June 20, 2003

PLAYING THE GAME -- DISHONESTLY: Tapped makes a big deal of the Christian Science Monitor's report (noted here last night) that documents found by the Monitor implicating British antiwar MP George Galloway as a collaborator with Iraq appear to be forged. Tapped thinks that Andrew Sullivan owes Galloway an apology, and adds rather snippily: "It's Sullivan's game. We're just playing it."

Playing it rather dishonestly, though. Because what the Tapped post doesn't mention is that the same expert who found the Monitor's documents probably fraudulent also said that the Telegraph documents were probably genuine:

After examining copies of two pages of the Daily Telegraph's documents linking Galloway with the Hussein regime, Mneimneh pronounces them consistent, unlike their Monitor counterparts, with authentic Iraqi documents he has seen.

Moreover, a direct comparison of the language in the Monitor and Daily Telegraph document sets shows that they are somewhat contradictory.

The trouble is, you can't read this directly from their post because Tapped doesn't link to the Monitor's story. Instead, it links to this AP story about the Monitor's findings, which doesn't include that discussion. That's funny, since Tapped's post is timestamped 12:40 p.m. today, and the Monitor story has been available since last night. So why link to the AP story?

Unless, of course, you're playing games. I think that it's Tapped who owes an apology here. To Sullivan, and to its readers.

UPDATE: Okay, on reading this again maybe I'm a bit too hard on Tapped. It's certainly possible that this was an honest, if careless, mistake. But since I'm revisiting this, I should also point out Galloway admits he was in Iraq when the Telegraph documents say that he was.

Tapped should either have been more careful, or less snippy. And I suppose it might turn out, eventually, that Galloway is altogether innocent -- and that he supported Saddam out of conviction, rather than desire for lucre, if that's better. But Tapped certainly didn't prove that, and didn't present even the evidence in existence in a complete or forthright manner.

I wonder if anonymous blogging encourages that sort of thing.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader David Mosier emails "Anonymous blogging is like the KKK hiding behind sheets." I don't agree with this, and I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with anonymous blogging per se. But an anonyblogger like, say, Atrios is still taking personal -- if pseudonymous -- responsibility. The anonymity of house blogs like Tapped encourages a sort of diffusion of responsibility, I think. However, I suspect that the real motivation for anonymous house blogs is that the people who run these publications don't want their staff making a name for themselves via blogging. They might *shudder* ask for more money, or something.

Meanwhile, Horologium sees this as evidence of Tapped's decline. Well, it was better back when Chris Mooney was doing it. Now it's been Kuttnerized! (Take it away, Mickey Kaus. . . )