01 March 2007


At the rate we're going there won't be any candidates left to face off in the primaries.

Today it's John McCain sitting on the hot seat because of a slip of the tongue, as the blogosphere, egged on by the Democrats, plays it's childish game of nah nah nah nah NAH nah!

McCain today finds himself apologizing for a poor choice of words last night on the David Letterman show, though everyone - including those blasting him today on their Web logs - knows what he meant to say.

Here's the quote bout the war uttered last night that is causing such a blogospheric stir today.

"Americans are very frustrated, and they have every right to be. We've wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives."

Oh my god!, comes the cry from the lefto-sphere. (They would never use a capital "G" by the way). "McCain said the troops are useless and wasting their lives."

Not that I'm singling out the lefty bloggers. They are just doing a tit-for-tat as payback for the righto-sphere's hatchet job on Barack Obama a few weeks ago when he made the following similar comments.

"We ended up launching a war that should have never been authorized, and should have never been waged, and on which we've now spent $400 billion, and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted."

Slips of the tongue, both. Anyone with half a brain knows that both men were saying that the efforts of our troops have been squandered by the current lame administration. One candidate feels those efforts were squandered because the troops were sent to the wrong place to fight the wrong war while the other is saying the tactics employed in Iraq were wrongheaded.

Neither was disparaging the troops, though the far ends of the blogosphere - far from bringing truth to the fore as they pretend to do - muddy the picture for their own political purposes.

You need only to look back a few weeks to find other instances of intellectually dishonest "reporting" on the Internet.

"He botched a joke" Nah-nah-han-nah-NAH-nah!

He said "clean" when he meant to say "fresh." Nah-nah-nah-nah-HAH-nah!

"He's afraid of global warming but he STILL uses electricity." Nah-nah-nah-nah-NAH-nah!

This is the kind of so-called reporting we get from all too many self-described citizen journalists.

Between the blogs and You Tube you really have to be thankful there are 20 or so candidates running. It ups the odds that at least one of them won't be ruined by an inconsequential misstep.

Scriblling down a quote, then doing a Google search to find a contradictory quote from the same person's past is not really the essence of good journalism. Yet that's how many bloggers seem to spend their day.

This is not to disparage all bloggers. Many have provided a service that is lacking in the corporate media, providing an outlet for candidates who are ignored, exploring stories that the networks and newspaper chains won't touch because their corporate overlords won't let them and exposing shoddy journalism being done by those who grew up in the business.

The Dan Rather episode involving George Bush's spotty National Guard history is a prime example of the Internet standing tall when the "old media" lets us down. Heads-up work by the blogosphere quickly made it clear that the documents Rather used in his report on Bush were not authentic and the report was debunked. (Not that anybody - new media or old - has every definitively determined what exactly Bush was doing when he was supposed to be on duty).

There are times when it is news that a candidate "flip-flopped." The chronicling of Mitt Romney's sudden turn rightward on social issues, or Hillary Clinton's nuanced transition from pro-war hawk to anti-war crusader (mirroring public opinion polls) is legitimate, because it says something about the motives and character of the candidate.

Showing a candidate using a racial slur on You Tube when he thought no "unfriendlies" might hear is also legitimate for the same reason.

But taking someone's obvious misstatement or distorting one's actions to score political points against them unfairly is a new form of cancer on a poltical system that is already overburdened with serious maladies.

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