The Death of Analogy: Al Hunt's Deceptive Smear of Steve King
Columnist Al Hunt smeared Rep. Steve King (R-IA) in an attempt to paint the potential GOP Senate candidate as an intolerant bigot. In a New York Times column last week, Hunt portrayed King this way:
Mr. King has made a name for himself with anti-immigrant rants. Last year, he said Americans should select eligible immigrants the same way they would go about picking a 'good bird dog.' That means choosing 'the one that's the friskiest, the one that's engaged the most, and not the one that's over there sleeping in the corner.' He later explained that he meant this as a compliment - he likes bird dogs.
This statement is riddled with lies. Allow me to break them down. First, watch the one minute statement that is the center of this trumped up charge. It was part of a town hall Rep. King was hosting for constituents and captured on video by a left-wing tracking organization, American Bridge.
You put out a beacon like the Statue of Liberty, and who comes here? The most vigorous from every country that has donated legal immigrants to the United States of America. We've got the cream of the crop. You know, we always had bird dogs around our place and right now in our family there's a black lab, a white lab, a yellow lab and my brother has a chocolate lab. And you go in and you look at a litter of pups and you watch them. You watch them how they play and run around a little bit. And what do you want? You want a good bird dog? You want one that's going to be aggressive? Pick the one that's the friskiest, the one that's engaged the most and not the one that's over there sleeping in the corner. If you want a pet to sit on the couch, pick the one that's sleeping in the corner. So you get the pick of the litter and you've got yourself a pretty good bird dog. Well, we've got the pick of every donor civilization on the planet because it's hard to get here. They had to be inspired to come. We got the vigor from the planet to come to America, and whichever generation it was and then we taught our children that same thing.
Now that you've seen the comments and read the transcript, let's break down all the lies in Hunt's smear of the congressman.
Mr. King has made a name for himself with anti-immigrant rants.
This statement is false on its face. The comments in question can hardly be described as a "rant." Mr. Hunt also uses a plural "rants" as if there are other questionable statements, but he offers no evidence. This is a stand-alone occurrence. Also, it is surely not objective fact that the statement in question is "anti-immigrant." How can a statement describing immigrants who are inspired by the shining beacon of the Statue of Liberty and referring to those immigrants as "inspired" and "the cream of the crop" be labeled "anti-immigrant?" You can't. Unless you are Al Hunt and truth is not as important as your intention to smear a Republican.
Last year, he said Americans should select eligible immigrants the same way they would go about picking a "good bird dog." That means choosing "the one that's the friskiest, the one that's engaged the most, and not the one that's over there sleeping in the corner."
Is that really what Rep. King said? Look at his words again. He is talking about the immigrants who fought against all odds and came to America. The ones that made it through the rigors of the legal immigration process and became functioning and productive members of our society. He at no time discusses which immigrants "Americans should select." That is an inference completely dreamed up by Hunt.
He later explained that he meant this as a compliment - he likes bird dogs.
This is an outright lie. Rep. King was questioned about the analogy in question by a reporter in Iowa. Here is the entire exchange.
John: First, comparing the selection of the best of the litter of bird dogs to attracting the best immigrants? Did you not use the best words in that case?
King: It was a compliment, John, and we are dealing with people that would willfully...
John: But could you see how that would not be taken as a compliment?
King: They knew it was a compliment; they turned it into an insult because they are professional hyper ventilators. I can't control that behavior. But it was a compliment because it identified the vigor that we get with legal immigrants that come to America. We've always gotten the cream of the crop. And that's why America is a can-do country. People saw the liberty that's advertised and promised in the Statue of Liberty and they came here. They came here to exercise their dreams. That is skimming the cream off of the crop, and that's what I explained that day. And right thinking, commonsense people do know that and professional hyper ventilators try to gain political advantage.
He never says he "meant this as a compliment," as Hunt claimed, which implies an apology or a walking back of the statement. On the contrary, King owned the words and emphatically maintained that the statement is a compliment and he would in no way apologize. King says "it IS a compliment." This shows that King said what he meant and he meant what he said. Hunt's suggestion that King said "he meant it as a compliment" implies that King was walking back his statement or was claiming he shouldn't have said it. It's completely false.
An email exchange from Rep. King and Hunt obtained by Breitbart News shows that Hunt refused to correct his record or to allow King's side of the characterization to be heard. Hunt knows what King meant and no one will change his mind about it. Further, the readers at Bloomberg don't deserve the right to hear King's version of the events. It's Hunt's way or no way.
In the email exchange, Hunt responded to King with a straw-man argument intended to win an argument rather than seek the truth:
I believe that paralleling immigrants to bird dogs is an 'anti-immigrant rant.' An illustration: our third child is adopted. Let's assume this was our approach to adoption: i.e. it was the same way we chose our golden retriever, get the pick of the litter, see which baby in that orphanage is the friskiest, not the one sleeping in the corner.
Do you believe today -- now 23 -- that she would swell with pride over how she was chosen ? I think not; she would be mortified and furious.
Whatever your intent, you were quoted accurately and not out of context. I am unaware of any dog, frisky or sleepy, heeding the call of the Statue of Liberty.- Al Hunt, E-Mail to Rep. Steve King, 2/26/13
Hunt is not only guilty of sloppy journalism here; he's guilty of sloppy English.
Politically correct word police would have all Americans stop using analogies to illustrate points. They constantly claim that making certain comparisons or parallels is offensive and hateful. This is a perfect example. Rep. King did not parellel immigrants to bird dogs as Hunt claims. He analogized the two as a way to illustrate an idea. Please observe the two distinct words; they are not synonyms.
Hunt accuses King of paralleling the two. But he was clearly analogizing:
paralleling - present participle of par·al·lel (Verb)
1. (of something extending in a line) Be side by side with (something extending in a line), always keeping the same distance.
2. Be similar or corresponding to (something).
analogizing - present participle of a·nal·o·gize (Verb)
1. Make a comparison of (something) with something else to assist understanding.
This is a distinction with a very important difference. Example: In the New Testament, Jesus often uses parables to better explain a complex idea to his followers. In those parables, humans are often analogized as animals (like sheep). Was Jesus paralleling animals to humans? Was he drawing a link and suggesting humans were similar to or corresponded with animals? Or perhaps, was he saying that animals and humans were interchangeable thus diminishing the value of human life to the level of an animal?
It is absurd to think that. But that is exactly what Hunt is accusing King of doing in this case. Even more absurd, Hunt has not corrected the record or even allowed the readers of the Times to draw their own conclusion on the issue, despite King reaching out and giving him ample information to adjust the record.
(Also, in case it needs to be said, I did not just parellel, liken, compare or equate Rep. Steve King with Jesus Christ; it was an analogy.)
Hunt's lie is already being repeated, since journalists and bloggers on the left are inherently lazy and refuse to look at the original source. They take Hunt's word for it and repeat it without question.
One thing is obvious: The Left is terrified of a Steve King candidacy for Senate, so they are trying to stop it before it even gets going. If all the right people hate you, you are doing something right.
*An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that Rep. King was speaking in Iowa for the organization, American Bridge. The article has been updated to correctly identify the event and American Bridge's role in the release of the video.