Vanishing Act

The Outfoxed gals come up with a new technique to handle their many mistakes and falsehoods. This one dates from 20 years ago. Updated!

It was only about 48 hours ago that the newshounds (another fine product of the Outfoxed mob) were on their high horse lecturing Fox News about the importance of issuing "retractions" or "updates" when facts develop in ongoing stories. Of course, there was nothing to "retract", since the newspups falsified what the original report contained, but they did go on the record about how "responsible" news outlets should act.

Just one day after their supercilious screed, the anti-fox terriers posted an article that leads off with a discussion of The Big Story with John Gibson:
During yesterday's Big Story with John Gibson, William La Jeunesse made much of the fact that copies of John Kerry's out-of-print book, The New Soldier, first published in 1970, are not readily available for sale throughout the United States and are selling for what he clearly feels are outrageous prices ($86.00 to $600.00 on Ebay)...The hidden agenda was to subliminally encourage their viewers to go to the internet and search for the Kerry book. At 5:33 PM EDT, LaJeunesse says: "Since many people won't be able to get their own copy, you can find it excerpted on the internet, John"...

Never one to allow a "subliminal" (!) hidden agenda to go unfulfilled, newspup Marie Therese rushed off to Google to see what she could find:
JOHN KERRY'S THE NEW SOLDIER. Read John Kerry's book The New Soldier online for FREE---READ four chapters of JOHN O'NEILL'S book UNFIT FOR COMMAND here for FREE ...
John Kerry the New Soldier.
I IMMEDIATELY logged onto this site, thinking I could actually read the KERRY book.

She goes on to complain that the site included a quote from George Bush, and clips from the movie Stolen Honor. But what of the opportunity to read Kerry's book?
Thousands of FOX viewers may have found this same site the same way I did. I am sure many of them were Democrats or interested swing voters or Republicans seeking to read the actual Kerry book....Whoever named this site seems to be engaged in BAIT AND SWITCH advertising. Potential readers are enticed to the site with the promise of being able to read the Kerry book, but then switched to an advertisement for the anti-Kerry movie and a diatribe against Kerry the Pacifist and promotion of a wide variety of extreme conservative books, including ones by John O'Neill, Tommy Franks, Brent Bozell, Zell Miller, Dick Morris, etc., etc. The site counter shows that at least 249,000 people have visited it. To my mind that represents 249,000 victims of this fraud.
In light of this I have a few questions for our legal beagles out there:
(a) Does the Truth in Advertising law extend to the internet?
(b) Does what I've described constitute a provable case of "bait and switch"?
(c) Is there anything we can do about it?

At this point newspoodle Marie Therese has accused the proprietor of the site of several crimes, including "fraud", and seems to confuse a listing in Google with "advertising". It seems she really wanted to read Kerry's book.

But there's one slight problem with MT's article. And it was summed up in the comment we posted shortly after her entry appeared:
  • It's not bait and switch or false advertising. It's a free site. You can demand your money back but that's about it....
  • It's not a "promise", it's a reality. Didn't you see the three links: Intro, Main Content, Epilogue? They're close to the top of the page, right after the Bush quote you mentioned.

Oops. As anyone who visits the page in question can see, the links to read the book are right there, hiding in plain sight. So where is the "bait and switch"? Where is the "fraud"? Only in the newspoodles' imagination.

The entire premise of this article is false, obvious to anyone who actually looks at the page in question. Quite an embarrassment for the pooches. Just one day earlier they were excoriating Fox (over an imagined error), saying "they don't feel the need to admit mistakes". So how did the pups handle this blunder?

Did they post a correction? Did they admit their error? Did Marie Therese correct her mistake? Wrong on all counts. The pooches adopted the most Orwellian tactic possible: it never happened! The entire article ("Bait & Switch: Kerry's "The New Soldier" Available Online for Free?") has vanished! It no longer appears on their homepage where all recent entries are listed, and it has been erased from the October archives page. Comments can be found on other topics wondering about the pulling of the article, but it remains inaccessible.

That is, inaccessible unless you know the direct URL. While there is no way to find it from the newshounds homepage, it's still sitting on their server (at least until they realize that their blunder is still visible for anyone to read).

"Responsible" blogs do not bury their mistakes; they admit to errors, post corrections, and issue apologies when necessary. But it's fruitless to expect accuracy and fairness from the anti-Fox terriers. It's that whole old dog, new tricks thing.

Update: No sooner do we post this entry, and in less than an hour a new article shows up at the newspups, rewritten to avoid most of the mistakes of the first, with this postscript:
An additional note to anyone who might have seen a similar posting on Tuesday morning. It was on the site briefly, but, when a possible inaccuracy was pointed out, I deleted it in order to do follow-up research.

Right, that's the way to correct mistakes. Hide them.
However, it turns out that statements I made in my original post are accurate.

Really? You claimed you couldn't read the book at that site, even though the links are sitting there, in plain view. That was "accurate"? Your new article says:
I downloaded the three PDF files.

Those three files that you didn't even mention in the first, "accurate" article? The three files that you didn't even know existed until we pointed them out to you?
What the reader gets are excerpts - the Introduction, Main Content (in essence 46 pages of the recorded statements of various Vietnam vet) and the Epilogue.

So what's missing?
I felt that I’d been “suckered” into the site by a misleading (false?) advertisement.

Again, Google listings are not advertisements. Furthermore, when you wrote the first article you didn't even see the three links. Now you're alleging that you felt "suckered" because these three links are (allegedly) incomplete. Obviously you couldn't possibly have been "suckered" by links you overlooked the first time around. So is this is just a clumsy ret-con designed to hide the mistakes made in the first article (rapidly deleted in the hope that no one will be able to read it)?

posted: Wed - October 13, 2004 at 10:56 AM       j$p  send 

Just when I think I can no longer be amazed by perfidy. That's amazing.
October 14, 2004, 9:39:53 PM EDT – Like – Reply

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