Rand Paul’s Office Accuses Reason of 'editorial malpractice’ and ‘plagiarism-lite’

On November 12, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) gave his first major public address since being criticized for plagiarism in his speeches and writings. With a wink to his critics, it was heavily footnoted. On November 13, Reason's Matthew Feeney wrote a blog post titled "Rand Paul's Latest Speech Did Contain Footnotes, But That Doesn't Mean it Was Accurate," linking to and excerpting from a critical piece by The Daily Beast's Josh Rogin. On November 14, Paul staffer Doug Stafford sent the following reply, which we now print in full. My response is below it:

RESPONSE TO REASON

DOUG STAFFORD

NOVEMBER 14, 2013

I am disappointed in Reason.com for acting as a platform from an unreasonable and unreliable source.  First, Sen. Rand Paul was criticized for not using enough footnotes and attribution for political speeches and Op-Eds.  Now, he is being criticized for using too many footnotes and these footnotes are under unprecedented scrutiny.[1]

I was disappointed that Reason jumped on the “haters and hacks” bandwagon by arguing that the Citadel speech had a few errors in the 33 footnotes.  I have always held Reason to a high standard and I am disappointed that author Matthew Fenney (sic) failed to properly research and support his claims.  Instead, Reason effectively borrowed an argument from The Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin arguing that Sen. Paul made “at least four factual errors” in his references to Egypt.  Had he done proper due diligence and ten minutes of research, Feeney, might not have copied pasted the ideas of the Daily Beast into an inaccurate blog post. 

Let’s examine each alleged “error” one by one.

1.   On November 12, 2013 in a foreign policy speech delivered to The Citadel, Sen. Paul stated: “In Egypt recently, we saw a military coup that this Administration tells us is not a military coup.”  This was an accurate statement.  The Washington Post reported on July 8 of this year that “Carney was not ready to label Morsi’s Ouster a military coup.”  Reasonable people can disagree on certain facts, but it is clear to the unbiased reader that Sen. Paul’s assertion is true.  Rogin argued that because the State Department refused to by actually deem the coup in Egypt a “coup” pursuant to the law, that somehow my footnote was incurred.  As opposed to researching Rogin’s errors, Reason simply regurgitated Rogin’s inaccurate report. This is editorial malpractice.

2.  Rogin makes a nuanced point that “following the military takeover of the Egyptian government, the Administration quietly halted all shipments of heavy weapons to Egypt, mostly adhering to a law requiring a cutoff of military aid to any country that has experienced a coup.”  So, the Administration acted consistent with the spirit, not the letter, of the law with regard to cutting off aid to countries that experienced a military takeover of the government.  Reasonable people can disagree with some arguments but this point is unreasonable and nitpicking.

3. Rogin quotes another sentence in the Citadel speech to support his unreasonable attack.  “In a highly unstable situation, our government continued to send F-16s, Abrams tanks and American-made tear gas.”  Rogin argues that “following the military takeover of the Egyptian government, the Administration quietly halted all shipments of heavy weapons to Egypt, mostly adhering to a law requiring a cutoff of military aid to any country that has experienced a coup, while maintaining a position of ambiguity over whether a coup had taken place.”  Rogin might have taken a moment to look at his own article from August 19, 2013 where he wrote, “The U.S. government has decided privately to act as if the military takeover of Egypt was a coup, temporarily suspending most forms of military aid, despite deciding not to announce publicly a coup determination one way or the other, according to a leading U.S. Senator.”  That Senator, Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was contradicted by Administration officials. Later in the article, Rogin quoted State Department Spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, as saying that no final policy decision had been made on any of the Egypt aid.  Rogin also quoted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as saying that no final decisions had been made.  Furthermore, the coup happened on July 3, 2013 well before the information was leaked to Rogin onAugust 19.  Were “F-16s, Abrams tanks and American-made tear gas” delivered or obligated to Egypt in that month time period between the actual coup and the unconfirmed leak of the ceasing of this military aid?  Again, reasonable people can disagree, but for Rogin to declare that the statement by Senator Paul is “inaccurate” is again, a false, biased assessment and its regurgitation is editorial malpractice on the part of Reason.

4. Finally, Rogin contests the argument that American-made tear gas was used against the Egyptian people during the coup. He states, “In addition, the ABC News report Paul cites in his footnotes for this information is from 2011 and only mentions that U.S. made tear gas was used in the Egyptian revolution that occurred two years ago, well before Morsi’s election or his overthrow.”  So, there is a footnote documenting that American-made tear gas was used against the Egyptian people in 2011, yet it is not reasonable to deduce that it was also used in 2013.  Until Rogin can prove that it was not used, I think Sen. Paul’s interpretation is reasonable.

Rogin titled his piece “For Rand Paul, Footnotes Do Not Equal Accuracy.”  This headline is false and a poorly substantiated assertion by The Daily Beast.  For Reason to cut and paste those same arguments, with little—if any—independent verification of the assertions is plagiarism-lite. 

