Mendacity from Amy Nicholson

In Slate, L.A. Weekly movie critic Amy Nicholson takes aim at deceased sniper and Navy SEAL Chris Kyle:

Take American Sniper, one of the most mendacious movies of 2014. Clint Eastwood was caught in a trap: His subject, murdered Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, lied a lot. In his autobiography, he said he killed two carjackers in Texas, sniped looters during Hurricane Katrina, and punched Jesse Ventura in the face. None of that was true. So Eastwood was stuck. Should he repeat Kyle’s lies as truth? Expose him as a liar?
Ironically her article is titled "Clint Eastwood's American Sniper is one of the most mendacious movies of 2014", because she clearly hasn't read Kyle's autobiography. In his autobiography he does not discuss either of the first two situations she describes, at all. The third situation is described, but Jesse Ventura is not mentioned (Kyle calls the participant "Scruffy" and although some of Scruffy's background is consistent with Ventura's, it's not an obvious link). So Nicholson seems happy with at least one of two situations: 1. making claims about a book she hasn't read, or 2) making knowingly false claims about a book she has read.

It's slightly clearer when you read the New Yorker article which she links because they report third person recounting of the first two stories: people who claim to have heard Kyle talk about them. Kyle may or may not have told these stories, and they may or may not have been accurately recounted by the third parties. The Scruffy story was later confirmed by Kyle in a video interview to pertain to Ventura, and a court subsequently decided that Ventura had been libelled by it. It's a pretty misleading recounting by Nicholson though, whether or not the claim turns out to be substantially true - if you aspire to being an actual journalist, one would expect you to have a clear understanding of 1st vs 2nd vs 3rd party sources and make the distinction clear in your articles. Perhaps Ms. Nicolson has no such aspiration and is happy being a partisan hack.


BBC booze bill shocker

The shocker is, it's extremely reasonable:

The Corporation stated that the figure related to 'non-production related and production related spend'.
It added: 'The total spent on alcohol for the period 1st October 2013 to 26th October 2014 with the BBC's single preferred supplier Majestic Wine PLC was £43,000.'

I'm not the greatest fan of the BBC's compulsory TV licence, but I really don't think that this is worthy even of a Daily Mail throwaway article:

  • Use of bulk supplier for savings: check
  • Cost per employee per year: £2 , eminently reasonable, no reason to think this is taxpayer-funded employee booze
  • Cost per day: £130 over all channels and events. That's about 3 bottles of Veuve Clicquot NV at Sainsbury's prices. Assuming the BBC allocates half a bottle per top echelon (MP, MEP, sleb) guest, that's 6 top echelon guests per day which sounds about right.
It comes as up to 50 MPs called for the licence fee to be scrapped and replaced with a voluntary subscription service in its place.
Talk about tenuous connections. This is possibly one of the strongest signals of thrifty BBC spending there is, and you're linking it to a call for licence fee repeal? Your logic is not like our Earth logic, Daily Mail.