Posts from November 2, 2004

The responsibility of the link

The responsibility of the link

: Glenn Reynolds answers my posts yesterday regarding his linking to a story that tried to allege questions about John Kerry’s discharge from the military. He says:

Jeff Jarvis thinks that by linking the story above, I’m engaging in mudslinging. Apparently Jeff thinks that there are some things my readers shouldn’t be told about, for their own good and the greater good of society. That seems rather Old Media to me, and somewhat contradictory when you consider his staunch defense of Howard Stern’s right to talk about Nigerian women eating monkeys.

But a link brings responsibility.

It especially brings responsibility if you’re the Instapundit and you know the number of people you’ll drive to read what’s on the other side of that link.

Of course, that’s not to say that we should limit our links. The more the better. But we do need to provide context and that context matters.

If, on the eve of the election, you send thousands of people to read one last scurrilous attack on a candidate without saying that you think it’s a bunch of monkey poop, then I’d say, yes, that’s mudslinging.

As Glenn had made clear, his blog is not trying to be fair and balanced and I don’t want it to be (for then it would be dull). He has partisan views and his blog reflects them and that’s the way it should be.

But that doesn’t excuse you from the responsibilty of the link and the test of consistency. If you complain about big media attacking your candidate too close to the election, then you can be held to the same test. Goose, meet gander. If you send people to something that’s malicious and destructive without providing context to reveal that, then it’s a tacit endorsement. It’s the same as big media giving air time to, say, Michael Moore without contradiction.

Blog links bring power, especially if you have the traffic — and attention in high places — of a Reynolds, Kos, Sullivan, Atrios, et al. And that power brings responsibility. Whether you like it or not, it’s the same power and the same responsibilty big media has.

Uh-oh, are blogs turning into big media? Well, the bigger they get the bigger media they are.

The bottom line here: Glenn wanted to get in one more splat of mud before election day. And I wanted to get in one more post whining about the mud.

And it’s good that we link to and quote each other and that you all join in the conversation. This medium is, in ways such as this, better than prior media. But keep in mind that it still bears responsibility for its action. Links matter.

The flock of hawks

The flock of hawks

: Reason’s Tim Cavanaugh breaks out his arsenal and shoots at the liberal hawks — listing me — who aren’t voting for Bush.

One of the most dramatic and least surprising developments of Election 2004’s final period has been President Bush’s abandonment by the “liberal hawks,” the collection of left-leaning thinkers, commentators, and pundits who approved of the invasion of Iraq as a progressive operation, offered well reasoned and often enthusiastic support for Bush in the prelude to the war, were granted their wish by the White House, and have now paid the president back with withering criticism and endorsements for John Kerry.

Anybody seeking to prove the Kerryan criticism that George W. Bush doesn’t know how to build an alliance need look no further than the pan-ideological coalition he built right here at home. In the heat of battle, when their support was most important, the liberal hawks broke ranks and fled the battlefield. Nor will they acknowledge having betrayed the president who gave them what they claimed to wish for: In the minds of the liberal hawks, it is Bush who has betrayed their grand ideals with his “mismanagement” of the postwar situation.

He makes a few flawed assumptions: First and foremost that Iraq is the only issue that makes us decide our vote; it isn’t. Second, that criticizing any administration’s execution on any issue is an abandonment; welcome to a world of grays.

He argues that we liberal hawks can’t complain about inadequate force in Iraq because that gives lie to our contention that the real reason to go into Iraq was to establish democracy and that Iraqis were ready and eager for the right to run their nation.

If keeping Iraq on life support meant committing a vast occupying force indefinitely, then clearly Iraq wasn’t a very good test case for the democratic experiment.

That’s clearly a crock and too glib by half. Every nation on earth is ready for democracy but they can be thwarted by tyrants and terrorists and Iraq has been the victim of both.

Then Cavanaugh argues:

More than that, the liberal hawks must consider the very real possibility that what is happening today in Iraq is not an unforeseeable disaster but the best outcome any reasonable person could have expected.

He has a point. It is anybody’s guess. But I think we made the wrong guess about the terrorists (“insurgents” in some dictionaries) who would do — no, are doing — anything to stop freedom and democracy from rising in Iraq. Fine. Anybody could guess wrong. But the problem is that we haven’t admitted that mistake and worked hard to fix it. Am I worried about Iraq? Absolutely. I don’t think we had a great choice here: Bush lacks the ability to fix the mistake; Kerry lacks the will. But both men do know that they cannot fail at this and I believe — hope and pray — that either will do their best to make better guesses going forward.

I hope Tom Friedman — the liberal hawk who truly did retreat from the policy he helped establish and justify — was wrong when he said on Bill Maher this weekend that either candidate will get us out of Iraq in less than a year. That is the abandonment that matters — not of Bush but of the Iraqi people.

Early poll report from New Jersey

Early poll report from New Jersey

: Out my way, in GOPland, the polls were empty. I mean, empty. I’ve never seen them this sparse at this hour of the morning. And because I’m an idiot (and my wife threw out the sample ballots) I went to the wrong polling place and saw the same situation at both. One district had a handful of people. The others had nobody.

I don’t know what that means. Could it be that Republican turnout will be low?

: Megan reports on Instapundit that her New York polls were packed.

Fred Wilson also reports crowds in New York.

: By the way, what would have happened if all those people who waited for two to five hours in line in Florida had all showed up to vote today?

: ADD YOUR REPORT… Lots more dispatches from polls here and there in the comments. Keep ’em coming.

Election helmets

Election helmets

: Nema at Iranian Truth predicts rioting in America if Bush wins.

No, Nema, that’s what happens on your side of the world. Here, we riot only if our team wins.

So help me Blogger

So help me Blogger

: Andrew Sullivan takes the Pledge. So does Marc Danziger.

: UPDATE: Michael J. Totten takes the Pledge. And see this great post of his.

You have the right to vote. You do not have the right to see the man of your choice in the White House.

If George W. Bush wins the election, the world will still spin on its axis. Canada will not grant you asylum. If John Kerry wins the election, America will still be America. Australia will not grant you asylum.

People who vote for the other guy aren