Sunday, July 1, 2007

It was like watching a baby seal get clubbed, except I enjoyed it

You all know I love a good fisking. I derive great glee out of taking a dumbasses argument and subjecting it to death by a thousand cuts. I haven’t been indulging myself in that pastime too much of late, however. Instead I’ve been staying out of the swamps and tackling white papers from saner sources, like the GAO and the Century Foundation (my favorite think tank. God I’m hopelessly wonky.) The last time I took someone’s own words and proceeded to thoroughly beat the bloody piss out of ‘em was probably when the Washington Post gave the more vapid of the Cheney daughters a spot on the editorial page. That roughing up I gave Emily Yoffe last week was nuthin’ really. I dashed it off in one hissy-fit that maybe rated a four on a scale of ten.

Now I have never claimed I have to be the one performing the assault on the asinine and the battery upon the intellectually and factually dishonest to enjoy it. Hell, I would almost rather read a good argument-eviscerating than give one. Well. A horseman approacheth, not with guns blazing, but with deadly aim. It’s been a while since I tore into a right-wing think tank myself, other than my occasional salvo fired at the American Enterprise Institute, but pot-shots at that clown college is how y’all know I haven’t been replaced by a pod-blogger.

Well, a little over a month ago The Existentialist Cowboy made the case that terrorism is much worse under Republican regimes. He showed his work and he cited his sources, and proved his god-damned case.

The Heritage Foundation should have been smart enough to have known better than to pick a fight with him. His freakin’ research was right there, all they had to do was read his post and check his sources and have the sense to let it go. But they didn’t. Instead, they tried to denounce his well-sourced report with an argument that amounts to “Len Hart is mean! He wants us to have to deal with facts and stuff! No fair!”

They are seriously stupid over there sometimes.

What fucking report did they read that they thought they could peddle that shit and get away with it? Just read any two paragraphs of his blog at random. He doesn’t make idle assumptions or engage in speculation. He reports facts. If you want to play High Noon with this guy, you better have your brother on the roof of the saloon with a rifle, because otherwise you are dead in the street.

A Len Hart report is on a par with the best cover story from the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Detail-rich, well-written, sourced, thought out, tightly edited and precisely constructed. He’s one of the finest examples we can point to as a counter when they try to denounce bloggers as “not journalists.”

If that were really the case, how come last winter, when CBS blew off a significant negative development in Iraq, Lara Logan turned to the bloggers to get a story out that wouldn’t play well and might cost support for the war? That incident made me think that perhaps we are the real journalists, since the sanctioned media has abdicated their constitutionally provisioned role. Where the hell do they think the term “Fourth Estate” comes from, anyway? The fourth estate, provisioned in our Constitution to serve as a check on the three branches equally. And while we are on the topic, why have so many professional journalists like Len Hart and Diane Silver and Manifesto Joe and countless others turned to blogging in order to tell the unvarnished truth?

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