About Alterman

About Alterman

: In the world of one-from-column-A/one-from-column-B TV, I spent a few minutes on MSNBC Tuesday night on the other side of rabid conservatives Pat Buchanan and Michael Medved (on The Passion of the Christ and the Oscars) and the next day I’m back on MSNBC placed on the other side of rabid liberal Eric Alterman (on Iraqi blogs and the election). I mentioned the confrontation here but didn’t go into detail mainly because I long ago stopped paying attention to Alterman and didn’t think he was worth the effort and moreso because I did not want to again spread the blood libel he engages in regarding Iraqi bloggers: After quoting his favorite blogger on Iraq — who else but Juan Cole? — Alterman repeats the irresponsible, unfounded, dangerous speculation that, gee, if Iraqi bloggers are pro-American they must be CIA plants, huh? ‘

I told Alterman on the air that that was irresponsible and dangerous. I said he had not one shred of evidence or reporting or fact to back up his speculation. I said that he could end up getting these men, whom I’ve met and whom I know, harmed.

Alterman said, well, gee, the CIA has done weird things before so why couldn’t they do this?

That’s responsible journalism? Not in any universe I know. That’s the worst of tabloid, tin-hat, anti-intellectual, ammoral rumor-mongering. That’s Eric, the rumor monger.

What he did was, let me repeat, not journalistic. Any editor worth his salt would have killed that speculation in print (well, except at the NY Times).

I was going to let that dog lie but now Alterman has gone on the attack:

I never had any reason to give any thought to the issue of blogs and the Iraqi elections, until I was asked to appear on a segment about them on MSNBC yesterday with Ron Reagan and Monica Crowley, who are getting a new show there, with Jeff Jarvis as the other guest.

Well, if a booker calls me to ask about coming on the air about a topic I “never had any reason to give any thought to” I would decline. But not Alterman. He’ll make up an opinion about anything, it appears.

Reagan and Crowley just might work, as cable TV goes, I dunno.

I smell Alterman sucking up to his bosses at MSNBC. But I don’t want to be a conspiracy theorist.

Monica is just about the least annoying television conservative I know and Ron Regan [sic] is, for reasons of his pedigree, given permission to say genuinely liberal things that are allowed to no other cable pundit.

Monica and I had our own interesting conversation about Eric after we got off the air. I won’t speak for her.

But I

  • tim wg

    What does Eric have against the Iraqi Bloggers and the CIA? It’s like killing two birds with one stone.
    It is true that liberals wanted the assasination of Saddam to preclude the war. Who would do this? The CIA of course.
    So maybe this is more extension of their policy. First they use them, then they slam them.
    Eric has no use of the CIA. The slam against Iraqi Bloggers on the other hand is a mystery.

  • dries

    jeff, you’re wasting your time on that irrelevant mouse of a man.

  • Dishman

    I never had any reason to give any thought to the issue of blogs and the Iraqi elections…
    But seriously folks. Just so you don

  • BigFire

    Re: tim wig
    What does Alterman have against the Iraqi bloggers? He’s envious of the hope that they have in abundant where he has none. For that sin, they MUST die.

  • ThomasD

    “you might just be getting paid by the DNC because you are such a lockstep liberal.”
    Please don’t call Alterman a liberal, you Jeff are a liberal. And I mean that as a compliment.
    Eric Alterman is not liberal, he is a leftist and will oppose any liberal who gets in the way of his agenda.

  • harry

    Alterman repeats the irresponsible, unfounded, dangerous speculation that, gee, if Iraqi bloggers are pro-American they must be CIA plants, huh? ‘
    “Dangerous speculation.” Dangerous? Dangerous how, exactly? Dangerous as in insurgents are listening to Eric Alterman to decide who to go after in Iraq? Give me a break.
    I wish I lived in a country where speculation, whether good or bad, wasn’t considered dangerous.
    This post makes you sound more like you’re trying to shut Alterman up by spewing out a bunch of dimestore moralizing than bothering to address speculation that, given the hisotry of the CIA, isn’t ridiculous. Way to go.

  • John Thacker

    Alterman is of a type that’s quick to call Republicans “gay-bashing bigots” and question whether Iraqis who favor the elections are CIA plants, yet eager to sympthathize and “understand the reasons” of Arabs and others who are anti-American who commit terrorist acts, or even acts of “gay-bashing” much more literal that what Republicans do.
    Certainly Sullivan has worked with Republicans even while complainly loudly about their opposition to gay marriage legalization. Yet I would think that frequent Arab (including Palestinian) and other Muslim crimes of killing people for being gay would be even more abhorrent, yet he and other antiwar types are willing to ally with them on particular issues.

  • Tim

    “Alterman said, well, gee, the CIA has done weird things before so why couldn’t they do this?”
    Then how do we know that he isn’t part of the CIA as a decoy? After all, the CIA has done weird things before so why couldn’t they do this?

  • “Well, Eric, if I speculated that you might just be getting paid by the DNC because you are such a lockstep liberal,”
    I have been speculating what role he and others did to Howard Dean before the Iowa Primary. After this little meeting, the press for Dean did turn south.
    But he did almost fight Aaron McGruder, so he has one positive point to his character.

  • tex

    Jeff’s criticism is especially rich in light of the fact that if anyone “endangered” those ITM bloggers, it’s Jeff and Company:
    The Betrayal of the “Iraq the Model” Bloggers
    They shut Ali up, but not before he accused them.
    What happened, Jeff? Why did Ali say you told them “no media,” which turned out to be a flaming lie.

  • keeping it simple (for simple minds)

    A cigarette in a car is unlikely to cause a fire. A cigarette thrown out the window is unlikely to cause a fire. A cigarette thrown out the window when the wind is blowing is unlikely to cause a fire. A cigarette thrown out the window when the wind is blowing and the forests are parched because it hasn’t rained in months has a pretty damn good chance of burning many square miles to ashes
    So Tim, but more so, Harry…
    Whether or not the CIA has done this before is irrelevant.
    Whether or not a single terrorist or insurgent reads Eric Alderman is irrelevant.
    But when Eric Alderman gives life to a rumor that will probably be passed by commentator after commentator around the world, and that rumor realistically could jepordize the lives of some people that Jeff knows, trusts, and believes are doing the right thing, THEN HELL YES HE SHOULD BE PISSED.
    I too would like to live in a world where speculation wasn’t considered dangerous… but so long as that speculation causes dangerous men to do deadly things, you need to get off your friggin high horse.

  • Why is the charge of “anti-intellectuallism” is always leveled by those who over-think themselves out of the truely logical answer. To mis-quote the Old Bard, “The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.”

  • Aargh! of “anti-intellectuallism” always

  • tex: i never said such a thing.

  • Ed Poinsett

    IMHO Alterman is a certifiable jerk. I have tried over the years to give him the benefit of the doubt by reading some of his screeches from time to time. I have never learned anything from him other than that he is a complete waste of Oxygen and skin.

  • tex

    Who did? Who was Ali talking about? It must be you or Hake.
    So, who sold them out?

  • What I don’t understand, is why the left seems to want the CIA to be — simultaneously! — both A) ominously powerful & capable of great conspiracies and B) incapable of gathering accurate information or keeping secrets.
    Because if the CIA is powerful enough to plant these supper secret, yet public, “cells” that power some vast underworld conspiracy, then we can’t also pin our hats on the argument that CIA was so clueless & in need of reform for its intelligence failures pre-9/11, understimating the Iraq situation, etc.
    What is wrong w/ some people? It’s the same meme that wants Bush to be both a complete idiot AND a brilliant Machiavellian mastermind of evil. Does anyone remember the term “cognitive dissonance”? Or is that just something philistines (as Arendt calls them) don’t bother with?

  • Young Goodman Brown

    “Whether or not the CIA has done this before is irrelevant.”
    You kinda need to believe that to condemn Alterman for acknowledging this possibility.