The Rogin piece was re-published in many publications, yet I have always held Reason to a higher standard. I am disappointed in this piece and hope that this esteemed publication will do better diligence when using other unreliable sources to attack a heavily footnoted and well-researched speech.


[1] Me, November 14, 2013, at my desk.

My response:

Most of Doug Stafford's beef is with The Daily Beast's Josh Rogin, who can answer for himself. For Reason, there are four basic charges here, two of which are not particularly serious: No, we have not "jumped on the 'haters and hacks' bandwagon," as any visit to our archives will attest (side note: to conflate thoughtful engagement and criticism of a politician with reactionary dismissal is not becoming). And no, using the blockquote indentation function to quote from linked, attributed texts does not amount to even the "litest" of plagiarisms.

But was Feeney's blog post "inaccurate"? There aren't many outright claims in the thing; here is the basic contestable gist:

Josh Rogin points out that...the speech included factual errors relating to claims about the situations in Egypt and Syria as well the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi

On Egypt (see Stafford's #1), the main issue is the width of the gap between "this Administration tells us [it] is not a military coup," and "The law does not require us to make a formal determination as to whether a coup took place, and it is not in our national interest to make such a determination." (The latter is an anonymous Obama administration official in a July 25 Reuters report that was widely duplicated elsewhere.)

Stafford effectively says that there's no daylight between the two comments; that Rand Paul's "was an accurate statement," as is "clear to the unbiased reader." But there's a difference between saying "You're not ugly," and "I'd rather not say whether you're ugly or not" (for one thing, if the subject wasn't ugly, the speaker would probably want to scream it from the mountaintops). It's pretty clear that the administration thinks what happened in Egypt was a coup, but just doesn't want to deal with the legal ramifications of that official determination (since it would require blocking aid), and so instead is torturing the language. It's a minor rhetorical point in the scheme of things, but I'd say Paul got it wrong.

What about Syria? Feeney quotes Rogin quoting Paul:

"As we continue to aid and arm despotic regimes in Egypt, we are also now sending weapons to the rebels in Syria," Paul said. 

Are we sending weapons to Syrian rebels? Here's a Wall Street Journal headline from Sept. 2: "U.S. Still Hasn’t Armed Syrian Rebels." Story begins like this:

In June, the White House authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to help arm moderate fighters battling the Assad regime, a signal to Syrian rebels that the cavalry was coming. Three months later, they are still waiting.

The history of not-quite-arming the Syrian rebels is laid out in this Oct. 22 New York Times piece, which reported that President Obama told senators in September that (in the paper's paraphrase), "the first group of 50 Syrian rebels — trained by the C.I.A. in Jordan — would soon cross into Syria." So, as far as we know, the U.S. has sent weapons to Jordan to train a very small number of rebels who are now indeed in Syria. Paul's statement may have given off the wrong impression, but the claims were technically accurate.

The opposite is true of another Syria-related Paul sentence Rogin critiques and Feeney quotes. Paul said, "According to a recent poll from Pew Research, over 70 percent of Americans are against arming the Islamic rebels in Syria," which is broadly right but specifically wrong, since the poll mentioned not "Islamic rebels" but "anti-government groups," whose ranks include non-Islamics. I have no doubt that if Pew had the Paulite wording, that the results would be higher than 70 percent, but Pew didn't.

Finally, there is Benghazi, about which Paul said "When Hillary Clinton was asked for more security, she turned the Ambassador down," footnoting the claim with a May 8 article from The Hill, whose most direct treatment of the turning-the-ambassador-down charge is this passage:  

the [House Oversight committee] report may have overreached when it said it had evidence that Clinton had personally signed an April 2012 cable turning down then-Ambassador Gene Cretz's request for more security. All State Department cables from Washington bear the secretary's automatic signature, the State Department said.

I don't know enough about what Hillary Clinton did or did not personally do with respect to security in Benghazi to make anything like a definitive claim. But it seems clear The Hill footnote does not support Paul's characterization.

Stafford's final charge is of "editorial malpractice," which, like ophthalmological bias, is in ultimately in the eye of the beholder, and up to readers to determine. Reason publishes a wide range of opinions within a broad libertarian framework, which means various writers will be on various sides of various issues and politicians. For what it's worth, I hold the opinion both that Rand Paul—whom I profiled for a recent Newsmax cover story—is being unfairly nitpicked for rhetorical sloppiness that pales in comparison to the practical mendacity of those wielding power (including in regards to every issue mentioned above), and that the best response for a truly presidential aspirant is to run a tighter ship, instead of retreating into defensiveness. Informed criticism makes public actors better, whether in politics or journalism.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fluffy||

    Damn right.

  • Fluffy||

    This Damn right is intended to agree with Paul, and not with Welch, who is a fucking weasel and has been concern trolling the Rand Paul camp for the last year.

  • robc||

    Agreed.

  • Mike M.||

    Aah fuck, oh well. I knew it was a given that something like this would happen sooner or later, but I didn't expect it to happen anywhere near this early. I thought it would be be at least two or two and a half years from now.

