Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Damned if they do, Damned if they don't

By now, you should have heard about the Associated Press' appalingly foolish story about a U.S. "soldier" kidnapped by Iraqi terrorists based on a picture posted on an Arabic language bulletin board website. The "soldier" is "Cody," a G.I. Joe doll sold in Kuwait. Wizbang has the full story. Read the comments at Wizbang for a good belly laugh.

This picture is as obviously fake as the "fake but accurate" cBS Bush National Guard memos. The flashing comparison on Little Green Footballs (I don't have time to find the exact link)between a Microsoft Word-generated memo and one of the supposedly circa-1970s Bush National Guard memos is just as compelling evidence of forgery as placing the fake picture of the "captured" U.S. "soldier" next to the box of the real G.I. Joe doll. Will the MSM apply the same standards to critics and the blogosphere as they did in the Memogate scandal - i.e., we must prove them wrong? And will they accept nothing less than metaphysical certainty of falsehood of the "I think, therefore I am" type?

These were the MSM's standards dealing with Memogate. If there is the smallest possibility that the fake memos might be real, then we can chalk the whole scandal up to time-pressured reporters trying to "scoop" their competitors, not to an anti-Bush partisan political agenda. The same arguments can be made about the picture's authenticity as the National Guard memos - we have no original to look at, just because there is one massively compelling explanation does not mean that the picture/memos cannot be authentic, etc.

If the MSM quickly dismisses this episode as a hoax, and admits it was played for fools, then they will basically be admitting that they subjected critics of the Bush National Guard memos to unfair standards of absolute proof before admitting (whoops, they haven't yet admitted the memos are fake - my bad) the memos are fake. If, instead, they stubbornly hold out hope that a shrunken head doll with plastic flash grenades on his vest is really a human being, then in the pubilc eye they will descend even further into the no standards, no fact-checking, partisan political hacks that many of us know they have been for a long time.

Correction: As Wizbang notes, the doll is not a G.I. Joe doll, but a Special Ops doll.


Blogger annika said...

Excellent post, Ben! Welcome to the blogosphere!

8:32 PM  

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