  • Eric Alterman is one of the world’s biggest douchebags.
    But what he said about CIA bloggers is entirely possible.
    Since this blog has no trackback, I’ll do my blogwhoring here and ask anyone interested to read my post on the subject, as I am a much more enlightening blogger than either Jeff or Eric.

  • notthisgirl

    OK. Someone please explain. Jeff? You are a Democrat, and a member of the media.
    I want to know why people like Alterman, and a clear majority of MSM’s talking heads seem to be on the side of Zarqawi. The likes of him believe Democracy is EVIL! Choice is EVIL! Freedom is EVIL! These folks are the very thing Liberalism is supposed to be against !(?)
    Are the Liberals that sour, and their hatred of George Bush just runs so deep that it plain takes over their senses??
    Don’t they know how ridiculous they sound?

  • They don’t know how ridiculous they sound and that is why they will not win the next set of elections either.
    The Iraqi bloggers are brave because in Iraq you can lose your life for working with the Americans – esp the CIA.
    People here in America, sipping their lattes in relative safety should STOP AND THINK before they cast stones at brave people who are really trying to be free.

  • tex

    The Iraqi bloggers are brave because in Iraq you can lose your life for working with the Americans…
    Especially if you’re the trophy natives in a five-city American tour heavily covered by the media and every warblogger on the planet, the highlight of which is a meeting with the ever-so-popular-in-Iraq George W. Bush.

  • apparently not simple enough

    Er no sir, you don’t.
    Is a democratic Iraq a better one than an autocratic or theocratic Iraq? Unless your answer is no, then I don’t care if they are plants of Mohammed, Jesus, Buddha, Ghandi, the Screen Actor’s Guild, the American Red Cross, my grandmother’s bridge club, Kentucky Fried Chicken, the French Foreign Legion, the Green Party of Australia, or the CIA.
    Now if your answer is no, then we have other things to dicuss, but clearly not in this space.

  • Tim

    Alterman is a bin Laden/Zarqawi plant – isn’t it obvious?
    tex is too.

  • Hugh

    Alterman’s rants are unbelievable. I went over to MSNBC to read his nonsense.
    If anything happens to those bloggers, we should hold Alterman and Boxer (the NYT writer, not the senator) responsible. We should assist the families in suing them (or at least render useful assistance in locating them so that someone can BLOW THEIR FREAKING HEADS OFF)!

  • Pete

    I speculate that Eric Alterman is on the payroll of the Republican National Committee. After all, it’s jerks like him (and his fellow RNC plant Michael Moore) who make the left look so idiotic.

  • Ursus

    The left is so devoid of ideas that they have moved to become an outright opposition party, so anything the current administration is for — democracy, pluralism, etc. — they are against, because they think it’s their job.
    I mean, somebody might suggest to Eric that his logic also means that it’s possible that some of our most stringent domestic opponents to Iraqi democracy could be al Qaeda plants. It’s certainly plausible, right?

  • ron

    Eric Alterman is on Karl Rove’s payroll. How else do you explain much of what he says or writes? It is like he is pushing people to become Conservatives (and/or Republicans) just so they are not identified with him.

  • AvatarADV

    “Two Iraqi bloggers, who have gained notoreity for their blogging, recently visited the US and met with President Bush.”
    “Two Iraqi bloggers were actually traitors to their country, paid by the CIA to spread pro-American propaganda.”
    I can see how both of these statements could be conflated by an Islamic extremist; or that even if he appreciated the difference, it would not in the end matter to him.
    But criminy, if you’re an American and you don’t see a fundamental difference between them, what does that say about you?

  • semm

    That man is a complete wretch of a human being. Arg! I feel your anger.

  • Shelley

    Look, I’m as left-wing as they come and usually disagree with Jeff to no end, but the truth about Alterman must be widely disseminated: the man is a second rate intellectual and a first rate jerk. His “thesis” for What Liberal Media? was not exactly original, and certainly not intellectually rigorous. I’ve also interviewed him for a number of publications, and his arrogance and, frankly, intellectual mediocrity became more apparent each time. Wonder why Alterman is a big name on TV and the blogosphere but doesn’t get published very often in the major magazines/papers? Simple: because most editors cannot stand the man.
    Shelley, out…

  • Barry Dauphin

    Just remember you heard it hear first. After Iraqi elections and after their fledgling democracy is up, you’ll hear Alterman say that a democratic Iraq was going to happen anyway.

  • “Alterman said, well, gee, the CIA has done weird things before so why couldn’t they do this?”
    That’s cheating

  • How do we know that Alterman isn’t a secret plant of the American Society of Orthodontists? The only persuasive argument he’s ever made is a subliminal “wear your dental retainer.”
    Then again, maybe Eric’s keeping those fork teeth so he can get the title role in the Michael Moore remake of The Nutty Professor.

  • Angus Jung

    “Just nail the SOB’s . . . make them look ridiculous by invoking space aliens.”
    Or space unicorns.

  • Syl

    People like Alterman are racist at heart. It is impossible for them to believe that an Arab could actually like America because there’s no way an Arab is capable of independent thought. So, of course, the CIA made them do it.
    Kinda like Barbara Boxer, who can’t believe that Dr. Rice could be an independent thinker who came to the same conclusions as Bush. She certainly must have been under the influence of Bush’s demonic powers.

  • Never mind Alterman being a DNC plant. That’s small potatoes. How do we know he’s not on Saddam’s payroll, paid out of the oil-for-food slush fund? After all, it has happened before. How do we know Alterman isn’t implicated as an accomplice to Saddam and the rest who enslaved and butchered the Iraqi people? From all that he has written, he would rather that they were still enslaved and still living with the rape rooms and the wood chippers and the mass graves. Is that because he profitted from their deaths?
    It wouldn’t tax my imagination to consider it.

  • The problem with Mr. Alterman’s speculation is not whether it is plausible or implausible, true or false.
    The problem is that if it is true, and some bloggers are CIA plants, then why would we want to publicize it?
    The Prime Minister of Iraq used to work for the CIA, so what difference does it make exactly if some bloggers have been payed by the CIA too?
    Should we want to publicize it because receiving CIA money affects the credibility of a blogger? Well, receiving CIA money does affect the credibility of a blogger, but we ought to be skeptical of anything we read on the internet, and doubly so for stuff that comes from a politically polarized war-zone like Iraq.
    Should we want to publicize it because a CIA plant is somehow a “traitor” to his country? Receiving CIA money could be considered “treacherous” by some Iraqis. But if a blogger is willing to take a pro-American stance, he too could be considered “treacherous”, whether he receives CIA money or not, and he is already paying the price for his alleged “treachery” by putting his life on the line.
    And if it’s okay for the Shiite clerics to get support from their Iranian neighbors, it would be quite a double standard to decry American support for Iraqi liberal democrats.
    Of course, the main reason to publicize hypothetical CIA support for bloggers would be to figure out and spread the truth about what’s going on in Iraq.
    But the truth is not an absolute good. The benefits of the truth must be weighed against the costs of obtaining and knowing the truth. And the costs should be obvious to the Altermans of this world: innocent men, or “guilty” but nonetheless heroic men, are exposed to horrible danger, including kidnapping, torture, and death.
    Shame on Mr. Alterman for not understanding this, and even more shame on Mr. Alterman for understanding this and not caring anyway.

  • Mork

    That’s nonsense, Matthew. Media organizations have always acknowledged an obligation to refrain from reporting sensitive details of actual military operations until they are complete. But what you are suggesting is a long way from that: you seem to believe that if it were the case that the CIA was operating a propaganda outlet deliberately designed to mislead the American people, journalists should refrain from reporting that fact because it is, in your view, in the national interest the the American public be misled.
    Once you get there, you’re really arguing that the press should just be an instrument of state policy.
    Tex – thank you for that link. I think I’m beginning to understand a little why Jeff has these bizarre reactions to any mention of his darlings. So what if they were publicized through the wazoo – including in the Arabic press – through the efforts of him and his SoA buddies? Doesn’t matter now – if something happens to them, it will be Sarah Boxer and Eric Alterman with blood on their hands.
    And it gives him a chance to fulminate about the evil MSM to boot! Scapegoats have rarely looked so good!