  • Juice||

    So pointing out where Rand Paul could, let's say, use some improvement is concern trolling?

  • ||

    To be fair, Welch is going to the mat (no pun) for Feeny, as a good editor-in-chief should.

    When the journalist is right at least.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I don't see how Matt Welch has concern trolled Rand Paul or anybody else.

    Far as I know, Welch still supports Paul, but even if he didn't, Matt Welch doesn't owe Rand Paul anything. Sheesh, even if he did disagree with Paul on something, you think that means he's not allowed to cover Rand Paul anymore?

    One of the great things about being libertarian--you get to think for yourself. You get to call it as you see it. You don't have to support anything or anybody--by definition--for being libertarian.

    But *ahem*...concern troll? You're calling Matt Welch a concern troll? That doesn't even make sense.

    Matt Welch isn't working for the Rand Paul campaign.

    And there isn't anything about editing a libertarian magazine that requires Matt Welch to give up his critical thinking skills or to uncritically support Rand Paul or anybody else.

    On the other hand, somebody who fakes being a libertarian but is really so Paultard that they denounce real libertarians like Matt Welch on a libertarian website for not being Paultarded too, isn't that what a real concern troll would look like?

  • Fluffy||

    Stafford effectively says that there's no daylight between the two comments; that Rand Paul's "was an accurate statement," as is "clear to the unbiased reader." But there's a difference between saying "You're not ugly," and "I'd rather not say whether you're ugly or not" (for one thing, if the subject wasn't ugly, the speaker would probably want to scream it from the mountaintops). It's pretty clear that the administration thinks what happened in Egypt was a coup, but just doesn't want to deal with the legal ramifications of that official determination (since it would require blocking aid), and so instead is torturing the language. It's a minor rhetorical point in the scheme of things, but I'd say Paul got it wrong.

    Again, this is complete bullshit.

    The law requires that aid stop if a determination is made that a coup has taken place.

    That means that BY DEFINITION if aid continues to flow, that aid is an efficacious statement that there was no coup.

    The only other possibility is that the administration is not aware that the government of Egypt has changed. If the Obama administration argues that they were not aware that Morsi has been deposed, they can plead ignorance. But if they're aware that Morsi has been deposed, when they send aid they are making the unequivocal positive statement that his deposition was not a coup.

  • sarcasmic||

    There is a simpler explanation: the administration couldn't give a shit about the law.

  • Tim||

    exactly

  • ||

    I think this is the simplest and most accurate explanation.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Obama has a jacket that says "Fuck the Law" on the back.

  • Sudden||

    Since he is the law, it's pretty much his fapping jacket.

  • ||

    I don't think fluffy's explanation and your explanation are mutually exclusive.

    The administration gives no shit about the law by denying the coup.

  • Zeb||

    I think that the point about the coup is valid. It is a lawyery, weasely thing to do, but there is a difference between not determining that it was a coup and determining that it was not a coup. It is pretty common knowledge that everyone knows it was a coup, but are just not saying it so they don't have to cut off aid.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    But the point is that if you do not cut off aid, you therefore must have determined there was not a coup. Otherwise, how else are you legally sending Egypt aid?

  • Zeb||

    All I'm saying is that there is a distinction. It is a trick and pretty shady and probably shouldn't hold up in court if it ever got there, but going by the literal meaning of the words, it is a valid distinction.

  • ||

    Yes if Obama keeps sending aid then they are claiming there was no coup.

  • Zeb||

    Not really. He is violating the intent of the law, not question. Violating the law and sending aid in spite of the coup and claiming that there is no coup are two separate things.

  • ||

    In order for aid to go Egypt there can be no coup...there was a coup yet aid keeps going there.

    Sorry they are not separate.

    Also do you think Paul would have mentioned the coup at all if it was not tied to aid?

    How can they be separate if the only reason Paul mentioned it was because of the law that forbids aid going there?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    But, again, even Rogin didn't claim Paul said the administration said there had been a coup. He said that there was a coup. And in that regard, it seems even Welch is concluding that he was right.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's not legally valid. It's just a claim one can make. I can say I believe only bicycles can be persons under the law. Heck, I can say anything. ZZZeerrbblyft. See?

  • RBS||

    Technically, you didn't actually say anything.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You don't know that, and I can claim that I did, in any event. See, I say so.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Look at it like contract law:

    Let's say that you and I drew up a monthly payment contract of some kind. Rent, work, whatever.

    And for years, I pay you $500.00 per month, in accordance with the contract. Then, you breach and I sue you. You don't get to say, "there never was a contract!", because those $500.00 payments, month after month, year after year, demonstrate there was.

    It's the same thing here. If you are acting as if there was no coup, then there was no coup.

  • FYTW||

    This. A hundred times this.

    (1) The administration is affirmatively prohibited by law from continuing to send aid to Egypt if there was a coup.

    (2) It has continued to send aid to Egypt.

