JANUARY 25, 1999
Carville disinformation
© 1999 WorldNetDaily.com

A recent incident occurred that sent me seeking insight from a wide spectrum of thinkers.

Three qualities of mind ... deliberativeness, judgment, and decisiveness, are conceived by both Aristotle and Aquinas, as belonging together as part of the intellectual virtue they call "prudence" or "practical wisdom."

John Locke said "the mind has two faculties conversant about truth and falsehood, ... One is the faculty of knowing ... the other is of judging. ..." Cyberspace and talk radio patrons do a good job of "knowing," but too often, a lousy job of "judging." This is true of both the left and the right.

Last week there was a hoax story floated about James Carville allegedly having been arrested for domestic abuse. The story included "details" conservative critics would (and did) salivate over: improper use of a firearm, an alleged "sterile" handgun with no serial numbers, property damage, domestic abuse, yada-yada-yada. ...

I received no less than 30 copies of the story from the "Montgomery County Sentinel" in Rockville, Maryland. However, before reporting the story I made a few quick calls.

Thirty years ago, when I was breaking in as a news editor, my old boss (Harry McKenna) insisted that before I tell a radio audience a story, I needed to corroborate the alleged facts by no less than three independent sources. Reporting a story fast is always good ... getting it right, is always better.

Over a year I ago, I reported here on WorldNetDaily the story of Newsweek spiking the Michael Isikoff story about Monica Lewinsky. I did that on a Monday. Immediately I started getting phone calls, faxes, and e-mails from colleagues (most on the east coast) saying I was "Nuts." "Geoff, are you out of your F*&%$#@ mind? ..." Well, two days later, the mainstream jumped on the Monica story like white on rice.

I first heard of the Isikoff story from Matt Drudge (the Saturday before the Wednesday the networks chose to run with it). However, before I either wrote about it, or spoke about it on the radio, I made about a half dozen quick phone calls. ALL the calls resulted in confirmation of the core facts. That was sufficient corroboration for me to go forward. Two days later the mainstream joined the fray.

The Carville hoax, conversely, failed the b.s. test. When I started checking on the "Montgomery County Sentinel" story, there were some early warning signs it was bogus.

  1. James Carville and Mary Maitlin don't live in Maryland. They live in Virginia.
  2. There is no "Montgomery County Sentinel." There is a Montgomery County Observer (in another state). They carried this WorldNetDaily column.
  3. The police office quoted in the story doesn't exist on any Maryland police or sheriff departments.
  4. Coincidentally, the author of the article translates to "joke" in French.
The whole story was/is bogus, phony, bullfeathers ... a hoax. However, several Internet lists bought the hoax and widely distributed the patently false story as true. Why? Because they wanted to believe it ... and they were lazy.

I have often observed that "some people don't want to be confused with facts which contradict their preconceived opinion." The corollary to that is also true. Some folks are all too willing to accept false data because it supports their preconceived opinions and prejudices.

This is not the first time such a phony story has been floated.

I have my own opinion of how and why these hoaxes happen. The disinformation and misinformation enjoy as catalysts the enthusiasm and speed of the conservative press to disseminate stuff they like. The Internet and talk radio (two venues to which I contribute) have become both a blessing and a curse.

I could quote Aristotle, Locke, Kant, Aquinas and Descartes ... but I won't. Even though the words of a fireteam of ole dead white guys told us what we too often ignore. I will remind you that Alexander Hamilton qualified the difference between Man as being "reasoning" as opposed to "reasonable." The two concepts should not be mutually exclusive.

Consider my theory on these hoax stories. I do not think these are the product of mere independent pranksters. I have come to believe they are intentionally created, leaked and/or disseminated by supporters of the Clintonistas to achieve the following:

  1. The story is leaked and distributed to spark the feeding frenzy from conservative activists that inevitably results.
  2. The story is refuted, and then PROVED false by the principals involved (who may or may not know of how they are being used).
  3. The debunking of the story undermines the credibility of those who reported it as fact, and subjects them to ridicule and disdain.
  4. Perhaps most significant ... by wounding the credibility of those who had reported the hoax as fact, future real, true stories which would embarrass or threaten the socialist agenda are ignored (ala "The boy who cried wolf"), or easily dismissed as "Yeah sure, remember what they said about Carville and Brady and the president's grand jury testimony ... consider the source."
Consider the source. If it sounds too good to be true ... it may not be true. Before you become a co-conspirator with those who seek to undermine, discredit, and devalue your knowledge and power ... do what Harry McKenna made me do 30 years ago ... check out the reported facts, and the source.