Colin Delany August 28, 2007

Larry Craig and the Right-Wing Blogosphere

Writing in Salon, Glenn Greenwald hits on an aspect of the Larry Craig story that ought to raise questions about the intellectual honesty of certain segments of the right-wing blogworld — the vast disparity between many authors’ comments 10 months ago and today. Shortly before last Fall’s mid-term elections, the first stories of Craigs’ (then-) alleged men’s room encounters surfaced on Mike Roger’s site, and many on the right jumped on the rumors as a clear example of left-wing perfidy, with some even claiming that a backlash would swing the election their way. Many questioned the very idea of bringing up a candidate’s sexuality: as Greenwald puts it, “the same political movement that impeached Bill Clinton and which has made a living exploiting issues of private morality for political gain insisted that Rogers had reached a new and despicable low in politics even by reporting this.”

Now that the election’s safely behind us? They can’t run away from Craig’s “despicable” behavior fast enough. Greenwald collects a damning array of then-and-now quotes from a number of stars of the conservative blogosphere, which sure as hell ought to raise questions among these sites’ readers about basic trustworthiness. Talk radio hosts and TV pundits too often blather on in a self-contradictory frenzy, but they can usually get away with it because catching them requires someone to go to lengths to gather and post the audio or video files or the transcripts (thank you, Media Matters). Bloggers’ words, though, are painfully easy to track down via Google or a site’s own search feature, and there’s no hiding from what you’ve written.

Now, being wrong is normal and honorable — it’s a natural consequence of having opinions and being willing to state them in public, and as long as you own up to your errors, your audience will generally understand. Senator Craig’s journey from paragon to villain in many bloggers’ eyes seems like a different story entirely: from here, it looks flat-out dishonest.

cpd

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