|Thursday, July 15, 2004|
Instapundit says I owe him an apology for badgering him about his coverage of the Plame/Wilson affair at last year's BloggerCon.
Quoth Glenn: "It seemed obvious to him that the story was a clearcut tale of a noble and truthful civil servant being silenced by the Evil Bush Conspiracy, and that I was an idiot or a shill for suggesting otherwise. Ed, your apology will be cheerfully accepted."
This is what I just emailed to Professor Reynolds:
I wish I had a transcript of our BloggerCon session. I recall pressing you not on the merits of the Plame story, but, as we were discussing blogging and journalism, the obligation or lack thereof of a blogger to cover stories that may not favor their particular POV.
In the case of Plame, I asked if you, having invoked “fifth columnists” in questioning the patriotism of war critics, had any obligation to cover a story with similar ramifications for the other side.
The less pleasant part of the conversation (which happened after Dave Winer jumped in to keep the thread going) came when I made that specific point, and you said that you had not called people traitors, and I asked if those balky Internet connections in the conference room were working so we could fact-check that statement.
I did not then claim to know the truth of the Plame case, nor do I now. To say “It seemed obvious to him that the story was a clearcut tale of a noble and truthful civil servant being silenced by the Evil Bush Conspiracy, and that I was an idiot or a shill for suggesting otherwise” is far from the truth. I was interested in the blog aspect, and your relative silence on the story, and thought then and now that was an interesting question.
I regretted the breakdown in communication then, and now, and to whatever extent my clumsiness as a moderator was responsible for that breakdown, I am truly sorry.
Here's what I said at the time about the panel: "I was disappointed that the discussion about Plame veered from the one I wanted to have – the responsibility (or lack thereof) of a journalist to readers – into the politics of the particular situation, but once the audience got involved we lost some control over that topic."
Here's how I framed the issue before the conference, questioning the relative lack of coverage of Plame by Glenn and Eugene Volokh: "Do hobbyists have responsibilities when playing with powerful toys like, say, guns, cars, or journalism?"
I also said: "What they say about PlameOut is their business. If they really do think it's unimportant, then they should explain why it's unimportant."
9:49:44 AM comment 
The Hersh speech is getting a lot of play in the blogosphere. If this keeps up, the major media will have to pick it up, and Hersh will have to comment on it.
Which raises a question: why has Hersh not published this incredible stuff, and why did the world ignore the speech when it was made last week?
The speech was covered by the New York Sun, which was linked by Jim Romenesko. But that story buried and blurred some of the more horrifying details. Maybe it was the holiday week, or abuse overload, but the media was not interested.
As for Hersh, obviously there are different standards for what you can say in a speech and what you can publish in the New Yorker. He says in the speech that the magazine made a decision against piling on. And you can hear him hesitate before telling this horrific story -- it's around 1:30:00 on the stream, I urge you to watch the whole thing -- he struggles with it, then goes ahead.
As should others...
8:32:22 AM comment