More to the Point…

DevilsOn my previous post (which now seems to be generally known as “The Obituary for LGF”) I was pleased to see all the expressions of support and concurrence coming from both regular and occasional commenters.

But most people seemed to miss my main point, which was not about Charles Johnson. LGF is largely irrelevant to us now in any case.

My main point was this: almost all of the major American blogs declined to fact-check Charles Johnson and expose his uncorrected and unretracted errors. If Katie Couric had been retailing such blatant falsehoods, the same blogs would have come down on her like a ton of bricks.

These bloggers are not deranged or evil. I have no problem with their ideological positions, nor their general integrity.

They failed in their duty. Yet they are still prominent and respected bloggers.

Something is wrong here.

The large blogs — at least in the USA — have developed a striking resemblance to the MSM . I prefer to focus on this issue, rather than some ponytailed has-been on a bicycle. So here’s what I propose:

If you want to comment about Charles Johnson and LGF, use the previous thread.

If you want to comment on the points I raised above — which I consider much more important and relevant — use this thread.

[Nothing more on this post]

17 thoughts on “More to the Point…

  1. There are a few possible reasons for the major blogs to be derelict in their duty:

    1) They thought they knew Charles Johnson, and regarded his credentials as impeccable.
    2) Because they thought they knew Charles Johnson, they gave him the benefit of the doubt.
    3) They saw the rift between LGF and AS/GoV/BJ as infighting which they thought best to stay out of.

    Because I think highly of the bloggers you mention, Baron, I don’t know of any other reason for their silence at the time.

  2. Baron,

    To be honest, the main point that you were trying to make (and clarified in this post) was really not very clear. I too missed it.

  3. It is as Morgan says. People tend to rally around somebody who has shown himself to be on “my side.” And, CJ did fine work with respect to Rathergate and did host for many-a year numerous threads defending the War in Iraq, as well as other of George Bush’s policies. Many times he rebuked the Left.

    There was also a wide tolerance for many varieties of “right wing” views, as long as they were expressed as arguments and not as ad hominem polemics. For a very long time, Charles would not ban any person just for his or her opinions, but only if the person had crossed a fairly tolerant line into expressing them incivilly.

    The change was somewhat gradual at first, but the controversies over Vlaams Belang and over creationism-vs-Darwinism seemed to have snapped the trigger. A charitable interpretation would be that CJ, is/was an old JFK-style liberal, never an American Conservative, who viewed the pro-Israel/Joe-Lieberman Democrat patriots as friends. Not a few old Democrats found, as did Reagan, that they had not moved away their party, but their party had moved away from them. At one time, perhaps, CF shared this observation.

    Something changed, however. There are people who are patriots, believe in free enterprise, loathe a heavy-handed federal government that, by meddling in a free economy, impoverishes everybody but their clients and toadies. And yet they cannot abide any action by the government that they believe interferes with their sexual license, be it with respect to homosexuality or abortion or more. Thus they believe the Christian Right, their mortal enemy, has taken over the Republican Party. So deep is their hatred of this strain in the Republican Party that they have come to support the Democrats (one must hope that at least they are holding their noises as they write their checks to the DNC).

    The above must remain as conjecture, but I am guessing that both CJ and those who continue to defend him against “the Right” have something like this in mind, else they would not be so quick to condemn a counter-Jihad that has associations with groups that are not definitely neo-Nazi, but only “right-wing” in being traditionalist and ethnically focused.

    The clearest lesson I learned while I was still allowed to post at LGF was that CJ and his loyal lizards refused to distinguish between a wholesome instinct of ethnic self-preservation and a neo-Nazi race hatred. Granted, this distinction is difficult for Americans to draw, but it is real.

    In the fear that I have outrun my allotment of characters, I’ll stop here.

  4. Interesting comment from another American blogger : The whole kerfuffle with LGF just “flew under the radar”. Kind’a puts the importance of LGF in perspective, IMHO.

  5. I agree with Morgan’s list, but I would add one more thing: people are lazy and even the “big” blogs are generally not heavily-staffed.

