Tom Maguire for Dummies

I wasn’t happy with this post, which was a bit too personal and too vitriolic, so I’m taking it down, but leaving the comments.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 32 Comments

The problem with World O’Crap, and I’ll continue with that article once you can reconcile this for me is this part:

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And there was also this Talon News story from March 9 (which was helpfully posted to FreeRepublic):

Federal Grand Jury Could Subpoena Talon News Correspondent (and RighTalk host)

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WASHINGTON (Talon News) — A federal grand jury has subpoenaed White House records on administration contacts with more than two dozen journalists and news media outlets in a special investigation into the alleged improper leak of a covert CIA official’s identity to columnist Robert Novak last July.

Talon News has learned that one of the journalists being targeted is Jeff Gannon, Washington Bureau Chief and White House correspondent for Talon News.
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So, yes, Jeff Gannon was reported to have been subpeonaed by the Grand Jury.
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Ummmm … no, no Jeff Gannon wasn’t.

The administration was subpeonaed, specifically their records. Mr. GannonGuckert was not.

So that ‘magnificent post’ stumbles right out of the gate.

But I’m sure that doesn’t really matter now, does it?

February 23, 2005 @ 11:12 am | Comment

It might matter. I’m fair and objective. But this is the typical Tom Maguire-esque M.O. –find a chink in the armor, a little spot of vulnerability, even if it is a tiny thing within the scope of the whole. Now in this case, I think you’re entirely wrong anyway, but you are applying the age-old Sean Hannity tactic of looking for a weak spot and then declaring that since there’s a perceived weak spot the whole thing must be false. World O’Crap’s post is long and rich with links and specifics, and you can’t debunk her by saying you doubt one of her myriad points. Well, you can, and that’s why you like Tom Maguire. Destroy the opponent’s credibility by whatever means possible by finding and exploiting a flaw, real or imagined. And it works — but not here.

You’re also applying the Tom Maguire tactic of playing word games. Was he “targeted” or “subpoened”? Doesn’t matter which word you apply — if the Plame inquiry targeted him or subpoened him, it’s still big news either way. This is so reminiscent of Maguire’s shit-stirring over whether John Kerry threw “medals” or “ribbons” and trying to make it seem Kerry was a pathological liar because he had used the words interchangably over the decades. This is as sleazy a tactic as there is, and it is Maguire’s calling card.

February 23, 2005 @ 12:13 pm | Comment

I’m torn on this one, Richard. On the one hand, the blogosphere getting the (heavy-handed? over-exposed? ridiculing? sanctifying? Choose your own adjective!) attention it’s gotten because of JJGG and previous forays, the words of these kinda guys have gone up in value. On the other hand, I don’t read them, don’t give a shit, and frankly am slightly disturbed by the fact you’ve even bothered to read them. Not that I’m telling you what to read – it’s just I’ve always found the discussions on your blog far more lively and interesting when it focused on Asia. If you want a realpolitik based opinion, I’d say that a) by posting on them you just throw fuel on the fire and b) the MSM has already picked up the story, which means that now the minutae that the blogosphere picks up on so well (and made JJGG a story in the first place) is now irrelevant. While bloggers can start the fire, it seems that afterward the MSM controls the burn. Unless there’s another big revelation (and I doubt it, because so far bloggers strengths in breaking these kinds of stories has been in uncovering things like domain name ownership – which is not irrelevant), the rest of the blogosphere’s activity on this issue is going to basically be confined to whinging and blaming. No sense being part of that. I’m proposing a new set of bracelets and necklaces: WWJSD? What Would Jon Stewart Do? Whaddya think?

February 23, 2005 @ 1:04 pm | Comment

I see your point Dave, but I’ll tell you why I believe we are correct to keep up the noise level. It is all a matter of communication, and the one who gets his messages out wins. This is Karl Rove’s magic formula. They have started this meme that the true Gannon scandal is that Democrats are persecuting him because he is gay. Yes, they are actually saying this with a straight face. If we don’t counter and expose the Republican noise machine, it will crush us. Or, more accurately, it will continue to crush us. When I see the right going full-speed ahead spreading false stories and manipulating perceptions, I can’t just sit back. I saw what they did with the gay marriage meme and the Swift Boat Veterans BS — it has to be challenged at every level. Nothing gets me more incensed than watching Tom and Charles and Michelle consciously and willfully manipulating their readers, often resorting to bold-faced lies.

