The Daily Whim

The Daily Whim

Mon. Apr 02, 2007

Rantosphere Misdirection

Political bloggers on both sides of the aisle will tell you they are an antidote to the obviously partisan media. They claim the nature of blogs allows them to update and correct as events develop. And they say blogs are self-correcting due to the fact their readers will point out their errors.

OK. Got one for you.

The claim was posted yesterday around the web that John McCain was heckled by CNN reporter Michael Ware. The original claim came from an anonymously sourced article at the Drudge Report, and then was linked as a fact and further evidence of the partisan media.

I’m wondering if there will be another update today. I seriously doubt it. Because today the video of that press conference is out, and there appears to be no heckling … by anyone. The CNN reporter not only didn’t heckle, he says he sat in silence and never asked a single question: “In fact, when I raised my hand to ask a question, the press conference abruptly ended. So what I would suggest is that anyone who has any queries about whether I heckled, watch the videotape.” He added that neither McCain nor any of his staff had said a word about “heckling.” Only Drudge.

Prediction: you won’t see that followup at many of the blogs who ranted about this. They’ll just leave that original link to the anonymously sourced Drudge Report that now appears to be false, with no update. Or a few might grudgingly link Ware’s claim, yet say it’s irrelevant because he’s still too biased to be reporting from Baghdad.

This is the way the Rantosphere works (to be sure, on the right and the left, as the Rantosphere is not party-based, it’s attitude-based). False and harshly partisan claims are rarely if ever corrected by those who make them when they are shown to be glaringly wrong, despite the claims that “self-correction” is a strength of blogs.

But here’s the real story, in my opinion. John McCain stood up strongly to Wolf Blitzer on CNN and claimed you can “walk freely” through many neighborhoods in Baghdad. He said Wolf was passing on the old story, and he ought to get current. CNN’s Michael Ware called him out on that, saying he didn’t know what part of Neverland the Senator was coming from, but an unescorted American “walking freely” on the streets would be snatched in minutes.

So, McCain goes to Baghdad, presumably to show he is right and CNN is wrong, by going for that walk. Wearing a bulletproof vest. With a 100 troop escort. And five choppers providing air cover. “Walking freely.”

Afterwards, he held a press conference. So what’s the big story here? Not that McCain’s claim was shown to be flat wrong in an embarrassingly obvious manner, nor that it shows the “surge” is not yet having the effect claimed.

The big story is an anonymously sourced one about a CNN reporter who allegedly heckled the Senator. As it turns out, it appears to be a false allegation. Which to me seems like deliberate misdirection by partisans from the real story of the day: McCain’s “straight talk” was more than a bit crooked, and no, Baghdad is not nearly as safe as he claimed.

But, no, let’s talk about that dad-blasted liberal media instead, and how they are always wrong and/or biased. Unlike the Drudge Report. Or John McCain. Or the Rantosphere itself.

Update, 4/4 — Sheesh, they are still at it. Are they even fooling themselves anymore? I mean, a Chastened McCain Relaunches Campaign indicates the campaign still grasps reality, but partisan bloggers continue to flog what has already been proven to not even be a horse.

Peanut Gallery

1  emcee fleshy wrote:


Nice. I hope it catches on.

2  Paul wrote:

I think “Idiots” still remains the most apt term.

3  Reid wrote:

As best I can tell, Rantosphere has been used as early as 2002, yet garners only 16 returns at Google (17 once this page gets indexed).

So, no I don’t expect it to catch on. Especially where it is most needed. This article was pretty highly linked on Memeorandum today. Funny, few wanted to click it, though.

“Idiots” is obviously more of a household word, but it just doesn’t convey the specificity desired. In addition, no one will self-claim the title of “idiot,” but I’d bet there are many who would willingly place a “Rantosphere” badge on their site, and see no irony in it at all.

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