Redstate blogger Moe Lane is offended that I think emulating Harry Reid to get even with Harry Reid is as despicable as Harry Reid, and since Lane hasn’t the wit or diligence to make a coherent argument against the position articulated in my recent post, which has flushed out a covey of mouth-foaming right-wingers, he plays the hypocrisy card, and like most players, doesn’t really know what hypocrisy is. Unlike many players, however, he doesn’t even bother to get his facts right, apparently because the Ethics Alarms search engine is too tricky for him. As I opined that the Right was attempting to “santorum” Reid by associating his name with something unsavory (in his case, pederasty), Lane fulminates that I didn’t express similar objections when Santorum himself was santorumed. He writes:
“…Hence the aforementioned shocked, shocked response from this Ethics Alarms site, which is very disapproving of the whole thing, and goes so far as to call it ‘santoruming.’ For those unfamiliar with the concept, Ethics Alarms provides a footnote: “Thanks to blogger Dan Savage, the former GOP Senator’s name is now a synonym for a disgusting bodily discharge.” And that, of course, is just as bad when it happens to Harry Reid as it was when it happened to Rick Santorum.”…which, given that (as near as I can tell) this seems to be the first time that Ethics Alarms has bothered to mention to the world that, hey, attacking Rick Santorum like that was bad, just indicates to me that the “Reid is a Pederast” meme is having the desired effect. It’s getting self-absorbed, pretentious websites that hate hardcore social conservatives** to stand up for those self-same social conservatives! Without prompting, even! Lo, indeed, truly we live in an Age of Wonders.”
Well, no, Moe, in fact this was not the first time that I expressed disapproval of Dan Savage’s successful effort to slime Rick Santorum, and if you could search the web or my site with the deftness of the typical Special Ed teen, you would have seen that over a year ago I wrote a post entitled, Dan Savage’s Curse on Rick Santorum: Funny! But Wrong. Note that the title was specifically evoked by the heading for the recent Reid post, which would have been a big fat clue for anyone who cared about being fair and accurate rather than being snide and obnoxious, like Moe Lane.
For the record, I wrote of the Santorum smear:
“I don’t blame Savage for being offended at Santorum’s opinion, but his response is the equivalent of fastening a “Kick Me!” sign to a foe’s back. The tactic is not direct confrontation, and it doesn’t give its target a fair opportunity to offer a defense. Yes, in many ways it is the perfect attack, but using the internet to harm someone’s image and reputation by manufacturing a revolting definition of his name that is unrelated to his life or personal conduct is an unfair and unethical tactic, no matter how many points it earns for irony, cleverness, and humor.”
Also for the record, Savage’s unethical stunt was a lot cleverer than “Harry Reid is a Pederast,” which is 4th grade school stuff. The Santorum stunt was 9th grade, at least.
Later, Moe calls me a hypocrite for treating the smears on Reid and Santorum differently, when in fact…
- I treated them the same and even titled them the same
- The mistake was his careless research, not my inconsistency
- He is the authentic hypocrite, defending the same tactic on Reid that he deplores when used against Santorum.
Normally a standard issue ideological blow-hard like Lane would not rank a post here, even to designate him an ethics dunce (all ideological blow-hards are ethics dunces), but Redstate is a cowardly web site, and left me few options. The post attacked me, but the site prevented me from responding in a comment. I duly registered, but the site informed me that I hadn’t been registered long enough to post a reply. This is no doubt convenient for a political site that employs careless hacks like Moe Lane, who throw out accusations that are objectively untrue, and who Redstate protects from their own ineptitude by preventing those attacked from responding in a timely and effective fashion.
16 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Redstate Blogger Moe Lane”
Like I said last time, I don’t want to be an ethical slave.
However, even the utilitarian justification for “tit-for-tat” is seems rather thin when it comes to electoral politics; you may have fired up the base, but the left will probably just send an even greater volley straight back at you, and everyone else is probably just thinking “WTF is going on with these crazies”. It’s pretty much a road to eternal polarization and possibly even stalemate (unless you have the will and capability to go all Khmer Rouge on the opposition, and look what happened to them in the long term), and it distracts from, you know, discussing the actual issues at stake (since unlike some people, I’m pretty sure no particular individual single-handedly has all the answers to our problems).
Also distracts from actual corruption, of course.