Silence equals defeat, especially nowadays when the Republicans control the airwaves. So I’m going to call out these crimes when I see them.

Sorry that you’d rather I write about China. I try to seek a balance, but the truth is I am much more knowledgeable about US politics that China. Sometimes I wonder how this blog ever got so China-focused; it sure isn’t what I intended it to be when I first started out blogging.

February 23, 2005 @ 1:33 pm | Comment

In a world replete with assholes, few stand out with as rare and radiant a light as Tom Maguire of Just One Minute.

Don’t sell yourself short. And I’m kind of digging the notion that I provide a rare and radiant light where the sun don’t shine.

However, your post confuses me – am I an asshole, or a cockroach? Or a cockroach’s asshole? Just wondering.

This is so reminiscent of Maguire’s shit-stirring over whether John Kerry threw “medals” or “ribbons” and trying to make it seem Kerry was a pathological liar because he had used the words interchangably over the decades. This is as sleazy a tactic as there is, and it is Maguire’s calling card.

Half right – I posted very little on Kerry’s medals/ribbons thing, although I am delighted to think that you might be confusing me with Mickey Kaus, who did post on it quite a bit.

As to the specific tactic, guilty as charged – I am often unable to see the larger, clearer truths because I let pesky facts obscure my vision.

But you go ahead and keep on doing the fine job you are doing here.

February 23, 2005 @ 2:05 pm | Comment

Hi Tom; glad you could make it out of your landfill to pay us a visit. I’d say you’re actually something of a hybrid, half roach, half asshole. Or some combination thereof. Sorry if I confused you with Mickey Kaus for a minute, though I do remember reading at least one or two posts you wrote about ribbons/medals. And lots about Christmas in Cambodia.

You allude to “pesky little things like facts.” The problem with your kinds of facts is that they are not real facts. They are some strange co-blending of innuendo, rumor, half-truth and crap. The medals/ribbons issue is a perfect example. (And you sure did post about it, more than once!) It’s a perfect Tom Maguire “Gotcha!” moment — once Kerry said “medals,” another time he said “ribbons” — oh my god, he’s a liar, a coward, a traitor and probably a child molester as well. Keep it up, Tom. Keep those “facts” coming. Your brilliant sleuthing in the Christmas in Cambodia kerfuffle was a great contribution. I hope you are very, very proud of yourself.

February 23, 2005 @ 2:45 pm | Comment

Get him, Richard! He’s scuttling back under the baseboards now…

February 23, 2005 @ 3:53 pm | Comment

OT a bit
But there is still a war ocurring in America about the public being warred upon by the Bush mal-adimistration. The Sibel Edwards matter has had an important step in court about her case. The lastest news shows that there are elements, from top down that run the goernment not according to law, but according to the agenda of the men in power. Hooray for the ACLU representing Sibel Edwards and the Consitution. Check out Institute for Public Accuracy. dcinstitute@igc.org for info on whistleblower Edmonds and the FBI and DOJ.

February 23, 2005 @ 6:17 pm | Comment

The story pete is referring to in his comment can be found here.

February 23, 2005 @ 6:25 pm | Comment

Hey, thanks for the tip on that Tom guy. I had never heard of him before, but here you’ve been doing all the research for me!

-M-

February 23, 2005 @ 7:28 pm | Comment

the medals/ribbons issue is a perfect example. (And you sure did post about it, more than once!)

Oh, boy, another perfect gotcha moment. May I offer a tip – after you google a person’s site, you *really* ought to read the post you hit on, however painful that may be, just in case “Google” is also searching on the comments section (as it does with my site).

For example, in the post to which you helpfully link, anyone who cares to follow the link will see that, contra Richard, I do *not* comment on Kerry’s medals and ribbons in the post about Kerry’s dates of service, and the confusion about them. However, some folks in the comments section do. Go figure.

