Strange equation

TNR and Truthout seem to be operating on the same set of journalistic principles: publish garbage, then protect your sources.

TNR = Truthout.

I’ve heard lots of excuses for continuing to protect sources who supply false information, but the source’s own refusal to return phone calls is a new one on me. As to Zengerle’s belief that liberal bloggers who didn’t take Mickey Kaus’s bait were taking orders from Kos: Who needs the tin hat now? Has Zengerle never heard the phrase “Least said, soonest mended”? I decided not to comment on the flap because (1) It didn’t seem very important and (2) discussing it was unlikely to forward the cause of replacing the current ruling clique with honest and competent successors. Does that make me one of Kos’s vassals?

But wait: Tom Maguire asserts that the Gilliard email was fake, but accurate. Now where have I heard that before?

Steve Gilliard, the victim of Zengerle’s carelessness (at least) isn’t satisfied with a vague apology. He wants to know who told the fib.

Glenn Greenwald has details.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

7 thoughts on “Strange equation”

  1. "But wait: Tom Maguire asserts that the Gilliard email was fake, but accurate."
    I don't think that's accurate. Maguire asserts that the e-mail was fake, but insignificant. (And also he takes issue with Greenwald's insistence that the e-mail must have been "fabricated," and suggests that a more innocent explanation is still feasible; and also he demonstrates that Greenwald mischaracterizes his [Maguire's] arguments).

  2. Joe,
    You might want to consider Mr. Gilliard's response:
    === You know I've spent this weekend building models and going to museums, not worrying about TNR. Because I thought they would do the right thing. Instead I found they didn't have the courage to do so. I pity Frank Foer, having placed his reputation in the hands of Jason Zengerle. Because those are shaky hands to be in. At least Foer knows I'm a man of my word. He has no such assurance for his reporter.
    That's disappointing. As I said, this isn't a matter of lawyers. Because, despite the numerous suggestions, and offers of help, that I get one and get these people under oath, in the end the law is no solution. So Marty Peretz can send me $50K in a settlement? That's how these things end. People get paid and it all goes away. But nothing changes.
    This is about a moral and ethical choice. Yes, burning a source is a very big deal, but why would they protect a liar? They're reading the comments here, and half my posters think Zengerle made this up on his own. Talk about a hanging curve ball. Frank Foer knows he's gonna face this again, and his refusal to do the right thing now is going to haunt him and TNR. Zengerle's credibility and a $1 will get you a dirty water dog near Central Park. But it won't get you a credible story. ===
    http://stevegilliard.blogspot.com/2006/06/funny-t

  3. "Joe, You might want to consider Mr. Gilliard's response … 'I pity Frank Foer, having placed his reputation in the hands of Jason Zengerle. Because those are shaky hands to be in.'"
    "Yes, burning a source is a very big deal, but why would they protect a liar? They're reading the comments here, and half my posters think Zengerle made this up on his own. Talk about a hanging curve ball."
    Since (1) the other, longer e-mails (especially the original one from Kos, asking for the favor) were genuine, and (2) I don't see how JZ could think that an e-mail he made up using the name of a specific person could withstand scrutiny, and (3) the "fabricated" e-mail seems to have added little to the overall story, I don't see any reason (at this point) to doubt JZ's word, or to expect TNR to burn their source without first giving their source a chance to explain what happened. (The etiquette of burning sources is utterly beyond me, I'll admit).
    If things are really as JZ says, and Gaillard (AFAIK) doesn't provide any evidence that JZ is lying, then I don't think Gaillard's words about JZ are justified. And your posters are just being silly.
    If Dan Rather had tossed in a couple of fake TANG docs with a bunch of genuine ones, the story told by the genuine ones might still have been interesting, mightn't it? (Not that I'm sure that Kos asking for a favor *is* really all that interesting, but – being an avid reader of LW econ blogs but not LW blogs otherwise – certainly Greenwald's reaction, and the reaction of the left-wing blogosphere in general, has been kind of interesting, at least to me).

  4. Joe, the story told by the Rather memos was accurate. No one really disputed it. They just dismissed the whole issue by focusing on whether the memos were forged. The outcome would have been exactly the same regardless of how many genuine memos there were.
    It's a standard Republican technique: focus on whether a Koran was flushed down a toilet or just placed in or on a toilet, or just urinated on. Focus on whether Amnesty International should have used the word "gulag" or whether Senator Durbin should have mentioned Nazis. Focus on anything except prisoner abuse or whatever the story is actually about.

  5. I'm sure Tom Maguire is busy on the case showing that this is all really Joe Wilson's fault.
    I'm blaming the Valerie/Kleiman axis, actually. It is little known now, but I expect to break stunning revelations within 24 business hours…
    Otherwise, I appreciate the support above – I did not say the bum email was "fake but accurate", although folks who find more success dealing with strawman arguments will prefer to say so.
    What I said was that Greenwald was downplaying evidence of three authentic emails in the mix with one bum email; the presence of three genuine emails strongly implies that other explanations than "fake" and "fabricated" ought to be in play.
    For example, is the email "fake" if it turns out that Zengerle misattributed the email and it is actually from (HYPOTHETICALLY) Steve Clemons instead of Steve Gilliard?
    Is it "fabricated" if it turns out to be from Steve Gilliard, but on a different mailing list (subsequent postings from Steve G knock that idea out, but who knew?).
    Is it "fake" if it turns out to have been *to* Steve Gilliard, not *from* Steve Gilliard – apparently Zengerle's primary source deleted headers and footers, perhaps to preserve a bit of anonymity for others on the mailing list.
    Greenwald gave short shrift to other plausible explanations, partly by burying evidence. Folks like Mark are amplifying his deception. That's "reality-based" blogging, all right.

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