  • See, this is why they’re called progressives: Reagan gave up on the Democrats, I gave up on the Democrats, Zell Miller gave up on the Democrats, and now they’re working on Jeff Jarvis.
    Progressively, they’re alienating everyone in the country.

  • Mork,
    Question: What do you think of the fact that someone in the White House may have disclosed that Joe Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, had been a covert CIA employee?

  • 2LT Green

    Eric Alterman is a raving lunatic. I have read his blog for no other reason than to see what type of nonsense he will spew next. Intellectual…whatever. This is the same guy that told me via email that he wished I had perished in the collapse of the world trade center because I strongly disagreed with him and called him a dumbass. In my opinion, Alterman is a fine example of an anti-American. Always critiquing American foreign policy, yet offering no real alternatives.Sarcastically “congratulating” American soldiers on military operations(fallujah), and lamenting about the innocent Iraqi’s killed in this war. Here’s a newsflash. Al-Zarqawi and his crew are the bad guys. The terrorists bomb mothers and children. They behead civilian workers and use absolutely no discretion when intent on killing. Here’s another newsflash: were after the bad guys. To imply that the job US troops are doing over here is anything less than heroic, is baseless, un-American, and utterly absurd. To his fans, do yourselves a favor, and look somewhere else for leadership if you wish to dissent. I’m in Iraq everyday and see the good that goes on. Alterman is in no position to give anyone “facts” about Iraq, and although he wishes to be known as an intellectual, I think the majority of us know better.
    2LT Green, somewhere in Iraq

  • Eileen

    2LT Green,
    Many, many thanks – more than words could ever express – for your service. We will be celebrating with you on Sunday. Right On!
    I agree Alterman is anti-American (my understatement). But I’ll raise you one. In my view he and the other MSM far left talkingheads have finally stepped off the edge of reason, into the abyss and are now actively committing treason under the guise of 1st amendment freedoms. I’m going to assume Alterman reads this blog and this thread. Therefore I’m going to say to him right now he doesn’t deserve to even call himself an American.
    WE are behind you in thought and prayer, Darrell. Stay safe, and don’t let the rats either here Or there get you down. Hope you’ll be home very soon now.
    And a p.s. to Jeff. You did a Great Job today of calling Alterman not only on his lack of basic journalistic standards, but also his cloying lack of moral integrity in the space of less than a nanosecond. Kudos.

  • Ursus

    Matt, she was not a covert agent, nor was she outed as such.

  • Eileen— please stop displaying your overwhelming ignorance. Valerie Plame was a covert agent — her “cover” was to say that she worked for a private company that was a CIA front, and collect intelligence on behalf of the CIA.
    Alterman did point out that there is a disproportionate number of pro-US bloggers in Iraq—this suggests the strong possibility that there is manipulation of the Iraqi blogosphere.
    Is it CIA? who knows? It could be any number of groups, or even individuals, giving money/equipment to people they know will parrot the positions of the American right-wing.
    Its perfectly legitimate to speculate, as Alterman did, that SOME Iraqi bloggers may be on the CIA payroll. (Alterman mentioned no names.) Jarvis needs to grow up, and smell the coffee. The insurgents are killing lots and lots of people who are supporting the US in Iraq — and will probably target bloggers who do so regardless of whether people speculate about their true loyalties.
    BTW, Jeff, what exactly are the Fadhil brothers doing with the tens of thousands of dollars that have been sent to them, or to their “political party?”

  • You’re beautiful when you’re angry, Jeff. You are one of the few left-of-center pundits who almost always makes a whole lot of sense to me — a mostly libertarian type. So glad you are out here in the blogosphere carrying the torch of speaking truth to whomever. Keep up the good fight, old boy. You are a prince!

  • Paul: As far as I know, you’re talking about tip jar gifts from readers. Does Atrios need to tell you what he does with his tip jar money?

  • Come on Jarvis. ‘fess up. You work for the CIA yourself, just like Alterman and I do.

  • Fallacy Phil

    “1) They assert.
    2) You question the assertion.
    3) They turn the tables and they ask “why not?””
    AKA the argumentum ad ignorantium, or argument from imagination.
    Last seen proving the CBS memoes were real “because you can’t prove they weren’t.”

  • Are the Liberals that sour, and their hatred of George Bush just runs so deep that it plain takes over their senses??

  • garbanzo

    “Its perfectly legitimate to speculate, as Alterman did, that SOME Iraqi bloggers may be on the CIA payroll.”
    It’s perfectly legitimate to speculate that Alterman is on the payroll of Saddam Hussein himself. After all, they share several of the same objectives. And it’s not like Saddam hasn’t been known to bribe journalists. Sheesh, shouldn’t it be obvious?? When will Eric A. publish his tax forms? What’s he hiding anyway?

  • I am scoring the Jarvis-Alterman bout as Jarvis: 3, Alterman: 2, using Greco-Roman rules of the mat, of course.
    Read the ongoing analysis at MediaCitizen and score it as you see it.

  • tex

    Paul: As far as I know, you’re talking about tip jar gifts from readers.
    No, he’s talking about the money donated to the “Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party,” which, interestingly enough, has changed. The screen shot (screen shot here)I took the day I emailed (Jan 24) Omar to inquire what they did with the money (which he never answered, by the way), shows a wire transfer to Ali on 24-Sep-04 for 3,260.00 and another wire transfer to Ali for 8,000.00 om 16-Nov-04. Amusingly, those figures have now changed.
    I guess I’m going to have to write another post.
    So, what did they do with that money and why did they change their accounting page?
    Well, one good thing you can take from this is that it seems conclusive evidence that they aren’t CIA fronts. I don’t think the CIA would let them do something so blatantly stupid.

  • John

    It is obvious to everyone, so we should just say it? Alterman and Juan Cole are Al Qaeda plants sent to spread anti-American propaganda. This has to be true since Alterman is such a determined anti-American Marxist.

  • worker_unit

    And why is that? Because terrorists and murderers attack people who would vote, attack the schools — schools!…
    Are you wingers’ arguments always so weak that you have to hide behind children when you make them?

  • LT

    i’m not really sure that i understand your point worker_unit. i’m not sayin its wrong or right, i just don’t understand. could you elaborate? Hiding behind children?

  • I think Shelley has hit the nail on the head regarding Alterman. I came to the same conclusion about Alterman during my pre-9/11 days when I subscribed to the Nation. That magazine took a turn toward being a sophomoric student paper when Katrina Vanden Heuvel took over as editor. No one typified this more than Eric Alterman. Even back when his views didn’t cause me ideological agita I found his writing to be annoyingly smug and lightweight. And this was when Hitchens was still there; the contrast was stark.
    So I find it particularly amusing that Alterman calls your daring to criticize him ‘anti-intellectual.’ That gave me a good laugh.
    I was going to sarcastically suggest that he’s the kind of grandiose hack who ought to write for Rolling Stone. But I just checked his bio and he did write for Rolling Stone. It’s not such a coincidence. There’s a particular brand of narcissistic blather that some of the writers for that magazine foist on the world.

  • At January 28, 2005 07:24 AM Tex said:
    >No, he’s talking about the money donated to the “Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party,” which, interestingly enough, has changed. The screen shot (screen shot here)I took the day I emailed (Jan 24) Omar to inquire what they did with the money (which he never answered, by the way), shows a wire transfer to Ali on 24-Sep-04 for 3,260.00 and another wire transfer to Ali for 8,000.00 om 16-Nov-04. Amusingly, those figures have now changed.
    Interestingly but unamusingly enough, Tex, your last link goes to the Iraq the Model donations page, while your screen shot was of the Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party donations page. And, in the IPDP donations page, those figures have absolutely not changed.
    Now I could speculate on who might be so undeservedly paying you for what could be construed as clumsy attempts at mendacious slander; but I will refrain from doing so.

