On Sarawak Report.
6 Jul By Christopher Badeaux
So I was ego-Googling and found that on Clare Rewcastle Brown’s vanity project site, Sarawak Report, I had somehow reached the level at which she cared to remark on me and on this site. I’m flattered.
I’m also offended, but given the level of reaching in that post, I suppose I shouldn’t be too offended.
Ms. Rewcastle Brown’s essential allegations are that, first, Rachel Motte (a writer who has been featured here in the past) and I are paid agents of Sarawak’s Chief Minister Taib; second, that this site is a paid venue for Taib; third, that Ms. Motte and I said horrible, untrue, scandalous, and just downright mean things about her and her brother-in-law, the unintentionally comedic Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of Great Britain and single-handed destroyer of a decade and a half of Labour dominance; and then a bunch of things about Wikipedia, Google Ads, and some other things that frankly seem out of place and about which I know nothing, but when dealing with the deranged, you get used to seeing a lot of free association.
I’d like to address those things that are aimed at me and this site, because I know nothing of the rest.
Let us start with this site. The New Ledger (described by the hysterical Ms. Rewcastle Brown as a “far Republican” blog, whatever that is) is a private company, and does not and has not taken any money from any politician, political party, or political party member, from any country, ever. Its only revenue is — and since its inception, has been — advertising revenue from Google Ads, Amazon affiliate status, and sponsorships for its podcasts. The Google ads are forthrightly displayed, as are the Amazon ads. The podcast ads are recited at the beginning of each segment of Coffee and Markets.
The New Ledger’s primary product is in fact its podcasts. The blog is an ancillary product altogether. Ms. Rewcastle Brown’s crack research team — who must be volunteers, because clearly no one would have paid them — apparently missed all of these details in their breathless reporting, which will likely next be concerned with proving that the moon landing was false.
Insofar as a nexus exists between Ms. Rewcastle Brown’s allegations and reality, it is the allegation that some web sites that also apparently care about Sarawak have freely copied the New Ledger’s content. There are two things to be said about this. First, the New Ledger, which owns the product placed on its pages, never provided (and, for clarity, does not provide now) permission for this fairly blatant theft of its property, and was, as discussed above, never paid for this theft (that’s why it’s called “theft”). Second, in what will likely be the first of a few shattering blows to Ms. Rewcastle Brown’s ego, this is hardly the first time and won’t be the last that someone has blatantly stolen this site’s copyrighted material and, brace yourself, the majority of times have had nothing at all to do with Gordon Brown, Clare Rewcastle Brown, Sarawak, or Ms. Rewcastle Brown’s shadowy enemies.
Put simply, Ms. Rewcastle Brown’s allegations are false, fantastic, and fallacious.
That appears to be her modus operandi, so: On to me.
Ms. Rewcastle Brown seems upset that I write about Sarawak, and her in particular. (More on the latter in a bit.) From the fact that I wrote about her and her brother-in-law, and the fact that those things show up on this site and have apparently been copied verbatim at another site apparently called Sarawak Reports, Ms. Rewcastle Brown concludes that a giant, shadowy conspiracy headed by Taib is at play here.
Ms. Rewcastle Brown purports to show that I am not an “established journalist, but rather [a] PR writer hired by Taib,” and to prove this, she posts an unflattering photo of me (the flattering ones aren’t much better) and, as her proof, states, and I quote:
Badeaux has written a number of furious attacks on behalf of New Ledger clients, as if he was authoring unbiased and disinterested comment.
His articles like to claim that critics of corruption in Sarawak (specifically Clare Rewcastle) “want the people to live in grinding poverty” and “die at 40″. However, Mr Badeaux does not declare his interest in these articles, which is that he has been commissioned to write them by Taib, who therefore is paying him out of the fruits of that corruption.
Let us take these “allegations” in order.
It is true that I am not an “established journalist” in the sense that an American would mean it. Writing for websites and periodicals is something I do in my spare time. Then again, this is true of the majority of American writers and bloggers, so I presume this allegation — to which I cop — is simply a result of Ms. Rewcastle Brown’s complete lack of familiarity with America.
That leads to the “proof” that I am one of Taib’s henchmen.
I have, it’s true, written a number of “furious attacks.” I’ve also written some things that aren’t “furious attacks.” I’ve actually written a number of things. Interestingly, most of them have nothing to do with Sarawak, Malaysia, or the Blessed Duo of Gordon Brown and Clare Rewcastle Brown.
For example, I am actually an unfortunate and not terribly clever observer of Asian politics. (This is one of those times you can clearly credit me with more honesty than Ms. Rewcastle Brown, who, I can reveal, is actually even worse at this than I.) So, for example, had Ms. Rewcastle Brown’s crack research team (also known as “Clare”) bothered to Google me, she’d have found that I write about China, and about India, too.
