In diary comments, here and here, I tended to conflate my attempts to defend Bob Somerby with a call for less bluster and more logic here at Daily Kos. This made sense to me in this context, but only served to cloud the argument, caused some to misinterpret my comments as a bit self-pitying, and resulted in a pointless squabble with Armando.
So, seeing as I haven't been very effective in defending Bob Somerby of late, I thought I'd let him do it himself.
While he responds directly to Armando in Sunday's post, his Saturday post is the one that should be read first.
More after the fold...
On Sunday, Somerby wrote:
Why have we reacted as we have, some have asked. We'll call that an excellent question.
First, for our general understanding of the leak case: If we had to guess, we would guess as we did last week (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/22/05). We would guess that Patrick Fitzgerald has found that U.S. security interests were damaged when Plame's CIA status was revealed; that he is disturbed by that fact; and that he has found, or suspects, that some administration officials behaved in bad faith when they passed this information around. Left on our own, we have tended to chuckle when we think of Rove (or someone else) getting indicted. But when we have gone on line and seen how fervently some liberals pray for indictment, our hackles have tended to go up a bit (more on this reaction below). We think that most facts of this case remain unclear, and that many liberals and Dems have gotten far ahead of what they know as they pray for a criminal action. We don't think that's wise or smart, and we've therefore found ourselves inclined to debunk Group Wisdom on this matter--Group Wisdom which may simply be wrong. (We've done this daily for the past seven years. No one seems to get upset when we attempt to debunk such Group Wisdom--if the Group Wisdom comes from the right.)
Why are we suspicious of prevailing Group Wisdom? First, this is one of the rare cases in the past seven years where the mainstream press corps, right from the start, more or less took the Dem-liberal side. That is to say, when Joe Wilson's op-ed appeared in the New York Times, the mainstream press corps quickly adopted its frameworks, and failed to notice some of the problems associated with its reasoning. At the same time, they have tended to underplay some of the problems with Wilson himself, even as they have tended to accept his frameworks in a fairly uncritical fashion. From that day on, the press corps has tended to adopt the Wilson framework, and has tended to overlook weaknesses with his view of this case. In so doing, the corps has tended toward the same lazy, group-think habits it long has used to go after Big Dems. In this case, liberals have tended to applaud the corps' wisdom--because the corps' (conventional) wisdom has tilted the liberal way. But we've seen many of the same habits we have long assailed in the past--and we think they should be challenged. GroupThink feels good--when it's tilting your way. But it's no way to run a smart discourse.
And no, the facts in this case don't always support the Wilson framework. (In a complex case like this, the facts almost never tilt all one way.) Because our bias is against GroupThink, we tend to be intrigued when information suggests that prevailing Group Assumptions may not be accurate. These matters may not challenge or compromise the basic facts of the case: Whether Plame's outing compromised real security assets, for example, or whether White House leakers knew her outing was inappropriate. But they do remind us that real events are not fairy tales, and that they should be reviewed accordingly.
There is much more in the Saturday post that I think deserves open-minded consideration (the Sunday post is perhaps too Armando-focused to be as useful). But, I'll refrain from letting the effort of cutting and pasting into blockquote tags be a false indicator for actual effort in this diary and let you read for yourself, if you're interested.
And if this has been covered already, please let me know and I'll delete it.