June 18, 2006
GLENN GREENWALD SHOULDN'T BE THROWING STONES: At least not judging by my recent experience. In an earlier post from last week, I missed the fact that the Kos crowd had backed James Webb. I updated it when Markos and others emailed me, but that didn't stop Glenn Greenwald from putting up a post savaging me for the error and including my email address in the claim that I wouldn't correct the error:
I wonder whether Instapundit (firstname.lastname@example.org) will retract his false claim that the Virginia result represents a repudiation of the "the Howard Dean-Kos-fringe" given that this "fringe" supported the winning candidate.
As always, this has resulted in a steady trickle of mostly illiterate emails from Greenwald readers, none of whom seem to have actually read the post, or they'd know that I fixed the error days ago and that they wouldn't have to "challenge" me to make the correction. But here's my favorite email resulting from Greenwald's post, from a guy named John Malloy:
I read Glen Reynolds take down of your Virginia Senate Democratic Primary analysis. When are you going to fess up and admit you were completely wrong?
Oops. He seems to have his Glenns mixed up, something that it took a followup email from me to make clear. No wonder Greenwald has a thing about me -- even when he gets something right, I get the credit! Meanwhile, Greenwald has never updated his post to note that I corrected the error, even though, as I say, it's been days, meaning that each email from his readers merely confirms their cluelessness further. I'll refrain, however, from publishing his email address over the matter, as I think it pretty much speaks for itself.
UPDATE: Apparently, I'm not the only one to have this experience. John Hinderaker emails:
Glenn, I laughed at your post about Glenn Greenwald and his readers. I've never looked at that site, but we can always tell when he's attacked one of our posts because we get a stream of almost-identical emails of low literary quality, to say the least. But the funny thing about them is how obvious it is that the people who write them haven't bothered to read our post! I've often scratched my head over what would motivate a person to take the trouble to write an email denouncing a post--but won't, on the other hand, motivate him to take the trouble to read the post he's attacking.
Yeah, go figure. It's certainly nothing that makes me more likely to be persuaded.
MORE: Now Greenwald updates. I didn't mean to suggest that his post went up after mine -- sorry, as I can see why he'd think I was saying that; it was badly written. My complaint was that he never updated his post after I updated mine, so that I continued to get lame emails from his readers for days. As for his claims that I'm masquerading as a moderate -- I don't think I'm "moderate" at all. My views are pretty much orthogonal to the political spectrum. My ideal world, in which, as I've said before, happily married gay couples have closets full of assault weapons, isn't exactly "moderate." Greenwald's also tired of being told that the emails he aims at other bloggers are lame and badly written. Well, if he's hearing it a lot, it's because it's true. When three people tell you you're drunk, it's time to sit down.
STILL MORE: Reader Nathan Holmes sends a thoughtful and well-written email:
I like your blog and links, but since you are someone who consistently makes the case that the New York Times processes events through a particularly biased lens, you ought to fess up when you yourself make the same error. It isn't just that you made a mistake about the minor detail of who supported James Webb in the Virginia primary- you made a mistake based on a false stereotype concerning the kind of candidates the Dean/Kos folks are supporting these days. Adjust your notion that the Dean/Kos wing is hard left, and hold yourself to the same standard that you hold the NY Times. Your blog will be better for it.
That's a fair charge, I think -- I did respond to a reader email based on a stereotype. The funny thing, though, is that I'm happy if the Kos crowd moves toward the middle, and I've been positive on James Webb all along. A smarter political move would have been for Kos supporters to gently correct me (a la the email above) and stress the common ground as a way of increasing support for their candidates. Instead, I got jumped on in a way that reinforces the worst stereotypes about the Democratic lefty blogosphere, and that suggests they're more concerned with their own positioning than with their candidates' winning.