April 26, 2005
Reporting the digging before it's been dug?
Are Republicans digging up irrelevant dirt on Melody Townsel? According to Ms. Townsel (who wrote a letter to Amy at Daily Kos) post, they are:
Hello, Daily Kos-ers:The post is headlined "Important Melody Townsel revelation--PLEASE DISSEMINATE," but from what I can see, the only people who disseminated it are, well Amy at Daily Kos, via Ms. Townsel herself. While Little Green Footballs and Power Line both picked up on it, their only source was Daily Kos. Here's John Hinderaker:
Little Green Footballs notes that she has written her close friends at the Daily Kos to alert them to a history of plagiarism which she says will be used against her by Republicans. I haven't seen any sign of that yet, but it's certainly fair to say that if a Republican made an otherwise-unsupported charge against a Democrat, and turned out to have a documented history as a plagiarist, that fact would be considered relevant. What's more significant to me, though, is her close self-identification with the nutjobs at the Daily Kos.Here's what I think: I don't care about stuff that Melody Townsel, now 42, did when she was 21. That stuff is too old, and too irrelevant. Besides, she's not accused of plagiarism. Rather, at issue is her partisanship, and the accuracy of what she's saying about John Bolton.
I didn't care about the DUI allegations about George W. Bush either. But lots of leftists sure as hell did.
If the evil Republican dirt digging machine is at it again, then why is it that the only place the dirt has appeared was at Daily Kos and the blogs linking the piece? The commenters have gone absolutely ballistic over this latest Republican "attack" -- to the point that many of them are baring their souls, and sharing details:
"smoking pot, taking LSD, mushrooms and playing in a texas-psychedelic band."Naturally, Bush and Cheney and Gannon are all either implicated for their dirt or slammed for hypocrisy, while Bill Frist is likened to Josef Mengele.
I have dirt in my past, and so do many of my closest friends. As I said, I don't consider this plagiarism stuff at all relevant. But my question remains, did the Republicans bring this up?
I see no evidence that they did. We have only Melody Townsel's word that "Republicans have dredged [it] up" and "clearly, are about to announce it to the world." Then there's this curious statement:
Even as I write this, the Bush team is working overtime to destroy my life and business, telling and retelling the things I'm writing here. I just received a phone call from a Christian newspaper reporter.The post was dated Monday April 25. Plenty of time for the Bush team to have finished working overtime.
And why the call from the "Christian" newspaper reporter? Obviously, she thinks "Christian" is a dirty word, but did she ever stop to imagine how it would have looked had she said "Jewish?" Who would call her and say he was a "Christian newspaper reporter," anyway? What was asked? Who was this caller?
How do we know that this is the handiwork of the Republican attack machine? Because Daily Kos readers are incensed? It's looking a bit too convenient for comfort.
I'm very skeptical.
I think it's quite possible that the "victim" dug up (more properly, presented to Daily Kos) the dirt against herself to set herself up to complain about the dirt digging. This both makes the Republicans look bad, and controls the damage in advance. Neat trick if you can pull it off, Melody.
(And if that turned out to be what happened, no, I still wouldn't care about twenty year old plagiarism. I'd be caring about something far worse -- and far more recent.)
UPDATE: This reminds me more and more of Philadelphia Mayor Street "discovering" the FBI bug (and harnessing hatred of the evil Republicans) just in time to transform defeat into victory.
ADDITIONAL THOUGHT: If assume for the sake of argument that sneaky, evil Republicans dug up the plagiarism dirt on Melody Townsel, then I have a couple of questions:
I have no way of knowing whether people might be digging up dirt on me, or the nature of the dirt, and dirt diggers, by their nature, don't tend to broadcast to their targets what they're doing behind their backs.
posted by Eric on 04.26.05 at 08:14 PM
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