: The mudslinging continues and bloggers are complicit in the crime.

I was thinking of calling them Manchurian bloggers, for it seems as if some of them (pick your side) are hyp-no-tized to attack on command. In some cases, it’s quite out of character. They just can’t help themselves. They keep attacking. See mud. Must sling.

But that doesn’t quite capture it. It doesn’t grab the glee they have at hurling the dirt.

It’s all crap and they all know it but they’re talking crap rather than jobs or health care or Iraq or terrorism or education or anything that really matters. They’re adding nothing but nothing to the campaign.

The’re wallowing in mud.

They’re the political piggies.

Yeah, that’s it: Piggie, piggie, piggie. I’ll speak their language. That’s what I’ll call them now, the mud wallowers, the mud slingers, the dirty ones. Oink away, piggies. I don’t care.

Neither does Tony Pierce.

raymi has returned because there is a God and He loves us. i keep telling you this. none of you listen. but it’s cool. it’s cool.

speaking of which, jeff jarvis wants us to lay off the hate and the evil and the mudslinging when blogging about this presidential election.

at first i was all, “come on hippie, isnt half the fun of a blog to have not only the ability to sling a little mud, but then sling a little more?”

but, as usual, i was wrong.

half the fun of blogging is getting nice emails from hot chicks who want to get naked with you. the other half is getting a chance to practice writing three times a day in front of hundreds of people.

there actually is no room for mudslinging in a proper blog that aspires to be taken seriously. a gentleman should leave that for the discussion boards.

blogs should be setting the standard. we should be setting the tone that tv and newspapers and magazines once had. and even if we shouldnt be, we could be, so therfore we should be.

To which Ken Layne retorts:

Tony Pierce says we should follow Jeff Jarvis’ advice and quit the mudslinging.

I say Nuts to That. Why should anyone quit now, right when it’s getting good? Who walks out of a prize fight right when the bloodied halfwit underdog jumps up and knocks the other dude across the ring? Besides, you and I have as much chance of stopping such a fight as some spectator in the nose-bleed seats. Close your eyes, run for the bathroom, do whatever you must do for yourself, but that fight will continue until somebody is Knocked Out & carried away on a stretcher.

But here’s my favorite call for mud disarmament — step back from the pigsty, piggies! — from Rex Hammock. What he says:

But I want to be on record as agreeing with Jeff Jarvis that at some point, this whole gotcha campaigning crap has got to stop. I know the history of American presidential politics is filled with mud-slinging and rumor-milling that makes the Kerry-Bush accusation-duel look like a kindegarten squabble. But still, enough already.

Who cares who served in Vietnam…or avoided it? Didn’t the election of President Dole, the WWII hero, over Bill Clinton, the draft dodger, settle that as an issue? And frankly, if Kitty Kelly’s book claims that back in the 1980s, George W. Bush performed abortions at Camp David while dancing naked on a table, drunk and on cocaine, it won’t influence my vote. And frankly, if some veteran steps forward tomorrow proving John Kerry cut himself shaving and tried to leverage that into a Congressional Medal of Honor because he thought it would help him get a date with Jane Fonda and would look good on his campaign resume, it won’t influence my vote. Hell, you could tell me that John Kerry and George Bush were once secretly married to each other in a private Skull & Crossbones ceremony at Yale, and I would be too desensitized by this campaign to give a rip.

Is anyone actually going to vote this November based on something that happened during the Vietnam war or based on decades-old DUIs or anything other than the economy or the threat of terrorism or a personal conviction related to a specific public policy isisue? No one.

Bottom line: George W. Bush has served as president for the past four years. We’ve all had a front row seat to how he’ll likely serve if he’s re-elected to the office. Vote against him or for him based on what you, yourself, have observed and based on your personal convictions. Or vote for or against John Kerry based on your perception of his service in the Senate and on what you think of him today or if you are convinced that he’ll be a better president. Or vote for someone else if you think neither of them is fit for the office.

All that other crap is noise.

Amen, blogging brother.

  • How about the Manchurian Media? The AP, CBS… bloggers look more credible by the day.

  • Jeff:
    Your criticism would be more substantive, and could be actually responded to more constructively, if you would actually provide examples. Which bloggers? What attacks?
    Name some names, and link some links!