    (3) Therefore the administration has by its conduct "told" us, notwithstanding the word salad disgorged by various State Department spokescretins, that there was no coup.

  • SugarFree||

    Government policy doesn't dictate reality. What happened in Egypt was a coup whether Obama wants to call it that or not.

    That they don't want to call it a coup so they don't have to cut off aid (and--more importantly--not be seen as endorsing a military coup) is one thing, calling someone a liar because they can see through the administration's molecule-thick facade is another.

  • Zeb||

    Sure, I agree.

    But the sense I get is that everyone knows it is a coup and the administration basically came out and said it was, but that they are not going to call it that so that they can keep sending aid. So they didn't say it wasn't a coup. They just used some extremely suspect legal trickery to avoid the law.

  • SugarFree||

    All I'm saying it that it takes some dishonest mental gymnastics to call a difference of opinion a lie, especially when the only difference in those opinions is one side denying reality for purely political reasons.

  • johnl||

    Bingo.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Unbelievable. Welch is a total shit-weasel and I'll be sure not to respect him in future as I did before.

  • crazyfingers||

    That was a horrible article by Feeney and IIRC just about every commenter called him on it. That said Doug Stafford should probably find better things to do with his time.

  • Almanian!||

    what crazy said

  • RBS||

    Pretty much but fuck me these Paulites are a sensitive bunch.

  • Almanian!||

    I kind of assumed that as part of the "Doug Stafford should probably find better things to do with his time" thing

  • Harvard||

    Dog bites man.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Perhaps, but calling the media out on their distortions is a good thing. Lying media does as much or more damage than lying politicians.[1]

    1. Me, my desk, 19 Nov 2013, 1531 EST

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Correction 1431 EST

    Now I'm guilty of improper footnoting.

    FUCK!

  • RBS||

    Off to the camps with you!

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It was my editor's fault.

  • RBS||

    In hindsight, I should have said something about Feeney posting a poorly written blog post.

  • prolefeed||

    Stafford was doing what the Reason commentators were doing: calling Feeney on his bullshit. Seems like a decent use of his time.

    The one wasting his time is Feeney, trying to defend his original article concern trolling Rand.

  • CE||

    Yeah cosmotarians, stop piling on!

  • waffles||

    At least it isn't like that incident with the men who sleep with sheep.

  • playa manhattan||

    There was more than one man?

  • Almanian!||

    Can one not dream, playa?

  • playa manhattan||

    So "sheep" is plural too? That'a part of the dream.

  • Restoras||

    Well it takes "counting" more than one to get to sleep...

  • Brett L||

    ALLEGEDLY!

  • Killazontherun||

    Man lies with lamb, lion pissed.

  • ||

    I wish it was more like the images posted in comments incident.

  • RightofCenter||

    I really hope they don't respond again. I don't feel like reading a Sullum article where he has to write about "Welch quoting Stafford quoting Feeney quoting Rogin quoting Paul quoting Clinton." I feel like I'm looking at an Escher staircase!

  • Killazontherun||

    Exactly. I read through the entire thing the first time to be fair to all parties before helping everyone out by deducing the truth in this conflict and pronouncing it. It's really not worth a second go.

  • Warty||

    Oh goody.

  • ||

    So wait, you don't feel like experiencing a retread of the Ron Paul newsletter bullshit? Why on earth not?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I don't see the point. By definition, all anarchists, libertarians, conservatives, and registered Republicans are racists. Why look for more evidence of their racism than their politics?

  • RBS||

    Yay, another one of these.

  • KPres||

    Freeney sucks. Everything he writes is either pointless, boring, or just wrong. Get rid of him, Welch.

    ...and bring back Lucy!

  • Almanian!||

    DON'T TALK ABOUT LUCY

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    :-(

  • Tim||

    You must admit, she's got some 'splainin to do.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Everything he writes on foreign events contains at least one gross inaccuracy.

  • Almanian!||

    I made it through the first page. That was probably too much.

    "Next at Reason: How Many Angels CAN Dance on the Head of a Pin?"

  • Tim||

    Another boring "Battle of the Public Intellectuals". Reason, don't waste my time nitpicking.

  • GILMORE||

    I stopped somewhere around "haters"

    My conclusion = White people are funny.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Next at Reason: How Many Angels CAN Dance on the Head of a Pin?"

    If a man is speaking in a forest and no women can hear him, is he still wrong?

  • RBS||

    the best response for a truly presidential aspirant is to run a tighter ship, instead of retreating into defensiveness. Informed criticism makes public actors better, whether in politics or journalism.

    Your point is not lost on all of us Matt.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    How dare they criticize the critics!

  • Enough About Palin||

    Then who will fuck the fuckers?

  • SugarFree||

    STEVE SMITH!

