Horowitz attacked "the creatures" at Media Matters, claimed we drew distinction between "lies" and "falsehoods" -- but he has done the same

››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER & ANDREW SEIFTER

David Horowitz attacked "the creatures" at Media Matters for America for "pars[ing] the difference between making false claims and lying" to rebut Horowitz's assertion that Media Matters accused him of "lying" in noting his false claim that his book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, doesn't attack "professors' political speech" outside the "classroom."

In an April 25 post on his FrontPageMag.com weblog, conservative activist David Horowitz called Media Matters for America employees "creatures" and claimed that Media Matters "pars[ed] the difference between making false claims and lying" to rebut Horowitz's assertion that we accused him of "lying" when we recently noted his false claim that his book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America (Regnery, January 2006), doesn't attack "professors' political speech" outside the "classroom." According to Merriam-Webster Online, a "lie" is "to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive [emphasis added]." As such, Media Matters did not claim to know Horowitz's intent in making these false claims, nor did we claim that Horowitz intended to make them; instead, Media Matters simply noted that his claim that he does not criticize what professors say outside the classroom was untrue. Moreover, Horowitz himself employed the distinction in defending President Bush against claims that he lied about weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq.

On April 10, Media Matters posted an item noting that Horowitz "falsely claimed that although he has criticized what university professors teach in the classroom, he has refrained from criticizing 'professors' political speech' outside of the universities at which they teach." When, on the April 12 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Fox News co-host Alan Colmes confronted Horowitz with Media Matters' findings, Horowitz dismissed Media Matters as a "smear site." He then wrote an email to Colmes, which he also posted on his FrontPageMag.com blog, claiming that Media Matters had accused him of lying. Horowitz placed the words "lie," "lied," "liar," and "lies" in quotation marks to suggest that they were direct quotations. Media Matters responded with an April 14 item:

Media Matters never referred to Horowitz as a "liar" nor made any assertion that Horowitz "lied." Media Matters simply corrected Horowitz's false claim that he has refrained from criticizing "professors' political speech" outside of the classroom by pointing to numerous occasions on which he had done so[.]

In his April 25 post, Horowitz took issue with the distinction made in the item between a "lie" and a "falsehood":

I posted the email to Colmes in this blog and as if to prove my point Media Matters responded a day later by repeating its deceptive claim and accusing me of lying, about the claim itself:

In the email exchange, Horowitz told Colmes that "reasonable people can disagree about sound-bites on a fast-paced show like Hannity & Colmes where you're sitting in the dark and things are coming at you from all sides ... but calling people liars over these matters is not right." In the blog post, he also used the words "lie," "lied," "liar," and "lies" in quotation marks to portray how MediaMatters referred to him. However, in our April 10 item, MediaMatters never referred to Horowitz as a "liar" nor made any assertion that Horowitz "lied." MediaMatters simply corrected Horowitz's false claim that he has refrained from criticizing "professors' political speech" outside of the classroom...[7]

The reader is invited to parse the difference between making false claims and lying.

This was not the first time MediaMatters had attacked me for "falsely" criticizing their site in this manner. Just four months earlier, MediaMatters featured another article whose headline said it all: "Caught Giving False Information Horowitz Attacked MediaMatters With (Yet Another) Falsehood." But of course that's not "lying." To say that it's lying is....lying.

The difference between accusing someone of lying and accusing him or her of merely issuing a falsehood is clear. Media Matters did not presume to know Horowitz's intent in pointing out the falsehood. It is a distinction with which Horowitz -- his claims to the contrary notwithstanding -- is familiar. In an October 14, 2004, speech at Georgetown University, Horowitz drew a distinction between an intentional lie and a false statement. In that speech, Horowitz described charges that Bush "lied" about WMD as "reckless and baseless" because Bush had good reason to believe that his statements about the Iraqi threat -- which were later proven false -- were true when he made them:

Even the charges which followed the failure to locate stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction are reckless and baseless given the fact that there is no evidence the President lied about these weapons in advance of the war, and indeed the evidence would lead to the opposite conclusion, since all national intelligence agencies, including those of the Muslim countries of Pakistan and Jordan were saying the same thing.