  • tex

    Yes, you are correect.
    The “Pro-Democracy party” info is still there, it just isn’t linked from the ITM front page anymore and they’re both pages on the Pro-Democracy Party site.
    So, where did the $11,000 wire transfers to Ali from the IPD and the $1,000 from ITM go? Any ideas? Looks like Ali came into about $9,000 in one day- Nov 16. Less than a month later, he quit ITM after having his trip to the US canceled.
    Is Ali still in the Party? Are Ali and Mohammed still candidates? Are they going to disclose how they spent their campaign contributions?

  • jeremy in NYC

    Wow. The CIA is trying to buy Iraq for $12,000. I knew there were accusations that the US was trying to do this on the cheap, but still…..

  • Mark Tinder

    Alterman also makes the ridiculous comment about how the UN “awarded half of Palestine” to the Jews. This is, in my opinion, deliberately mis-leading, in that it conveniently ignores the fact that, long before the establishment of the State of Israel, the British government “awarded” (ie, simply gave away) approximately 80% of Palestine to an Arab sheik who wasn’t even from there. (Perhaps Alterman has heard of Jordan?) If what then remained was split more or less evenly between the Jews and Arabs, that would amount to about 10% of Palestine by my reckoning. Apparently, Alterman is as mathematically challenged as he is morally challenged.

  • JP

    “Especially if you’re the trophy natives in a five-city American tour heavily covered by the media and every warblogger on the planet, the highlight of which is a meeting with the ever-so-popular-in-Iraq George W. Bush,” writes Tex.
    “Trophy natives” is Tex’s definition of folk risking their lives to build a free media and a free Iraq. What a jerk.

  • tex

    “Trophy natives” is Tex’s definition of folk risking their lives to build a free media and a free Iraq.
    No, that is how Jeff and Hake treated them. They lessened the chances that Omar and Mohammed could accomplish anything by parading them around the US and dragging them to the White House. Ali reacted with rage (accusing them of breaking their promise of “no media”) and then the ITM bloggers split up. They were used.

  • Zeus

    Hark, someone is doubting the power of blogs! Where are my thunderbolts?

  • tb

    Hate to ruin the hate fest here, but tex has a pretty good point. We have only a couple days till the outcome though. We’ll see whose grip on reality is tenuous. My vote is against Bush on principle. To blame any of this mess on liberals or liberal media or liberal whatever is to be already divorced from reality. So those of you in that category are fortunate you don’t need to wait till Monday. For myself I am more concerned for the American lives we wasted so that this freak show could take place. For that Bush will never be forgiven and never should.

  • Richard Aubrey

    Let me speculate:
    Alterman hopes the effort in Iraq fails.
    One way to help that failure is to discredit Iraqi supporters of freedom and elections. One way to discredit them is to link them to the CIA.
    Further, people who support the effort–who are working for the US (font of all evil) are themselves evil, and must be killed. Linking them to the CIA will make it more likely that will happen.
    Alterman is no innocent. He knows exactly what he’s doing and why.

  • Paul: As far as I know, you’re talking about tip jar gifts from readers. Does Atrios need to tell you what he does with his tip jar money?
    Duncan asks for support for the site, not for himself. Unlike the Fadhil Bros., Duncan has to pay for bandwidth used.
    As for the assertion made by one of your dittoheads that its okay to speculate about Alterman being paid by Saddam because Saddam was paying American journalists…. didn’t he confuse Bush with Saddam?

  • glenmore

    In one of Dennis Miller’s first shows, he had Alterman as a guest. If you can find this clip, it is a must see. As only Dennis Miller can, he just castrates Alterman, by doing not much more than giving Alterman enough rope to hang himself. After the abruptly ended segment, Dennis puts his arm on Eric’s shoulder in consolation. For a moment I thought the seething Eric was going to turn and slug Dennis.

  • tb

    Uhhhhh Hellooo Dennis Miller is comedian, syncophant and Bush bootlicker. Eric Alterman is a journalist. Are you people from another universe? You actually assume that a smart ass version of a Don Rickles comedian is insightful commentary. What does an education agenda mean to you people? More pop in schools and less milk?

  • Patricia

    Why doesn’t anyone investigate the identity of Riverbend, the only blogger who remains in deep cover and who has refused all interviews, even anonymous email or phone interviews?
    Oh, that’s right, she’s on the right side–against the US.

  • tex

    Is there a Paypal button on Riverbend’s blog? Is she running for election and soliciting donations?

  • Too often, mainstream media go to a shallow well (a short list of bloggers which includes Jarvis, Wonkette’s Ana Marie Cox, Andrew Sullivan and Alterman) when booking talent for their ubiquitous talking-pundit formats. These bloggers often boast of their appearances in advance so their fans can tune in. Alas, the intense heat of the kliegs is starting to swell some of their heads. This dispute between these two ‘Titans’ of the ring is evidence of this.
    In one corner you have Jarvis, who has fashioned himself as the patron saint of Iraqi Bloggers, recently skewering the New York Times’ Sarah Boxer for an admittedly sloppy piece on two pro-American Iraqi bloggers. In the article Boxer speculates that the blogging duo were CIA operatives. A deeply shocked Jarvis called Boxer’s article, “irresponsible, sloppy, lazy, inaccurate, incomplete, exploitive, biased, and — worst of all — dangerous, putting the lives of its subjects at risk.”
    Through it all, Jarvis fails to weigh the possible consequences of another event. Prior to Boxer’s story, the bloggers in question received an invitation to come to America and meet President Bush at the White House — a friendly encounter, widely covered in mainstream press, which likely did much more to imperil Omar and Mohammed than the Times.
    In the other you have Alterman. I’ve been in the same room when someone questioned his journalistic chops — something that seems to occur every time I mention Eric’s name — and his response was not pretty. My theory: the shrillness of the defense is proportional to the accuracy of the charge. Alterman’s reporting seems too closely in step with the DNC agenda now being championed by the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, where — surprise, surprise — he serves as a Senior Fellow.
    I’m still scoring the bout as Jarvis: 3, Alterman: 2. Given their track records, both seem incapable of a genuine takedown on this one.

  • NewEnglandDevil

    “that an Iraqi might have a tie to Iraq and you do jeopardize their life.”
    I believe that the text should read “tie to the USA” or “tie to the CIA.”
    I’m sure no one was confused, but just the same…

  • Franky

    Does anyone know where to find the infamous clip of Alterman on Dennis Miller’s show? Everyone seemed to have linked to one site that no longer has it.

  • EverKarl

    Apparently, some people think that the risk posed by having one’s name appear in the press — even as a White House invitee — is the same as that posed by a baseless innuendo that these people are CIA plants, particularly after the visit is covered by the media. And I love that the same crowd that casts aspersions on the election by noting that the candidates often have to campaign in secret are generally the same folks who tended to dismiss the risk posed by the MR/Cole/Boxer/Alterman smear job in the first place.
    Then we have the lovely paul, who thinks “Duncan asks for support for the site, not for himself.” I didn’t know Duncan’s server was HAL 2000! Paying for Duncan’s property or service does not support Duncan? Right.
    And we have tex, who was honest enough to admit in a prior thread that he’s against the election, but still seems quite concerned with how someone’s donations are being spent. tex should talk to paul; donations to the party do not go to support the candidates, so don’t worry about it, right?
    However, by my count, the trolling ratio here has dropped considerably. Of course, if there’s any violence over the weekend — as there almost certainly will be — I would expect a few more of the usual suspects to come by to gloat.