But let us not allow irritating facts and lack of evidence to obscure the larger truth – if Richard remembers me posting on the medals and ribbons, I am sure I did, then, and am lying about it now.

I mean, the idea that he could be wrong, and me be right is not allowable, now is it?

Carry on, Richard – keep up that fine research! And if the research thing becomes burdensome, you seem to have a modest flair for name-calling. However, you will want to upgrade from “asshole” if you decide to make ignorant ad hominem your specialty.

BTW, I’m holding out for “Radiant Cockroach”. I fear no light!

February 23, 2005 @ 9:50 pm | Comment

It is hard to see any big issue here. If Jim/Jeff is the phoney he appears to be and if someone from GOP or the administration helped him gain access to the briefings, find them and fire them. If a major security lapse occurred ask Pres Bush and make a public record of it. But earth shattering, no. Dangerous to the country, no, not in comparison to all the real problems BushCo have created for US. And in a sense of black humor, so what, if there was a security breach it was only the potential loss of Bush. No big deal with him gone.

But where is the journalist/criminal aider and abetter Novak? Why isn’t he being charged with the crime of exposing an undercover CIA agent? Why is he not shunned and criticised heavily by the journalist community and the community in general? Why is he still on TV and in the papers?

I have some thoughts. Novak might be bullet-proof. He probably has enough info on GOP stalwarts and others to make him politically untouchable. The other point is that other journalists do not want to criticise one of their own.

Perhaps blog journalists not bound to the mainstream should look more deeply into Novak and his antic. As someone else pointed out 2 journalists not direct participants in the Plame outing face jail, while Novak’s responsibility is either buried from public sight or there is no political will to deal openly with his involvement.

February 24, 2005 @ 2:23 am | Comment

However, you will want to upgrade from “asshole” if you decide to make ignorant ad hominem your specialty.

But Richard doesn’t allow name-calling and rudeness on his site! That must have been his evil twin. Civility is required. Attention must be paid. Partisan journalists must be hyperbolized.

February 24, 2005 @ 6:04 am | Comment

Meet me at
http://sevencastles.blogchina.com

February 24, 2005 @ 6:11 am | Comment

I do hope everyone goes to that post I linked to in order to see how Tom uses minutiae and obscure “facts” to plant very specific seeds in his readers minds. Especially look at the comments that follow: “Does this mean Kerry deserted?” Stuff like that. It’s exactly, 100 percent what I’m talking about.

Sam, I know you were a proponent of the Christmas in Cambodia crusade. I respect you because you have a mind and do your own thinking, and we all make mistakes sometime. Maybe I was a bit over the top with this post, but that was a conscious decision — Maguire and his ilk have definitely touched a nerve with me due to their method of viral miscommunication. I admit it — they infuriate me. I try to resist the ad hominems, but certain people like Maguire and Charles Johnson and Michelle Malkin inspire me to break my own rules.

February 24, 2005 @ 7:06 am | Comment

Richard, Richard, Richard,

Tsk tsk. You were so much more balanced when you were still in Asia! Is it just because you’re back in the states that you’ve become so rabidly anti-everything? You may not agree with this Tom Maguire guy, but you are not offering anything better now. I’m sorry to see that- I think it’s more of a reflection of the political climate of the states. My friends who are still on college campuses or in California… eh, it’s useless.

All I’m trying to say is, why can’t we get along? When did it become all about Bush/Rove? The blog shouldn’t be a rightwing thing, it should be about instantaneous fact checking and information distribution. But if you accept that, then it appears that some on the right have a better apparatus for maintaining it AT THE MOMENT. The Gannon/Guckert thing is just another example of this trend.

I come to your site since I like to read about Chinese/Asian issues. Politics is important too, but there comes a point when it can get in the way. You can contribute alot to the dialogue with your experience, so it’s kind of sad that instead we have to go over this kind of name calling.

So, take my little $.02 for whatever you might, wish the best for you and hope to talk more later.

