Various conservative-minded blogs, including some of the most eminent and well-respected, have flooded the internet with “Harry Reid is a pederast ( or pedophile)” rumors, innuendos and suggestions, like this one, from Red State:
“Harry Reid is a pedophile”
“I got that from a reliable source who made me promise not to reveal his name. But he knows. Honest. Now I’m sure some would expect me to back up this claim with some of those “fact” thingys or maybe a link or two. Well, given that I’ve promise anonymity for my source, not happening. Just Google “Harry Reid pedophile” there are 1.79 million hits. I’ve known this for some time but I was reluctant to go public with the information because I always back up my writing with facts and links. Since I’m sworn to secrecy this time I was uncomfortable putting this story out until some seminal events occurred this week, and I figured “what’s good for the goose…”
“As I’m sure you know, Harry Reid (the pedophile), told a reporter that “somebody” at the evil Bain Capital told him that Mitt Romney won’t release his taxes because he didn’t pay any taxes for ten years. And today Harry Reid (the pedophile) doubled down on this statement in the Las Vegas Review Journal…”
And so on, in that vein. The meme is doing its work: Sen. Reid is on the way to being “santorumed.”* Google his name, and Google’s suggested searches put “Harry Reid pederast” third. By next week, it could be first. Will some unsuspecting, innocent and trusting citizens come across this completely fanciful libel of Reid and believe it? Perhaps even a young nephew or niece of the Senate Majority Leader? Oh, we can be sure of that.
Is that fair and right?
Of course not.
Reid himself deserves little sympathy, for the collective smear on his name was prompted by his own scurrilous rumor-mongering on the floor of the U.S. Senate, where he asserted that Mitt Romney hadn’t paid his taxes for a decade based on no evidence whatsoever. Nonetheless, while giving someone a “taste of his own medicine” is no doubt satisfying and perhaps even instructive, wrong is wrong, and spreading intentional lies, even about a public figure as devoid of decency and scruples as the Senate Majority Leader, is unethical. No conduct, no matter how nauseating, by its target can justify this. Stooping to Reid’s level can only further degrade civility and dignity in American public discourse, which is the objective of political sewer-dwellers like Reid, not anyone with the best interests of the nation in mind.
Fortunately, when dealing with an individual as loathsome as Harry Reid, there are plenty of completely true statements that can and should be said that are only slightly less damning than “Harry Reid is a pedophile.” So let’s be fair to Harry: denigrate him with the truth. That’s what he truly deserves.
* Thanks to blogger Dan Savage, the former GOP Senator’s name is now a synonym for a disgusting bodily discharge.
UPDATE 1 (8/5): Well, it certainly is an honor to get a link from the estimable Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit. Now if only more of his readers would demonstrate some respect for and comprehension of ethics rather than endlessly chanting versions of “this is war” and “Reid hasn’t denied he is a pederast!” and “the mean Democrats do this all the time, so it’s time we fought back.” Not becoming, not impressive, and definitely not persuasive. The mind-numbing repetition is reminiscent of my debate with the pot-heads.
UPDATE 2 (8/6): The commenters aren’t bothering to read the thread, so I am getting the same comments over and over. Here is a directory of the ten most common comments, and my responses to them. You’re welcome.
Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at email@example.com.