I write book reviews. In fact, I’m working on one as we speak. I write attacks, too, on people who aren’t daft British lefties. I attack daft Texan lefties. I attack daft Washington, D.C. lefties who have ruined great websites. I attack daft British lefties who live in Washington, D.C.
I write about the murder of the unborn and Catholicism. I write about lawyers being charged with crimes for lawyering. I write about Joss Whedon’s lame attempts at storytelling. I’m trying to transition into American domestic politics in a broader sense, but so far find myself coming back to foreign policy again and again.
I write in as many venues as I can because I enjoy writing; most of my writing has appeared at the New Ledger because it has been kind enough to feature my work. I am frankly flattered and honored when other venues indicate they like my work, but I must confess that I wish they’d ask me before reproducing it. I wish even more that they’d pay me for it.
I write about what interests me. I do not write for “the New Ledger’s clients,” not least because it has none. On Ms. Rewcastle Brown’s specific allegation, I am not paid by Taib, Barisan Nasional, the government of Sarawak, the government of Malaysia, David Cameron, Tony Blair, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, the Bilderbergers, the Illuminati, Opus Dei, or Santa Claus (I’m trying to include all of the people who scare or have hurt Ms. Rewcastle Brown) to write anything, and never have been.
At its heart, Ms. Rewcastle Brown is upset about two things. First, she is upset that allegations — which, based on the magic of the Google, are based on real reporting — about her brother-in-law’s more than slightly disastrous last three years in Parliament have been rehashed on this site. Given how Fleet Street played with that story, and given the late date and the relative traffic rank we enjoy here, I presume this is not actually the nut of Ms. Rewcastle Brown’s problem. Rather, at a guess, it would appear that she is actually upset that people — people being I — have said mean things about her.
That leads to a purely personal note. Clare — I hope I may call you Clare, instead of Admin, which is after all your handle on Sarawak Report — I know this will come as a bit of a shock to you, but I don’t need anyone to pay me to dislike you. I dislike you just for being you. My whole life, I have watched rich and upper-middle-class urban liberals, standing on the shoulders of men who decided to clear-cut forests and drain swamps so that their wives and children might live, sit in the security of their extremely sanitized, expensive city dwellings and lecture people white and brown on the necessity of dying early so that some tree, arthropod, bird, or lesser mammal might avoid a decrease in its total population.
It is particularly noxious to read a woman talk about her fond reminiscences of children dodging deadly scorpions in connection with her relentless anger that someone, somewhere might want to eliminate a fraction of the forest cover that gives those scorpions a place to breed and live and kill, while driving the average life span above that of the average Dark Ages dweller. I find it even more noxious when it is covered in a gloss of post-Rousseauian Noble Savage rationalization. I hate anti-humanism, especially the kind that comes from well-appointed drawing rooms in London flats and Manhattan condos.
Let me say that more bluntly: Based on my reading of your interviews and writings, you appear nostalgic for a time when the little brown people died young and painfully, because then there were more trees and bugs. Assuming that is correct, in a just world, you would be forced to spend the remainder of your life in such an environment, appreciating Mother Nature as she stings, bites, infects, and poisons you to death, drinking bacteria-laden river water as you suffer.
On the off chance that your loathing of other humans (or if you prefer, your preference for venomous arachnids) seems an insufficient basis to despise your every public pronouncement, I would also like to point to the fact that you have branched out from anti-human environmentalism into, amazingly, not just foreign policy but the domestic politics of a single state in Malaysia.
I note that your admitted, chosen political allies are a coalition headed by a vile little anti-Semite, the two largest parts of which include a soul-and-material-progress-hating socialist party and a political party explicitly dedicated to enacting the cut-the-hands-off-dhimmis, women-wear-burkas brand of sh’ria. I understand that most British lefties believe that anti-Semitism is almost a positive virtue, and that socialism is fine so long as you have nice things, but I’m vaguely hopeful that the fact that you took your environmental activism as an excuse to reach out and support actual Islamists might seem, even to you, like a good reason to dislike you.
So, no, Clare. I don’t dislike you for pay. That comes from the heart.
As for your brother-in-law, I think a moment of simple honesty is in order here. Nothing I’ve ever said, or anyone writing on this site has said, could or would come close to matching the wringer through which the man was justifiably put by the British press (including, based on the Google Image search I just ran, its entire photography corps) and, let us not forget, his own party and the British electorate. Your outrage on his behalf, while commendable, is wildly misplaced.
So, in brief: Your allegations are ludicrous, and denied.
The record is now straight. Neither I nor this site has any interest in engaging in a food fight with you. This is and will be my only and this site’s only statement on this matter.