Sunday, April 20, 2008

Inaccurate and poorly researched books

OMG, the author of What's Left? has written a column complaining that some books are inaccurate and poorly researched. Whatever next? For those familiar with Nick's recent writings there are some great lines:

he says he filled the gaps in her knowledge by relying on other people's research.

You don't say?


For all the talk of the net changing the world, it remains a parasitic medium which depends on old-fashioned sources, which readers could more or less trust. Most bloggers bounce off online articles written and edited by professionals.

That's right. We at Aaronwatch "bounce off" articles written by professionals, like, er , Nick. We just left out the "more or less trust" bit.

By the way, Nick's discussion of Thomas Kohnstamm and Lonely Planet suffers from similar epistemological difficulties to those with his treatment of ex-jihadis who've now seen the light. There it was "fantasist says I see clearly now", here it is "self-confessed liar says I'm telling the truth now, honest."

(Oh, and Nick tells us we shouldn't vote for Ken. Nothing new there.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is most striking in Cohen's work these days is his total lack of self-knowledge.

4/20/2008 03:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>Most bloggers bounce off online articles written and edited by professionals.

I'm not sure this is true any more. It might have been in the early years of magazines and papers having online editions, but CiF in particular is laughably edited. And that's before we get to Nick's favoruite website, Harry's Place. Nobody who edits that site is an editorial professional. Alan NTM is an abysmal editor of Democratiya which does not even appear to have a house style guide.

Quite funny, too, that this comes out in the exact same week that Nick is (wrongly) perceived by his mates to have been libelled in the guardian. surely the editorial professionals who work there would be able to avoid such an occurence? And indeed they were. Funny that there are several written apologies prefacing the online editions of Nick's columns, too...

The 'some guy with a website' piece in decentpedia has this bang on.

4/21/2008 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

The worst for the taking things from badly-edited blogs was of course Aaro, when he decided in print to attack the Treasurer of Christian CND as an anti-semitic conspiracy theorist merely because "David T" had written it on Harry's Place, a claim that was entirely untrue.

4/21/2008 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger rioja kid said...

Quite funny, too, that this comes out in the exact same week that Nick is (wrongly) perceived by his mates to have been libelled in the guardian.

Interesting. About what?

4/21/2008 01:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apologies for my inability with links, but that's the David T piece with allegations of libel - repeated from earlier HP comments on the Guardian Review piece. i still can't for the life of me work out the grounds for the libel at all - i genuinely don't understand the point David T is trying to make. The idea he has got of Edgar's 'disgusting slurs' rests on a very questionable reading of the piece and in typical HP style a series of unfounded assumptions about a person they have decided is 'against them'. The fact that David T is at his cantankerous worst in the same piece and in the comments hardly helps his case.

But seeing as I'm in the words of David T 'a twat' i'm guessing I might just be blinded by my twattishness.

4/21/2008 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

See here and here

4/21/2008 01:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"i won't distract readers outside London with a technical analysis of how Brian Paddick, the ex-copper running on the Liberal Democrat ticket, could come through the middle".

Has anyone seen this "technical analysis" - I find myself strangely in need of some distraction.

4/21/2008 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

He said in his Standard column.

Basically enough people vote Paddick on 1st preference so he beats Livingstone.

So let's say its

Johnsoon - 45%
Paddick - 30%
Livinstone - 20%
Others - 5%

Then the assumption is that a lot of 2nd preferences break Paddick's way from Livingstone, and the others, say 81%. So that gives Paddick another 20.3%, putting him on 50.3%, and he wins the election (he doesn't have to get a majority, just more than Johnson).

The problem with this is that Paddick is on 12% in the polls to Livingstone's 37%. Another problems seems to be that if, as Cohen suggests, Livingstone is in an alliance with fascism and the far-right, isn't it more likely that Livinstone's voters 2nd preference will be the BNP? Or so Nick's logic seems to head.

4/21/2008 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

In practice the main problem is that Nick intends to vote Paddick, and then either no second vote or Johnson. So if Paddick beats Livingstone into 3rd, the strategy works, but then it relies on the good will of Livinstone voters, who you've slagged off as supporting a man in alliance with the far right.

4/21/2008 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

That's not strictly "technical analysis" so much, as wishful thinking.

4/21/2008 09:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cian - yes, exactly. There's a difference between "try this, it could work" and "try this, it could work as long as lots and lots of other people do it too". It's the difference, most of the time, between calling for a strike and calling for a general strike.

4/21/2008 10:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Setting aside Nick's ludicrous 'technical analysis', this is of course another odd chapter in his love-hate relationship with the Liberal Democrats. Back in 2001 he was going to vote Lib Dem or Socialist Alliance, then they became fellow travellers with fascism, and now he is going to vote for them again because the Labour candidate is a fellow traveller with fascism.

4/21/2008 11:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aside from his ludicrous maths, the other thing that strikes me about Nick (and other HP contributors) and their endorsement of Paddick is just how insincere it is. Nick's never mentioned any of Paddick's policies, in any of his columns. He's reluctantly decided to concoct this ludicrous idea of why voting for Paddick will work because every other option was exhausted - his prior support for Boris was clearly unsustainable given what Boris is likely to do to London if he gets into power, and his furious letter-writing to the NS asking for a new Labour candidate was completely pointless.

The only point he raises for not voting for Ken is that he's broken the 'one taboo of the left' and 'embraced the far right', but I'm fairly sure that Nick considers everyone who marched against the war - including, presumably, Brian Paddick - as 'objectively pro-fascist' doesn't he?

These kinds of binary oppositions and labels of 'fascist-embarcer' have forced him and his mates into a really difficult situation - but one which is entirely of their own making.

4/22/2008 08:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick Cohen tried (and failed) to defend his barmy position that "Ken is allied with the far right" in this thread about a Tatchell piece


Challenged about what this alliance with the far right actually meant - are Ken goons attacking liberal meetings, was Ken fuelling islamist terror ? Nick was reduced to saying that the sum total effect of Kens flirtation with 'fascism' was that Kens "goons" had the terrifying effect that they "marginalise men and women who have every right to expect their support" (these men and women were never named)and failed to invite the right people to city hall - hardly the most frightening fascism then. Nick also said his critics were guilty of "hyperbole" to cover their "political insecurity" and should go to the opticians.

Incidentally, Ni

4/22/2008 09:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do we think are the chances of Nick winning the Orwell Prize tomorrow night?

4/23/2008 12:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

depressingly i think the chances are fairly high, although ed Husain will probably win it.

I'm not sure what the criteria for being entered are, given than Two Caravans is on the shortlist...

4/24/2008 08:30:00 AM  

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