Challenge to Boston Phoenix: Defend Elizabeth Warren on Cherokee issue, or drop “right-wing smear machine” accusation
Last week, David Bernstein of The Boston Phoenix launched a broadside against what he termed the “right-wing smear machine” coming to get Elizabeth Warren, which I highlighted in my post Right wing smear machine to blame for Elizabeth Warren’s Cherokee problem (again).
The attack by Bernstein was pretty sweeping:
But the intense interest on the right for the re-election of Brown — and the mocking demonization of Warren — ensures that plenty of money will be spent attacking her, while conservative consumers lap it up. One major site, Michelle Malkin’s hotair.com, ran 27 posts about Warren in May alone.
Once they’ve zeroed in on an enemy, as they have with Warren, the appetite of these national dirt-diggers is insatiable. And nobody here in the state is doing anything but encouraging them…
It was clear that Bernstein was including the Cherokee issue, because he mentioned how Hot Air had run “27 posts about Warren in May alone.” Those posts were not about Warren’s hair style, they were about her bobbing and weaving on the Cherokee issue.
As Rob Eno of Red Mass Group points out, Bernstein also made an explicit reference to the Cherokee issue, regarding a letter sent to Harvard by the head of the Massachusetts Republican Party.
But mostly, Bernstein tried to change the subject, which is strange considering how the Cherokee issue has dominated campaign coverage, and not only at Hot Air.
Since the Warren Cherokee problem broke on April 28, I have had over 100 posts specifically on the Cherokee issue. And it’s not just me. As I noted regarding Warren’s Google Problem (even in Japan), the Cherokee issue has been by far and away the dominant controversy surrounding Warren as to which even the mainstream media has been focused.
Yet rather than confront Warren’s main problem, the Cherokee issue, to support his accusation of a “right-wing smear machine,” Bernstein focused his attack on two other issues:
I described two specific examples: charges of scientific fraud relating to a book Warren co-authored in 1989 (and related speculation that her co-author had been fired for this reason); and attacks on a Warren staffer based on an anonymous Tweeter.
As you know, the charge of “scientific misconduct” by a former Rutger’s law professor was serious indeed, and was documented in his 60-page law review article in great detail. Michael Patrick Leahy of Breitbart.com has done an excellent job showing how there never was a proper investigation of that accusation and the other accusations set forth by the Rutgers professor. This may become a big issue for Warren as the campaign progresses, but so far it has received almost no media attention.
The issue of a “Warren staffer” and Twitter concerned why Warren’s Press Secretary turned her Twitter account private hiding all her prior tweets; for a press secretary who likes to call people names (i.e., me) and who apparently was childish at best on Twitter, it was a fair point to make. Bernstein claims that the Press Secretary turned Twitter private because she was being harassed by someone; his article is the first time I heard that explanation. But again, it has received almost no coverage.
Neither of these two points raised by Bernstein has been why Warren has suffered the press she has. It’s the Cherokee issue, front and center, and whether Massachusetts wants to elect someone who has been accused of and based on available evidence committed “ethnic fraud.”
Bernstein came under criticism for his “right-wing smear machine” post not only from me, but also from Warner Todd Huston of Breitbart.com and Rob Eno of Red Mass Group. We all raised the Cherokee issue.
Bernstein has responded to that criticism by claiming he never raised the Cherokee issue, that his critics should have responded to the two issues he raised, Conservatives Respond to Imaginary Article:
A neutral observer could conclude from all this that these conservatives are doing to me exactly what I accuse them of doing to Warren: attacking irresponsibly based on fabrication and distortion.
So here’s an invitation to conservatives who have criticized the article: please try again, but this time respond to the actual content of the article, rather than the imaginary article you invented and ascribed to me. Or, admit that you’re not interested in truth and fairness. Your move.
No, not our move.
The overwhelming coverage of Warren by what you call the “right-wing smear machine” has been on the Cherokee issue.
Do you really care about the book accusation or the Press Secretary’s Twitter account? Of course not. You tried to play it cute by diverting the discussion to other issues, just like Warren does when she is asked about the Cherokee issue.
You tried to undermine the scrutiny of Warren on the Cherokee issue without having to defend her on the Cherokee issue, and instead attacking the messengers as part of a “right-wing smear machine.”
But we didn’t take the bait.
Your move, Bernstein. Back up and defend Warren on the Cherokee issue, or drop your “right-wing smear machine” accusation.
Update: Bernstein got into a back and forth on Twitter with Rob Eno, and denied criticising conservative media coverage of the Cherokee issue. So how can we be a “smear machine” if the issue to which we have devoted the most time and attention by far is beyond criticism?
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