  • Jordan||

    Indeed. Talk about whiny and defensive.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    On this one, on substance, Stafford's right and Reason's wrong. You guys usually do a terrific job on covering things, but you botched this one. What Rogin put out was a hit piece, as your own distancing yourselves from it ("Most of Doug Stafford's beef is with The Daily Beast's Josh Rogin, who can answer for himself...Rand Paul...is being unfairly nitpicked for rhetorical sloppiness) suggests.") suggests. Where Feeney screwed up was uncritically repeating Rogin's claims. Use of "fact checking" by journalists with a pretty clear ideological agenda only works if people don't stop and question the fact checkers. That's where Feeney screwed up, to say the least. Rather than tying yourself into knots to try to justify Feeney's undue credulity of Rogin, you'd be far better served responding to Stafford's silly attack on Reason as a whole.

  • CatoTheElder||

    AGREE.

    Talk about phony scandals!

    Of course, ordinary libertarians inevitably skewer everyone else who espouses libertarian ideas for failing a their idiosyncratic purity tests.

    REASON is unique in that it skewers this libertarian politician for failing to be glamorous among libertarian dilettantes.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

  • Restoras||

    BOOOOORRRRRIIIINNNNGGGG.

    Why don't you guys all get together and have a brew or two, maybe go whoring and gambling while your at it. I hear that stuff is available in Vegas. You can even go shoot machine guns and take selfies while you're at it.

    How about a post on something that actually is a threat to individual liberty, like tose eebil ZOCONZZ!

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    + 1 Esquire

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    That Feeney article was pretty nitpicky and I think it's a reasonable use of Doug Stafford's time to defend Paul against charges of being wrong.

  • Calidissident||

    Agree with this and Fluffy's take above. Most of the claims of inaccuracy are either false or ridiculously nitpicky.

  • Brett L||

    I, for one, hope both sides will declare victory and move on. reason has obviously made their point to the Paul camp and the Paul camp has given their official answer.

    Can we please go back to George Zimmerman twerking over JFK's remains now?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Speaking of Zimmerman. No stories concerning his recent arrest?

    He may be a shitbag afterall. Not that that should have had any bearing on the previous case. But...

  • RBS||

    It's been all over the news how that racist who got away with murder just beat his pregnant girlfriend.

  • Drake||

    That's how everyone breaks up in Florida.

  • Brett L||

    Eh. He definitely has poor taste in women. But would I be surprised to find out some chick moved in with his not-yet-divorced ass to get herself some free exposure? Nope.

    The fact that he put her outside without apparent violence and called 911 means he is either a brilliant manipulator OR he chose to play on the wrong side of the hot/crazy line.

    Also, is there any follow up? Is she actually pregnant?

  • SugarFree||

    They have confirmed she is not pregnant nor did she claim to be.

  • Brett L||

    Ah, that was just people talking out their asses yesterday. I think he walks. Again. But seriously, he should just not maintain guns in his residence. (He has every right to, but I am suggesting that from here on, they will not be worth the effort to keep.)

  • Juice||

    Right? What part of "lay low, keep quiet, and keep your nose clean" is so fucking hard for this guy?

  • Generic Stranger||

    Dude has a target painted on his back. While it may help keep him out of headlines, getting rid of his guns might not help keep him above ground.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Upon reading the whole article, it could be either.

  • SugarFree||

    Really listen the next time you are near two young women who are doing that high-chattering thing. You will find that 95% of their conversation is re-telling or summarizing conversations they had with someone else or a third-party conversation that was described to them in the same way. An endless swirling drain of "and then she said _________ and then she said _________." A huge amount of old information turned into static to serve as a null medium for some small scrap of new information that is almost impossible to discover and analyse--context as obfuscation.

  • ||

    Save it for the cross burning, Adolf.

  • Ska||

    Where da white women at?

  • ||

    Don't be ridiculous. They say, "and then she was like ____ and then she was like _____."

  • GILMORE||

    "
    Don't be ridiculous. They say, "and then she was like ____ and then she was like _____."

    Oh my god like totally?

  • Cliché Bandit||

    HAIL GALAXAR!

  • SugarFree||

    I graciously accept correction, Nikki.

  • Tim||

    You know who else accepted correction?

  • SugarFree||

    Severin von Kusiemski?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Michael P. Fay?

  • Enough About Palin||

    Alex?

  • GILMORE||

    So, what, you're saying Men DONT do this? YOU MISOGYNISTIC SHITBAG

    btw - "high chattering"?

    i.e. = stoner small-talk? Something to do with Lady Chatterley? I is confuse.

  • SugarFree||

    That's what I call it when women are talking so fast that the pitch of their voice goes up. Punctuation is often a super-sonic squeal.

    The young male equivalent is when so many of them are talking at once, the only way for a member to get a word in edgewise is to lower the pitch of their voice and yell something in AAVE. "Awww nah you didn't!" for example.

  • GILMORE||

    "SugarFree|11.19.13 @ 2:33PM|#

    That's what I call it when women are talking so fast that the pitch of their voice goes up."

    Oh, right.

    That's what I call it when I start not-listening to them. I just never had a name for it.

    I thought the male version was, "YO SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY!" Whatever, I don't listen to them either.

    Its been said I'm a bad listener.

