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Of Blogs & Debunking Rumors About Ideological Adversaries

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 10:40 pm - August 21, 2008.
Filed under: Blogging

In his latest post, my nephew makes a great point about some blogs don’t lose credibility even when in attempting to dig up dirt on a political figure, their dirt is just that, accusations or insinuations without any basis in reality.

What develops is a situation similar to that of the Boy Who Cried Wolf where a series of false reports about a candidate leads to people discounting other damaging, but true stories. Not just that, it allows the candidate to compare the true story to the false one, suggesting it’s just an underhanded attempt to discredit him.

As Mitchell puts it:

My point is that with all this misinformation about Obama, it is hard to believe much of what comes out about him and most of what comes out about him is on the internet. The mainstream media is the guardian of the truth. If they lie, they have to stand up and admit their mistake. If a blog lies, they will just continue to lie the next day because there isn’t any accountability. They have a small audience that agrees with them, so no one is going to stop reading them.

I don’t know that I agree entirely with him that there’s no accountability. Other bloggers may call their accounts into question. And the blogger may further pigeonhole himself. But, Mitchell’s definitely onto something in the final sentence from the passage above. Bloggers may lose out in gaining a broader audience, but will retain the ideological partisans who religiously read their posts.

Just look at Andrew Sullivan’s fulminations on the McCain and cross story. Doubt this dishonest line of attack will cost him many of his readers on the left.

But, even some bloggers with strong convictions will take the time to debunk bogus stories which attempt to put their ideological adversaries in a bad light. Glenn Reynolds notes how “right-leaning blogs” have been doing just that when rumors about presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama start to surface.

I wonder if any liberal bloggers have been making a similar effort to debunk rumors which put the presumptive Republican nominee’s war record in a bad light. Or which question his recollection of that good man’s experiences while incarcerated.

Saddleback Followup: McCain as Leader, Obama as Friend

Sometimes when you read something, you realize right away the author is on to something. If it’s in a book, you underline it or otherwise flag the passage. If it’s on the web, you bookmark it or otherwise save the url, perhaps even cutting and pasting the salient passages into a separate file — or saving the entire document as .pdf.

And then there are notions which take time to resonate. I think it was yesterday or maybe it was the day before when I read Rich Lowry’s Corner post on the Saddleback Presidential Forum where both presidential candidates appeared with pastor Rick Warren.

I had flagged Glenn Reynolds’ roundup linking that post earlier in the week, but didn’t get around to following the links right away. If you want to read some good insights into that forum, click on those links. Lowry’s post in particular is well worth reading in its entirety.

It was the penultimate paragraph which really stood out to me. Only later, last night it was, just before bed, when it struck me that Lowry might have highlighted the most significant difference between the candidates, one which bodes very well for John McCain this fall even while acknowledging the real strengths of his Democratic rival:

In the first fifteen minutes, McCain had established a moral seriousness stemming from his conduct in Vietnam as a POW and his long-time as a national leader that Obama can’t match. Throughout the rest of the night, he brought up Iraq, al Qaeda, and the Georgia crisis, when Obama was more inward-looking. McCain sounded like a potential commander-in-chief, Obama more like a potential friend. This is not to say, again, that Obama was not impressive. But the skills he showed tonight—the thoughtfulness and verbal dexterity—were those of a very talented memoirist, which, of course, he is.

McCain as leader. Obama as friend.

Having read Obama’s first book, I agree with Lowry that the Illinois Democrat is a “very talented memoirist.” But, do those skills a good president make?