Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Glenn Reynolds is shockingly being intellectually dishonest
Posted by Raznor

Jesse Taylor is so disgusted with Insty's latest idiocy that he's considering quitting blogging. (Don't Jesse!! Please!) Here's what Reynolds wrote:

ANDREW SULLIVAN seems to think that I should be blogging more about Abu Ghraib, and less about the Newsweek scandal. Well, I think he should be blogging more (er, at least some) about the worse-than-Tiananmen massacre in Uzbekistan, and perhaps a bit less about gay marriage. But so what? What people blog about is none of my business. Andrew seems to feel differently, and beyond that seems to have endorsed the "fake but accurate" defense of Newsweek's reporting.

As you can guess, it goes downhill from there. But I wonder what Sullivan said, hm?

Actually, it wasn't Sullivan per se, but a letter from a reader of Sullivan's, that seems to be dead on:

Like yourself, I was particularly struck by the suggestion made by Instapundit that Newsweek's error was "the press's Abu Ghraib". Initially, I interpreted the parity as one of moral fault: the idiotic idea that similar consequences make similar crimes. But in considering its relation to the surrounding arguments - i.e. Reynolds' not-so-subtle premonitions about the future of free speech - I arrived at a more cynical interpretation: namely, that it ultimately didn't matter whether the reports of torture were true or not (since we now know that Muslims will riot and hate us either way) and so just as Newsweek shouldn't have reported its story, the original Abu Ghraib story should have been likewise silenced. This also fits with Reynolds' recent musings that other documentation may also be fake, thus calling into question the legitimacy of the entire torture story.
To evaluate these two interpretations, I went back to the week in May '04 when the torture story broke, and took a random sample (as a social scientist, such are my habits) of Instapundit's posts/updates to compare his reaction to that of the Newsweek scandal. The Newsweek story was the subject of 22 of the 40 posts/updates, all of which expressed admonishment. In contrast, the sample of 40 posts from the Abu Ghraib weeks contained only 2 expressing admonishment of the abuse (and even there, it is qualified), while the 12 other posts/updates on the abuse scandal either: A) Attempted to minimize its moral and practical significance, or B) Tried to discredit the evidence as fake or exaggerated by anti-troop, liberal media bias.
In other words, Reynolds' treatment of the real torture story was almost indistinguishable from his treatment of the fake torture story. For Reynolds, a false report of torture represents the same, basic problem as its demonstrable, photographic truth: namely, the subordination of the media's liberal agenda to that of the U.S. in wartime. This, it seems to me, is the real implication of the notion of "the press's Abu Ghraib": the tendency to view The News, not by the criteria of empirical validity, but by the patriotism and political pragmatism of its consequences.

(Note: although that above is the bulk of the post, you should click on the above link for the great Lashawn Barber punchline)

Now, what's interesting, is that the criticism of Reynolds in the above is completely different from how Reynolds portrayed it!! It wasn't about Reynolds not talking about Abu Graib enough, it's the fact that his only focus on it was any bullshit crackpot theory that seemed to prove that awful MSM was lying for some reason. Then when Newsweek makes a small error in a larger report he latches onto it like a lion to a zebra that's also been laced with LSD.

It's not that he's ignoring Abu Graib, it's that he doesn't care. Torture those I-rakkees as much as you want. Glenn doesn't know no one there, therefore it's all A-Okay, the only bad thing is when reporters actually report it.

And you know, speaking of Reynolds and the Newsweek thing, a big heh-indeedy goes out to August and Jesse. (for a different post than linked to above, read it)


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