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Some Rather impressive similarities

Last week, the news that Iran was going to force non-Muslims to wear distinctive colors and badges in public was a telling moment around the blogosphere. A lot of people -- mainly on the right -- were properly outraged at this latest sign of just how crazy the mullahs in Iran are.

And then the story apparently fell apart.

I was not one of those who jumped on the blast-Iran bandwagon, but that was a simple matter of laziness. I saw the accounts, and considered it far too plausible. I even considered posting about it, but by that time several others had chimed in and I had nothing new to offer, so I gave it a pass. However, I had no doubts as to the story itself.

In retrospect, it should have raised red flags. The story was, in that memorable phrase, "fake, but accurate." The leaders of Iran are that crazy, but not that kind of crazy. Their paranoia is built around external threats -- the United States, Israel, the West in general -- not internal threats. The Islamist hold on power in Iran is solid, with no fears of non-Muslims posing any kind of threat to the general populace. It is the Muslims who pose a threat to the Islamists' power, not the Jews or Christians or Zoroastrians.

But it was the aftermath of the story's collapse that is the most telling.

Most sites immediately posted updates or whole new postings saying the story was bogus, and admitting they were wrong. Many spelled out just why the story was so plausible, citing precedents in Muslim history that predate Hitler and his yellow stars and pink triangles (sometimes I wonder if breakfast cereal makers might be secret neo-Nazis) and other accoutrements of racism and genocide. But the gist of the story was wrong, and I can't find anyone who is still pushing it as serious.

Let's compare and contrast that with two other recent incidents.

First up, the amazingly unindicted Karl Rove. I've lost count of how many "deadlines" on that story have passed, but it's still embraced by so many. Personally, I don't care much about it, but as a general principle I don't like the criminalization of politics, of using the courts to settle political fights. It was bad enough when it was in civil cases, but bringing in the criminal justice system deeply troubles me.

And Rove remains unindicted.

Another comparison is Rathergate and the forged Texas Air National Guard memos. Those documents were touted as "devastating" to Bush's re-election campaign, but as soon as they were made public, they started to crumble. Bloggers, some with extensive background in typography (such as Charles Johnson and Meryl Yourish), or military experience, spotted glaring inconsistencies, errors, and anachronisms in the memos that not only cast doubt on their authenticity, but to many conclusively proved they were fakes.

But there are many who still think they are valid, who demand that every single point in the memos be disproven before they accept that they are fake. Since the forgers got a few things right, they hang on to those elements as "proof" that they are not completely discredited. (I'll even go out on a limb and predict that at least two commenters will argue that the TANG memos were not fakes, and provide links that argue that point, in the comments below.)

The lesson is the same for both sides: be skeptical of all stories, but put special scrutiny on those stories that reinforce your own beliefs, your own policies, your own biases and prejudices. Both sides got a chance to re-learn that lesson.

The difference, though, is that most of the bloggers on the Right (and I reluctantly put myself in that camp, at least in this case) were quick and willing to admit error. I'm still waiting for the Big Boys (and gals) on the Left to write off the Rove indictment and the TANG memos as bogus, and MoveOn to something actually relevant.

Any time now, folks...


Comments (24)

Jay,Patience is go... (Below threshold)
Dave in W-S:

Jay,

Patience is good. Keep waiting but continue to breathe as usual while waiting.

In other words, don't hold your breath.

A better recent example is ... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

A better recent example is the European Detention center story.

Core story falling apart is... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

Core story falling apart is where the strategy "but it's the seriousness of the charge" meme started.

When Teddy Kennedy admits c... (Below threshold)

When Teddy Kennedy admits complete culpability and publicly offers himself up for punishment in the death of MJK, then you might see pigs fly, snowballs in Hell and Democratic extremists admit error.

It is extremely unlikely th... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

It is extremely unlikely that BDS positions held by the likes of the KOS Kiddies, Move On, the virulent leftist wing of the Democratic Party and their mouthpieces in the MSM will *EVER* "admit error" and go forward.

The simple proof of this is their failure to have done so by now with ANY of the aforementioned stories, 5 years into W's administration.

The basis for the story is ... (Below threshold)
KobeClan:

The basis for the story is true. The Iranian government DID pass a law mandating a nationwide dress code based on "visual equality" for Muslims.
This certainly requires that non-Muslims be easy to identify; after all, you wouldn't want to accidently shake hands with the "unclean", would you??
The claim that rules establishing non-Muslim dress codes have already been approved appears to be the false component.
This story is not over.
IMHO, the only question left unanswered is what form of identifying marks will infidels be required to wear.
When the mad mullas actually do enforce "visual equality", will the trolls apologize for asking for an apology?


Jay,Yes, I know th... (Below threshold)

Jay,

Yes, I know the danger re the Rathergate mess of, "fake but accurate."

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss this story. Dr. Zin is back and is commenting on the Iranian Islamic Dress Code story.