  • Jeff. Seriously. You need to switch to decaf.

  • Um — I did not click that twice.

  • Okay, I am seeing things, so I am going to bed. I could swear my first post appeared twice. Anyway, while I snooze, everyone sing along with the Beatles.

  • NZ: Nope. They know who they are. I’m not going to sling at the slingers.
    Andrea: Been on decaf ever since 9/11 (seriously; doc’s orders). You shoulda known me before.

  • MWB

    Hey Jeff, stop slinging mud at the “mudslingers”!
    See “mud” is only what the other guy is throwing. One’s own side flings only the purest clay derived from the feet of the opponent(s).
    Bushies (like me) think there are legitimate concerns raised about Kerry’s Vietnam service, (which is after all, and contra Rex, where he himself told us to look when forming our opinion of him). No “mud” here, just important stuff that needs looking into.
    Kerryites (or perhaps more properly anti-Bushies) believe the president is a serial liar, as borne out by these nagging National Guard records that keep turning up. No “mud” here, they say! People need to know the Pres is a phony!
    And here you come, flinging mud at all of the above. But of course, it’s not “mud” is it? (“Manchurean bloggers”?) You’re just legitimately concerned about the level of discourse in our exercise of democracy. Got it.
    I think the reason the “real issues” don’t win out is the general understanding that talk about health care, education and other proposed legislative initiatives is just that

  • Jesus, you mean you’re NOT caffeinated? Holy cow … you could make a fortune bottling whatever devil juice propels your metabolism….

  • MWB

    Not going to sling at the slingers, Jeff?…
    Just going to sling it around generally, I guess: “Piggies, piggies, piggies!” Very persuasive.

  • Maybe we can step behind the curtain of Jeff’s innuendo…
    What’s currently got bloggers talking about something other than “jobs or health care or Iraq or terrorism or education or anything that really matters?”
    My vote is the CBS forgeries. I could be wrong, but the blogosphere is responding with authority to CBS’ lame and slipshod reporting. Note: responding – because CBS trotted out a bunch of partisan tripe parading as truth.
    And who’s blogging this? That might be the list of names…
    But I could be wrong.

  • Kat

    I don’t even call what Dan Rather and CBS did, mudslinging. I call it criminal. I am appalled as to how low the leftist media will grovel. I can not believe that a major media would forever destroy their credibility in this way. Our own Al Jazeera–we can call it Al Lefteera. If those documents are false, there is NO excuse.. There need to be consequences.

  • Matthew Cromer

    Jarvis, show some spine. Your “profession” just got caught whoring for Kerry with mind-bendingly obvious fake documents. Pants down, and polaroids for the whole party.
    This isn’t an issue of Bush or Kerry’s military service. This is an issue of media credibility. The bloggers just showed up the so-called professionals and you can’t be bothered to respond — despite your deep and abiding interest in the topic of blogging and the media?
    Please. You’re writing your own memo using MS Word using Times Roman proportional font, and we can all read between the lines here.

  • pdq332

    I agree completely in principal, but what does one do when the candidates (or in this year, their 527 proxies) are doing the mud slinging? Blogs didn’t start MoveOn.org or SBVT, but blogs are probably the best mechanism around to actually keep them honest, and to do it they at least have to acknowledge the mud. Goodness knows the MSM can’t do it, not when their document experts can’t tell the difference between a typewriter and MS Word. (And if it wasn’t for blogs and mud, I wouldn’t have the appreciation that I now have for proportional fonts and fine kerning.)

  • Andy

    Uh, Blogging gets money for nothing (ads) and chicks for free. Are there really any internet groupies? Do they look like the ones Playboy is gonna feature?
    Was that a leitmotif running thru a Dire Straits song or simply the basic unbridled fantasy wish for every teenage boy and man?
    I guess I gotta start my own blog.
    I want my B-l-ogee
    That’s the way you do it.
    Money for nothing and chicks for free.
    I want my B-l-ogee
    I want my B-l-ogee

  • pdq332

    Sorry if I’m too jazzed over the day’s events to see that maybe you were also talking about mud being slinged at you? I think you’re doing a great job, and I’m thankful to have this virtual place to come to every day. Part of the charm of blogs is that one’s humanity, warts and all, doesn’t get filtered out by a stream of editors and lawyers and committees. And commenters like me should remember that it is a priveledge to be getting the unvarnished product. So don’t burn out like poor DenBeste (who was also doing a great job, in case he’s reading this!)

