Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hatchet job

I’ve seen some amazing selective quoting in the blogosphere. It’s not unheard of for bloggers to take phrases, sentences, whole paragraphs out of context and misrepresent what the original writer actually meant. Usually this is done to paint a writer the blogger doesn’t like as a rotten person or to make a writer with greater name recognition appear to agree with the blogger. That’s why my rule when I read something that doesn’t quite add up is “Always click on the link.”

Today I have seen possibly the most egregious such hatchet job I have ever encountered among respectable, reasonably mainstream blogs, certainly the worst from a respectable, reasonably mainstream blog on the Right.. Jennifer Rubin has written a post called “Smearing 68% of America” in which she cherry-picks quotes from Ross Douthat to prove Douthat has “suppress[ed] his harshest impulses toward the left and a great deal of his own critical faculties.” Words fail me in attempting to describe how badly she has misrepresented Douthat’s column. Suffice it to say that not only is Rubin’s presentation of Douthat’s thesis dishonest, it’s also stupid since - hello - Douthat is on the same side as Rubin in this argument. Read Douthat yourself. And if I ever cite Jennifer Rubin, be sure to ask me if I clicked on the link.

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