  • Gunther

    Re: Your email on Lincoln and the 1860 election
    It was indeed a minor observation, and an entirely misleading one. In the 1860 election there was no secret or mystery about who the candidates were. The candidates for president were not mere numbers on a page. Also, while it’s true that Lincoln slipped into Washington in disguise, it’s historically inaccurate to say that he was disguised as a woman. Nothing supports this, although it’s a popular misconception. I think it’s important to distinguish between the real need to provide security to elected officials who face potential dangers, and the ludicrous situation where people don’t even know who they are voting for.

  • Eileen

    Lovely paul? While you suggested I was ‘displaying overwhelming ignorance’, you apparently failed to notice you were addressing the wrong commenter. I never mentioned Plame. Here’s your mirror, ratboy.

  • Ryan

    This is the same guy who thinks uncle tom and house slave are okay to use but flips out when someone calls him a self hating jew.
    All such phrases are bullshit but he has no problem when they suit his need.

  • Keith

    What does it take for a “journalist” like Alterman to be fired for irresponsible speculation? What if those ITM bloggers are assassinated and a note is stabbed into their chests saying Death to CIA? Would that be enough for someone with authority to connect the dots back to these people?
    On the blogosphere we see lie after lie after lie from these people and they seem to live in an entirely consequence-free environment. What does it take? What accountabilities does a journalist really have? What can get one fired?
    I’m really curious…

  • Jimmy Robinson

    TB –
    Have you no shame? Dennis Miller isn’t worthy of eating the corn out of Don Rickles’ turds. I’d accuse you of being on Karl Rove’s payroll, but several hacks have already used that line today.

  • HH

    “Uhhhhh Hellooo Dennis Miller is comedian, syncophant and Bush bootlicker. Eric Alterman is a journalist.”
    Replace that with the terms “Jon Stewart,” “DNC” and “Stephen Hayes” and the hypocrisy is clear.

  • Artie Lange

    Jon Stewart makes fun of Democrats and his fellow liberals all the time, when was the last time Miller made fun of Bush?

  • Jon

    This thread is too serious. How about something a little lighter?
    Here are just some of the submissions regarding the pay-for-pundit episode from Perrspectives Name That Bush Scandal Contest:
    Pay for Plaudits
    Some Like It Bought
    Pimp My Pride
    To see the prize winners and a much larger list, check out the Name That Bush Scandal Contest Results today!

  • Jim Madison’s Dog

    Jeff —
    You cannot be as dumb as your “reader Edward” thinks you are. Lincoln did not campaign in secret. He campaigned the way that everybody campaigned in 1860 and, for that matter, he campaigned the same way in 1864, in the middle of the Civil War. People knew who Lincoln was, which is why they had to smuggle him into DC AFTER he was elected. Because there were people just on the other side of the Potomac who wanted to shoot him. He was, at the point of smuggling, the well-known elected leader of a country with whom the other guys were preparing to fight a war. This has as much to do with the elections in Iraq as it does with the College of Cardinals. Please cease from linking to people who have only read half of one history book. Thank you.

  • Out of time

    I loathe Alterman but Miller did not “castrate” him. Miller was somewhat rude and barely attacked Alterman’s flimsy arguments.
    I can’t believe I’ve wasted yet more time on an activity that involves Alterman. Ugh.

  • NewEnglandDevil

    Recently Miller and a guest had a laugh about our President’s public speaking ability, though he was very supportive of what the President meant to say. :)
    I don’t know which show it was as I don’t watch every night, but it was in the last 2-3 weeks.

  • Oh for goodness sake — you were an embarrassment at TV Guide – and THAT’s saying something. Alterman is a journalist. You are a hack.
    Please — just go away and stop making a fool of yourself.

  • Franky

    Dennis Miller two sources of jokes: a moneky that dresses up 2) desperatly trying to eek out a laugh by joking about how no one laughed at one of his monologue jokes.
    In the panel discussion, Miller gets slapped around when someone smart comes on, but given the setting it hardly attracts very serious people.
    That show is in a coma and just begging someone to pull the plug.
    And joking about the President’s struggle with the English language hardly constitutes serious criticism of his policies (broadly support what the president’s doing, but don’t be the first to justify every single screw-up).

  • JR Dunn

    A comment on Edward’s comment: Lincoln did not sneak into Washington dressed as a woman. That was an after-the-fact Confederate canard. He did have to travel in a secret train due to the fact that a mob was awaiting him in Baltimore. That “woman” bit sounds like something Alterman would use, doesn’t it?

  • WJA

    In the Middle East, like most of the developing world, quite a bit of credence is given to conspiracy theories that involve the CIA, for just about everything. Shortly after the fall of Baghdad, some readers may remember, rumors spread that *Saddam* was a CIA agent, and had been all along. (I mean, there’s that picture of him shaking hands with Rumsfeld– CAN’T YOU SEE WHAT THAT MEANS?) So any brain-addled ruminations from Alterman are mild compared to most rumor mongering already going on in the fabled Arab street. I doubt it’ll endanger Iraqi bloggers more than they already are.
    Alterman’s failing here, ironically enough, is a failure of compassion, an unwillingness to be touched even slightly by the very real hopes of some 80% of an entire nation of people who’ve suffered for decades. They say something like this:
    “I am happier than on my wedding day,” said Saja Verdi, 26, an unemployed mother of two. “We are going to a start a new life in Iraq after long years of oppression.”
    And Alterman feels… nothing. Or worse, pity and suspicion. (Poor misled fool, or a CIA plant.) This evokes some sort of addendum to Churchill’s adage, “If you’re conservative in youth, you have no heart, and if you’re a liberal in old age, you have no brain.” And evidently, if you’re an old liberal with a conservative distrust of nation building, you have no heart *or* brain.

  • J. Peden

    Dean Esmay:
    No, Dean, you “work for” the conspiracy nuts who think that hiv does not cause aids, and that they can prove it, which they can’t and didn’t come close to on your site.
    This is perhaps worse than working for the CIA in my book, given the harm you can inflict upon peope with hiv-aids and hiv+ without aids.
    Why don’t you get voluntarily injected with the hiv rather than trying to convince others with the hiv already to do the experimenting for you and also taking the risk for the sake of your irrational proclivities?
    How many serious, logical, informed, and tactful people have you banned from your site, or despicably disparaged to date in regard to this matter? I can name them.
    Is the application of a double standard in confronting the hiv-aids question better than working for the CIA?
    Give it up, if only for your own sake.
    I don’t care what Jeff does as long as he doesn’t do what you and Aterman do, an identity which I could go into further. But here is no place for it. If you want to do it, do it on your site. As I am not able to respond there, I will be content to not do so, but rather let your case make my case.

  • BumperStickerist

    in what can only be described as ‘a miracle’,
    Oliver Willis points out a bit of potential
    hypocricy on the part of Jeff.
    Jeff’s take on his own blog regarding Salam Pax
    from 2003 is at odds with Jeff’s current position on Iraqi bloggers.

  • That would be the Oliver Willis who works for David Brock? No changes of heart there, eh?

  • Gary Johnston

    You have be nuts to think Dennis Miller won that segment with Alterman. After it aired, the show was re-worked and Miller called Alterman to apologize.
    Here’s a cache of the New York Observer article on that show –
    Mr. Miller, seemingly at a loss for words, or having a very bad day, didn’t even try to argue. At first, he made a halfhearted and strangely unfunny attempt at mocking Mr. Alterman–and then just melted down entirely.
    “Oh, just finish the fucking segment,” he said, visibly frustrated, slumping over in his chair, face propped up in his hand.
    “This is your mode of argument?” asked a confused Mr. Alterman. “This is the best you can do?”
    “Yeah,” said Mr. Miller forlornly, sinking deeper in his chair.

    Again – you have to be nuts to think this went well for Miller. He basically broke down on the air.

  • Franky

    You found video of it? I’ve searched but all links go to a dead screen.