  • ||

    He's hopped up on goofballs, like every Tuesday. Just ignore him and he'll come down soon and start talking about Downton Abbey.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Downtown Abby? Is that what they call your mom?

  • ||

    Actually, yes. But not for the reasons you think.

  • Marshall Gill||

    But not for the reasons you think.

    So it isn't because her name is Abbey and she will go downtown?

  • Jquip||

    " It's a minor rhetorical point in the scheme of things, but I'd say Paul got it wrong."

    It's not a minor rhetorical point, it's the content of the sentence. Without any sophistry and oblique tangents down best forgotten roads about whether I call it a coup, you call it a coup, the administration called it a coup, whether it was or was not a coup, and what the Federal Law signifies must, may, or shall not be called a coup and what must, may, or perhaps can or cannot be done by anyone's completely meaningless personal interpretive dance on things?

    The Executive had not formally called it a coup -- no matter what it is or what the law requires it to be -- and it was both prudent and exactly factual to state that 'The Executive had not formally called it a coup.'

    Tempest in a teapot.[1] Which is not a literal tempest in a literal teapot, because it's fucking poetry rather than law

    [1] No, not attribution for it. GFY[2]
    [2] No. Really.

  • Fluffy||

    Paul's sentence was "...this Administration tells us is not a military coup."

    Now, the verb "to tell" can mean many things.

    It can mean writing a letter.

    It can mean speaking.

    It can mean fucking miming.

    And it can also mean "paying aid to a country when it would be illegal to pay aid to that country if its government had come to power in a coup."

    It would NOT be "exactly factual" to say, "The Administration has not told us it was not a coup." Because they HAVE told us that it was not a coup. They did that when they sent a check to the current Egyptian government.

    Undertaking an action that you are prohibited from undertaking if X is true "tells" others that you believe X is false. Period.

  • Cytotoxic||

    THANK YOU. Reason: fire Feeney, sequester Welch, hire Fluffy.

  • robc||

    Advantage: Fluffy doesnt write 57 articles whenever he publishes a new book.

  • ||

    Until he works for reason. It changes you man.

  • Cyto||

    The fine parsing is actually from the administration, in saying "we are not calling this a coup" and claiming that this does not mean the same thing as "it is not a coup".

    Bill Clinton parsed down the temporal limitations of using the word "is" in a declarative sentence, and he was full of crap. So are all of those who are trying to claim that you can't say the administration told us "there wasn't a coup" because they said "I'm not going to say there was a coup" instead of "there wasn't a coup."

    Get real Matt.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    So they think it's a coup but refuse to act as if they think it's a coup? Is that your argument?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    You need to learn to read between the footnotes

  • Zeb||

    Isn't that exactly what is happening? I though that was obvious.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    It might be what is happening, which would make the administration cowardly and dishonest. I don't know if they've come right out and said "It's not a coup." Obviously the only way that statement could be sincere is if they define coup the way Whoopi Goldberg defines rape. I mean, the military deposed a government in accordance with no law. That's a coup in the popular understanding. The only reason to demur is to avoid the requirements of the law. That would be dishonest and cowardly.

  • Zeb||

    Oh, it's definitely dishonest and probably cowardly. But it's no secret that that is what they are doing.

  • ||

    it's no secret

    But you can't describe it because if you say "Obama is denying the coup" we will get aholes like you and Welch and Feeney and the daily beast saying you are lying.

  • Raston Bot||

    You know who would enjoy this post? Someone who enjoys nitpicking over every goddamn word and its precise definition.

  • RBS||

    Tulpa?

  • mnarayan||

    No. He only likes nitpicking over totally arbitrary words, preferably orthogonal to the topic at hand.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Bo?

  • sarcasmic||

    Randian?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Booooo-urns

  • sarcasmic||

  • Ska||

    Bah-ney?


    /Mo Syzlak

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Let’s examine each alleged “error” one by one.

    Good idea, just let me take care of something before you start...

    [takes out gun, shoots self in head]

  • sarcasmic||

    Open letter to Matt Welch and Doug Stafford:

    QUIT YOUR BITCHING... BITCH!

    -sarc
  • SugarFree||

    Needs more bitch.

  • sarcasmic||

  • ||

    Oh cool, more red meat for the Cult of Paul.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    To take it beyond the weanie-whacking between Messrs. Stafford and Welch, why on God's green earth is Rand Paul calling what happened in Egypt a coup somehow "inaccurate" because the administration refused to call it a coup? No disrespect, Mr. Welch, but are you really going to try to argue that Paul was wrong to call a coup a coup because the administration that thought it was a coup refused to call it a coup? Is that really what you're going to expect us to believe? That just sounds the kind of crap we'd hear at Salon or the Weakly Standard.

  • Mike M.||

    Ummmmmm, hey, look over there, a squirrel!

  • Bill Dalasio||

    SQUIRREL?!

  • Bill Dalasio||

    SQUIRREL?!

