The Washington Post writes a story today about the terrible incivility of today's viral world (read: bloggers). And the opening anecdote shows the fundamental problem with the way they're looking at this:
Late last month, Charisse Carney-Nunes fired up the computer at her home in Northeast Washington to check her e-mail. Her brain already was on morning drive time: breakfast for the kids, her day's work at a government agency. She glanced down at her screen, then froze.
"Ms. Carney-Nunes," began the e-mail from Michelle Malkin, a best-selling and often inflammatory conservative writer with a heavily trafficked Web site. "I understand that you uploaded the video of schoolchildren reciting a Barack Obama song/rap at Bernice Young elementary school in June. I have a few quick questions. Did you help write the song/rap and teach it to the children? Are you an educator/guest lecturer at the school? Did you teach about your book, 'I am Barack Obama' at the school? Your bio says you are a schoolmate of Obama. How well-acquainted are you with the president?"
Carney-Nunes looked at the time stamp -- 6:47 a.m. -- and closed the file without replying. She knew Malkin had driven criticism of President Obama's back-to-school speech, streamed nationwide, as an attempt to indoctrinate students. Now Malkin was asking about a YouTube video of New Jersey public school children singing and enthusiastically chanting about Obama from a Black History Month presentation.
It takes another six paragraphs before they actually get to the point of the story:
Carney-Nunes, swept up in a viral tornado of vitriol, had nothing to do with the children's song. She was doing an author's reading in the school that day.
...And then the story goes back to the "everyone's so meeeeeean" story for another two and a half pages.
Yes, a great number of conservative bloggers and demagogues are terribly, stupidly mean, like cavemen who can't understand why the rock doesn't have delicious meat inside. But more importantly, they're terribly, stupidly dishonest, and it's the dishonesty that's the real danger. The Washington Post spent eight paragraphs writing about a conservative scandal and only managed to toss in a single fact-checking line in paragraph nine, at which point they went back to being observant scolds of the political discourse.
I understand that us bloggers use cursewords and invective and sometimes call reporters mud-flinging slapfucks (or we do now!), but the entire point of the conservative anger is that it allows them to push forward complete and total lies and yell down anyone who debates against them. One of my favorite continually-told conservative stories is, "I just argued a liberal into complete and total submission using nothing but my facts, which are like a brain penis. And a big one." And usually, if you break down the debate, it went in three parts. The first is the conservative asking a fatally flawed question based on factually incorrect assumptions. The second is the liberal attempting to answer. The third is an explosion of conservative smugness so overwhelming that the liberal must escape out of fear for their own lives and weed stash.
The reason conservatives are so able to build up lies is because, by being nasty about it, they know that the dreaded MSM will only focus on the nastiness. Eventually, the entire thing turns into a series of op-eds by Davids Broder and Brooks excoriating both sides for lowering the discourse, asking where President Obama's promise of postpartisanship went, and then endorsing the three elected Republican officials who haven't accused Obama of flouridating our children's water supply as a method of mind control as the new centrist way forward.
But they totally called out Michelle Malkin for being bad, so there! She only needs to be on Meet the Press a few more times to get the message, I think.