18 Mar 2007

US Attorneys Scandal: How Left Blogs Rolled America

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I am obliged to admit it: I never covered it at all.

Clinton had Janet Reno fire all 93 US attorneys, so why should there be a problem with the Bush Administration replacing 8 of them? I thought personally.

But it’s clear that those of us blogging on the Right screwed up on this one, and allowed the left blogosphere to gin up a fabricated scandal as the result of inadequate defense. (Though, Lord knows, I’m tired of defending George W. Bush, who doesn’t do much that’s effective by way of defending himself.)


Terry McDermott
, in the LA Times, explains how the big-time leftie blogs did it.

over the last two months, one of the biggest news stories in the country — the Bush administration’s firing of a group of U.S. attorneys — was pieced together by the reporters of the blog Talking Points Memo.

The bloggers used the usual tools of good journalists everywhere — determination, insight, ingenuity — plus a powerful new force that was not available to reporters until blogging came along: the ability to communicate almost instantaneously with readers via the Internet and to deputize those readers as editorial researchers, in effect multiplying the reporting power by an order of magnitude.

In December, Josh Marshall, who owns and runs TPM , posted a short item linking to a news report in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette about the firing of the U.S. attorney for that state. Marshall later followed up, adding that several U.S. attorneys were apparently being replaced and asked his 100,000 or so daily readers to write in if they knew anything about U.S. attorneys being fired in their areas.

For the two months that followed, Talking Points Memo and one of its sister sites, TPM Muckraker, accumulated evidence from around the country on who the axed prosecutors were, and why politics might be behind the firings. The cause was taken up among Democrats in Congress. One senior Justice Department official has resigned, and Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales is now in the media crosshairs.

Read the whole thing.

And the moral is that we on the Right need to put on our waders and gas masks, and go trudging through the left blogosphere’s sewers more regularly than we do, keeping an eye on their mischief, so that we can demolish these kinds of attack memes before they successfully root themselves in the public dialogue.

Hat tip to Karen Myers.

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