So how well does the Dan Rather analogy apply to Charles Johnson and Little Green Footballs?
Some aspects of Mr. Rather’s situation seem quite apt. Consider what the The New York Times wrote in the wake of Rathergate, after CBS’ investigative panel issued its report:
Over the next week or so, CBS News issued a number of press statements and “CBS Evening News” reports that staunchly defended the Sept. 8 segment despite increasingly strong indications that the reporting for the segment was flawed. The panel finds that these statements and reports contained numerous misstatements and inaccuracies. Moreover, the panel finds that once serious questions were raised, the defense of the segment became more rigid and emphatic.
But other aspects of the CBS debacle differ from the LGF situation. LGF has no Mary Mapes to take the fall for any errors. There is no corporate board which can ease Mr. Johnson out when he becomes embarrassing. He may suffer an attrition of traffic over the long haul, but it’s also possible that his popularity is independent of any fidelity to the truth, and that he will continue to flourish.
So the analogy, though instructive, is incomplete. This leaves open the possibility of a different denouement than emerged from the whole sordid mess at CBS.
What are the options for Charles Johnson, or for any other prominent blogger who makes significant factual errors?
I see the same three possibilities that faced Dan Rather when the forged Killian memos were exposed:
1. Acknowledge the errors and accept responsibility for them, even though they were committed by subordinates. This was not the road taken by Mr. Rather. 2. The infamous “fake but accurate” defense, which acknowledges that the “facts” were bogus, but asserts the underlying truth of the accusations. Dan Rather attempted this strategy, but it never gained any real traction, not even in the MSM. 3. Stonewalling. This was the method most favored by Mr. Rather, and which he persists in to this day, as witnessed by his lawsuit against CBS.
So far Charles Johnson has preferred option #3, failing to take up any of the suggested corrections posted here yesterday.
But I’m optimistic that this situation might change. After all, Mr. Johnson gained a well-deserved reputation for ferreting out the truth, and letting the chips fall where they may.
Source: Gates of Vienna
This has been a sad affair, and should be a cautionary tale for the rest of us interested in ferreting out the truth of things. Well, except for those of us who are gods, and don't make mistakes.
I'd rather see the counterjihad movement return to counterjihadi activities, and the Baron, Dymphna, Fjordman, Pamela, and Christine are among the very best we have. I'm sorry if I left anyone out, these are the guys I know best.