Monday, October 06, 2008

Making News With The Echo Chamber

The Fox News program Hannity's America dedicated Sunday night's show to smearing Barack Obama. The guest that night was Andy Martin, who was billed as a "a conservative writer and frequent political candidate". Quotes from the show ended up in the New York Times, and of course will be picked up by various other newspapers and blogs.

As with any information you have to consider the source.

Who is Andy Martin and would he be considered a reliable source of information?

"A news story out of the New Times Broward-Palm Beach written July 31, 2003 said this of Martin:

Martin, of course, is mad. Quite mad. He's an enigma wrapped in a riddle who probably should be wrapped in a straitjacket. The would-be senator is one of the most prolific and compulsive lawsuit filers in the United States, a first-class shadow-dwelling fugitive from justice, and a perennial also-ran political candidate whose stance on the issues has changed about as often as Michael Jackson's proboscis.

The Illinois Supreme Court, refused to admit him to the bar, pointing to a military psychiatric exam that allegedly found him to have personality defects that include delusions involving both paranoia and grandeur.

In his ‘92 bid for Senate he report $1,060 in contributions $500 of which came from his mom. The only contributions ever reported to the FEC."

Source - 2004 - US Senate Race - Andy Martin History
The following information comes from TPMCafe -
According to no less a source than the Unification Church's impeccably right-wing Washington Times of December 22, 1999:
In 1986, when Mr. Martin ran as a Democrat for Connecticut's 3rd Congressional District seat under the name "Anthony R. Martin-Trigona," his campaign committee filed papers saying its purpose was to "exterminate Jew power in America and impeach U.S. District Court of Appeals judges in New York City."

The Washington Times' reporter, Ralph Z. Hallow, went on to say: "a Connecticut federal judge finally barred him from filing any more federal lawsuits without permission. The judge said Mr. Martin has pursued legal actions with 'persistence, viciousness, and general disregard for decency and logic.'"

Hallow went on:

In a New York bankruptcy case, he referred to a judge as a "crooked, slimy Jew." During the bankruptcy dispute, he filed a civil-rights lawsuit claiming Jewish bankruptcy judges and lawyers were conspiring to steal his property. He asked a court to bar "any Jew from having anything to do with plaintiff's property."

In another motion in the case, he wrote: "I am able to understand how the Holocaust took place, and with every passing day feel less and less sorry that it did, when Jew survivors are operating as a wolf pack to steal my property."

For Fox News to put Andy Martin on the air and call him a "conservative writer and frequent political candidate" is the journalistic equivalent of writing a story, quoting some insane idea from Iran's president Ahmadinejad, and then attributing the quote to "a high ranking political official".

Allowing Andy Martin and his sidekick Sean Hannity to spew hate on Fox News is unconscionable of course - but unfortunately this sort of thing appeals to some segment of our population, and Fox News puts making money above ethics.