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Hitchcock Gives Himself Away… Let’s Take Another Look At Historian’s Distortions About Coverage

June 5, 2017 Featured Today No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

I’m not bragging. Please stay with me a little and I’ll explain.
After the third presidential debate between candidates John McCain and Barack Obama on October 15, 2008, my front-page story in The Wanderer dated for October 23 was headlined, “In Battle Against Infants, Obama Is The Warrior, McCain The Medic.”
At that debate, I reported, McCain aggressively tackled Obama on the Democrat’s record against providing medical care to abortion-surviving babies, but Obama tried to squirm away. I wrote in a long story:
“Once again, Obama simply — there is no other word for his deception — lied about his record in fighting to deny care to abortion-surviving babies. Obama keeps lying about this shameful and wretched record in front of God, tens of millions of Americans, and the cuckoo clock on the wall.”
On the front page of the October 16, 2008, Wanderer, I noted that saline abortion survivor Gianna Jessen would make a great teammate with McCain’s vice-presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, to take the case against Obama’s pro-abortion extremism to the American people.
In a long story I wrote: “Obama’s campaign recently reacted venomously to targeted political advertising in which Jessen criticized Obama’s fight to deny care to abortion survivors when he was an Illinois legislator. This reaction showed Obama fears his vulnerability on the volatile issue. ‘If Barack Obama had his way, I would not be here,’ Jessen said.”
I had more than a casual interest in Jessen’s underfinanced campaign advertising. I first saw her in 1978, when she was a one-year-old infant brought into a Southern California courtroom as living evidence that babies survive abortion. I covered this homicide trial back then for The Wanderer and other news agencies.
An abortionist was on trial for allegedly strangling another abortion-surviving infant in a hospital’s newborn nursery in 1977, Baby Girl Weaver, but he claimed he didn’t think babies could survive.
On the front page of the October 9, 2008, Wanderer I also noted Jessen’s ad attack against Obama and commented that she “has never been a celebrated figure in the wider media world because she and the other abortion survivors she represents still send chills down the spines of dogmatically pro-permissive-abortion media who want to keep the facts hushed and the public lulled.”
During Obama’s next presidential campaign, four years later, I sounded the topic of Jessen and survivors. I covered the debate during the GOP presidential primaries in suburban Mesa, Ariz., and reported on the front page in the March 1, 2012, Wanderer under this headline: “Arizona Presidential Debate Reveals Nuggets Of Truth Too Dangerous To Obama.”
Let’s cut to the chase. This is only a small fraction of my pro-life writing in The Wanderer on Obama and abortion. I won’t belabor you with more.
But what does supposedly meticulous Missouri historian James Hitchcock say about my work on this topic in these pages? Absolutely nothing. In his recent book, Hitchcock writes, “The Wanderer published occasional articles exposing Obama’s stand” (p. 56), but doesn’t hint I did any of it.
Why is this revealing of Hitchcock’s bias? In his tendentious Abortion, Religious Freedom, and Catholic Politics (Transaction Publishers), he dishes up his inexplicable opprobrium against me as a traitor to the pro-life cause and a bad-faith “Paleoconservative” (p. 69), giving his own baseless assertions. No independent proof, no damning confessions by me or anyone else.
His book is largely an attack on The Wanderer and its writers. I know myself best, and when I see his blade out for me, I’m inclined to think he’s no fairer to others he slices.
As the California-based Center for Medical Progress released its horrifying videos against Planned Parenthood barbarity in 2015, I did weekly articles on this. The supposedly painstaking Hitchcock mentions the videos (pp. 163, 164) but gives me no credit for providing any coverage.
When the evidence is in print before his eyes, he can ignore it or even twist it, as we saw last week when he pulled a comment from an Arizona activist against McCain and put his words into my own mouth as a direct quotation. (See June 1 Wanderer, p. 7B, “Serious Hitchcock Errors Mean That Book Must Be Corrected.”)
In fact, Hitchcock reached all the way down to the 30th paragraph in my story in the September 19, 2013, Wanderer, to harvest that harsh comment likening McCain to “a mad scientist.” Hitchcock wasn’t just grabbing for the first words he saw, but read deeply into the story for a nugget that suited his deceptive tactics.
Repeatedly Hitchcock puts other people’s words into my mouth.
For instance, two successful young political strategists spoke in Phoenix in December 2015 about disgust with the established political system and contended this would lead to McCain’s defeat for renomination the following year. They’d successfully managed the campaign of Virginia’s Dave Brat, who remarkably upset Republican U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014. I reported this on p. 3A of the December 24, 2015, Wanderer.
How does Hitchcock refer to their talk? In its entirety: “He (Duggan) predicted (December 24) that McCain would be defeated for renomination by discontented conservatives” (p. 170). Can’t Hitchcock summarize more responsibly than that?
