I’m no fan of Bill O’Reilly, but I’ve often heard attributed to him an aphorism I rather like — “you don’t excuse bad behavior by citing other bad behavior.” It’s a dishonest tactic, and it’s tangentially related to the “chickenhawk” argument — both involve the same idea: if you discredit the individual making the argument, you discredit the argument itself.
In this case, the twits at Media Matters got their George Soros-purchased panties in a twist because it turns out that one — ONE — of those who criticized the John Edwards campaign for hiring a couple of prominent Nutroots bomb-throwers had also made some inflammatory comments in the past.
Apparently, to the worthies at MM, that means that anything that particular critic said — or anyone who said much the same thing about Tweedledum and Tweedledummer (I forget the names of the two bloggers in question, and don’t care enough about them to look them up) — can and should be immediately dismissed.
Gee, what a great strategy. I guess that means I can say or do whatever I want, because as soon as enough people slam me, all I have to do is go after ONE of them in return, find some dirt on them, and that wipes clean the slate on everyone else.
I’ve also noted that a lot of people are calling the exposure of Marcotte’s and McEwan’s (OK, I looked up their names) a “Swiftboating,” after the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth. I think that’s a fairly appropriate comparison; after all, pretty much all of their allegations against Kerry were either acknowledged (“Christmas in Cambodia,” with President Nixon on the radio) or roundly ignored.
I’ve been toying with my own piece about the whole mess. I was going to title it “my application for any Republican presidential campaign’s staff blogger” and go on a vile, profanity-laden, frothing-with-rage rant against the current crop of Democratic candidates, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do so. Not even for satirical purposes could I indulge in such casual vulgarity — I have too much respect for you readers, the swear words themselves, and myself. But damn, was it tempting.
I’d have to thank Oliver for pointing this out to me, but I suspect that he’s already being taken good care of by his employers — who don’t seem to mind his using his “independent” blog to praise their works at 3:12 on a Wednesday afternoon, during what for nearly everyone would be considered “working hours.”