In a subsequent item , Media Matters more thoroughly debunked Horowitz's claim that The Professors does not criticize academics' political speech outside the classroom; our study found that Horowitz noted outside-the-classroom speech and activities of 94 of the 100 professors he profiled, including 52 professors for whom he listed only out-of-class activities.

In addition to referring to the "creatures" at Media Matters, Horowitz noted that he published the April 25 blog post "so that others may begin to understand the character of the opposition, who share a political DNA with the totalitarians[.]"

From Horowitz's April 25 blog post on FrontPageMag.com:

This month, when I was in Pennsylvania to speak at Penn State, I appeared from a Harrisburg studio on a segment of the Hannity & Colmes TV Show. I was supposed to talk about an incident that had occurred in a high school in Alabama, where a science teacher had shown his class a film attacking President Bush and other Republicans (the teacher was himself running for elective office as a Democrat). There was no question that the film had been shown; the teacher had been suspended. But before I could finish my comments on the case, the liberal host Alan Colmes interrupted to ask me about an article that had appeared on the website MediaMatters which said that I had "falsely claimed" on an earlier Hannity & Colmes segment that I had not criticized professorial views made outside the classroom in my book The Professors. Because the charge was entirely irrelevant to the subject at hand and I did not want to be deflected from the point I was making, I dismissed the accusation observing that MediaMatters (with which I had many previous encounters) was a "smear site" that should not be taken seriously. Colmes expressed alarm that I should make such an accusation, and after the show I sent him an email explaining my position:

"One reason I refer to MediaMatters as a 'smear site' is that they invariably take reasonable differences of opinion and refer to them as 'lies' by their adversaries (like me). This is one of those instances. My book, The Professors, makes a case that certain professorial behaviors are non-academic and unprofessional ... I have never called for the firing or disciplining of a professor for having leftwing views inside or outside the classroom. The sliver of truth in the MediaMatters' statement is that since my book is a series of profiles of 101 professors I do describe their general perspectives which may or may not be expressed outside the classroom, and sometimes (but pretty rarely) I do comment on the content of what they say. But there's a difference between this and saying that because what they say is ludicrous outside the classroom they shouldn't be in it."

I posted the email to Colmes in this blog and as if to prove my point Media Matters responded a day later by repeating its deceptive claim and accusing me of lying, about the claim itself:

In the email exchange, Horowitz told Colmes that "reasonable people can disagree about sound-bites on a fast-paced show like Hannity & Colmes where you're sitting in the dark and things are coming at you from all sides ... but calling people liars over these matters is not right." In the blog post, he also used the words "lie," "lied," "liar," and "lies" in quotation marks to portray how MediaMatters referred to him. However, in our April 10 item, MediaMatters never referred to Horowitz as a "liar" nor made any assertion that Horowitz "lied." MediaMatters simply corrected Horowitz's false claim that he has refrained from criticizing "professors' political speech" outside of the classroom...[7]

The reader is invited to parse the difference between making false claims and lying.

This was not the first time MediaMatters had attacked me for "falsely" criticizing their site in this manner. Just four months earlier, MediaMatters featured another article whose headline said it all: "Caught Giving False Information Horowitz Attacked MediaMatters With (Yet Another) Falsehood." But of course that's not "lying." To say that it's lying is....lying.

I have not brought these matters up in search of sympathy; I can take care of myself. I am aware that the creatures at MediaMatters will be energized by any news that their smears may be effective. They already know this or they would not be spending millions of dollars provided by Democratic Party funders to conduct these campaigns. I am publishing so that others may begin to understand the character of the opposition, who share a political DNA with the totalitarians who call themselves "progressives" and who have blighted our age.

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David Horowitz
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Attacks on Media Matters, Propaganda/Noise Machine
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