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Blogosphere Triumphalism

I'm not quite sure I grasp all the blogosphere triumphalism surrounding the Killian memos. After CBS ran the story, the conservative side of the 'sphere came up with dozens of purported debunkings of their authenticity, almost all of which turned out to be more purported than debunking. Then after a few days of back-and-forth, traditional reporters at The Washington Post came out with a more careful, more accurate, more actually-debunking story. The folks at PowerLine and LGF are, at best, Gettier cases, they didn't do any of the actual debunking. Instead, it was done by reporters working for major papers. And good for them. And shame on CBS. But I don't really see what the blogs had to do with it.

UPDATE: Discount Blogger says the bloggers "broke the story". But that's what I mean about Gettier cases (apologies for the technical philosophy reference, though) -- they didn't break the story. The stuff they posted -- proportional fonts didn't exist in 1971, you can't do a superscript on a typewriter, etc., etc. -- was all wrong. The Post's much more convincing analysis was based on comparing the purported Killian memos to other contemporaneous documents, something that, as far as I know, the 'sphere didn't do. If I'm wrong about that, then I'm wrong. But I don't think I am wrong.

If I do a post tomorrow claiming -- utterly without evidence -- that John Ashcroft is a closeted homosexual and then two weeks later a New York Times reporter unearths (non-forged) photos of Ashcroft with his gay lover, did I "break" the Gay Ashcroft story? Know, I didn't. I was just engaging in a little speculation driven by my partisan prejudices (I don't like Ashcroft) and a random bit of folk wisdom holding that strongly anti-gay folks are often closeted gays. The Times broke the story. Or, in the case of the Killian memos, USA Today and The Washington Post broke it by coming up with actual, accurate information that debunked them, rather than inaccurate evidence for a conclusion that happened to be correct.

September 14, 2004 | Permalink

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» I DON'T SEE WHAT THE BLOGS HAD TO DO WITH IT from DiscountBlogger
Matthew Yglesias doesn't believe that blogs played a significant role in the Memo case.The folks at PowerLine and LGF are, at best, Gettier cases, they didn't do any of the actual debunking. Instead, it was done by reporters working for... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 14, 2004 4:52:32 PM

» I DON'T SEE WHAT THE BLOGS HAD TO DO WITH IT from DiscountBlogger
Matthew Yglesias doesn't believe that blogs played a significant role in the Memo case.The folks at PowerLine and LGF are, at best, Gettier cases, they didn't do any of the actual debunking. Instead, it was done by reporters working for... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 14, 2004 5:12:23 PM

» Getting Technical about the Killian Memos from Crooked Timber
If Matt Yglesias is going to use philosophical technical jargon in political debates, he could at least try to be pedantic about it. After CBS ran the story, the conservative side of the ‘sphere came up with dozens of purported... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 14, 2004 7:03:03 PM

» Gettier from Three Guys
I was going to write a post about the Gettier problems surrounding the Killian memos and the right wing nutcases, but luckily, Matt Yglesias beat me to it. This is very simple. [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 14, 2004 8:54:54 PM

» Closing the Gap Between the First World and the Third from Michael J. Totten
Matthew Yglesias thinks the blogosphere is a little too quick to slap itself on the back for breaking Rathergate.I'm not quite sure I grasp all the blogosphere triumphalism surrounding the Killian memos. After CBS ran the story, the conservative side... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 14, 2004 10:08:52 PM

» The epistemology of document examination from Majikthise
The debate over the authenticity of the Killian memos has been very disappointing. A lot of bloggers have been crowing about their ability to create documents similar to the Killian memos in Word. As Brian Weatherson notes, they are fallaciously [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 14, 2004 10:28:00 PM

» Blogosphere big heads from The Liferaft of Love
Well, as Yglesias notes, most of the garbage produced by the blogosphere was just that ... garbage. [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 15, 2004 12:48:43 AM

» Blogosphere big heads from The Liferaft of Love
Well, as Yglesias notes, most of the garbage produced by the blogosphere was just that ... garbage. [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 15, 2004 12:51:07 AM

» Correct from The Island of Balta
Matt Yglesias on the actual relationship between the Freepers, the whole blogosphere, and the forged memos. [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 15, 2004 3:02:14 PM

» "NEWS" that was Rather hard on Furby... from Who Tends the Fires
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» Triumphalism from QandO
Blog triumphalism is getting a bit out of hand, lately. I think it's time for a bit of perspective. Sure, the distributed intelligence of the blogosphere helped a great deal in aggregating relevant information, pushing the Forgery Story to the... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 16, 2004 9:31:26 AM

» Triumphalism from QandO
Blog triumphalism is getting a bit out of hand, lately. I think it's time for a bit of perspective. Sure, the distributed intelligence of the blogosphere helped a great deal in aggregating relevant information, pushing the Forgery Story to the... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 16, 2004 9:32:15 AM

» Well... It could be worse: It could be raining... and we could be out in it. from Who Tends the Fires
Welcome to "Food for Thought" Saturday [Now with Footnotes!], at Who Tends the Fires and at the Laughing Wolf's. Your hosts today will be, well, me, and the Laughing Wolf, as always. "Saturday at the Laughing Wolf is a day... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 18, 2004 7:51:39 AM

» Well... It could be worse: It could be raining... and we could be out in it. from Who Tends the Fires
Welcome to "Food for Thought" Saturday [Now with Footnotes!], at Who Tends the Fires and at the Laughing Wolf's. Your hosts today will be, well, me, and the Laughing Wolf, as always. "Saturday at the Laughing Wolf is a day... [Read More]

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» 16+ Words on Dan Rather from Perverse Access Memory
So, CBS did additional research on the TANG memos and has now backed down on confirming their authenticity. They also... [Read More]

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» Rathergate from Preoccupations
It's been interesting to follow the whole CBS/Dan Rather hoo-ha. Jeff Jarvis has posted an excellent résumé on his blog. The analysis and timeline that Ernest Miller has posted at Many2Many offers important, and fuller, commentary. He says there: It [Read More]

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» Was it the blogosphere which exposed the 60 Minutes memo forgeries? from Civilities
What role did the bloggers play in taking down CBS's 60 Minutes, Dan Rather, and the "liberal media?". The conventional wisdom is that the blogosphere played a central role, and that the mainstream media missed the boat. Too bad that the defenders [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 6, 2005 12:47:33 AM