Eating Crow

Ken AshfordIraq, Right Wing Punditry/IdiocyLeave a Comment

It doesn’t get better than this:

Packs of right-wing bloggers spent the last several weeks trying to destroy the credibility of Associated Press’s war reporting by claiming that one of its sources, an Iraqi policeman named Jamil Hussein, does not exist, that AP simply invented him. As it turns out — and as AP itself had the great pleasure of reporting (and then rubbing in the face of its irresponsible, taunting accusers) — the Iraqi Government, which previously denied it, now acknowledges that Jamil Hussein does exist and he is a police officer in Iraq, just as AP reported accurately.

Eric Boehlert has written extensively about the right-wing blogosphere’s attempt to destroy the credibility of AP’s war reporting by insisting that their source was non-existent (and, needless to say, then became the immediate target of a campaign of personal attacks, assaults on his integrity, and childish name-calling).

And within the last twelve hours, multiple people have written comprehensively about the profound and long overdue humiliation which these right-wing bloggers just suffered. Greg Sargent re-caps how this incident exposes – yet again – the complete lack of credibility of the reckless, truth-free lynch mobs that compose the "right-wing blogosphere" and which hilariously see themselves as watchdogs over the media even though they traffic in the most reckless innuendo, gossip, and rank, error-plagued speculation that exists.

Here, Dave Neiwert documents but a fraction of the false accusations they made against AP, and during the controversy itself, he made the excellent point that this whole "controversy" was based on denials by the "Iraqi Government" and the U.S. military of Jamil Hussein’s authenticity — military and government denials which they mindlessly ingested and accepted as True like the good little authoritarians that they are.

To this superb commentary I want to add but one point — there is nothing new, unique or surprising about this incident. Exactly this has happened repeatedly, time and again. This is what the right-wing blogosphere does. It is who they are and how they function. The only difference here is that they were so shrill and relentless in their attacks on AP, having prattled on about it for weeks without pause, that they actually pushed their accusations against AP into the national media.


These right-wing bloggers love to piously masquerade around as "media watchdogs," keeping a watchful eye on the "MSM" and compelling them to adhere to facts. And ever since their involvement in the use by Dan Rather of fraudulent documents, and then heightened by Charles Johnson’s oh-so-monumental observation that a Reuters photograph of Lebanon had been photoshopped to give the appearance of more smoke during an Israeli air strike on Beirut, the media has largely recited this storyline.

But they are nothing of the sort. Nobody is less interested in media accuracy than they are. Correcting media mistakes is so plainly not their agenda. They are nothing more than hyper-partisan hysterics who jump on any innuendo or rumor or whispered suspicion as long as it promotes their rigid ideological views and political loyalties and hatreds.


These right-wing bloggers operate at a level several beneath the National Enquirer, literally. They simply fabricate facts and recklessly and maliciously launch serious accusations against the media whenever doing so advances their political agenda.

They leap on any innuendo or gossip from the Internet swamps and tout it as fact whenever doing so bolsters their ideological view or can be enlisted to destroy the credibility of a journalist who reports unpleasant facts. They desperately seek out any basis for attacking media reports that cast doubt on their Leader and his policies. They repeat government and military claims as fact and then accuse the media of "lying" whenever their reporting contradicts Official Statements from Our Leaders.

They operate in a credibility-free zone where there are never any consequences for their mistakes because the partisans who read them will always dismiss every one of these unfair smears on the media as well-intentioned (one of the bloggers on Malkin’s Hot Air site emphasized last night in defending himself
how "well founded and well intended our suspicions were"). That led Malkin herself to add: "Just to clarify, I’m not apologizing for anything."

That media inaccuracy is not their concern is about as glaring and obvious a fact as one can discover. They don’t seem to have noticed that this entire war was based upon inaccurate reporting — a whole series of false claims about Saddam Hussein, the state of the Iraqi weapons program, its relationship to Al Qaeda, its involvement in the 9/11 attacks, the cost of our invasion, the consequences of it.

But there, "inaccurate reporting" generated what they craved — some nice, bloody war in the Islamic world, so it didn’t bother them at all, and still doesn’t. I have read more right-wing blogs than I can count, with a depressing frequency, and I don’t think I have ever seen a single post written by any of them examining or decrying the sloppy, inaccurate reporting of the "MSM" which endorsed every false claim by the Bush administration which drove the country to invade Iraq.

Someone who stands outside of a store and repeatedly lets burglars in — and who even themselves frequently runs into the building to steal some nice merchandise — isn’t a "watchdog" in any meaningful sense of the term, even if they wear the uniform.

They are dishonest hacks with an agenda that is the opposite of what they claim. This Jamil Hussein humiliation would be rather compelling evidence, standing alone, to demonstrate how they operate. But this incident has plenty of company. At some point, isn’t their total lack of credibility, the endless stream of irresponsible, false accusations, and the reckless disregard for facts that drives them going to be so apparent that it becomes undeniable to everyone but them? We have long ago reached the point where that ought to be the case.

More here.