This is a little experiment in bringing some of my colleagues' off-site activities back home, at least in snapshot, so those of us who enjoy a more ruminant comment thread can digest them.
ABC News' Terry Moran enters the Edwards blogger fray, under this oh-so-coy headline:Does John Edwards Condone Hate Speech? [...] If a Republican candidate teamed up with a right-wing blogger who spewed this kind of venom, how would people react?
...If ABC News hasn't been able to discern for itself that the right blogosphere provides more than its share of controversial figures, and that those controversial figures are right now in the employ of leading GOP presidential candidates, as Glenn Greenwald demonstrates with about five seconds worth of Googling, then the blindness must be willful.
Does ABC News condone hate speech?
Keep in mind that those targeting Edwards simply don't abide by the same standards when it comes to defining what's reasonable discourse and what's not. Perhaps more to the point, they are perfectly willing to say that whatever they're pointing to is beyond the pale whether most Americans would agree or not, if they think it could possibly result in the firing of a Democratic campaign staffer, and by extension, damage to that campaign. So it's just as likely that tomorrow's target will be Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, or Tom Vilsack, or Chris Dodd, or any of the other candidates. That the attack may have to hinge on something that most people would see as perfectly reasonable won't much matter, so long as the professional outrage machine is turned up loud enough.
This fight, if Edwards is going to be called upon to make it, must be everyone's fight. If the other campaigns cannot demonstrate that they would have displayed the same courage we call upon Edwards to display, then they benefit from the right's strategy of divide and conquer. And to the extent that they benefit, they give a pass to and encourage such attacks in the future, and are powerless to stop them when the next one comes. All they can do is hold on tight, cross their fingers, and pray they're not the next target. And that's no way to win anything. Certainly not the White House.
So keep an eye on who says what here. If you want Edwards to stand up, realize that you're going to have to demand that all the campaigns stand up. Literally. They're going to have to say that they stand by Edwards. Because these attacks only really hurt campaigns among primary voters.
and Trapper John says that Edwards played it the right way
John Edwards and his campaign decided to stand up to the ankle-biters, and deserve credit for doing so.The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte's and Melissa McEwan's posts personally offended me... But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I've talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in.
It took a little while, but Edwards set the right precedent for how this type of smear should be handled. As a Democrat, I'm proud of him and his campaign. And I'm happy that Edwards is ready to move beyond BS "hijackings" like this to talk about real issues. Let's join him in putting this nonsense behind us.
As for me personally, I'm waiting to see if any of the other Democratic contenders will try to keep this "story" alive, or if they will all decide to run a clean race (for now).
Speaking of calling out bloggers for things in their pasts, Kagro X also calls due Jonah Goldberg's bet that Iraq will rise above chaos and civil war
Today, that "bet" comes due. And today:
Iraq is in a state of civil war
Iraq does not have a viable constitution
a majority of Iraqis do not agree that the war was worth it
a majority of Americans do not agree that the war was worth it
There's no way to be more wrong.
See, to my mind, where intellectual honesty is demanded is right there... Where "intellectuals" would demand honesty is in the premise of the bet: that Jonah declared his judgment ("when it comes to the big picture") to be superior to Cole's.
It clearly is not. That much, you probably knew in your gut, even before he offered this bet.
But today at 11:53 am EST, it becomes officially, objectively, provably so.
Today, newspaper editors around the country who syndicate his writing should be asking themselves, "Why do I pay to run the column of someone whose judgment -- when it comes to the big picture, no less -- is objectively inferior? Why pay for something so clearly and spectacularly wrong, on so many levels?"
And, as I said in the comments there, 1 in 4 Americans still approve of President Bush's record -- their opinions having been informed, in no small part, by pundits like Goldberg and the way they have shaped the narrative in the mainstream press. With Iraq an unmitigated morass, there are a lot of bets that need to be called in America -- a lot of folks who are past due to admit they were wrong. Because you can't get better until you recognize your mistakes.
Let me finish with TNH commenter janinsanfran's recent post on a blogger facing retribution more severe than politically-motivated vilification by the Right or (gasp) having to admit he is wrong: Josh Wolf has been imprisoned nearly six months as a result of his blogging
Josh Wolf has been locked up for 169 days. As of today, Wolf became the longest-imprisoned journalist for contempt of court in U.S. history. He is a San Francisco video blogger who filmed some of a mini-protest march in the Mission district in July, 2005. (I live in this neighborhood; I wrote about the events at the time here.) A TV station bought some of his footage. You can see that story here.
So far so good.
Though a police officer got hurt and a police vehicle was vandalized, that would have been the end of it, except that the Federal government decided to make an example of Wolf. Under California's journalist shield law, Wolf could not be forced to reveal any other pictures he took that night. But the vandalized police car had been paid for by the Feds, so they convened a Federal grand jury about this tiny local incident and tried to make him turn over his out-takes. Wolf refused. Last August 1 he was declared in contempt and sent to Federal prison. Appeals have been denied -- he is expected to be held until the grand jury's term expires in the summer, or perhaps longer if the U.S. Attorney chooses to be particularly vindictive.
The inevitable question: Who deserves more protections as a credible journalist -- an armchair pundit who makes a living breaking eggs on his face, or a blogger who reports events at the scene and from the street?
That's one even Jonah Goldberg should be able to answer right.