  • Vote Libertarian.
    Michael Badnarik for President.

  • My head hurts. I just want to give up on this shit called Americna presidential elections. It certanly is not going to get any better.
    2000 – a debacle and a result based on untruths easily revealed as such (compassionate conservatism???) about two days into Bush’s presidency.
    2004 – hell on earth. This !@#$ sucks. It royally !@#$% sucks.
    2008 – Someone will die as a result of a political assassination. and not too many people will care.
    When will this falling down the stairs into the dark basement stop?
    There is such a thing as too much information – and I’m seriously getting turned off blogs. Just way too much half-assed opinion – and way too many people taking said opinion as fact.

  • But we want to know who we’ve got, and what his real character is, because he’s the face we’ll present to the world in these dangerous times. – mwb
    so since the world wants kerry, are you suggesting that we vote for him?

  • OT: RE Forgery question (lamer by the second)
    Proportional font typerwriter ad – from 1954. Look.
    Experts bite the preverbial ass.

  • Matthew Cromer

    Nobody is claiming that proportional fonts didn’t exist in 1972. Just that they were damn uncommon.
    The proof that these memos are fake is outlined at powerline — but the KERNING is probably the most damning evidence.

  • HH

    Except the “experts” include people from the military who say these kinds of typewriters were never used… You know better than to throw out half-assed Atrios “proof” (aka mudslinging).
    Jeff, CBS did the mudslinging, the blogosphere is doing the fact checking of their ass (gee I wonder where that came from).

  • Take another toke off that bong of wishful thinking, Andrew. The widow says her husband didn’t type or keep copious notes – plus, he adored Bush.
    The next few days will decide quite a bit, but there’s too much to discredit them. It’s not a single element of this that throws it off course – it’s the sum of the parts.
    This isn’t about Bush v. Kerry. This is completely about media credibility. If the media wants their credibility back, they’ll have to prove it with thorough reporting and research because the amateurs are showing up the pros.

  • I think it could be about Bush vs Kerry as well, if the latest suggestions from The American Spectator turn out to be true. Here’s an extract, because the site is down due to heavy traffic:
    More than six weeks ago, an opposition research staffer for the Democratic National Committee received documents purportedly written by President George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard squadron commander, the late Col. Jerry Killian.
    The oppo researcher claimed the source was “a retired military officer.” According to a DNC staffer, the documents were seen by both senior staff members at the DNC, as well as the Kerry campaign.
    “More than a couple people heard about the papers,” says the DNC staffer. “I’ve heard that they ended up with the Kerry campaign, for them to decide to how to proceed, and presumably they were handed over to 60 Minutes, which used them the other night. But I know this much. When there was discussion here, there were doubts raised about their authenticity.”
    The concerns arose from the sourcing. “It wasn’t clear that our source for the documents would have had access to them. Our person couldn’t confirm from what file, from what original source they came from.”

  • TomK

    As I type this, Drudge is running a post indicating that there is an internal investigation starting at CBS to get to the root of the “fake docs” issue. According to Drudge, Rather himself will make an on-air correction, should it be needed. Frankly, given the copious evidence, I think that correction will almost certainly happen.
    Jeff, look past your personal politics, look past the specifics of this issue, and see it for what it is! In a matter of hours, an army of strangers teamed up, identified a problem, and dug up a treasure trove of analysis and facts that would hold up in any court, be it legal, or just public opinion. They contacted experts, researched technologies available 30 years ago, got eyewitness accounts from regular Joes who were, at the time, in the military, and serving in career fields that were well-versed in the appropriate memo protocols.
    In a matter of HOURS! And for free! They brought rogue elements of the Fourth Estate to heel, and needed less than a day to muster the strength and organization to get it done. This isn’t an evolution, it’s a damned REVOLUTION! They overwhelmed the topic from every side imaginable, and did it so fast they rendered even the most effective spin machines impotent. I’m sitting here in awe thinking of the future ramifications…
    Please, just set aside the fact that, this time, the aggregate power of the great, faceless mass heretofore known as “The People” happened to do something that doesn’t exactly help the guy you want to win the Presidency. Try to see what this really means, for all of us. You, of all people, ought to be shouting to the Heavens “Look at the power of the little guy!”
    Try to console yourself with the certain knowledge that this sort of thing will become widespread. Someday, and maybe soon, it’ll bring down someone you don’t like, and you’ll be happy. Power of this nature can’t be confined to one group or political party. The very source of the power is the combined efforts of a million nameless, faceless people, focused on the truth. That power can be created by any reasonably large and motivated group, and better yet, it can’t possibly be controlled by any one person (or organization).
    It’s the greatest experiment yet in Massive Parallel Processing, and it’s going to be repeated as many times as it takes until We The People once again bring the powers that be under our control.
    What a wonderful time to be alive.