Or this: “In 2009 (August 6) Duggan placed his hopes in either conservative Democrats, a possible third party, or Sarah Palin” (p. 68). Someone else’s words in my mouth again.
I wrote of Washington Times reporter Ralph Hallow citing Sarah Palin saying that “she is eager to campaign for Republicans, independents, and even Democrats who share her values on limited government, strong defense, and ‘energy independence’.” My story noted whom Palin said she would stump for, but Hitchcock doesn’t get the printed words right.
Even though Palin explicitly mentioned campaigning for Republicans, Hitchcock ignores this. Coincidentally, one of his themes is that The Wanderer shirks Republicans.
Later in the same story, I reported my interviews with the vice president of Family Research Council Action and the president of Concerned Women for America, as well as quoting from a Wall Street Journal column by Peggy Noonan. Only the Concerned Women president noted possible voter interest in a third party, and this didn’t occur until starting with the 28th paragraph of my story. So it would appear Hitchcock read deeply into the story to find the third-party reference, but it wasn’t by Palin or me, and still he garbled it.
Just one more painful example: “Duggan regretted (July 24, 2008) that McCain had been endorsed by Arizona Right to Life and claimed that McCain had a record of opposing Arizona political conservatives” (p. 68).
Rather than being an opinion piece where I stated my regret, this was a news story noting the debate within Arizona Right to Life leadership over whether to endorse McCain. The group’s president first expressed doubt because McCain was only “85 percent with us,” but a persuasive pro-lifer soon “dispelled all of our questions and concerns” and won the endorsement for the senator.
Hitchcock said McCain “had a consistently pro-life voting record in the Senate” (p. 60), but this Wanderer story noted, “McCain opposes a federal Human Life constitutional amendment and voted for federal funding of fetal-tissue and embryonic stem-cell research.”
As for Hitchcock’s verb that I only “claimed” McCain had a record of opposing Arizona political conservatives, that same story had concrete instances of such events.
Hitchcock said I covered up for Sen. Barry Goldwater (p. 69), but provided no citation. However, based on two brief phrases Hitchcock mentioned (“edgy temperament” and “painful Goldwater family issues”), I believe he referred to the June 12, 2008, front-page story “John McCain Has Weak Roots In Arizona And In Conservatism.”
In this story I noted McCain’s “maverick” problems with the GOP base and quoted a May 2008 Boston Globe article about a continuing issue: “He allied himself with environmentalist and immigrant causes popular among Democrats, while showing little zeal for social issues, such as abortion, dear to many Republicans.”
At this point I wasn’t listing Goldwater’s late-career insults to moral traditionalists. It was an accurate report that Goldwater’s political bent generally was more conservative than McCain’s. And the Phoenix-based Arizona Republic quoted Goldwater’s son Barry Jr. that McCain “probably was more aggressive” than his late father “normally liked to see in politics” (May 4, 2008).
And when Hitchcock speaks of “The Wanderer’s animosity to George W. Bush” (p. 69), has he forgotten McCain’s own uneasy attitude toward that president?
What do you know? Hitchcock accurately quotes me giving my opinion about McCain being a fellow who stomps out the conservative campfire (p. 68), but the historian gives himself away. If he produced this particular direct quote from me, where are my direct quotes, or someone else’s, about how I’ve betrayed the pro-life cause? They exist only in his dreams.
Despite my misgivings about McCain during the presidential primaries, I at least quoted the McCain side, too. Which is more than Hitchcock allowed me to do as he prepared his book without asking for any observations or feedback about his falsehoods.
He repeatedly refers to my opposing Hispanic “immigration,” although I wrote about massive illegal immigration, which most Americans oppose.
Hitchcock says columnist Pat Buchanan “faulted the Republican leadership (March 26) for opposing Obama’s foreign policy and particularly for continued Republican support of Israel.” Hitchcock immediately adds, “On that issue Duggan (May 21) appeared to agree, praising Rand Paul…for his anti-interventionist foreign policy” (p. 172).
My May 21, 2015, article said nothing about opposing Israel, but if this sounds like a sideswipe hint of anti-Semitism, it’s the low level that Hitchcock chooses to play at.
Historians are supposed to provide context, but the context that counts to Hitchcock is substituting his own bogus narrative. Showing no proof of accuracy or research, he has a magisterial way of tossing off falsehoods.
There are too many serious errors in this unreliable book to treat adequately in a couple of newspaper stories. Almost everything he writes about me is wrong or misleading, and I know myself and Arizona politics better than this Missouri historian.
A different historian told me recently that a true historian states his case without betraying his bias. If that’s the case, Hitchcock doesn’t measure up.
If any readers would like to continue this exploration, they may contact me at duggan_dexter@yahoo.com.

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