Have you evidence to the contrary?

Friday, September 30, 2005
“Also, the point of Dan Rather's story was that the President received favorable treatment and thus avoided serving in Vietnam. Have you evidence to the contrary?”

Bingo! Marvin Kalb inadvertently blurted out something extremely important in his response to John Hinderaker of the Power Line blog. He claims that it is the duty of those defending President Bush to prove that a charge is false. The exact opposite, of course, is the reality of the situation. An accuser is obligated to produce evidence of an alleged misdeed. Kalb has unwittingly revealed the disgusting mindset of his fellow MSM colleagues. I encourage everyone to focus on this one sentence. It explains a lot of the nonsense that has been going on for the last few years.


flenser said...

As I pointed out in the "Framing The Debate" piece, the answers are unimportant. It's the questions that get asked that make all the difference.

Thats why I think fact checking is of limited utility. It's better tha nothing, but its playing defense. We won't win by trying to defend ourselves from every idiotic charge the left makes.

The real change will come when our side gets to start asking some pointed questions from our perspective. And when the opposition has to start answering questions instead of asking them.

It's the tactics of debating trolls raised to the national level.

Knucklehead said...

Nutfuhnuttin but are we witnessing the ill effects on some Texan Moonbat Democrats what been rid hard and put up wet?

Looney-toons Ratherdumb, who IIRC has some connection with some Texas Democrat organization or other, runs around like a moron with the stupid TANG memo nonsense, a bunch of Texas Dems stampede off to Mexico to avoid voting, then this Texas Earle of Indictments runs around doing his schtick about which Byron York tells us something very curious.

vnjagvet said...

In appellate lew practice, and in arbitration, often the framing of the issue presented to the court or arbitrator determines who wins the case.

The same art as "framing the debate" is used.

The appellant (party who is appealing)has control of the issue presented to the court as does the party demanding arbitration.

Using that primacy to advantage is ignored at your peril. Same point here, I think.

Rick Ballard said...


I'm under the impression that appellate law focuses on issues of law and procedure rather than fact. The appellant only has a definitive advantage if the framing is correct with regard to precedent and the precedent is open to favorable interpretation regarding the issue. IANAL so I might be very wrong in that assumption but I believe that arbitration - where evidence is heard, testimony taken and determination of fact occurs (at least theoretically) is closer to what Flenser is speaking to.

I'm still not sure that the SoS media actually sets the framework for the questions upon which the "Court of Public Opinion" issues verdicts every two years. (vide referenda on gay marriage) If it were so, then President Kerry would be getting ready to announce his second appointment to the Supreme Court. I would note, though, that while the successful factual rebuttal of "Mary & Dan's Excellent Adventure" was a minor and by no means dispositive factor in Kerry remaining the undistinguished junior senator from a liberal haven, it did have an accretionary effect. As did the successful promulgation of the facts concerning Magic Hat's days in Vietnam - which didn't fit in the SoS media framework at all.

I suppose I just don't believe that the SoS media carries much power any more. I do believe that the power of setting the framework for discussion on the internet is of growing importance - mainly because it provides ideas and arguments that the talk radio hosts glean and then put into use.

Seneca the Younger said...

I just sent this to Kalb:


I have followed the story of Dan Rather's downfall with great interest. I was most astonished at some of the things he said in his recent interview, as were many other people of course.

Most recently, I read the story in powerline (hyperlink appended below.) Since I realize that the powerline authors have their own biases, I've very interested in your response. In particular, I'm curious one two points:

(1) Do you accept the conclusion of appendix 4 of the Thornburg Report that the memos in question were forged? If not, why not?

(2) As noted in the powerline article, there are a number of internal contradictions in the "Fortunate Son" story --- such as the statement that General Staudt was attempting to apply pressure to LTC Hodges more than a year after his retirement --- as well as direct testimony from people involved in the process and copies of Bush's efficiency ratings that contradict the notion that Bush received unusual preference in his enlistment, his advancement, and his eventual seperation from the service. This appears to be substantial evidence, as you requested, that Bush did not receive preferential treatment. Have you evidence to the contrary? If so, can you cite it and is it available for examination?

I look forward to your reply; I would also appreciate your ermission to publish your reply in my blog.

Yours sincerely,

vnjagvet said...


Typically, appellate courts do review legal issues. But they also review for factual errors in the sense that jury verdicts must be supported by evidence and judge verdicts must be supported by findings of fact which are, in turn, supported by evidence.

There are different standards for review, depending on the type of issue reviewed. For example, issues of law are reviewed "de novo", that is, for correctness without any particular weight being given to the trial court's findings. A judge's rulings on admissibility of evidence is reviewed for "abuse of discretion", that is, it is presumed correct, and unless the judge is so over the top that no self respecting judge could make such an ruling, it is affirmed.

Evidence supporting a jury verdict must be considered sufficient after viewing it in the light most favorable to the verdict and giving the benefit of all inferences to the verdict.

I could go on but you get the idea.

Having said all that, Flenser's point is still apt regarding appellate practice because the appellant gets to choose which issues to appeal, and how those issues are framed. In other words, the court is deciding only issues raised by the appellant.

Rick Ballard said...

Thanks, vnjagvet. You've helped me reconfirm my decision to never comment on the law at the Volokh Conspiracy. Politics, maybe, but not the law.

