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September 20, 2006


Damned blogofascists, demanding accuracy from you.

You misspelled "fealty."

I wonder why The American Prospect is allergic to "a pox on both your houses?"

To me, any sane person looking at the political scene could hardly say anything else.

I agree, if every post you write is a finely balanced teeter-totter, that would get old. On my blog, I hit 'em from the right, and just when they start to get comfortable, I hit 'em twice from the left.

Difference is, o nameless one, only one "house" controls the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches at the moment, not to mention the vast majority of the broadcast media.

Interesting that many here hold TAP - a self-described "magazine of liberal ideas" - to a different standard than Fox News, which hides its partisanship behind a facade of objective journalism.

Anyway, TAP doesn't owe Brendan Nyhan or anybody else a soapbox for poorly-stated, ill-considered, petty booger-flicks. If Nyhan had shown half the savvy in his TAPPED posts that he has in spinning his fake martyrdom into publicity, he'd still be writing there.

Steve, I'm saying that the urban legend bit is irrelevant to the original discussion. If you would like to move the discussion on to something else, such as the correct response in regards to this rumor/hearsay being presented as fact or assumed as fact, that's great. We could also talk about Atrios' cat abuse, this might make him a bad dude, but it isn't what we are talking about now. It is what you are talking about.

As for TAP having to know better about Brendan's "shtick" well, maybe that's a point, but when your punditry becomes contrarian shtick, aren't you just spinning yourself? Are the facts under the spin? Or is there only spin and counterspin? That's how people view the world these days, and Brendan I think falls into that sin bin. You know, when CNN has stories about "will preceptions of torture hurt Bush's poll numbers" as opposed to making a determination of actual torture happening or not, that's a sign that the a-holes are totally and completely in charge, and the "future of opinion journalism" is a shallow, empty husk.

Brendan doesn't have the stones to face criticism.

He has banned people here today and deleted their posts for the crime of pointing out his errors, asking why posts were being deleted and using bad language. How long before this comment is deleted?

Zacc: You may think your aggressive, over-the-top language may impress your follow commenters, or it may make you feel more empowered, but I can assure no one is impressed, nor are you winning over anyone with your naked immaturity.

Please, grow up. Otherwise, no one will take you seriously.

Baris: Captain Kirk, I consider your security measures a disgrace! In my opinion, you have taken this entire very important project far too lightly.

Kirk: On the contrary, sir, I consider this project to be very important... it is you I take lightly.

I don't care about criticism, but I have always deleted comments that are content-free insults with cursing, gratuitous name-calling, etc. (about me or anyone else). Otherwise the comment threads will turn into a cesspool. The post above is fine.

The American Prospect's attempt to limit my criticism of liberals on their blog

It appears that attempt was successful, os it was something more than an "attempt."

I can't imagine why an opinion rganization thought they had the right to decide what opinions they would publish.

At least we can all agree, this ain't no First Amendment issue since the Prospect isn't a branch of the government as far as I can tell.

I don't suppose we can get you to quit this blog, too?

I corrected the post the second I realized it was wrong

Took you a good long time to get to that second; in fact, you didn't seem to be on the ball enough to grasp what you were being told at first.

One might call you lazy, but I prefer to think you were in love with your own biases and couldn't imagine at first that you'd so spectacularly screwed the pooch.

IMHO, it would have been nice if you'd taken the high road and simply posted:

Atrios is right, I accused him of something he didn't do.

And then you had shut up about it, your credibility on anything Atrios shot for a good long while.

Jeebus -- some of you people need a hug.

I'm with Nyhan on this one. Writers make mistakes. Given. We correct those mistakes. Required. This doesn't change the validity of Nyhan's point unless you think an idea is invalidated if you don't think the person defending it has a right to do so (ad hominem, anyone?).

As for false equivalencies, there's a huge difference between stating that the ideologies of the left and right are equivalent and saying that the tactics of extremists on both sides are the same. To accept a tactic when used by one side but not by another is hypocrisy.

Some examples: Accepting our use of torture while condemning it when it's used by our enemies is hypocrisy. Condemning manipulation and distortion of the facts from the right while accepting it from the left is hypocrisy.

Condemning a tactic based on a principled rejection of the tactic regarless of the party making use of it is fundamental ethics. If you are to condemn those who would criticize their own side for an abhorrent tactic as promoting false equivalencies, you must condemn Mohandas Ghandi (who criticized violence on the part of those who were fighting for Indian freedom) and Martin Luther King, Jr. (who criticized extremist strains of the civil rights movement).