    False accusations are dangerous for many reasons but most of all because it requires much more work to refute them than to make them.

    I suspect that they chose not to devote the effort necessary even to review the evidence you presented, more as a matter prioritising manpower than anything else.

    The only solution which occurs to me is to maintain closer contacts with one or more of those blogs, so that they’ll perhaps place a higher priority of assisting you in the future.

    Not very reassuring I realise.

  6. I’d say even now there’s an attempt in some quarters to brush it under the carpet as just another blog war. A minor thing, an old grudge, not worth bothering with. That seems to be the meme developing in the last couple of days that I’ve seen amongst some.

    Sounds awfully familiar for some reason. It’s almost like the reaction of society to the islamic threat, though granted on a much reduced scale.

    Some people who didn’t notice at first have jumped in with gusto, though. RS McCain made short work of CJ’s idiocy once he found out what was going on (now he’s being smeared as a white supremacist).

    People often go into denial rather than acknowledge that they’ve been betrayed by someone they trusted. Even as he was lashing out at them some bloggers reacted with disbelief and assumed they had done something to justify the attack. I suspect Dymphna will be able to identify this pattern of behaviour from her own previous work. (Again, the scale is much reduced but the same basic behavioural patterns are there.)

  7. I have to agree with the Baron here. Many of the really big blogs such as Instapundit, Michelle Malkin and Power Line failed in this case, plain and simple. Regardless of what we think of Charles Johnson we must be honest enough to say that this story has exposed flaws in the structure of the blogosphere. The New York Times or even some of the slimy Leftist newspapers in my country could not have created the same ongoing smear campaign as a one-man-blog such as LGF did. There can sometimes be even less accountability when a major blog lies than when a major newspaper lies. Sad, but true.

  8. The blogsphere must not fall into the trap of MSM where a person is labled by what blog they read and the reader should not suspend their critical judgement out of a sense of allegiance to a particular blog.

    The comments section of a blog should not be regarded as an extension of the blog or the blogmasters opinions, when a blogmaster starts censoring and delating comments other than malicious posts that is the time for the readership to take the blogmaster to task or vote with their mouse.

    One plus point for GoV is that the Baron and Dymphna contribute and can be found in the comments section this gives the blog more shape.

  9. Most of the big right-wing blogs mentioned are simply not very interested in the anti-Islamist movement. (As opposed to things like the Iraq war or Iranian politics.) Powerline is a partial exception but even they devote very little coverage to the topic. The big blogs failed to fact check LGF because the were not even reading it.

    Arguably this is even more damning than the other proposed explanations but it seems to be a truer one.

  10. Many of these MSB (mainstream blog) types are quite liberal in their philosophies, but would certainly be surprised to hear that. Also, they seem afraid to confront their premises on any but a superficial level. They form a “clique of chums,” and as long as the “enemy” is a Democrat, it’s not a problem. Otherwise, they become a bit nervous with anything that may threaten their comfort zone. Finally, certain critical topics are off the table from the get go. They serve a purpose, but cannot be counted on for depth of insight.

  11. LGF’s antics are not un-common with msm-critics and anti-pc warriors. They start on their dissident road with panache, still feeling themselves as being on the right side, and thinking that they carry enough personal authority and goodwill to criticize from the inside, as it were; the attitude of a friend whose loyalty and understanding earned him the right to address precarious matters and call his peers to task.
    The immediate banishment and vilification that befalls them is a great shock,, but all the delighted new friends that flock to his banner are enough compensation at first for his fall from grace with the right people
    And as his new following grows on him, and he begins to see his elevated status as his due, he starts to wonder why he shouldn’t have it all..That’s when the new prophet starts his overtures to his old tribe, of which he never intended to part in the first place, and this he does by puzzling attacks upon people who would seem to be his natural allies, which throws friend and foe of balance
    These guys are not only trying to keep their options open; they are also chafing under the uneasy feeling of no longer being seen automatically as one of the good guys..
    President Reagan awarded a reformed David Horowitz a prize and received him at the White House – leftists are not that magnanimous

  12. Because Johnson knew how to make a font check, and it hurt Dan Rather, the other parallel bigger blogs made the mistake of assuming that he could also fact-check foreign sources – failing to understand that he was swallowing leftist propaganda and risible caricatures of people in the European anti-jihad movement -as “neo-Nazis”, etc. -as “the truth”.