  • Actually, lest Jeff get tagged with this discussion, I took it off topic.
    Still, kerning???? Hopeless (And yes, I type every day for a living. For a newspaper. As a reporter. I know what it means.)
    Look deeper.
    EVen if they were forged – and I don’t think they were – that’s CBS problem, not Kerry’s. The Boston Globe’s (certainly no friend to Kerry) investigation and the basic facts of Bush’s “service” are entirely separate. and just as damning.
    And, yes, going back to Jeff’s original point, I feel silly talking about this – but you guys !@#$%^ me off with swallowing the BS that was the SBV4T.
    The Dems are going to lose unless we’re willing to wallow in the mud and slime with Republicans. In 2004, it’s worth it.
    We’ll lie and twist and distort as much as the Rove machine does. That’s fair and balanced, right? I don’t want it this way.

  • Mr. Jarvis is justifiably concerned about being popped by a bomb and people are arguing typefaces.

  • AndrewBB: Lie and twist and distort as much as… the Democrats/MoveOn.Org/CBSABCNBCCNN/NYT/Michael Moore/Al Franken/DemocraticUnderground have been doing for some time now?
    Is this maybe a generational thing? You people who grew up with Watergate think that Republicans are always Evil Incarnate and the Democrats are always the Force of Light and Truth?
    Last week we even had a story where an avowed anti-Bush reporter made up — *lied* — about an audience booing Clinton and Bush *gasp* not saying anything to them about it. Before that, Kerry’s exposed fable about Cambodia. And now, forged documents. As Ted Kennedy would say, it’s been lie after lie after lie. The Democrats may have been the Force of Light and Truth once upon a time, but right now the outfit seems to be run by Darth Vader.
    And yes, Janis, we should be more concerned with terrorism, foreign policy, and domestic concerns. Bush talked about all of this at his convention. Kerry talked about Vietnam at his. There’s really no debate, because many of us already have a pretty clear understanding of the difference between Bush and Kerry on these issues, which is why Kerry chooses to obfuscate instead of elucidate. When you have one candidate who has no answers, but simply repeats over and over that the incumbent “f*cked up”, all you’re going to get from him in the way of “issues” is smear, attacks, innuendo, and the brittle defensiveness that’s become Kerry’s hallmark.
    Mud has become an issue in this election campaign because mud is Kerry’s *only hope*.

  • I’ll stop slinging mud when Tony Pierce starts using capitalization.

  • Andrew, you simply don’t know what you are talking about. No one was going to use an expensive, proportional font typewriter in 1972 to type up a memo, for one thing, least of all the US military. Jesus, if you don’t believe me, just watch old movies. Heck, watch old episodes of Hawaii 5-0 (the ones that feature shananigans at military bases, one of that series’ standard subplots). I don’t care that you “type for a living.” You type on a computer. You did not work for the US Military in 1972. The military was not in the habit of purchasing fancy new commercial equipment for the purposes of tasks as mundane as typing memos.
    This was a forgery, and a particularly inept one at that if non-experts (who weren’t blinded by bias anyway) could see right away that the docs were fake. All the forger had to do was go to a thrift store and pick up an old typewriter for a few bucks. I should know that this is possible — that’s how I’ve acquired seven of them (I collect old manual typewriters).