  • Well, have Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher started blogging from Baghdad yet?

  • Jim Madison’s Dog

    Added historical oddity in re: the “dressed as a woman” thing. This must have been a popular slur at the time — the “you hate freedom” of its day, I reckon — because the Union spread the same untrue slander about Jefferson Davis when they caught him in Georgia in 1865.
    But, Jeff, really, don’t pick fights with actual historians, OK? They don’t argue with you about Sally Struthers.

  • If it’s responsible to add fuel to the speculative fire about CIA-sponsored bloggers, it must be OK to speculate on Alterman’s possible connnection to Al Qaeda, Saddam’s people, or the Iranian mullahs, I suppose.

  • Joe Fodor

    The story about Lincoln dressing up as a woman (or as a Scottsman in a kilt) in order to sneak into Washington after his election was a libel perpetrated by the writer Joseph Howard, who later in the war had another story printed in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that designed to work on war fears to move the price of some stock.
    The real story of how Lincoln got to Washington is in Alan Pinkerton’s autobiography, Lincoln’s personal guard.
    He was a good friend and biographer of Henry Ward Beecher, who got him sprung from Ft. Lafayette federal prison after that second infraction. He lived to a ripe old age and continued his career to became one of the leading lights of New York’s journalistic establishment.
    Don’t believe me? As the saying goes, you can look it up!

  • Jeff, I think you’re a great guy, but as long as it takes you this long to figure out that Alterman is a Leftist putz and as long as you call reasoned, respectable Conservative talk show hosts like Michael Medved “rabid conservatives” (whom I’m listening to as I type this) and equating him with Pat Buchanan, you can’t be helped, although I think you’re “getting it” very, very slowly.
    Thanks for all the help, encouragement and support you’ve given to those wonderful Iraqi bloggers, too.

  • aninedigitnumber

    While I am not particularly a fan of Alterman’s, I find Jarvis’s fury here to be both silly and quite hypocritical.
    First, if the ITM bloggers’ lives are in danger (a possibility I do not discount), it strikes me that this danger arises primarily from their own willingness to allowed their identities to be known. It’s not like Alterman outed these guys, nor have they shied away from publicity — good Lord, they publicly met with the POTUS. If there is a target on their backs, it seems ludicrous to suggest that it was put there by Alterman or Cole.
    Further, I fail to see how speculation that the ITM bloggers are CIA plants somehow places them in any greater danger than they already face. (Yeah, I can just imagine Joe Jihadist thinking, “Boy, I was just going to ignore those ITM guys that Buzzmachine’s always promoting until I heard Alterman on MSNBC saying they might be CIA stooges.”) If Islamic extremists want to harm the ITM bloggers, I suspect their pro-Americanism, the meeting with Dubya, and their election ambitions (all helpfully publicized and promoted by Jarvis) provide ample incentive.
    Finally, as Oliver Willis points out –http://www.oliverwillis.com/node/view/1756 –Jarvis sure didn’t seem too concerned about endangering Salam Pax by speculating that his family was “apparently connected with Saddam and the Ba’athists.” I’d love to hear Jarvis’ explanation for why his speculation was OK but Alterman’s was not.

  • >It’s not like Alterman outed these guys, nor have they shied away from publicity — good Lord, they publicly met with the POTUS.
    I was thinking the same thing. Jeff – care to explain what variety of Iraqi insurgent would think “ok these ITM blogger guys met with Bush. no worries” but then somehow learn from MSGOP (oops I meant MSNBC) that ITM bloggers have a charge of possibly being CIA plants by Juan Cole and Eric Alterman, and then change their mind. Our mythical MSNBC-watching Iraqi insurgent now thinks “Why, Eric Alterman said they could concievably on the CIA’s payroll — that puts their meeting with Bush in a whole new light! Death to ITM, praise Allah!”
    This is highly ridiculous. Again Jeff: interested in your explanation about how meeting with Bush and letting your identity out less dangerous for Iraqi bloggers than Alterman and Cole’s speculation?

  • Hal

    Well, I would speculate that their defense would be that Pax isn’t running in the election, and as we all know, candidates running in the Iraqi election are pretty much assured of at least an assassination attempt if they’re revealed. And so it’s okay to out him because he is, after all, a traitor to the cause. And doesn’t Pax live in England or something?
    That would be sufficient enough spin to keep the attack zombies herded in the right direction and while they tried to argue about whether Pax deserves to die or not, the brain trust will think up something else to bludgeon the good doctor with.
    I’m sure the word “pondscum” will figure prominently in the counter attack.

  • jbbuhs

    Wouldn’t the update prove Alterman’s point? If the best parallel you can draw is a country in the midst of a civil war, then is that to say that Iraq is in one too? The US came out of the civil war as a unified country, possibly more unified than it went in. But that wasn’t the obvious outcome in 1860 and it’s not the obvious outcome of what’s going on in Iraq. Is your model really a country split in two with different elections different government and locked in mortal combat? You might want to think that through a bit more.

  • Jarvis sure didn’t seem too concerned about endangering Salam Pax by speculating that his family was “apparently connected with Saddam and the Ba’athists.” I’d love to hear Jarvis’ explanation for why his speculation was OK but Alterman’s was not.
    Amen. And lest anyone forget, Jeff’s specific recommendation was that Pax “should reveal his name and his family history and his positions and stop hiding behind his nom de blog” — thereby making himself an easier target.
    But I can understand Jeff’s protectiveness toward the ITM bloggers. That site is like porn for hawks: “Just call 1-900-IraqTheModel and hear real live Iraqis tell you how much they love Americans … ‘Oooh, baby, liberate me again!'”
    If it weren’t for ITM, war supporters like Jeff might actually have to pay attention to the news and feel some responsibility for the fiasco they supported. And no way do they intend to do that.

  • Jeff Jarvis:
    Why would Eric Alterman speculate aloud and often that the “Iraq the Model” bloggers might have CIA links? When doing so places them in mortal danger?
    Because Mr. Alterman wants to place them in mortal danger. He’ll exult in their murders the same way that some of his fellow travellers exulted in Michael Kelly’s death.
    It’s the simplest explanation, really.

  • Mork

    The list of inconsistencies compiled by aninedigitnumber and noam chimpsky is incomplete. To fully understand the absurdity of Jeff’s rage, you also need to be aware that, according to Ali, the brothers’ visit to the White House was reported in the middle-eastern Arabic Language press!
    In other words, Jeff assisted in arranging a media event that resulted in the Arab press identifying the brothers as being sufficiently close to the Americans to be invited to the White House, but his outrage implies that he believes that is less dangerous than the arts section of the NYT and Eric Alterman on a barely-watched cable talk show repeating the obvious speculation that these guys have had some contact with official, rather than unofficial instruments of administration policy.
    And, of course, Jeff is not at all concerned about the fact that the National Review had reported the rumors weeks befored that be because he knows that the writer is a friend of, and was probably prompted to write the article by, one or more of Jeff’s SoA buddies?

  • /pd

    Has anyone read the debrief on humint from DOD

  • So Jeff, where’s the beef? We’re raising perfectly logical points. Oliver Willis has shown examples of you doing the same thing Alterman did for an Iraqi blogger whose politics you don’t like. You’re big on oppenness; answer our questions then, preferably on your blog. If you ignore these legitimate responses you’re a fat hypocrite.

  • Oh, come on, noam. Jeff isn’t fat.