February 24, 2005 @ 7:17 am | Comment

jesus.

it’s pretty clear from reading maguire in here alone that richard’s analysis of his rhetoric which consists of “spreading false stories and manipulating perceptions” is perfectly right. especially the latter seems m’s most favourite stylistic device and silly factoism becomes part of its glittering plausibility.

i agree with the view that these mechanisms should be discussed. when left to its own devices the babble of the right generates terms like “political correctness” for example, which often in part are thoughtlessly swallowed up even by the liberal before they’re finally turned against them. americans (the world, we all) need less of that.

February 24, 2005 @ 7:29 am | Comment

btw another journalist who writes along these lines is james taranto of the WSJ’s opinion journal. another “master” of distortion.

February 24, 2005 @ 7:37 am | Comment

ITHA, here’s what I’ve said in the past about Taranto, public enemy No. 1.

Former Leftist, I can’t be all things to all people. Some people want to hear about US politics, others about Asia. I try to balance the two. But when I see outrages like Maguire’s innuendo-laden drivel I can’t be silent. So skip the domestic stuff if you’d like, but it’s not going away. As Polonius says, This above all, to thine own self be true. If I stay silent, I wouldn’t be true to myself.

February 24, 2005 @ 8:48 am | Comment

Oh, brother…I love phony appeals for “bipartisanship” from the right…which translates roughly to “lie back and think of England.”

When right wing partisans stop smearing liberals, progressives as “power-hungry traitors” (to summarize that powerlines fella), when ONE elected Republican will deactivate that microchip in their heads that keeps them in lockstep with the daily RNC talking points – well, then we can talk about bipartisanship again. My moment of utter disgust and dismay came when not one – NOT ONE – Republican Senator would dare to vote against “Torture Boy” Gonzales for AG, even though you damn well know that at least of few of them disapproved strongly of the nomination and the message it sends about the current administration’s disregard for the rule of law and human rights.

February 24, 2005 @ 1:06 pm | Comment

When I read the original post, I assumed this was some kind of in-joke, and you were a friend of Tom’s. Based on the comments, I’m guessing no.

“Silly factoism” Hee! (Does that mean a silly concentration on actual facts, or something else).

February 24, 2005 @ 2:12 pm | Comment

Heh. Indeed. I read the whole thing.

Very funny — it’s good to see Maguire get his come-uppance. He certainly knows how to sound fair and balanced while poisoning the well with cunning attacks that are full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

February 24, 2005 @ 2:20 pm | Comment

Don’t look now, but that well-known Bush hatchet man David Corn, writing in the well-known conservative outlet The Nation, has just pissed all over Gannongate. Rove has agents everywhere!

February 24, 2005 @ 2:24 pm | Comment

Well, if Corn and Maguire piss on it, it must be a non-story. Thanks. I’m glad that’s settled.

February 24, 2005 @ 2:28 pm | Comment

Former leftist,

Do your homework to get a sense of words. You just lost your own arguments with your own chosen name in two counts. Former Leftist or current idiot is a name calling. By using that name, you let us know your own right wing ideology get in the way with your logical thinking, just like you asked Richard not to do.
” The blog shouldn’t be a rightwing thing, it should be about instantaneous fact checking and information distribution.” So when “right wing thing” is being critisized, it automatically becomes non fact-checking? Right wing thing and facts finding are not exclusive against each other. The several posts here by Richard on Gannon are exactly about finding facts and information against the right wing bigotry and hyprocrisy on the JimJeff incident.
The aim of this post is to target another right wing hyprocrisy and illogic.

February 24, 2005 @ 2:39 pm | Comment

To: Anonymous former rightist,

Yeah, it’s pretty clear I wear my opinions up front. Or were you fooled, and the evil minions of Rove foiled at our new attempt to infiltrate? Come on now.

While this could disintegrate into name-calling like usual, I’ll try to respond in a fair manner, since I can be quite inarticulate, and perhaps my thought will get a fair consideration.

My point was, the right has a decent apparatus now in challenging the media by communicating, fact-checking and policing their own. From my reading, the left doesn’t seem anything comparable AT THE MOMENT. This targeting of Jeff Gannon looks like homophobic deflection to me- and I know that opens up a whole new can of worms, sigh- and an unwillingness to actually engage in discussion.

