Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mistake-prone Hunter won't stop digging

Maybe "columnist" Jennifer Hunter of the Chicago Sun-Times won't admit her whopper of a mistake because she has made so many in recent months.

I can't think of a more rational explanation for Hunter's hysterical column this morning. In it, for the second time, she tries to defend the indefensible—that her July 16 column claiming Pennsylvania trial lawyer James Ronca is a "staunch Republican" was correct. She used that description as a convenient hammer against President George W. Bush, saying that Ronca had switched parties and now was supporting Democratic presidential candidates.

As those who have been following this story know, conservative bloggers quickly found that Ronca was anything but a "staunch Republican." In the last dozen years, he has given approximately $10,000 to federal candidates. More than 90 percent has gone to Democrats, including such lightning rod figures as uber liberals Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. Nobody can reasonably be called Republican with those metrics.

Jack Kelly, columnist of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, excorciates Hunter today for refusing to admit her mistake. Instead, Hunter has written two columns belittling those who question her as partisans.

If Ms. Hunter had fessed up, I wouldn't be writing about her. But she responded by attacking Web loggers for doing the research she should have done, and blaming her error on her editor.

"The grumbling arose partially because my editor took a small part of my story and made it into a headline: 'GOP lawyer sold on Dems,'" Ms. Hunter wrote in her July 19 column.

But what her readers objected to was the description of Mr. Ronca as a "staunch Republican," which was Ms. Hunter's own, and which appeared in her lede. To blame the headline writer for the mistake is as dishonest as it is lame.
Other respected conservative websites operated by experienced lawyers have also weighed in, including Power Line, and Patterico's Pontifications.

Back to my original premise. Why is Hunter digging in and threatening to enlarge this story when she is so obviously wrong? Maybe because she is reaching the point where her mistakes are becoming an issue—even though she has plenty of cover as wife of the Sun-Times publisher.

Here's what a quick search turned up:

Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
July 13, 2007
Jennifer Hunter's column Thursday should have said that a quote from Arthur Schlesinger reflected President Kennedy's concerns. The column also should have stated that the Iraq war started more than four years ago.

Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
June 22, 2007
Jennifer Hunter's column on Thursday incorrectly suggested that Sen. Barack Obama is a recent supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act. In fact, he was one of 46 Democratic co-sponsors of the act.

Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
May 18, 2007
-Jennifer Hunter's Tuesday column should have identified J.B. Pritzker as the national chairman of Citizens for Hillary, a campaign initiative charged with grass-roots outreach and policy matters for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
October 6, 2006
In a column by Jennifer Hunter about Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in Wednesday's editions, the word "until'' was dropped, altering the meaning of a sentence. It should have read: "And what she has done in a socially conservative country -- that until recently banned divorce, is staunchly Roman Catholic and will not allow abortions -- is miraculous.''
Because Hunter won't admit this larger mistake, she is assuring that the last line in her column today—"As far as I'm concerned, this is the end of the conversation."—won't come true.

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