  • I do agree, Mr. J. Though after reading Pinker’s The Blank Slate I find myself convinced that most of the non-salaried mudslingers are probably oh-so-True Believers. I think we tend to spin ourselves first and foremost. Maybe it’s pride… I don’t know.

  • too many steves

    The mudslinging will only cease when it stops delivering votes.

  • Chris Josephson

    Seems to me no matter which side you support this year, if you have ever felt the MSM doesn’t listen to the ‘little guy’ .. you MUST be happy to see what’s just happened.
    Follow the detective work that took place on the various blogs as people weighed in on the authenticity of the memo. People who have REAL LIFE experience, and expertise, to speak about the typefaces used and other trivial details.
    It was a wonder just to witness what happened. How can anyone NOT be glad? A victory for the ‘little guy’!!

  • MWB

    Andrew BB:
    “…I type every day for a living. For a newspaper. As a reporter.”
    “The Dems are going to lose unless we’re willing to wallow in the mud and slime with Republicans. In 2004, it’s worth it.”
    Further comment unnecessary.

  • MWB

    “so since the world wants kerry, are you suggesting that we vote for him?”
    I think its great to know the state of “world opinion”. Let voters factor that in however they please. It’s all part of the debate. My objection is that Jeff wants a significant part of that debate (the “mud”) to cease.

  • Jeff,
    Since you want issues to be discussed… here on your blog, you once mentioned something about health care, and there was a civilized debate about it. You applauded this in a later post.
    If you want issues discussed, why not broach the issues that you think important and let the commenters address each issue? I’m all for that. Let’s discuss trade, and jobs, and education, and Iraq, and so on.
    As opposed to, you know, “piggy” posts, that don’t address the issues.

  • MDP

    AndrewBB: “I’m seriously getting turned off blogs. Just way too much half-assed opinion – and way too many people taking said opinion as fact.”
    AndrewBB (writing on his blog): “When a font is unavailable on a computer, Adobe Acrobat will substitute a font close to this. I wonder how many of these experts just viewed the PDFs. …. These experts and most certainly LGF’s attempt at comparisons do not have a clue what they’re talking about.”

    For some reason, Andrew never bothered to look at the CBS memo PDF before making the above remarks. The document contains only images, not text/characters which Acrobat could reformat. And, btw, how could Acrobat possibly substitute a font while retaining that extremely weathered/Xeroxed look?
    So much for Andrew’s complaints about “half-assed opinion,” “people taking said opinion as fact,” and “experts [who] do not have a clue what they’re talking about”.

  • luanna

    I’m confused, how does a blogger challenging the authenticity of a document constitute mudslinging?
    This story is about media credibility. The mainstream media didn’t pay close enough attention to the Andrew Gilligan/BBC fiasco.
    The media is being challenged to adapt to higher standards. I have regulatory compliance issues in my job. I get the distinct impression that journalists routinely skirt ethical boundaries because there has been no way to hold them accountable. Things have changed.

  • John

    Jeff, as much as you might dislike mudslinging, if you had been working at Time, Inc., and found out that a major cover story reported by Newsweek (or for EW’s line of interest, US Magazine) could possibly be a complete fabrication, would you have run around the newsroom shouting “Piggy, Piggy Piggy!” at the person(s) who brought you this information, instead of sending someone out to vet the story that might blow up in your competitor’s face? (though I have to admit, visualizing the scene taking place in Mr. Luce’s big building on the Avenue of the Americas is pretty funny all by itself).

  • pdq332

    Amen, brother! They should study this incident in journalism school.
    The Dems are going to lose unless we’re willing to wallow in the mud and slime with Republicans.
    Like they haven’t been in the mud already? It’s just that, as the GuardGate flap explodes in their faces, that they are incompetent at it.

  • Kat

    I agree that the mud, slung by groups like Texans for Truth and Moveon.org is very slimey– and I disregard it because of where it comes from–but when a media network, which claims impartiality, is found in bed with George Soros and Co., this makes the piggies slinging the mud, even more smelly. We expect pigshit from Media.org. We expect more from CBS. CBS has allowed itself atop the manure pile, and I don’t like the smell. This is notmudslinging by some partial group–this is outright lying by a media group. This is advertising for free by a major media network–this is propaganda pitching at its worst. This is leftist media trying to help Kerry by blatantly lying. This stinks bad. But we know piggies always shit in one corner–and that left corner really stinks.

