When a liberal pundit makes an error of judgment, falsely assuming say that conservatives were responsible for the attempted murder of a Democratic Congressman, their fellows in the media quickly forget the error and rarely (if ever) ask their colleague to apologize. When James Fallows, for example, who, as Powerline’s Scott Johnson put it, “made light of earthquakes in China,” and offered a “screwy defamation of conservatives in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords”, he, that astute blogger observes, “never offered a word of apology” for his inaccurate accusations.
It doesn’t seem his liberal colleagues expected him to.
Well, that very Mr. Fallows couldn’t seem to contain himself after a conservative blogress, Jennifer Rubin, made an error of judgment about the atrocities in Norway. And unlike Fallows, she cited her evidence in suggesting that jihadist radicals were responsible for the evil in and around Oslo. Like many others, Rubin, as Michelle Malkin puts it,
raised the entirely reasonable possibility that the gunman was a jihadist [by] point[ing] to recent, specific death threats and plots against Norway and Norwegian government officials by Islamic militant groups and individuals.
No, Mr. Fallows, Jennifer doesn’t need to apologize. She made a mistake, as we all do from time to time. We bloggers know that our readers expect us to offer commentary quickly on the news of the day, particularly on such horrific actions as the attack in Norway. And quick commentary is not always accurate.
It seems her crime was failing to indicate as quickly as Mr. Fallows would have liked that the perpetrator was not a jihadist, but instead a deranged devotee of the Unabomber.
Well, maybe it’s because Rubin doesn’t blog during the day Saturdays. In her first post on Saturday (in the evening, at about the time of sundown, i.e., end of Shabbos), she wrote “Early suspicion that the attacks might have been linked to a jihadist bombing plot in Oslo last year or the recent Norwegian prosecution of an Iraqi terrorist did not bear up“, adding it “nevertheless is a good reminder to all of us including myself that early reports are often wrong.” Indeed.
Simply put, she corrected the record.
So, no, Mr. Fallows, Jennifer Rubin doesn’t need apologize. One question does remain: why does Mr. Fallows demand that Rubin apologize when he himself has yet to apologize for the accusations he leveled against conservatives in the wake of the Giffords shooting? And not just its immediate aftermath.
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds reports Jeffrey Goldberg‘s suggestion that Rubin may have made her “outrageous assertion about jihadism and Norway” because she’d seen an article recently re-posted on the home page of Fallows’s Atlantic, Thomas Hegghammer and Dominic Tierney’s “Why Does al Qaeda Have a Problem With Norway?”