|Remorse from Kate Coleman? Not.
Kate Coleman, 62, is an odd character indeed. Although she exclaimed, “I could slit my throat” in an embarrassed interview about the many errors and falsehoods in her book, she probably didn’t mean it. Coleman doesn’t do remorse. In fact, her personality can best be described as absolutely shameless.
The shamelessness isn’t limited to political slander. It includes a prurient fixation on sex. Witness “Sling Shot,” an article for Salon.com in 2000 that graphically describes her trip to a “sex therapist” who puts her in a sling and has at her for five hours. The sex fuckbook fixation shows up constantly in her writings. For example, she imagines that “the sounds of his wife’s trysts enraged” Bari’s ex-husband, even though Coleman has no way to know that he ever overhead them, let alone felt outrage. (Besides the fact that she wasn't his wife anymore). And she describes Bari as “braless” repeatedly, alleges she took part in a “breast contest” at a Boonville bar, and even includes a description of “her unfettered, pendulous breasts.”
The sex fixation is one thing, but what’s really strange is Coleman’s obsessive habit of lying when she’s sure to get caught. Coleman has been repeatedly telling questioners and the media that the “main theme” of her book is her fuck buddy app claim that Judi Bari gave up forest activism and instead indulged in self-aggrandizement and work on her lawsuit against the FBI. Coleman shamelessly www.bangsomechicks.com repeats this lie even though she is fully aware that 15 pages of newspaper clips are posted on www.ColemanHoax.com [Instant Proof #1] that prove Bari never stopped Earth First! forest activism, never put Earth First! organizing second to anything, and personally led the historic Save the Headwaters Campaign from the front lines right up to her death.
Coleman doesn’t include a word about the Save the Headwaters Campaign, even though Bari’s single-minded devotion to it caused her to delay getting the lump in her breast Net Singles examined, a delay that may have caused Bari’s death from cancer in March, 1997. It’s an unforgiveable omission in a book that pretends to be a biography.
Coleman is equally shameless about repeating any malicious gossip that she hears, no matter how absurd and unlikely it may be. The book is filled with it, but Coleman gave an even more dramatic demonstration of her journalistic anti-ethics at her Fort Bragg reading January 8, 2005. The tape recording has Coleman telling the audience that she had just that day received a phone call from a woman in Humboldt County who said she had been told by an acquaintance who is a waitress that Darryl Cherney used pipe bombs for fishing and bragged about filling his freezer with bomb-killed fish!
This breathless new discovery (actually an old slander that Cherney puts in his “weird shit” file) was repeated by Coleman two weeks later at her Mendocino reading, except that Coleman claimed she heard it directly from the waitress who overheard Cherney, leaving the unnamed acquaintance out of the chain of hearsay.
As the Los Angeles Times book review excoriated Coleman, “You can't cherry pick ‘facts’ to fit your thesis.” But Coleman can and does, because she is absolutely shameless. Not to mention foolish. She repeats gossip that is absurd on its face. You can’t fish with a pipe bomb because the water would extinguish the fuse; Darryl Cherney is notoriously afraid of firecrackers (let alone bombs); and he doesn’t even have a freezer, living off the grid with only a trickle of solar electricity.
Coleman describes herself as a “leftist” or “coming out of the left,” often mentioning the time she spent at UC Berkeley in the 1960’s, followed by a brief interlude as a “Yippie” in New York City. But Coleman is the opposite of a leftist. She is an acolyte and imitator of the notorious ex-leftist turncoats David Horowitz and Peter Collier, once Berkeley protest leaders and editors of Ramparts magazine, who flip-flopped in the 1980’s and became attack dogs of the far right. Horowitz cites corruption and violence attributed to the Black Panther Party as an important influence that led him to make his political reversal. Coleman picked up his cue and wrote a series of articles in the 1990’s that ignored the Panthers’ historic political stand against police brutality and the brutal repression that crushed them, and instead made them out to be just another drug-dealing violent street gang that got what they deserved.
Coleman’s series of attacks on the Black Panthers was published in Horowitz’s Heterodoxy magazine, and it was clearly a warm-up for her book on Judi Bari. Coleman had tasted the sweetness of right-wing dollars paid for her services in maligning one leftist icon—the Black Panthers—and she was keen to find another icon to write about. She picked up quickly on the attacks started by a gaggle of Bari’s enemies after her death, and regurgitated them in an article in the notorious Anderson Valley Advertiser on December 29, 1999 titled, “The Ghost of Judi Bari.”
David Horowitz’s longtime collaborator, Peter Collier, had recently been set up with $3.5 million in right-wing foundation money to run Encounter Books. He called Coleman and hired her to turn her article into a book on Judi Bari. The task proved to be beyond Coleman’s slender talents as a writer. She had never held down a regular job as a journalist for long and had been mainly employed over the years as a maitre d’ at a fancy restaurant. The first manuscript she turned into Encounter sometime in early 2003 was, to put it charitably, awful. [We’ve seen it]. It was drastically rewritten and clearly has disclaimers inserted by the publisher’s lawyers to provide some defense against a libel suit.
It’s amusing to note what Coleman took out of the draft manuscript in the process of hammering it into the final book. Her principal source of nasty gossip about Bari and her ex-husband was Anna Marie Stenberg, who was briefly an associate of Bari but soon became a very bitter enemy. The problem with using Stenberg as a source was that she is well known to be pathological liar, and Coleman knew it too. She even stated it in her manuscript, confirming on p. 392 that Stenberg had once mounted a whisper campaign to accuse a competitor of her child care business in Fort Bragg of engaging in Satanic child molestation rituals, slanders which soon drove the competitor out of business. But this devastating impeachment of Stenberg’s credibility didn’t make it into the book, and neither did the lurid details of Stenberg’s conflict with Bari, which involved a face-to-face screaming match over money, Bari’s mocking hour-long denunciation of Stenberg on the radio, and an whisper campaign by Stenberg against Bari that has gone on ever since.
Since shameless lying seems so deeply imbedded in Coleman’s character, there’s little chance she will actually follow though on her “cut my throat” remark or do anything else honorable to atone for her conduct. Nor will she follow the example of David Brock and renounce the misinformation she has spread. Brock was hired by the same right-wing foundation that funded Coleman’s book—the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Brock’s assignment was writing a hit-piece on Anita Hill, the courageous lawyer who came forward to report sexual harassment and other disreputable conduct by Clarence Thomas when he was nominated for the Supreme Court. Brock’s 1993 book, The Real Anita Hill: The Untold Story, slimed Anita Hill as “a little bit nutty, a little bit slutty.”
Brock was later filled with remorse when he realized that he had slandered a good person as part of a campaign to support the appointment of an incompetent right-wing ideologue. Brock renounced his own book, admitted it was untrue in his next book, Blinded by the Right, and began his work (that continues today) in exposing the right-wing propaganda machine as head of Media Matters for America, www.mediamatters.org.
But Coleman isn’t Brock. She won’t do the right thing. She’s shameless.
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