  • J. Peden

    The attempt to label the Iraqi bloggers as possible CIA agents is really very telltale about the mentality and mentation of the Left.
    Painting the Iraqi bloggers as CIA agents sets them up to have “deserved” what they get, especially in the minds of loonies like Kos. Is this what Alterman intends? Will he, too, be gratified in this way, the way Kos was in regard to the killing of the American contractors? Does Alterman now wish for this? Does he seek this gratification?
    In death it will not be possible to prove the bloggers were not CIA agents.
    Perhaps the terrorists will select the “CIA” bloggers hoping to get an assist politically from those like Kos through further propaganda, regardless. It is fairly simple to see how this might work. Again, it will not be possible to prove the bloggers were not CIA agents.
    Oh no, that couldn’t happen could it?
    The CIA label also disparages what the bloggers are doing as ungenuine, bought, thus minimizing the concept that people want freedom regardless of who they are, which seems to be denied by the Left as a component of its fantasyland.
    Or maybe it is not really a fantasyland in the minds of the Left.
    Therefore: do those who make this bigoted claim really believe what they say, perhaps because they are talking about themselves and cannot identify with such desires for freedom because they themselves don’t have them? So that maybe they don’t even know what they are?
    If so, then we can understand at least in part the Left’s opposition to the war on terror: for their thinking then seems to merge with the Islamofascists’ failure to conceive of freedom and thus to hate it, in a bigoted or essentially racist way.
    Does the Left hate democracy’s freedom? Does it hate free thought? Does it even know what free thought is?
    The answer is quite clear to me.

  • I never had any reason to give any thought to the issue of whether Eric Alterman has ties to terrorist organizations until now. But it wouldn

  • Alterman has declared an Islamic fatwa against the ITM bloggers: he’s trying to get them killed by tying them to the Evil Capitalist American Infidel CIA.
    He should be prosecuted for conspiracy and attempted murder.
    BTW, to the cowardly commenters “noam chimsky” and “ninedigitnumber” who can’t use real names, let me point out that Salam Pax’ family were privileged under Saddam’s rule, but nobody has declared fatwa on such people.

  • Benjamin

    Amusing to see Jarvis having yet another amusing pillowfight. Cole, Alterman… Whose next?

  • Mork,
    I see you’re back defending Alterman’s slanderous speculation that pro-American Iraqi bloggers might be CIA plants.
    Question: What do you think of the fact that someone in the White House may have disclosed that Joe Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, had been a covert CIA employee? Would that have been okay, too?
    I remember a lot of people getting upset about that (or at least pretending to get upset), since it effectively ended Ms. Plame’s career as a covert WMD analyst. Some people were even saying it could have endangered her somehow.
    Was the outing of Ms. Plame a grave miscarriage of justice, a high crime or misdemeanor? If you will, please compare and/or contrast with the idle tarring of bloggers like Iraq the Model as CIA agents.

  • banned.elke

    Think John Cleese in a Fish Called Wanda….
    Jeff, you been fisked real good!

  • People in this thread keeping bringing up Plame as if it is somehow relevant. If George W Bush himself ratted on Plame and caused her to be machine gunned down in cold blood, what would that have to do with Alterman spreading unfounded rumors about completely different people? Some kind of justification? You did it, so we can do it too, nyah nyah nyah nyah NYAH nyah?
    I’m also having a hard time coming to grips with the “Jeff the hypocrite” charge. Even if JJ is a hypocrite, this excuses Alterman from repeating phony, trumped up charges, how? If JJ realizes that something is wrong, doesn’t he have a duty to say so, even if he made the same mistake himself once? Or is he condemned forever to condone bad behavior for fear of the H word?
    Saying “he did it, he’s a hypocrite, I can do it too” isn’t a defense, anyway, you know. It’s an admission of guilt. Instead of obsessing over everybody you hate, take a moment and think seriously about how Alterman makes the Democrat party look to everybody else, and how, in doing backflips to defend him, you weaken the party by helping to define it as a meaningless party of backbiters and justifiers.

  • tb

    Jimmy – has rightly corrected me “Have you no shame? Dennis Miller isn’t worthy of eating the corn out of Don Rickles’ turds.”
    I have never liked Millers smart ass hipster schtick. I am not a prude but his usual way to get a laugh is to see how often he can say fuck. He did get a ride on air force one though, you suppose he got a check too? Would you bet money he didn’t get a nice fat taxpayer check?
    Anyway that has not much to do with anything. Still I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Jeffs outrage over the Iraqi blogger thing. I just don’t really get it, does anyone seriously think there is ANYTHING this administration won’t do (and apparently anything it can’t sell) to push its agenda? I am not a big conspiracy theorist either, but these guys make me a believer. And skip the cheap shots about left, liberal whatever, Pat Buchanan shares my distrust of these guys. I do not believe for a minute they care about anything but using the Iraqi bloggers anymore than they have concern for the lives of americans getting shot defending their botched ill-fated poorly thought out policies. They just hand over the 12,000 dollar death benefit and wave a flag. They are war criminals, angry middle aged war criminals looking for riches in them thar hills.

  • Mork

    I see you’re back defending Alterman’s slanderous speculation that pro-American Iraqi bloggers might be CIA plants.
    Well, kind of not … I don’t really care so much for or about Alterman … I’m more interested in the psychology behind Jeff’s over-reaction.
    Question: What do you think of the fact that someone in the White House may have disclosed that Joe Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, had been a covert CIA employee? Would that have been okay, too?
    Chalk and cheese. Two big differences. First, that case involved an official who knew for a fact that Plame was a CIA agent, and disclosed that fact. Apart from anything else, that’s just flat out illegal. Speculating when you have no actual knowledge is not illegal.
    Secondly, if ITM were a CIA operation (and, BTW, my best guess is that, whatever their faults, they’re not working for anyone but themselves), it would be a case of a government agency deliberately and covertly attempting to influence domestic political debate through misinformation. If I were a journalist, and I learned of that occurring in any circumstance, I’d be pretty tempted to go public with that info, no matter what the goal of the misinformation was and even though the disclosure might be illegal.

  • Hi carsonfire,
    I brought up Ms. Plame twice.
    It’s relevant, in fact it’s very relevant.
    Either the CIA is paying some Iraqi blogger/bloggers or it’s not.
    If it is, then accusing some Iraqi blogger of working for the CIA is like revealing Ms. Plame as a WMD analyst for the CIA, only just about a thousand times worse.
    If some Democrat/lefty son of a b—h like Mr. Alterman is willing to endanger some brave Iraqi bloggers such as Iraq the Model, than why are some people who thought Bush/Cheney should have been impeached over the Plame kerfuffle taking a stand pointing 180 degrees away on the Alterman smear?
    If I had to speculate, I would guess that CIA agents deserve to have their cover honored only if they are trying to attack President Bush.

  • EverKarl

    “Finally, as Oliver Willis points out –http://www.oliverwillis.com/node/view/1756 –Jarvis sure didn’t seem too concerned about endangering Salam Pax by speculating that his family was “apparently connected with Saddam and the Ba’athists.” I’d love to hear Jarvis’ explanation for why his speculation was OK but Alterman’s was not.”
    How ’bout answering a simple question? Jeff’s comment put Salam Pax in danger from…..?
    The Ba’athists and Islamofascists? No, they would be on the same side.
    The coalition? Any evidence that our troops are going around murdering people for blogging?
    As usual, none of the trolls has any defense of what Alterman did, which was the subject of Jeff’s post. Yet they feel compelled to attack him and the ITM bloggers. And as usual, those attacks are absurd, such the notion that the danger caused by baselessly suggesting someone is a CIA plant is the same risk posed by reporting that pro-democracy bloggers met with the President. Granted, Ali felt threatened when that coverage got translated, but if you’re going to run for public office, your name is going to get around; that risk was inevitable. The risk posed by the smear was not.
    So why do the trolls attack? Because Jeff supported the invasion of Iraq? That cannot be the answer, because Jeff is on record as believing that Bush had not made the case for it.
    In tex’s case, we know it’s because he opposes the election. Make of that what you will.
    But how about the other trolls? Why does Jeff’s writing in support of elections or pro-democracy blogging send them into such a tizzy that they feel compelled to engage in stinkbomb tactics, trying desperately to change the subject to anything else? Some want to make this about psychology? Perhaps they should start by taking a look in the mirror.

