During last year's US election campaign, CBS News' 60 Minutes programme ran a controversial story on President Bush's military service, based on a hitherto unknown memo from his commanding officer. The conservative blog Power Line was annointed "weblog of the year" by Time magazine for its work in showing that the memo was forged, but in fact Power Line's authors did little more than ask the question: the real legwork was done by a horde of readers, some of whom displayed a zeal and expertise that put professional journalists to shame.Now why do you suppose it was written this way? The Rathergate affair culminated in the resignation of Dan "fake but accurate" Rather, indeed coined the term "fake but accurate", a spectacular achievement for a horde of readers. The sideways derision of PowerLine for "doing little more than ask the question" is selfevident, how could Time give them weblog of the year indeed? Contrast this to the unnamed blogs on "the other side of the divide" who organised a witch hunt of a journalist because he was conservative and asked the wrong questions. Why aren't the blogs named or Jeff Gannon/James Guckert mentioned by name? Because someone might go look them up and find out that it was in fact a witchhunt that went after a conservative gay reporter who was pitching easy questions. Now it is funny he doesn't mention Dan Rather either, because then you'd be left wondering why CBS has had more scandals than the "non-existent" Talon. One might also wonder how an one reporter being a party shill is comparable to a respected nationwide anchorman actively touting a forged document prior to a general election, insisting that even if it is a forgery it is accurate and finally resigning in disgrace. In fact one might in the end discover that the hunting of Guckert was the result of these blogs on the other side of the divide trying desperately to find a story of the magnitude of Rathergate with which to strike back and this was the best they could find, a gay shill.
More recently, blogs on the other side of the divide used a similar division of labour to demonstrate that a mysterious conservative journalist given press accreditation to the White House was working under an assumed name, that the news organisation he worked for was nothing of the kind, and that his services as a gay prostitute were being advertised - explicitly - on the Internet. In that case the labour of investigation was explcitly allotted to willing readers; volunteer investigators.
Even funnier if you listen to the speech as well as read the transcript you will find this omitted in print
My tertiary study career consists of one essay on the Merchant of Venice that I wrote without the benefit of having actually read the play.It's hard to believe. Unless you read Hard News and realise pretty quickly that Russell doesn't read half the stuff he links to but rather seems to pull the appropriate quotes and links from other blogs.
It really does look like another blogger, with a bit more aptitude for reading before writing and respect for knowledge, was correct in using the phrase "sordid little hack" after handing Russell his arse on a plate. Ironically that was about the Plame affair which Guckert was at one time supposedly invovled in. Russ never knows when to quit.