Santorum’s case is mild compared to the still-rabid slaverings of those who suffer Palin Derangement Syndrome. Sitting by and being nice doesn’t work when your opponent is a bully. In her case there’s no need to make things up about the cravenness of those who dis her to display their membership in the tribe.
While I concur that the “Harry Reid is a pederast” meme is unethical, part of your defense for yourself – and a part of your opprobrium for Moe Lane – lies in the fact that he didn’t sufficiently research past writings.
Not sure that line of argument holds water.
The two situations don’t equate.
Jack read what Dawson wrote and believed it, because it was on a news site; then wrote about the content of that article.
Moe read what Jack wrote and believed it, because it was on a site whose subject is ethics; then wrote about the lack of content from a previous writing that he alleged did not exist.
The thing is, even if Jack hadn’t written anything about Santorum at the time, it doesn’t invalidate anything that he wrote here recently. If you aren’t allowed to write about a topic without having addressed all related topics in the past, then I guess no one can ever start writing anything.
That the article did exist and is easily found just proves that Moe wrote without checking first, which is a separate problem from the false premise itself.
Arthur, your harping on Dawson’s deceptive article frankly ticks me off. The forum wasn’t “The Dawson blog,” it was the local section of a newspaper. My local section of my newspapers doesn’t print fake news.. And Dawson’s excuse, that “column” was sufficient to alert anyone that he was making stuff up, was utter nonsense. I stand by that post: he’s irresponsible, and so is his paper. Lane called me a hypocrite based on false representations.
I believed Dawson’s column. Since I believed it, I had no reason to check and see if he was a hoax artist. The fact that I was fooled was not my fault, but his, and his paper’s. There is no comparison to Lane’s sloppiness at all.
Nice try, but your previous santorum post was a bunch of slobbering admiration for savage covered by a thin veil of “look at me, I’m taking the high ground”. Redstate got it right.
Brian, I’m sorry to be blunt, but you’re an idiot, and you can’t read a lick. I have no admiration for Savage, and nobody sane could read my post that way. Redstate was completely ignorant of the facts. Don’t come on here and misrepresent the facts.
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Question: Is there anything unethical about calling people idiots, dunces, mouth-foaming right-wingers, ideological blow-hards, and comparing people’s abilities to Special Ed teens? That’s just on this page alone. Being snide and obnoxious is something that never, ever happens here, right? Or is tit-for-tat only unethical for people who don’t fancy themselves as ethicists? Yes, hypocrisy is hard to see in oneself, especially for one who sees it most easily in others.
But alas you do tip your hand as to which unethical behavior you admire more: “Also for the record, Savage’s unethical stunt was a lot cleverer than “Harry Reid is a Pederast,” which is 4th grade school stuff. The Santorum stunt was 9th grade, at least.”
That’s rich! What you consider “creative vengeance” is frankly the product of a sick and twisted mind. As well, you protest Bryan’s point a little too much. When you close an article with a statement like “it’s natural that we be sympathetic, admiring, and amused, because what he did was understandable, ingenious, and funny” how can you possibly say that you have no admiration of Savage? You did use the word “admiring” right?
If it makes you feel any better, I’ll just say that Jack seems to like the Tea Party more than he does Occupy Wall Street. The lesson here; just because someone thinks ONE specific liberal does ONE thing better than ONE specific conservative, it does not make them a liberal.
Also, Jack is actually fairly good with handling disagreement (as I can personally attest to); I’ll note that if you troll through the archives, there are a good percentage of regular posters on both the right and left who disagree pretty contentiously with Jack on at least a few big issues (if not seemingly all of them). You should look through to see what makes their exchanges with Jack different from those with the recent set of rabid right-wingers.
Also, the “Comment of the Day” feature has also been used to highlight any comment Jack thinks is well-argued and worthy of reading, even if he thinks the conclusion is wrong.
To answer your question, Darius:
1. “Mouth-foaming” is a polite and accurate way to describe the fanaticism I’ve been reading from your colleagues. Idiots are real, and there is nothing unethical or uncivil in the context of a blog with identifying idiotic statements. I don’t use such terms lightly or indiscriminately.
2 Yes, I can be snide and obnoxious. Sometimes I’ll apologize for it. The fact that I slip now and then doesn’t mean I should admire snide and obnoxious or let it pass unnoticed.