Discussion, that’s what I’m here for, hearing new things and different perspectives. That’s what I was raised to believe was important in understanding, but I don’t find it in conspiracy theories or name calling. Is the right much better? Do you want my honest answer? Well, whatever I think, don’t think there’s a discussion here. So I’ll move on.

February 24, 2005 @ 5:12 pm | Comment

the right has a decent apparatus now in challenging the media by communicating, fact-checking and policing their own.

Sorry, I really take issue with you here. Their “apparatus” is hardly about diloigent fact-checking, but about blatant smearing, humiliation and bullying. Seriously. Did you see the USA Next ad that got pulled, where they imply the AARP hates our soldiers and encourages gay marriage? It came from those bastions of honest communications, the geniuses who brought us the Swift Boat Veterans. No, there is nothing here to praise or admire, at least not from an ethical standpoint. From a machiavellian perspective, it”s truly awe-inspiring. Morally, it’s repellent.

February 24, 2005 @ 6:13 pm | Comment

It’s so refreshing to find yet another site where people take advantage of the security of their keyboards to throw ad hominem attacks at other people…….things that they’d never (ever) say to someone’s face.
I mean, that’s sooooooo rare nowadays.

[groan]

February 24, 2005 @ 6:22 pm | Comment

My point is, trying best to keep it away from implications of morality or politics, is on the basis of organization- or apparatus as I termed it- the right wing is doing well. You can call it Machiavellian, but if you want to criticize the problem with that is you would have to look at stuff like George Soros or CBS a little closer than you might want.

An excellent point in case would be Fox News. Having grown up on the networks and NPR, after 1 listening I could tell that Fox was biased to the right. However, after being exposed to a conservative point of view, it was interesting to realize the influence of the left in such stalwart institutions of the NYT or CBS. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but it is hypocrisy to claim it isn’t. Enter the right wing apparatus…

My only point would be that their mechanism for identifying the contradiction and disseminating it is more efficient. Why is that? Their answer would be that they are looking for the ‘truth’, and while I don’t concur 100 percent, I would say that they are closer to it now than the left. I speak in generalities, of course, there are many people who can stand up for injustice and fight for principle on both sides. I don’t buy into demonizing the other, if only because it gets you nowhere. But if the ‘left’ wants to be realistic again, they’re going to have to look and see why the right has this perception of truth, not just the tactics but the ideas.

It’s going to be a chaotic time for the near future, as ideology and politics are sorted out. I have my opinions, but ultimately people will figure out what works best. I don’t want to couch my criticisms in some kind of condescending ‘we need an opposition party’ or otherwise- while I tend to the right now, I am not committed to partisan politics.

Shit, I still haven’t been able to kick the habit of trying to solve the worlds problems with one conversation. I got to return to the reeducation camps, see you later!

February 24, 2005 @ 6:42 pm | Comment

Well, RW, I want to admit that today I’m kind of sorry I put up this post. It is angry and it does attack Tom in a very personal way, I can’t deny that. But do let me say that there is history here. I watched in anguished as Tom and his friends assaulted John Kerry with their own ad hominem attacks, making a war hero appear to be a coward and a traitor. They broke my heart. They were right there with the Swift Boat Vets spewing poison on a level literally unseen before in American politics, at least until Bush came on the scene. So I want readers to know why Maguire gets my blood pressure up and why i reacted with such vitriol. It was also watching the same old formula in action, where InstaPuppet sends the mob over to Tom and the whole chain reaction sets in. I really hate it, and I really think it’s a menace.

February 24, 2005 @ 6:42 pm | Comment

Former leftist, I am very critical of Dan Rather. I have never justified what he did, and he paid a heavy price for fucking up. I also believe he truly believed, self-deludely, that he was doing the right thing, but as a journalist he failed. So I’m in favor of his punishment. Now, I wish that those Fox pundits and Brit Hume and others, who lie far more casually and consciously, would be held up to equally stringent journalistic criteria. Don’t hold your breath.

February 24, 2005 @ 6:46 pm | Comment

Wolrd Of Crap.

Aptly named.

February 24, 2005 @ 7:18 pm | Comment

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