There are lazy reporters and facile commentors out there. And there are, we have come to learn, actual Armstrong Williamses out there, who have no independence or integrity. They deserve a lot of scorn. But Tom Edsall and Dana Priest are not among them. Like everyone, they sometimes get things wrong. They look at facts and interpret them differently, they forget certain facts, they try to construct tight arguments and wind up misstating a case, or they don't have very good answers on the spur of the moment.--Mark Schmitt, Tapped
And we challenge them on it, as we should. It's a great world we live in that makes such a rapid, thorough discussion of a question possible. But the rush to find a nefarious motive (the "Armstrong Williams check"), or to disqualify a writer entirely as "drinking the Beltway Kool-Aid" doesn't further that discussion or add to our understanding.
I like the philosophy of Wikipedia: Make it easy to make mistakes and easier to correct them. Imagine how Wikipedia would be if every contributor who got something wrong were banned forever. Yet that's often the tone of these blog attacks. We're all on a quest to understand just what's gone on in our public life the last few years and how to fix it. When we see an answer we think is wrong, we can't just declare the writer a "wanker" or a "courtier-servant," or whatever. Just respond to the argument. We're all going to be wrong sometimes.
November 28, 2006
Wannabes [Part III]: More on the A-hole tendency among lefty bloggers, here: