Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Reality-based conspiracy

Jerry Stratton, May 15, 2006

Nothing here about Rove being indicted. Just a quick note about the unreasoning partisanship that goes into the hope for Fitzmas in May. On a blog called, ironically (or perhaps just inappropriately) The Reality-Based Community, Mark Kleiman suggests that Jason Leopold is being played for a fool by the White House.

As part of this, he lays even odds about the source of Dan Rather’s faked Texas Air National Guard documents:

Perhaps his sources (“more than two,” he says), which by his account include people close to the White House, were hoping that the MSM would leap on the story and look silly when it was discredited. (Five will get you ten that’s what happened to Dan Rather, and that Rove was involved.)

I can’t quite wrap my mind around that particular conspiracy theory. The Rather memos were so obviously faked it’s surprising to me that nobody in CBS stopped their use. I certainly can’t see White House puppetmasters expecting CBS to fall for those fakes.

Reading Kleiman’s article, I immediately began imagining this White House conversation:

“We can use your military record to our advantage, Dubya.”

“How’s that, Turd Blossom?”

“We feed a fake document to the media about your going AWOL. They’ll report it, and then the blogosphere will debunk it. If the media gets caught pushing a fake document about your military record, it will permanently defuse all of the criticisms you’ve been getting about it.”

“What if the blogs don’t realize our document is a fake? We’ll be up turd creek without a paddle.”

“We’ll make it so blatantly obvious that even a complete idiot will realize it’s fake even when it’s displayed over a television set."

“If only a complete idiot could think it was real, how will we get that turd into the media?”

“We’ll give it to Dan Rather over at CBS.”

“He’ll eat anything.” I mean, really. How could Rove possibly have believed that a Microsoft Word document would get past all of the fact-checkers and editors at CBS? If the fakes came from the White House, and if CBS had realized they were fakes, Rather would have followed the chain back up, thoroughly embarrassing the administration and completely trashing any chance of a Bush re-election. Who would risk that?

The only person who could have safely been a White House mole in that episode would have been Dan Rather. He’s the one who ignored the experts’ advice regarding the documents before going live with them. He’s the one who stonewalled on national television despite the obvious problems with the documents. If it weren’t for the first mistake, no one would have heard of the documents. If it weren’t for the second, no one would have cared.

At some point people have to start taking responsibility for their own stupidity. Karl Rove doesn’t control Dan Rather’s brain. But Rove obsession certainly seems to control a lot of the blogosphere.

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