Patti Davis, Limbaugh, Fox and Newsweek: Even Presidents’ Kids Need Editors

Why does Newsweek insist on embarrassing itself with yet another lame essay on stem cells by Patti Davis? (You’d think the one I skewered here would have been enough for any self-respecting publication.)

Forget about stem cells, Michael J. Fox and Rush Limbaugh for a second, and just look at the writing.

Davis begins with the semi-obligatory “I’m Ronald Reagan’s daughter” anecdote (just in case you forgot her singular achievement), a mundane little tale of an incident during her childhood in which she was being bullied. Her Dad advised her to ignore the bully, and the advice worked.

So, apparently unable to break her lifelong pattern of ignoring Dad’s wisdom, Davis then claims Rush Limbaugh is a bully and admits she isn’t ignoring him. (So the purpose of the anecdote was what again? Oh, right, your Dad was President.)

Limbaugh’s bullying consists of criticizing Michael J. Fox’s political activities at a time when you can’t swing a cat without hitting someone who is criticizing someone else’s political activities. Big whup.

Furthermore, says Davis, Limbaugh “flagrantly broke the law by procuring large amounts of drugs and then escaped the punishment that someone who is not white, wealthy and famous would have gotten.”

Pardon me, but isn’t this quite a bit more nasty than anything Limbaugh said about Fox?

And what supporting evidence did the Newsweek editors require for the assertion that, had Rush Limbaugh been black, he would have been treated differently by the justice system?

Davis further refers to “the miracles that stem-cell treatment holds for people afflicted with many diseases, including Parkinson’s.” Maybe I’m missing something, but shouldn’t that read “may hold”?

Details, details. Her Dad used to be President, you know.

Addendum, 10/27/06: I’m getting a bunch of mail on this, all saying pretty much the same thing. Me bad! Two of the more succinct letters follow:

Limbaugh’s bullying consists of accusing a Parkinson’s sufferer of “exaggerating his symptoms” despite the absence of any proof that would confirm the allegation. It is unfortunate that Mr. Limbaugh fails to realize tormenting the afflicted is unmanly, just as it is unfortunate that Amy Ridenour fails to realize practicing sophistry is unethical.podvin

“Podvin” describes Rush Limbaugh’s comments in this instance as “tormenting the afflicted,” and then accuses me of sophistry?

OK, let’s talk about the writing. Yours. You are the one that should be embarrassed, as a journalist and a mother. Your mindless Rush-defense makes you out to be heartless and terribly judgmental. Good luck to your three 6-year olds! And be sure to call your buddy Rush for parenting advice if they are ever bullied. (Or better yet, just get some painkillers from him and numb yourself even more.)John Mabry

Journalist? No cotton pickin’ way!

Addendum 2, 10/27/06: I spoke too soon. A middle-of-the-night (here, anyway) correspondent sees it my way:

No, don’t listen to those idiots that are saying you’re wrong; they don’t know what they’re talking about. Good grief, I thought I was the only who who was just agape at how vapid President Reagan’s daughter still is. I really admire Ronald Reagan, even though I don’t really remember him personally (b. 1980), but I have heard my mom say that Patti Davis gave her family trouble when she was younger.Anyway, I read her essay last night, and my immediate reaction was that she is a stupid representation of a word I won’t use, and that her writing was full of lies. As you said, not only regarding her absolute dearth of knowledge on stem cell research, but also about Rush Limbaugh. Being a listener of his, I’m aware of the list of talking points used to describe him by people of Davis’ mindset, and she used them all.

You should write your two new email buddies back and tell them BOTH they need to relearn the definition of sophistry, because they both displayed it, as did Patti Davis. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

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