May 25, 2006

Let's be nice...

I seem to have accidentally touched a nerve, wherein Baldilocks thinks I am defending that lackwit Jesse MacBeth. This is not the case. I am defending the concept of accuracy; hence the title of this post.

You see, one of the archaic meanings of the word nice is "precise, accurate." We have seen far too many instances of bloggers on both sides of the aisle going off half-cocked, such as the recent excitement about the Karl Rove non-indictment and the Howard Dean non-story.

While the specific statement that MacBeth was never in the Rangers/SF has been established as true, the statement that he "never served in the Army" has not yet been equally established. And, yes, I am being picky. Or nice. But that's exactly how I argue against typical idiotarian ideas: specify that which has been factually established, determine that which has not, and beat them over the head with the difference. Since many of these ideas are assertations or conclusions cloaked as fact, the process can be entertaining. But I digress...

My main points on this are two, one of which I've already mentioned. We are all obliged to as accurate as possible when disseminating information, as the above examples illustrate. Every single instance of a blog saying "MacBeth never served!!" either links to (and misquotes) the original JustCitizens post, or links to someone else (such as Michelle Malkin) who misquoted/misinterpreted the original post.

Accuracy is an ethical obligation of the highest order. Disrespecting the facts also disrespects both the reader and the debate, which brings me to my second point.

Playing fast'n'loose with the facts allows one's opponent to dismiss the writer as biased or inaccurate: "Well, Jesse might not be in the Rangers, but he's still telling the truth about they're doing in Iraq!" While MacB has been devastatingly debunked on his SF/Ranger claim, we need to nail down the question of his service equally well. A dissenter may well claim "fake, but accurate" regarding a soldier lying about his MOS, but it's nearly impossible to spin if you can state -as fact- that the stupid bugger never even enlisted.

That said, I have to apologize to Jules for the snarky tone of my original post on her blog. She was quite correct in her description of my "most-polite" correction. After having read the exact same (inaccurate) statement on literally the past five blogs I had read that evening, I snapped.

I'm sorry.

Now, that said {g}, I'd like to disabuse Baldilocks of any notion that I am in any way defending MacB. At least, that's my reading of her extended post. I also never said, or attempted to imply that he ever did serve, which seems to be the gist of her last graf.

So. No, I don't think Jesse MacBeth ever served. Yes, I think he's a despicable, lying little turd. No, I don't believe that any of his claims hold the slightest drop of water. Clear? Good!

These are, alas, conclusions, not facts, as are all the comments about his BDUs, tabs, "official" photo, and so on. While these mistakes are as painfully obvious as a large carbuncle on the nose of one's face to a service-man/woman, please recall that the vast majority of Americans have never served. That -to them- all of these obvious blunders are mean-spirited nit-picking which allow the critics to snipe at MacB without addressing his claims of atrocities.

And that, my friend, is exactly the point, despite Baldi's dismissive "as if it matters." You see, it does matter to the people have never served, nor have close friends or relatives who have served and are able to explain why those details matter. Those who are serving (or who have served) have an obligation to explain to the rest of the (civilian) world just how and why MacB lied. Something, that is, more substantial than snarking about his uniform or police record to show everyone what a scumbag he is.

We are now (finally) seeing constructive and specific comments taking apart his claims in detail. That is to say, countering his claims with valid data.

Thanks to Word Around The Net for mentioning the exchange.

Posted by Casey at May 25, 2006 12:21 PM | TrackBack

It would be good if you read my post a little more carefully in order to characterize the nature of it accurately; especially since you were the one excoriating me (and others) originally for that quite human failing.

No nerves of mine were touched by you since I did not say (nor imply) that you were defending MacBeth's conduct. I challenge you to point to a passage in which I said (or implied) this.

This thing called communication requires removing preconceived notions of another's motives. Take what a person says at face value rather than conjuring up your idea of what you *think* they *might* mean.

In the grand scheme of things related to the damage done by Mr.MacBeth and the insult proffered y him and those who put him up to this stunt, it indeed does not matter that the US Army didn't specify whether MacBeth had any type of Army record or not. And that's what I was talking about.

If you don't know, just ask next time.

Posted by: Juliette at May 25, 2006 6:17 PM

By the way, I wrote the above before I read your comment at my place. Thanks for that.

Posted by: Juliette at May 25, 2006 10:28 PM

As it turns out, he did serve, apparently he put in just over a month before washing out of Basic. Given that my health wouldn't let me get even that far, I can't exactly mock him for washing out... but I can for presenting himself as an elite ranger (or navy seal, as he did elsewhere). The fact that he took this opportunity to create horrific lies about Iraqi service and besmirch men of honor and duty who are fighting for him and me sickens me.

At any rate, thanks for the hat tip :)

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at May 28, 2006 2:17 AM