Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is there no decent press at all ?

I have long comforted myself with the thought that at least McClatchy seeks the truth and reports it without Ballance of favor. Now I wonder.

Richard Serrano wrote

"Fast and Furious, which allowed about 2,500 illegal gun sales in Arizona with the hope that agents would track the weapons to Mexican drug cartels,"

He also wrote

"the investigators said, ATF agents said that they were hamstrung by federal prosecutors in Arizona from obtaining criminal charges for illegal gun sales, and that Melson 'even offered to travel to Phoenix to write the indictments himself. ...'"

It is impossible to justify the use of the verb "allowed" given the uncontested fact that the ATF was prevented by the US attorney's office from seizing guns.

I comment

the claim " Fast and Furious ... allowed about 2,500 illegal gun sales in Arizona with the hope that agents would track the weapons to Mexican drug cartels," is contested. In particular, ATF agents assert that the gun sales were allowed because the US attorney's office gave legal advice that they couldn't be prevented and *not* because of any hope of tracking the weapons. The Fast and Furious AFT team blames the US attorney's office. The last I heard on the debate was the Katherine Eban article in Fortune.

Eban is clearly making a case for the head of the Fast and Furious team, but I know of no specific pushback. It is true that your wording "with the hope" is ambiguous (clearly very carefully phrased). You don't assert that the gun sales were allowed *because* of the hope. However, I don't think you have successfully dodged the issue. The verb "allowed" implies that the sales could have been prevented. Based on Eban's article, I am convinced that legal advice from the US attorney's office made it impossible for the ATF to prevent the sales. I think the claim that the ATF a"allowed" the sales is false and damaging to the ATF agents.

I am sure you have read the Eban article and I think you show reckless disregard for the evidence presented in it. Of course I don't have standing to sue you (and Republican Congressional Investigators can libel as much as they like given the speach and debate clause).

On a less important matter, Franco Ordonez decided that a claim about Fox must be Ballanced by a claim about MSNBC in spite of the fact that the data under discussion are absolutely totally completely asymetric.

We really don't need yet another news organization which considers Ballance more important than data.

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