3. You, like most people, don’t know what hypocrisy is.
4. My post on Savage was mighty clear about the basis for the “admire” point, though you are welcome to spin it if that makes you happy. “9th grade” humor is hardly a compliment. His stunt WAS clever. I said, and believe it was wrong. Simply repeating “Harry Reid is a pederast” is pathetic.
5. No fair person could read my criticism of Savage and call it admiring. I said that I admired the cleverness, not the act itself….and the post was about the conduct.
6. I see the tactic often: shift the discussion to style rather than substance. I get deluged by about 300 comments by people defending public name calling and libel as a legitimate tactic, and since they can’t really defend it, they shift to trying to discredit the critic, me, because I fairly describe what I’m reading.
7. Lane was flat out wrong in his contention that I didn’t call out Savage’s stunt until the Reid piece, had the error pointed out to him, and doesn’t have the class or honesty to admit he made a mistake. There is a descriptive word for people like that, and you would doubtless accuse me of hypocrisy if I attached it to him, as he deserves, and as accuracy demands.
Jack, I’m sorry to be blunt, but you’re a blow-hard and an idiot. What’s more, you can’t write a coherent criticism worth a lick. See how that works?
1) Polite? Laughable. Accurate? debatable.
2) If you make your living calling people out for obnoxious behavior, don’t be surprised when you are called to account for your own obnoxious behavior.
3) Perhaps, but on the other hand maybe it actually IS a case of one failing to see his own hypocrisy. After all hypocrites rarely recognize their own hypocrisy.
4a) What was so “clever” about it? It’s not as if he was the first to organize a google-bomb. The first time it’s done could maybe be considered clever, for discovering how to exploit the mechanics of a search engine. The fourth or fifth time it happens, it’s just annoying. And in this case, simply vile.
4b) Calling his stunt clever is not a compliment?
4c) Exactly how is what Savage did anything but repulsive?
4d) Merely stating that something is wrong while at the same time winking at the cleverness of the supposed “wrong” act is a mild criticism at best. The scene alluded to in the Steve Martin film was indeed an apt comparison.
5) Must I point out again your exact words?
“it’s natural that we be sympathetic, admiring, and amused, because WHAT HE DID was understandable, ingenious, and funny”
6) Please, nobody believes for one second that Harry Reid is a pederast. Where this connection has been made by conservative bloggers, it has also been made clear that it is by the same absurd standards that Harry Reid employs when he claims that Romney hasn’t paid any taxes for the last 10 years. It’s being done to illustrate a point, not because conservatives actually want people to believe that Reid is a pedophile. Indeed, that would totally miss the point. In contrast, what Savage did was not to illustrate any point at all, or at least not any that he intended. Just a vile attempt to drag a man’s name through the mud. If it accomplished anything, it illustrated in a very graphically unpleasant way just how disgusting a lifestyle homosexuality is.
7) I’ll agree, with the caveat that he has admitted it albeit in a sort of back-handed way, though I’d prefer if he’d just note and correct the error and move on.
1. You mistake diagnosis for vengeful name-calling. I don’t engage in the latter—you endorse it. And you don’t know the difference.
2. I’ll give you polite. Poor choice of words. Accurate is accurate, in a metaphorical sense. If I gave a damn, I’d attach examples.
3. We all act hypocritically at times. I’ll agree to that extent.
4. It was clever because a) Santorum’s name is uniquely suited to coming up with a clinical definition, though it hadn’t occurred to me before b) Savage’s choice of definition applied to something that is disgusting, exists, and does not have a common label. In other words, it took some thought and creativity…unlike “Harry Reid is a pederast.” c) His web-smear was ironic and had the flair of rough justice, because it connected Santorum to the group he denigrated. But I didn’t wink at anything. I said that while it made me laugh in the “Oh, God, that’s awful!’ sense, it was wrong.
5. I sympathize with Savage’s anger, not his methods. Santorum’s comments on gay relationships compare gay couples to bestiality, fueling hate and bigotry.
6. Do people believe that Romney hasn’t paid taxes for 10 years because of Reid? Some do, and some people, having missed the whole episode, will run across the pederasty posts 6 months now and have doubts. You’re being deliberately naive if you think otherwise. Lies on the web fool people, even seemingly obvious lies. That’s why they are per se unethical. No exceptions.
Good, clear, fair post, Darius.
Keep it up, and we’ll get along fine.