another Ericism) that in contradistinction to the good faith errors of Dan Rather and colleagues that conservatives unceremoniously denounced and used to intimidate television journalists from critical coverage of George W. Bush, Taranto's prevarications serve to advance the particular political agenda of his Editorial Page masters.

Taranto, who speaks with traces of a faux British accent, scored a big hit when he busted then Slate editor Michael Kinsley for publishing an account of "monkey fishing" which actually did not exist. Again, this was a good faith era that was quickly corrected.

Whitewashing the Christian Right's latest eruption of its inveterate hatreds is not.

WHERE'S GRADY WHEN YOU NEED HER?

The New York Times obituary of Watergate icon Peter Rodino, the retired New Jersey Congressman, could prove its biggest embarrassment on race since Howell Raines took to the pages of the Sunday magazine to wax nostalgic about his "Black Mammy."

The obit, which ran on Sunday, then Monday--he must have been very sick to have died twice like that--cited Rodino's role as floor manager for the 1966 Civil Rights Act.

What is this? Jayson Blair's latest scoop?

Like, duh. The landmark legislation which the Times misidentified was the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibited race and gender discrimination in employment and public accommodations. The passage was a watershed event that forced institutions which had until then discriminated against blacks to change their odious ways.

It remains at the center of countless lawsuits, Supreme Court cases and debates over race.

Fine everybody makes mistakes. The Washington Post obit had the same error, and the paper's obituary editor promised a correction after being informed of the inaccuracy by Chimpstein.com.

And the New York Times, post-Jayson Blair, has promised more accountability. No wonder they took the error so seriously.

Chuck Strum: New York Times

Reporter: Chuck?

Chuck Strum: Yeah?

Reporter: This is Evan Gahr. You made a huge error in the Rodino obituary about the Civil Rights Act. Are you going to correct it?

And why are you keeping Johnny Carson's black granddaughter secret from readers?

Chuck Strum: Thank you. [click]

Strum is clearly embarassed because he has failed to correct another huge error. When you tell the partial truth under oath that's called perjury. What is it when the New York Times does the same thing about public figures?

Editor's prerogative?

The New York Times since February has refused to add the name of Johnny Carson's illegitimate black granddaughter , Christal Carson, to its official list of the late great comedian's list of survivors. (Click here for more information on the black bastard)

But maybe Christal Carson, daughter of Johnny's hapless son Chris and black sweetie, would have better luck making the paper if she volunteers to do Howell's cooking and cleaning from time to time.

   Evan Gahr EvanGahr@aol.com, a former press critic for the late New York Post editorial page editor Eric Breindel, recently broke the story of a race discrimination lawsuit against the Washington Post. He has written for almost every major conservative publication.