  • Nahanni

    CBS and it’s ilk have been slinging acres of mud for years and that didn’t seem to bother you one bit.
    Having it blow back in their faces-THAT is what bothers you.
    Too bad.

  • Jeff –
    If you want the mudslinging to stop:
    (Sorry for the yelling…had to get that out)
    You can call names all you want, but the comments wouldn’t be on your website if you didn’t keep linking to the stories. So who’s responsible? Your commenters or you? I would argue that since you brought the discussion to your website, it’s you…”Commenters,” by definition, are “commenting” on the topic you raise on your website. You don’t want “mudslingers,” great! Then stop slinging the mud yourself when it suits you to bash Bush (all while denying that it’s a story at all, of course)…
    If you want the mud to stop, stop linking to it. Stop telling people it’s a non-story when you link to an anti-Bush forgery story – just don’t link to it.
    Follow your own advice before you go calling names and decrying what other people are doing. Look in the mirror: if people like you would stop sending these folks link traffic for getting into the mud, they would change subjects or, at the very least, be marginalized because there would be no one reading their mud.
    I have made this point to you several times, yet you keep linking to anti-Bush stories. If you believe it’s mud and it’s a non-story, stay away from it. Don’t link to it at all.
    It really *is* that simple….

  • Bennett, you’re on.

  • What TomK said. The last 36 hours are the best, clearest example of citizen journalism I’ve ever seen. I figured Jeff would feel vindicated — “This is exactly what I’ve been talking about, people!” — but it doesn’t sound that way.

  • I was born in 1971.
    My reporter comment was only pertaining to knowing what “kerning” was and is. I was voicing no “superiority.”
    Regarding typewriters, indeed I have never used them on the job – Macs all the way. But I remember using a typewriter – as a child – where I could push a lever and get superscript.
    And I don’t cover national politics. I vote Dem and Republican at every other level but president. Heck, I was going to vote for John McCain until he did something to his own self-worth this year that I can’t understand. He’ll still win, so no biggie there.

  • Good deal, Tony. And while you’re revising your style, how about writing a post that sounds like it was written by an adult instead of a 13-year-old boy with a dirty picture fixation?
    That would rule.

  • Why is it that I already feel like mud has just been slung?

  • By the way, Mr. Bennett, according to Technorati, your site has 64 links coming to it while mine has nearly 20 times that (1,238).
    With all due respect why on Earth do you think you’re qualified to give out advice to anyone about how to blog when your style has afforded you so few readers?

  • Cousin Dave

    AndrewBB, you are such an unbelievable bullshit artist, and I’m calling you on it right here. The Boston Globe “no friend of Kerry”? Yeah, right. And I suppose the UK Guardian backs Blair all the way.
    Folks, if you have any doubt about Andrew, click on his link. It’s very clear that he thinks that everyone that doesn’t agree with his opinions is subhumanly stupid and doesn’t deserve to live. Typical LLL. This is the sort of thing that Jeff has been trying to fix. Good luck, Jeff.

  • Kat

    If Jeff wants to fix it, then that is noble. But why then keep linking to Andrew Sullivan who keeps pushing mud at Bush faster than a toilet plunger can push poop. Now Pandy Andy even has a segment on how to write a Bush speech–I guess we are to see that as cutsie pie or something and not the cow pie it really is. Rules ought tpo apply to both sides–the left should not be exempt to common decency and fair play.

  • “But I remember using a typewriter – as a child – where I could push a lever and get superscript.”
    So I should rely on your childhood memories about pushing some lever??? What the hell sort of a typewriter are you talking about that could do that that was a) widely availably, and b)
    Oh forget it. You are so obviously lying it is sad. What is really sad is that you seem to be lying to yourself as well. You’ve already invented a magical typing machine with mysterious “levers.”

  • Scaramonga

    So when did you swear off mudslining? Guess I missed it. Now that the bumbling fools at CBS have taken a large and steaming dump and then proceeded to fall back in it, you want to change the subject. How liberal of you. Oink. Oink.