I, personally, am far to the left of anything that could be called centrist in this or any country. My work has been an almost steady drumbeat against the right's means, ends, and ideology. One column examining the extremists on the left (intended as part of a series that I'm reluctant to complete for obvious reasons) and I was Atrios' "wanker of the day," "cunt", "bitch", "Jew Dyke", "bigot", "right wing plant" and even an "agent of Cointelpro". I willingly accepted reasonable criticism based on a reasoned misunderstanding or disagreement. I publicly apologized for the fact that the work was not as well-written as it could have been and thus, was easily misinterpreted by well-meaning readers. I engaged and explained as best I could while being screamed down by a vicious net-mob. However, much of the vitriol against my work was based on willing misinterpretations of what I had written by PZ Meyers, Austin Cline, and others.

The cyber-lynching tactics that have become all too prevalent on the net do indeed threaten independent voices, even those who are ideologically far too the left but choose to engage in discourse with reason and principles intact. They also threaten the diversity of opinion that should be present in the best journals of opinion. The threat Nyhan discusses is not that opinion journals will disappear, but that we will have our biases catered to so narrowly that none of us will ever be challenged by differing opinions to assess our ideas clearly and consistently or to promote them in a way that can lead to consensus. If we're only "preaching to the converted," we change nothing. That supports the status quo, not the false "false equivalencies" you condemn.


I think you need a new tagline for this post.

"The art and science of politics" is not really appropriate, since your writing demonstrates little understanding of eithier the art or science of politics.

I would suggest this tagline:

Brendan Nyhan

Yet another reason to hate Duke.

Whadda think?


Monkey Faced Liberal

You gonna delete this comment, too, Brendan?

You are not a liberal. Please stop calling yourself a liberal. You are a Bushite sycophant. Your support of the illegal, unnecessary war of aggression is merely a tacit approval of everything the Cheney administration does, from torture to renditions to illegal wars.

This is YOUR war. I hang it like a burning tire around YOUR neck. May you be haunted by the thousands upon thousands of dead, innocent women and children who's lives you are directly responsible for ending.

Delete that, you wuss.

I'm sure Charles Johnson of LGF would be amazed to see leftists differentiating between comments and what a writer writes.

God knows he's been smeared with what his commentators have said for years.

ZacC (formerly zac) is either Brendan's mother, best friend or sock puppet. He/she/it always rushes to Brendan's defense whenever the mean lefty bloggers criticize Nyhan.
The Plank is waiting for its newest member.

You people make me scared and ashamed to call myself a liberal. It would seem that being pro-gay rights, pro-choice and in favor of programs that help lift up the less-fortunate wouldn't be enough to qualify since I don't absolutely despise anyone who isn't exactly like me. I hope some of you can eventually step back and look dispassionately at the filth you spew.

That's a pretty serious accusation which Melinda Barton makes. Unfortunately for her, it's not one which she can support. The simple fact remains that she labeled most atheists in the West as "whackjobs" and refused to recant the attack. Everything she has done since has been an effort to dance around and rationalize a long series of petty insults.

Austin, you would do well to stop there. You were "busted" on your own site for faking a screen capture to cover up the fact that you misquoted me. Not to mention for misrepresenting the content/intent of my article. Your acts were, in fact, so egregious that I was offered the opportunity to file formal libel charges against you with about.com. I chose not to do so, instead opting to handle this my own way... by engaging my readers in an attempt to clarify misconceptions that I PUBLICLY ADMITTED were due in part to my failure to express myself clearly. I NEVER intended to represent "most atheists in the West" as anything, which was expressed in the column, on my blog, and elsewhere. You can choose, in your "omniscience", to assign whatever motivations to me that you want. (Of course, that kind of "impugning motives fallacy" would be beneath anyone who truly wished to "defend" reason. You should try reading my recent post on f*cking for chastity.) The truth is in print for all to see. Continue to libel me and I may change my mind about the formal charges offer.

Apparently, a minor correction is needed here. You were "busted" on your site for the misrepresentation of me and of Avery Walker's words. (When did "certain" come to mean "all" again?) The hilarious mockery of you and your faked screen capture were elsewhere. I believe on the Raw comments thread.

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