  • sarcasmic||

  • Being Waterboarded||

    I don't recall reading the original Feeney piece, but it does often appear that Reason is going out of its way to appear unbiased in their criticisms of politicians. And by 'out of its way', I mean bending over backwards and going beyond the pale of legitimate criticism with regard to some liberty-minded pols. I agree that we should not give such pols a free ride, but at the same time, Reason writers can look ridiculous, because everyone KNOWS they are not unbiased (and admittedly so in virtually all articles).

  • ||

    We have the utterly unpleasant intersection of Reason often going out of their way to appear unbiased (which I agree is stupid) with the slavering fan-base for certain libertarian-leaning politicians and their automatic defense of them (which is admittedly warranted much of the time). It's actually pretty stupid overall.

  • RBS||

    Yes. I propose a moratorium on all Rand Paul posts until at least after Super Bowl XLIX

  • ||

    That isn't going to happen. You know how many page hits these posts generate? If I were more paranoid, I would have to wonder if Reason generates a few of these types of articles occasionally to poke the hornet's nest and get page hits cranking. Of course, if that really were what they were doing, they can certainly count on the usual suspects to oblige them with unthinking outrage.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Yes. I propose a moratorium on all Rand Paul posts until at least after the Jaguars win Super Bowl XLIX

    FIFY.

  • BigT||

    Yes. I propose a moratorium on all Rand Paul posts until at least after the Jaguars win Super Bowl CXLIX

    FIFY

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Informed criticism makes public actors better, whether in politics or journalism.

    And would that Feeney had held to this standard when parroting Rogin.

  • pangloss90@gmail.com||

    Rand-land is in full meltdown. I'm starting to think it's possible he won't run for President in 2016. He might not even get re-elected.

  • ||

    Yeah cuz Kentucky is going to elect a Democrat over plagiarism claims made by Maddow.

    Give me a break.

  • ||

    That's some pretty weak sauce Matt.

    Of course this could all be settled if y'all and the Paul camp would stop being pussies and just admit you were all wrong about something.

  • Fluffy||

    We have the utterly unpleasant intersection of Reason often going out of their way to appear unbiased

    No we don't.

    The Pauls aren't Reason's type of libertarians.

    If the truth be told, they aren't my type either.

    But Welch appears to figure that since they aren't his type of libertarians, it's hurting libertarianism that they're prominent, and he wants them to stop being prominent.

    He definitely doesn't want Rand to pursue the GOP nomination and win it, because Rand is pro-life and will not allow himself to be shamed into backing down on things like the CRA.

    Welch doesn't want a pro-life, old-school-on-civil-rights libertarian leaner to take over the GOP, because it will embarrass him as a libertarian.

    That means that any chance Welch gets to make Paul look bad he takes. It's clear if you're looking for it and if you're here every day for years.

  • ||

    I've been here mostly every day for years, and I don't see it. What I see is a publication that is supposedly founded on reason, and unlike most media, they seem to be very concerned with appearing honest, whereas so many other media outlets will publish the most mendacious, biased shit imaginable. What I see is reason probably taking this too far, to the point of entertaining criticisms of libertarian-leaning politicians that sometimes aren't even warranted. And then what I see is a chunk of the commentariat going apeshit because reason criticized a politician, or just passed on potentially critical allegations.

    My question is: what the fuck is with that? Since when are politicians anything but...fucking politicians? Rand Paul may be a far better politician than just about all of them, but he's still a fucking politician.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    It's not that they're passing along critical allegations. It's that they're passing along allegations that I'd have to drop my capacity for reason to buy into. Feeney, and to some extent Welch, uncritically accepted Rogin's argument that, because the administration didn't call what happened in Egypt a coup, Paul's calling it such was an inaccuracy. Is that something you consider it rational or reasonable to buy into? I can list additional examples in this article. Feeney did a lousy job on this story. And I don't think calling him out on it is necessarily going apeshit.

  • ||

    I find it disturbing to see--and believe me, it's incredibly easy to see--such personal investment in a politician or politicians from people who are supposedly anti-government.

    As for the article, did all of reason buy into it? Is one article by one reason contributor who is just basically linking to someone else's critical story a referendum on everything reason stands for?

    There is way too much butthurt about this for people to pretend they're not heavily invested in some politicians. And you know who that sounds just fucking like?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    As for the article, did all of reason buy into it? Is one article by one reason contributor who is just basically linking to someone else's critical story a referendum on everything reason stands for?

    Did I say anything about Reason as a whole? I've pretty much made clear my problem is with Feeney's coverage of this.

    Feeney either did a good job or he didn't. Now, maybe you've got a really good argument that Feeney's uncritical acceptance of Rogin's article was fine journalism. If so, I'd be happy to hear you out. Otherwise, I think the only honest, rational response to a bullshit attack is to point out that it's bullshit.

  • ||

    I don't fucking care whether Feeney did a good job or not, because if I think an article is stupid, I don't read it. Why are so many people so fucking butthurt over one stupid article? The reaction is not proportional to the offence, and that always makes me suspicious. In this case, of overly invested involvement in a politician.

