Greetings, fellow godbags! I’m hoping you can help me out with something.
When you hear that someone’s been “smeared,” what do you think has happened? Do you think
a) someone took something the person in question said entirely out of context and mischaracterized it; or
b) someone took something the person in question said and just quoted it, word for word?
I could be wrong–what do I, a simple godbag, know?–but all along I’ve thought that a smear is more related to a) than b). Which is to say, that a smear is when you take someone’s words out of context and make those words mean something that the person never intended, or when you just accuse a person of doing or thinking a thing that they have never done or thought.
Liberal blogger Digby has a different idea about smearing, though.
The Edwards campaign is standing by their bloggers as they came under assault by the rightwing noise machine and good for them.
But this is going to be the pattern unless the news media recognises that they have a substantial number of readers who will not tolerate a reprise of the kind of rightwing smear job collusion we’ve seen in the past.
It proceeds from there to question Bill Donohue’s motives (which some might define as a smear) and then descends from there into some kind of how-to manual for reporters to march to bloggers like Digby’s tune from now on. But it’s that “rightwing smear job” bit that’s so interesting, at least to me. All Donohue and others did was recite Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan’s own words, verbatim, in criticizing them. So accurately quoting someone is now, in the mind of Digby, a “rightwing smear job.”
Which carried to its logical end, means that journalism as we know it is dead. As is history, biography and anything else in which people might be quoted accurately for some purpose or another. It’s all just one big “rightwing smear job” now. Including the accurate quote I just pulled from Digby’s own site, I suppose.
Meanwhile, over at MyDD Chris Bowers isn’t content merely to redefine the smear. He’s out to redefine the word “staunch.” Check it out, my fellow godbags.
On Wednesday, Bowers had this to say about L’Affaire Blunder Twins:
I also wish to make something else clear. While there is no way I will support Edwards with Amanda and Melissa are fired, I will immediately become a staunch Edwards supporter if they are not fired.
Well, as we all know they weren’t fired. So has Bowers staunched up the Edwards support? Well….
I am so relieved for Amanda and Melissa. I am just as relieved for John Edwards, who I really did not want to write off my list of potential candidates to support in the primary. Now, I will happily identify myself as an Edwards supporter. The only way I could imagine that changing is if another candidate shows a superior ability to help grow the movement. While there are a few more with that potential, no one has really come to close stepping up yet. (emphases added)
Unpacked, Bowers is saying “if another candidate comes along who pays even more attention to ME ME ME and our little kingdoms on the fringe, that candidate will get my support. Sorry, John.”
Those two posts were written about 45 hours apart, by the same person. The dictionary defines “staunch” as “firm and steadfast,” not as “waiting until someone else strokes my ego a little better.” But on the left, staunch does not mean what the rest of us think it means.
Edwards didn’t buy himself a thing by keeping on those two bloggers. The netroots who are hailing him today are already prepared to forget about him once it’s convenient. To be clear, he didn’t actually lose anything either, at least not yet. He’s not yet enough of a factor to cause Hillary! or Obama to kiss off the netroots by attacking him over his choice of bloggers. The only way they use the Blunder Twins against him is if they get desperate, and while they might get desperate, it won’t be because of him. The blogstresses would only become a liability in and of themselves in the general election, and Edwards isn’t likely to get that far. They can, however, become liabilities if they’re not kept under constant adult supervision when they’re blogging away. In that way, they’re a couple of timebombs ticking away inside the Edwards camp, most useful in that role to Hillary! and Obama than anyone else. And they can provide entertainment for us godbags as long as Edwards is in the race and keeps them around. But they’re not going to factor into the grand scheme of things very strongly. They ought to, as keeping them around says quite a bit about Edwards and his choice of allies, but we’re dealing with a party that no longer cares whether its meetings are prayed over by a Hezbollah-supporting imam. They’ll make the nation dance over the meaning of “is.” Why should they care if a few godbags of the right dislike a couple of bigoted bloggers of the left belonging to a white, male Southern candidate who has little shot of actually winning anything in ’08? Their bigotry is of a politically correct nature, so most Democrats are likely to ask “What’s the problem?”
As I wrote the other night, the win for our friends on the left here is a pyrrhic one. They won themselves a silky pony that they’re already prepared to sell out for a little flattery. The blogstresses kept jobs that’ll end ignominously in a year or so. The netroots as a whole circled the wagons around a couple of people who, in declaring their impassioned work of several years “satire,” took all their supporters and readers for chumps. And the Blunder Twins and their netroots pals have exposed themselves once again as people whose only loyalty is to themselves and the relentless pursuit of power. Theirs is a movement that will turn on itself, eventually, in loyalty tests and purges. Which means that Bowers got at least one thing right in the brouhaha: This isn’t over.
Update: Yes, we’re aware that liberal blogs are digging through the old Allah is in the House archive to trash Allahpundit. I can’t even say we’re surprised. But here’s the thing. Allahpundit’s schtick was obviously satire at the time it was written, as over the top pseudonym and the disclaimer on his site made obvious. For Marcotte’s writings to have been satire all along as she now claims, she would secretly have to be a rightwing Bush supporter who attends Mass regularly nearly to the point of being a nun, and actually thinks the Duke defendants are innocent. And she never really thought that President Bush knew all about 9-11 beforehand but did nothing to stop it, since it would help get his devious plans underway. How likely is that? She was either taking Edwards and her loyal readers for fools then, or she’s taking them all for fools now.
Additionally, no presidential campaign that I’m aware of has decided to put Allahpundit qua Allahpundit on its staff so there’s really an apples and oranges thing going on here. Not that I’d expect such fine distinctions to register on people who think accurately quoting someone constitutes a “rightwing smear job.”
Like the word “smear,” our friends on the left would do well to look up the word “satire” and understand that a) Allah is in the House was brilliant satire and b) Marcotte’s writing was neither satirical nor brilliant.