I remain uncertain as to how framing can be applied to the existing SoS media. They only play in their venue, they own it and they set the rules for it. It's going to take not just one or two pols recognizing the potential power of the internet but a fair sized cluster of them in order for the framing idea to be effective.

I'm not against trying it but I can't see the initial step yet.

vnjagvet said...

At the federal level, primarily in Washington, the staffs in the legislative and executive branches as well as those in the think tanks and lobbying organizations have many savvy and well-paid individuals working on this worthy function. Some law firms and accounting firms have folks working on this stuff as well in their particular areas of expertise.

Print media, specialty magazines, and academe also have people coming up with ideas in in labelling and issue framing as well.

But because these type of people tend to work in and around Washington, there is a mighty echo chamber and a lot of jargon that develops around the issues of the day and discussions of same. This is apparent from the Sunday talk shows and the "usual suspects' making the rounds on the cable networks and talk radio.

The blogosphere is fertile ground for issue framing and constructive discussion to develop.

The Swift Vets situation of last year is a case in point. Certain blogs (Cpt. Ed., RLS, Beldar, to name just three, had serious, substantive discussions on these issues that made it respectable for opinion leaders all over the country to get the word out to their friends and acquaintences that the SV's were not a bunch of kooks, but were credible and substantial.

Next example was the TANG story. Again this had a military component, and there was a team made up of techies, veterans and lawyers who were all over the story and adding to it day after day. The issues were not only framed in the blogosphere, but were resolved there as well, at least as far as the election was concerned.

This latest attempt to resurrect the story with a book, an ex-CBS newsman-Journalism-Professor and their attendant publicity will, I predict, go nowhere. Powerline's takedown of this attempt is classic. Terse, pointed and devastating.

In the Roberts hearings, Senator Cornyn asked the Judge a question that had been taken verbatim from the Volokh Consipiracy about his allusion to calling balls and strikes in his opening statement.

Whether Cornyn himself picked this up from VC is beside the point. If he didn't his staff did. This is an example of issue framing on the blogosphere.

Seneca the Younger said...

Kalb responds to John Hinderacker.

In some sense.

Rick Ballard said...


I agree with all the examples that you list but I interpreted Flenser's remarks as applying to the current SoS media given that the subject at hand is one "Marvin Kalb" who is definitely stuck on stupid and has been since Bubba sold his last pardon.

Kalb's reply to John Hinderaker is classic. If he was so damned concerned about President's serving in uniform, where is his interview with Bill Clinton asking to see Clinton's DD214?

I believe that ignoring the SoS media is a very good idea - if we're going to work on framing the debate for '06 then I'll run up a list of the competitive seats and we can have a discussion as to which issues will prove to be decisive. I believe that there are only 30 House seats in play and 6 or 8 Senate seats. GA-12 is one of them, so you might give some thought to what's going on there.

terrye said...

I think Dan Rather is a sorry excuse for a journalist.

Have you any evidence to the contrary?

I think that Bill Clinton is a womanizer and a disgrace to his office.

Have you any evidence to the contrary?

I think that Hillary Clinton would be a terrible president because she was not a member of the military and what is more she is a woman and women do not have the emotional strength to be president.

Have you any evidence to the contrary?

Since when do we get to make accusations or slanderous comments against and about people and then force them to prove us wrong?

Once we accept this kind of thinking there is really nothing and no one that is safe from unfair and unfounded attack.

Rather blew it, and what is more he blew it about something most people do not care about.

David Thomson said...

Marvin Kalb is another example of the shoddy thinking of so many associated with Harvard University. He is a Senior Fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press. Kalb has neither the moral nor the intellectual right to claim ignorance concerning the legitimacy of the Mapes’ documents. The evidence is so abundantly clear that one could choke the proverbial horse with it. It is patently obvious that the snob elitist culture of Harvard is responsible for such idiocy. These are people who often do not have to earn what they get in life. One merely sluts for the liberal establishment (which includes the Democratic Party)---and you are guaranteed a lavish lifestyle and adulation.

Am I losing my temper? No, I am very calm. My contempt of Harvard University is totally logical. Anyone who graduated from this educational institution should be deeply ashamed of Marvin Kalb. They are also morally challenged to do what they can to put a stop to this nonsense. It has been going on for far too long. Aren’t there some brilliant people like Judge John Roberts and Hugh Hewitt who went to Harvard? Yes, but are they the exception to the general rule?

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Sorry, David, I think you're off the rails on that one. Harvard University probably has the largest group of incredibly smart and highly competitive people gathered together in one place to be found anywhere on the planet. If they're coming to the wrong conclusions it's because they're being given the wrong facts to begin with. Hardly anyone in the Northeast knows anybody in the military personally for example. They are relying solely on the Boston Globe (owned by NYT), the NYT, and NPR in order to get their information about the world. They're like those cats who were reared entirely in a room painted with vertical stripes only: the world looks vertical.

David Thomson said...

“If they're coming to the wrong conclusions it's because they're being given the wrong facts to begin with.”

And whose problem is that? I’m sorry but your reasoning leaves something to be desired. Marvin Kalb is not a surgeon, a baker, or a candlestick maker. No, he is supposed to be a media specialist. There is no excuse for his abysmal ignorance. The man obviously does not have his act together---on something extremely basic. He provides added evidence that Harvard University is often a snob elite institution where facts are conveniently ignored if they conflict with the liberal agenda. Anyone associated with this allegedly esteem school should be greatly ashamed. This is truly a scandal.