Will Jane Mayer Respond to a Crushing Refutation?

Jane Mayer is an agenda journalist who currently writes for the New Yorker. Her entire career has been spent carrying water for the Left, going back to her book-length smear of Clarence Thomas. She wrote a piece in the October 10 New Yorker on a North Carolina Republican named Art Pope; it was absurdly titled “State For Sale” and claimed that Pope “bought” the 2010 elections in North Carolina by contributing to conservative organizations and candidates. The graphic that accompanied Mayer’s article, a caricature of Pope with wads of cash in one pocket and the state of North Carolina in the other, tells you all you need to know about the fairness (and the subtlety) of Mayer’s hit piece.

I wrote about Mayer’s article in “Liberal ‘Reporting’ Smears Another Good Citizen.” I thought I did a pretty effective job of revealing the inaccuracy and bias that permeated Mayer’s hateful portrait of Pope. Mr. Pope also responded ably at The Corner. Anyone who read those two rebuttals could only conclude that Mayer’s effort was one of the lamer smears of all time.

But then one of my partners linked to a column in Philanthropy Daily by Scott Walter in our “Picks” section. I had thought that my post was definitive, but no: Walter’s article was perhaps the most devastating refutation of a magazine article I have ever read. In a calm, dispassionate manner, he laid waste to Mayer to a degree that in a more just world would end her career in journalism. To get the full impact you need to read it all; this is a brief excerpt:

Mayer, Maddow, and HuffPo never bother to mention that Pope was not the largest donor to all those “affiliated” groups. Far more importantly, Mayer never bothers to reveal that the $2 million/“three-quarters of the outside money!” was merely one-fifteenth of the total political spending for those races. While breathlessly repeating every number she can find about Pope and his friends’ giving, Mayer suppresses these more important numbers, all much larger than $2 million:

–the total political giving in those races from all sources: $30 million

–the outspending of Democrats over Republicans ($16 million to $14 million)

Nor does Mayer make any attempt to total up the spending done by left-wing versus right-wing public policy groups in North Carolina, which would show an even larger skewing toward the left, though in her single concession to context and accuracy, Mayer does quote Art Pope saying that the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation spends more money than he does, most of it going to “progressive social-welfare organizations.” (In the previous election cycle, the John Locke Foundation, a Pope-funded think tank, calculated that the left outspent the right by roughly three to one in (c)3 + (c)4 policy-oriented giving.)

Mayer’s portrait of Pope is sharply defined and ugly; her portrait of North Carolina and its left-of-center donors, almost nonexistent. Yet Mayer lacks any excuse for not providing the numbers – other than the fact that they make her thesis laughable – because Pope and various staffers at organizations he funds spent many hours submitting to interviews, phone calls, and emails from Mayer and the New Yorker, during which they repeatedly presented her with all the data.

Mayer is a dishonest partisan, so she suppressed all inconvenient facts.

Mayer has a blog at the New Yorker. On October 12, she posted a breathless follow-up to her print article, asking, “Could Art Pope’s grip on North Carolina politics be slipping?” (She was excited because Democrats won an election.) I left this comment on Mayer’s blog post:

Ms. Mayer: I think this article in Philanthropy Daily on your hit piece on Art Pope may be the most devastating rebuttal to a magazine article I have ever seen: http://www.philanthropydaily.com/?p=7337 Can you comment on it? I think you owe it to your readers to justify the approach that you took to Pope and to North Carolina politics.

That was three days ago; so far, Ms. Mayer has not replied. How can she? She has been caught red-handed in a blatant attempt to deceive any readers foolish enough to expect honest journalism in the New Yorker. I will post any response that Mayer makes; in the meantime, I think it would be appropriate for others, via emails to Mayer at the New Yorker or comments on her blog post, to ask her to reply to the devastating critiques of her smear of Art Pope.

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