    The lack of foreign language skills, foreign travel experience, and simple “don’t stir up trouble for our blogs” timidity among these “bloglords” seems to have undercut any serious inquiry into the charges, or any fact-checking responses to Johnson’s fatuous hysteria.

    GoV had the upper hand with the help of various linguists to sort through the accusations and dreck and clear away the “anti-fascist“‘s lies and lunacies that Johnson swallowed as gospel… about Vlaams Belang, Robert Spencer, Pam Geller, et al.

    I added my two cents whenever I could at various apparently-slumbering sites, and it’s good to finally see the flailings of the Lizard as he goes down the komodo.

    Be sure to throughly flush.

    He raises a stink.

    Kudos to the Baron and Dymphna for perservering through this LGF drivel with good cheer.

    And maintaining a clear focus on the real fight:

    ~against Imperialistic, intolerant, totalitarian Islam.

    As I tried to say to CJ: “No fighting in the trenches with your allies, idiot!

    He failed and fails to grasp that simple soldiarity concept.

    We must all hang together or we shall centainly hang separately.” as Franklin wittily phrased it.

    Churchill and FDR understood it and saved England… and Europe.

    If they had indulged in Johnsonian “purity campaigns” we would now all be singing the Horst Wessel song before sporting events.

    (Or battling covertly in some New White Rose Group.)

  13. I have always been disgusted with Glenn Reynolds going along with Roger Simon and PJM. Dennis the Peasant was in a very similar situation with respect to them as you guys were to LGF, and he got treated very shabbily. It was particularly bad during the PJM launch, when Simon tried to use the name “Open Source Media” and just blatantly lied about whether the existing OSM had given him permission to do so. I tried asking various bloggers I – at that time – respected, about this, without receiving any sort of satisfactory answers – this included Reynolds and Belmont Club, and also Baldilocks – who had never been a favorite of mine but made a post pooh-poohing the whole thing and claiming there was nothing of substance there. I remember Baldilocks’ answer to my laying out the objections was as contemptuously dismissive of objections based on fact as anything Charles has ever written. And yet this woman has some sort of positive reputation among conservative bloggers.

    Bill Quick is another mainstream blogger whose aura got punctured for me very quickly. He was a big PJM booster and even more dismissive of criticism than Baldilocks – and has never retracted his viciousness towards PJM critics, even though he himself quit PJM pretty early on. What really killed him for me was when a coblogger of his posted an article ridiculing the 12 stars on the EU flag and claiming they didn’t symbolize anything and were just a ripoff of the US flag. I posted a comment detailing how, in fact, those stars represented each of the 12 nations in Europe at the time the flag was adopted (when it was “L’Europe des Douze”, before it expanded into Eastern Europe to become the Europe-of-15, and then to however many there are now). My comment was deleted without explanation; the post stayed up. I am an opponent of the EU, but that was ridiculous.

    Eric S. Raymond is a blogger Reynolds likes to link to from time to time. He posted on one occasion about how peak oil was nonse and impossible and would never happen. I commented pointing out that, according to actual oil production figures, and leaving aside questions of alternate energy sources and more efficient use of what is available, oil production did indeed peak around 2005 and has been on a slightly declining plateau since then. My comment was never approved for posting.

    I could go on. This is an old story.

    I will note in passing that, in spite of the EXTREME stink associated with PJM’s origins, GoV signed up with it anyway. What goes around comes around: y’all got what, in a certain sense, you deserved.

  14. Roger Simon and PJM

    Roger L. Simon’s sole concern is and remains Israel and getting the US into a war with Iran on behalf of Israel.

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