Friday, August 01, 2014

It's Not Who I Am Underneath

But What I Do That Defines Me

Andrew Sullivan gets this exactly backwards:
It’s an honorable apology and correction. But it’s hard not to see in the eight tweets that David [Frum] sent out questioning the integrity of these harrowing images of grief and murder a desperate need not to see what is in front of our noses. The mind-boggling trauma and terror that Gazan civilians are now experiencing is so very hard to watch, when this country is partly financing it. For those attached to Israel, the experience must be particularly wrenching...
Another day, another stab by Andrew Sullivan at hanging onto his Reformocon Superfriends delusions and feed his own "desperate need not to see what is in front of our noses" by continuing to treat the intentions of people like David Frum as fundamentally honorable even as their actions scream otherwise.

From Gawker:
David Frum's Apology for His Nutty Theory Links to More Nutty Theories
So, to sum up: In responding to criticism of his credulous perpetuation of dumb conspiracy theories, David Frum wrote a post on the website of one of America's oldest magazines congratulating himself for his skepticism of Palestinian claims, and as evidence he relied on a website so thoroughly discredited that Wikipedia won't use it. A website that maintains something called "The Ultimate Online Archive of Unflattering Hillary Clinton Photos." A website that has hooked in pro-Israel stalwarts like Frum before with similar tinfoil-hat theories on "faked" photos of Israeli military victims.
Frum's unapologetic impulse to re-order facts in accordance with his ideological commitments, and his subsequent reliance on insano bloggers as evidence when mainstream facts flat-out contradict his intuitions, would not be remarkable if he were just another free radical floating about the blogosphere. But he is not; he is a Very Important Person in Magazines and on Twitter, the type whose intellectual musings are both taken seriously and spread widely.
On the other hand, Frum's celebrity is based on his role as one of the Iraq War's original cheerleaders and as the creator of the "Axis of Evil" meme, so if anybody should fall for bullshit on the internet, it's him. It's just a question of whether he should be remunerated for his credulity—and whether The Atlantic should maybe reconsider if his "apology" post, and his continued inability to appraise his biases, are up to its standards of integrity.
Erik Wemple takes several bites out of Mr. Frum's apology here: "The difficulty with David Frum’s apology for bogus photo-fakery allegations".

And the estimable James Fallows takes a longer, scholarly look at the profession of journalism through the lens of David Frum's snap judgement and excruciatingly hedged walk-back here: "On David Frum, The New York Times, and the Non-Faked 'Fake' Gaza Photos"

When one prominent Conservative hack somewhere someday pays some actual, measurable price for being a serial truth-molester, I will start to get interested in the nuances of the media's "honorable apology" gavotte.

Because as far as I am concerned from my tiny perch out here in the fields and farms of middle America, it's what these people do that defines them.


Anonymous said...

David Frum, Canadian expat...

... yeah, sorry about that one neighbors.

--Nonny Mouse

Neo Tuxedo said...

It's not seeing what's in front of one's own nose that needs a constant struggle. At least not at first. The task and mighty labor lies in not blurting out the truth at a moment that, or in front of a person who, might imperil one's access to what Robert Anton Wilson called "biosurvival tickets" (and also, in a term he shared with a fellow guerrilla ontologist, "small green pieces of paper").

In his practical handbook of scientific shamanism, Wilson explains what happens next:

As Paul Watzlawick notes, that which is objectively repressed (unspeakable) soon becomes subjectively repressed (unthinkable). Nobody likes to feel like a coward and a liar constantly. It is easier to cease to notice where the official tunnel-reality differs from existential fact. Thus SNAFU accelerates and rigiditus bureaucraticus sets in -- the last stage before all brain activity ceases and the pyramid is clinically dead as an intellectual entity.
(Prometheus Rising, p.221 of the 1983 Falcon Press edition, seventh printing 1992)