Doug Guthrie, Dean of the George Washington University School of Business is now the latest individual to come out and express support for Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin. Ironically, Guthrie actually bemoans the loss of importance that is placed on facts in general and cites none other than MSNBC as an entity that understands that importance.
Writes Guthrie, at Forbes:
People have greater access to knowledge today than ever before in the history of the human race, yet they increasingly isolate themselves based on their ideologies, fears and, ironically, television-viewing habits. This intellectual isolation has reached such epic proportions that I fear we are seeing the death of the “fact,” and I consider it a turn of events that threatens not only our discourse but also our democracy.
I first started to wonder whether facts were dying earlier this year. I was sitting in the Hong Kong airport and watching Chris Matthews interview GOP presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann, of Minnesota, about a number of topics. Bachmann had been in the news that week because she had claimed that, “now we have the federal government … taking over ownership or control of 51 percent of the American economy.” Matthews couldn’t resist jumping on the statement, noting that MSNBC’s fact checkers couldn’t come up with anything close to that number. Bachmann flippantly replied something like, and I’m paraphrasing, “Well, Chris, you have your fact checkers and I have mine. I think I’ll go with mine.”
If you know anything about economics or the structure of the U.S. economy, you know that the Representative’s comments were ridiculous (much like her fallacious attacks on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin just a few months ago). But the bigger concern is the accountability for these false facts. The glib answer that all fact checkers are equal is simply not an acceptable defense against bending the truth.
In the United States, politicians are frequently guilty of fanning the flames of this kind of ignorance by suggesting that there are two sides to everything, including facts. By doing so, they undermine the basic premise that there are pieces of information and data that are facts, truth without explanation. No debate. No hedging.
Isn’t that interesting? Guthrie has a problem with people not relying on facts when taking a position. Yet, he referred to fact-based questions posed by Bachmann about Abedin as “ridiculous” and “fallacious attacks”. Of course, he performs this hit & run without providing a single fact to support his position. A better example of projection one would be hard-pressed to find.
The truth is that Guthrie is not interested in facts; he’s interested in pushing his ideology, a trait he says he rejects. If Guthrie were interested in facts when it comes to Abedin, he would study the ones we’ve presented here and here. We produced a 37-page report and a 14-page report chock full of facts that people like Guthrie ignore because they interfere with his… wait for it… ideology.
Guthrie, who works at the same University from which Abedin graduated, also supported construction of the Ground Zero mosque in 2010. In fact, in a piece he wrote for the Washington Post, Guthrie lauded Obama for publicly supporting it (remember, Obama expressed support for Abedin too – at the White House iftar dinner) and appeared somewhat irritated that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf wasn’t pushing the issue more:
Imam Rauf has worked for the last decade from a different pulpit; he also earned a leadership position following the events of September 11. It should be remembered that Imam Rauf showed true leadership in the weeks and months after the tragedy, reminding America and the world that al-Qaeda did not represent all Muslims; that there are many Muslims who believe in peace, tolerance, interfaith cooperation. His work reminded us all that the justified anger and fury directed at the enemies of peace and democracy should not be directed toward all Muslims.
Yet with leadership comes responsibility, especially when you are leading a cause as sensitive as the proposed mosque and cultural center. President Obama was right that, in America, Muslims have just as much right to a downtown place of worship as any religious group does. However, Imam Rauf’s responsibility as leader requires that he be present and engaging with the same sort of calming assurance that he offered in the Fall of 2001. By remaining silent, Imam Rauf failed to take up that responsibility, and this was a failure of leadership.
Lost on Guthrie, perhaps, was THE FACT that Rauf’s ties to extremists may have played a hand in the imam being somewhat reticent to embrace the public spotlight.
For someone who claims not to want to see “the Death of the Fact”, Guthrie sure seems willing to watch facts die from lack of attention.