More Menshevik Thoughts
"Deep down, this Dan Rather business is about honor...The analogy to the Rather affair at this point is the case of the Dixie Chicks...The Dixie Chicks think people punished them for their politics. But what really upset folks wasn’t that the Chicks were against Bush or the war, it was that the Chicks said they were ashamed to be from the same state as the President–and said this to a foreign audience. That dishonored the President, the country, the state of Texas, and the South. That is why country music fans turned against the Chicks."I believe that's a good explanation for why lots of bloggers are up in arms about the CBS report. I think that's what Hewitt wants: an official acknowledgement that CBS News was IN the wrong, not just they made mistakes, and he's trying to sustain fervor based on that righteous indignation.
As I wrote in the comments on the original Bolshevik/Menshevik post , though, I don't think that's all that reasonable to expect, nor do I see that it's particularly useful. It depends on what you want blogs to do vis-a-vis the mainstream media. If you want to bring them down, I should think you'd be perfectly happy to let them continue in their mistakes. If you wanted them to improve, then I would think the tone of your comments would not be outraged but rather wistful, like those Republicans who say they need a healthy Democratic party for competition's sake. But Hewitt's claims seem to me to be pique at the overlooking of bloggers and the refusal to acknowledge the truth about their charges. That, it seems to me, becomes a problem of self-referentialism--look at us! we're important!
Well...yeah. Bloggers are important; without them, it's quite possible that the CBS story never would have broken down the way it did. But is it necessary for this report to say that to validate it? Personally, I think it's more satisfying to chuckle that they still don't get it and lay in wait for the next big screw-up. (Then again, I'm a itty bitty fish that didn't do any of the legwork in Rathergate, so that's easy for me to say.)
At the end of the day, though, I think there are just two questions. First, did this report actually change anybody's mind (as opposed to providing political cover?) Second, is this really a victory for CBS News instead of the best of a number of bad outcomes? I suspect the answer to both questions is "no", and I think bloggers can move on knowing they had to press their opponents to standards of metaphysical certainty to avoid the plain truth. As far as I'm concerned, that's a feather in the cap of bloggers.