  • Hi mork,
    Thanks for answering my questions.
    You’re answer however is jiggling the little arrow on my irony meter right off the scale.
    Secondly, if ITM were a CIA operation… , it would be a case of a government agency deliberately and covertly attempting to influence domestic political debate through misinformation.
    That’s exactly the reason someone leaked Ms. Plame’s name to the journalist Robert Novak.
    The leaker wanted Mr. Novak to know that Ms. Plame had nominated her husband, Joe Wilson, to go on a fact-finding trip to Niger to see if Saddam had tried to purchase yellow-cake uranium ore there. The leaker thought this was a blatant attempt by Ms. Plame, in her capacity as an WMD analyst at a government agency, to use misinformation about yellowcake to influence the domestic political debate about Bush’s war rationales.
    Speculating when you have no actual knowledge is not illegal.
    Joe, no one is saying Alterman is breaking any law, or comes close to breaking any law. We’re saying he is selfishly/ignorantly/arrogantly/needlessly/irresponsibly subjecting brave bloggers to more danger than they were exposed to before. Illegally has got nothing to do with it.
    But you are correct to say this is a big difference: the Plame disclosure was at most a technical transgression that may or may not have damaged Ms. Plame’s career as an analyst; the Alterman speculation is a moral transgression that may or may not get someone tortured and killed.

  • J. Peden

    I agree with Bennet and Patterico.
    It seems to me that certain Left/ists are in effect possibly targeting the ITM bloggers for death, regardless of the veracity of the CIA taint. And that these Left/ists will possibly receive a reward if it all goes “well”.
    The tarred or tagged ITM bloggers are virtually marked for death in particular by these Left/ists, because the terrorists will see they will most likely get propagandistic help at the least from those doing the tarring, as they already have, if they complete the transaction. The Left/ists certainly oppose the U.S. winning, at least in the way it is being done which necessarily involves defeating terrorism. Naturally, the terrorists have observed this.
    The terrorists want to win precisely because they hate freedom, or at least partly because they do not value it at all. But, regardless, they do want to win. So why would they not accept help from whomever seems to offer it and foster its authors? Essentially, the terrorists will potentially reward the tarrers or taggers, and in more than one way from the point of view of the Left/ists, if I understand them correctly.
    The communication from the taggers to the terrorists seems to not need to be any clearer. The CIA taint has been widely made and remade for no apparent reason, unsupported as it is. If the bloggers in turn die, these Left/ists will probably be gratified, 1] because they will perceive that they helped make this happen, thus showing a power involving raw control;2] because they want to “win” at all costs not involving themselves and the deaths can be used propagandistically toward this end; and,3] because these Left/ists simply don’t seem to like free speech and thought, apparently hating it in an essentially racist way. Why, indeed, are they singling out free speech bloggers against whom they have no evidence at all of an alleged connection between these bloggers and the CIA? Are they merely loose cannons or simply bonkers?
    And these Left/ists will have in effect shown another bond with the terrorists by doing this exact thing, targeting free speech bloggers.
    Therefore, what these Left/ists do in effect is to conspire in the potential commission of a hate crime, one against free speech bloggers. They also conspire against the U.S. and free speech. So they now better hope it does not happen. There is a mechanism which seems clearly possible to put into operation without any formal communication at all between Left/ists and terrorists.

  • EverKarl

    Everybody bookmark this post, because I’m about to defend mork, if only on a tiny little point.
    According to Matthew Goggins, “The leaker thought this was a blatant attempt by Ms. Plame, in her capacity as an WMD analyst at a government agency, to use misinformation about yellowcake to influence the domestic political debate about Bush’s war rationales.”
    I don’t think we know that, even though I might also suspect it. The leak may have been intended, in whole or in part, to suggest that Wilson went on that trip due to nepotism, not any expertise on the issue, thereby diminishing Wilson as a critic.
    Aside from that small point, I pretty much agree with the rest of Matthew’s post, especially the final graf.

  • Hi EverKarl,
    Thanks for your gentle and gentlemanly disagreement.
    I agree that we don’t know the motive of the leaker for sure. If I had to lay odds, though, I imagine it would be at least 5 to 1 that it happened more or less the way I described.
    And since Jeff knows Iraq the Model much better than any of us do, I’ll defer to his authority and assume that they are most certainly not CIA plants.

  • EverKarl

    As to the leaker’s motive, it’s not an either/or proposition. It could easily be both.
    As for the ITM bloggers, I think I’m all over the record as noting there’s no evidence to support that smear. And that’s why the reaction of the trolls is so interesting.

  • Sorry, EverKarl, I didn’t mean to suggest that I thought you thought that the smear had any basis. I threw that in there just to make clear where I stood.
    About the leaker’s motive, I agree with you once again. I think the motive you describe was also in play. I wasn’t even thinking of it as quite a separate motive, but you are correct to make the distinction.

  • J. Peden,
    You might note the similarity of the language I used to that used by Alterboy.
    My theory is certainly no less ludicrous, though — I’ll give you that.

  • banned.elke

    When Jeff attacked Salam, there were all sorts of revenge killings in Iraq against former Baathists. Not only did Jeff attack Salam, he linked to a bogus article written by David Warren that insinuated Salam was a torturer himself.
    So to answer your question, Jeff put Salam in danger from the recently freed Shiite Majority that was at that time already engaged in revenge killings against Baathists.

  • Thanks for the clarification, Matthew. There was only one other poster who mentioned Plame… my mistake was addressing the (bajillion) comments in general, because I must have been remembering some Plame-related arguments which were never introduced here from another board I had been reading on the same topic.
    The point you made about Plame is valid, of course, and would have been the perfect counter-argument to the same argument I, er, *thought* I was responding to.

  • /pd

    Why is everyone thinking its the CIA ?? could it not be the Pentagon -SSB ??
    Afterall, the faster democracy is staged in Iraq, the faster the troops can pull out !!!

  • 2LT Green

    Man… you guys on the left are freakin nuts. Never have I seen so many actually looking forward to, and hoping with all their collective might, that something as important to the US and Iraq as Democracy would fail, elections and all. And don’t deny it. It’s apparent that trying to prove the current administration wrong is more important than support for the ultimate goal of FREEDOM. Don’t you realize what is happening over here has the potential to make you and your family more safe in the US? Can you not see it? It’s called “cutting your nose off to spite your face.” To believe that some guys sittin around a coffee table came up with the idea to invade Iraq to get rich is ludicrous. What would they really have to gain – money? Do you think they really need it? When was the last time you saw a homeless former president or administration member? And once again, I will mention that you probably don’t have a clue as to real happenings over here. Guess what? I’m here and today people are voting – and yes, they know who they are voting for.
    2LT Green, Iraq

  • Don’t worry about it, Lt. Green.
    One Iraqi veteran has more influence than 1,000 lefty moonbats.
    Thanks for securing the elections over there, you guys are American and world heros.

  • 2LT Green

    Matthew, thanks for the positive comments. I’ll pass them on to my buddies. We appreciate the support from home.

  • Grand Moff Texan

    Hey, it’s not like the CIA’s known for that kind of thing or anything.

  • idahogie

    To 2LT Green, Iraq:
    I really, really, wish you weren’t over there. I’m sorry that our President lied to you and the American public in order to put you into harm’s way. However, that doesn’t justify you trashing those who opposed Bush’s War in the first place.
    If I see a safe falling out a window and heading right for you, I’d hollar, “get out of the way!” Advising you of the danger you face is not the same thing as wishing that something bad will happen to you. I’ve not seen anyone on the left wishing for bad things to happen in Iraq. On the contrary, the left is more concerned about the military deaths and injuries, the civilian deaths, and the ongoing torture than is the right, in general.
    I’m sorry that you feel the need to demonize anybody. Perhaps that’s indicative of the dangerous and nonsensical position that Bush has put you in.