    What do you think of people who freak out at the slightest criticism of Obama? And then ask, what do you think of people who freak out at the slightest criticism of Rand Paul? How are these people any different when it comes to being overly invested in a fucking politician?

    You've scrupulously avoided answering this question even though I've asked it several times.

  • Mainer2||

    For me, personally, it's the hair. I've got to respect a man that has a do that looks like a small woodland creature curled on his head, and make it work.

  • ||

    Why are so many people so fucking butthurt over one stupid article?

    because i oppose the US giving money to murderous regimes.

    It would seem Paul does as well. Reason quoting pot shots uncritically that undermine his opposition is bullshit.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    What do you think of people who freak out at the slightest criticism of Obama? And then ask, what do you think of people who freak out at the slightest criticism of Rand Paul?

    Again, the point here isn't that it's "the slightest criticism" of Rand Paul. It's that it's bullshit criticism. And I generally don't particularly favor the bullshit criticisms of Obama either.

    But, you've made your stand pretty clear. You don't really care whether Feeney's critique was legitimate or whether it was a hatchet job. Why you're bothering to waste your precious time attacking those who object to what they perceive as a hatchet job is beyond me. As you suggest, you can easily enough not read the comments.

  • ||

    So you avoid the question and then go mildly ad hominem on me and imply that I'm attacking you rather than asking you--and any others--to reflect on the intensity of your response to a stupid article, and what that might mean about your personal investment in a politician.

    I think I have my answer.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    No, Episiarch, you're expecting me to buy into the premise of your question whether I believe it or not. It's a variant of the "when did you stop raping little boys" argument. It's intellectually dishonest and it doesn't really merit much in the way of respect.

    The fact is that your argument boils down to a claim that we should be indifferent to the claim of falsehood to Paul's argument regardless of whether it has any merit or not. Well, no. That isn't libertarianism. It's nihilism. What you're arguing is that we should be indifferent to a libertarian magazine buying into the argument that the right and proper standard for us to judge whether there was a coup in Egypt is the verdict of the State Department. Well, have at the state determining reality for you.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    And by the way, I'll stop "scrupulously avoid[ing] answering this question" when you tell me when you stopped raping little boys.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    when you tell me when you stopped raping little boys.


    Yes, Epi. I think you have your answer.

  • robc||

    Maybe we would know which way it is if certain reason writers would dare to venture into the comments.

  • ||

    I would appreciate that as well, and I wish they would.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Last time I saw either of the Big Two down here amongst the hoi polloi was when Warty got us all sued.

  • sarcasmic||

    Rand Paul may be a far better politician than just about all of them, but he's still a fucking politician.

    The Senate is a pretty exclusive club that requires sucking a lot of proverbial dick to get into.

  • Mainer2||

    Proverbial ? Now you tell me. Guess I didn't understand the analogy.

  • ||

    Rand Paul may be a far better politician than just about all of them, but he's still a fucking politician.

    Obama is also a politician. Both should be criticized by reason. Obama's denial of the coup is huge.

    Feeney instead of criticizing both chose to focus on Paul's more minor "offence" of not using the words Feeney wanted him to use.

    Reason failed in this case.

  • Ken Shultz||

    There seems to be a common assumption running through this about how Reason is supposed to be a monolithic enterprise where everyone who writes for the website and the magazine are all supposed to agree on all the issues and with each other.

    I don't know why.

    Different Reason staffers disagree with each other all the time. Some of them supported the Iraq War, and some of them denounced it. They voted for different candidates for different reasons, and some of them didn't vote at all.

    That's the great thing about being a libertarian--you get to think for yourself. Once we agree that people should be free to make choices for themselves, it isn't necessary for us to agree on much else, and Reason staff seems to reflect that.

    Why isn't this as it should be?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What does Melissa Harris Perry think?

    Will she still invite Welch to be her libertarian whipping boy?

  • Brandybuck||

    Skwire's First Law strikes again.

  • D.D. Driver||

    TL;DR.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But there's a difference between saying "You're not ugly," and "I'd rather not say whether you're ugly or not" (for one thing, if the subject wasn't ugly, the speaker would probably want to scream it from the mountaintops).

    I don't get it. Is Welch calling Feeney or Paul ugly? Because I think they both do just fine with the ladies.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I still believe in my heart of hearts that the Paultards and Cosmotarians can be friends.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I still hope Rand Paul becomes president.

    ...but anybody that thinks that means I'm not gonna criticize him during his campaign is outta their freakin' minds.

  • Killazontherun||

    Are we sending weapons to Syrian rebels? Here's a Wall Street Journal headline from Sept. 2: "U.S. Still Hasn’t Armed Syrian Rebels."

    Being a francophile, I suspect Welch has a larger set of resources to rely on reporting on American intelligence activities than the WSJ or NYT. Much more than the tiff with Paul's people, this to me is most curious.

  • johnl||

    Why is reason taking the position that the USA isn't arming Syrians? http://nsnbc.me/2013/04/10/un-.....-and-mali/

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