January 05, 2007

Two more black eyes for the blogosphere, here and here. For the record, I am not a Media Watchdog; if the most important thing in your life is whether Meet the Press has any left-of-center pundits on its panel, or whether the LA Times is biased against conservatives, you are living a very sad existence indeed. But the right wing obsession with the media isn't simply an embarrasment, it may eventually get someone killed. I know that there hasn't been a lot to cheer about as far as successes for the keepers of the starboard flame (sorry, I've been on a cruise ship for the past week), but some bloggers really have to get over the fact that they busted Dan Rather three years ago. Claims that the media has falsified evidence or invented sources are starting to be reminiscent of Queeg's Strawberries, and it's starting to taint the rest of us everytime they go off the deep end.

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald says it better, firing both barrels:
And now the right-wing blogosphere stands revealed as what they are -- a pack of gossip-mongering hysterics who routinely attack any press reports that reflect poorly on their Leader or his policies, with rank innuendo, Internet gossip, base speculation, and wholesale error as their most frequent tools of the trade. They operate in packs, constantly repeating each other's innuendo and expanding on it incrementally, and they then cite to each other endlessly in one self-feeding, self-affirming orgy of links, as though that constitutes proof.

And they are wrong over and over and over -- and not just in error, but embarrassingly so, because so frequently their claims are transparently, laughably absurd, and they spew the most righteous accusations without any sort of evidence at all. The New Republic has its Stephen Glass and The New York Times has its Jayson Blair. But those are one-off incidents. The right-wing blogosphere is driven by Jayson Blairs. They are exposed as frauds and gossip-mongerers on an almost weekly basis. The only thing that can compete with the consistency of their errors is the viciousness of their accusations and their pompous self-regard as "citizen journalists."
The comparison with Glass and Blair may be a tad unfair, since those journalistic malefactors were caught deliberately falsifying stories, while I have no doubt the bloggers involved in this the AP fiasco sincerely believed they were purusuing some sort of Higher Truth. But that makes it even more frightening. As a wise man of the blogosphere once said in a completely different context, "screw 'em."

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