I just posted this in a thread this morning re the dangers of not facing Evil starring us in the face. There are historical facts that have precedent unlike the Rathergate story :--)

I would also caution it's not over until the fat lady sings. The fat lady hasn't sung yet.

RBT

*****

UPDATE - Dr. Zin is now back and commenting on the Islamic dress code story from yst. See his thoughts here and follow his site Regime Change Iran as this story continues to develop.

There is truth to this story and shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. President MAD and the Mad Mullahs as Dr. Zin notes are pursuing an incrementalists strategy.

RBT has this further analogy. A frog will die in a pot of boiling water if brought slowly to a boil!

Thanks for posting this Jay... (Below threshold)

Thanks for posting this Jay Tea.

I was one of the ones who fell for this story - I am glad you found it as believable a story as I did.

I was quick to post a correction as soon as I found out it was false, and was happy to do so. That is the power of blogs, and honest blogging - it keeps you credible, and keeps your readers informed.

I was a bit unhappy that Drudge did not post a correction, or retraction.

Jay Tea:As you kno... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

Jay Tea:

As you know, I am always happy to point out when you're wrong.

--|PW|--

This attitude on the left i... (Below threshold)

This attitude on the left is not new.

Recall in 1988, when G.H.W. Bush was running for Prez, and the Democrats decided to hold hearings on the old moonbat fairly tale that he had taken a secret SR-71 flight to Europe on the eve of the 1980 election to convince Iran NOT to release our hostages until after the vote?

When challenged as to what possible justification there was for the hearings, Tom Foley replied, "It is precisely because there is no firm evidence that we need to have a hearing!"

Today's moonbat morons are just carrying on a fine old tradition.

Interesting contrast to oth... (Below threshold)

Interesting contrast to other sites that advise "Do not accept anything that does not align with what you feel to be true." I've noticed that rightwingers tend to be more willing to accept challenges to their convictions, and more reasonable about discussing differences of opinion. It seems to me that "blind patriotism" is more aptly applied to the religious zealots of the left, although there are certainly exceptions. The tendency is there, however.

Does this mean that Kim is ... (Below threshold)
aeneas:

Does this mean that Kim is stepping down? After all, this is the 2nd false story she has run in the last couple of months. (The first being the Iraqi Document Dump)

Also, you don't come close to getting the point of "fake but accurate," JT.

First, it means that the story is true.
This story was not true, so it already doesn't qualify.

As in the Rather situation, where the secretary
(and other records) confirmed the substance
of everything in the memos. However, the documents
themselves may have been fake to make this point.

This situation is not even close to that. It's a fake story with fake facts and no accuracy. In other words, typical Wizbang "reporting."

Anyways, is Kim stepping down now?

Anus,"Unconfirmed"... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

Anus,

"Unconfirmed" and "fake" mean very different things.
TNG, Rove indictment = "fake"
Crazy folks in Iran passing religious segregation laws = "Unconfirmed".

Jay- re: "I dont care muc... (Below threshold)
Tom Hungerford:

Jay- re: "I dont care much about it". Would that morsel refer to the impending indictment of Mr. Rove, or to last weeks rumors about the timing of it? Call it the "criminalization of politics" if you prefer. But then I must ask, what was Lewinski? The criminalization of pussy? (both crimes being actually perjury I suppose). And which crime the more serious would you say? Both were dirty deeds (Monica was no oil painting to be sure) but one was just sex Jay. Are you a puritan? I'm not. Not by a long shot. When I vote for someone I'm not concerned with who or who they're sliding up into (yes Jay, male or female). I want to know what they're going to do for the middle class not the middle east. I digress, regarding not caring Jay: Care, care alot Jay, like the beastie boys. Yours ever, Tom

Tom, old chum, I apologize.... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Tom, old chum, I apologize. I should have completed the story:

Clinton was impeached for committing perjury -- about lying under oath during a civil trial where he was the defendant -- which means he was trying to obstruct justice for his own personal, private benefit.

The Plame case -- Libby is accused of lying about how he told the truth about a liar. He is NOT charged with outing Plame, and there is considerable debate about whether stating her CIA employment was criminal.

Personally, I have no problem with the Plame outing -- it seems fairly clear that she was not only NOT covered under the law, but had abused her position for her own personal motives. She arranged for her husband being sent on that Africa trip, and Wilson had returned and was telling the press in public a far different story than he had told the government in private. As I understand it, the outing of Wilson was to give more weight to the Bush administration's dismissals of his public accusations and to deny the credibility he was claiming.

A bit of pure speculation on my part:

"So, what's up with Wilson? He says he found no evidence in Africa."

"That's not what he told us. We put together what he said with what we heard elsewhere, and it adds up to Saddam was after uranium."

"But it makes you look bad -- he says Cheney himself picked him for the trip."

"That's crap. Nobody at the White House named him specifically. Someone asked CIA to send someone, and they picked him."

"Do you know who picked him?"

"His wife works over there. It looks like she pulled some strings, called in some favors, and got him the job. We had no idea why it was him until after he started putting out all this crap."

"His wife?"

"Yeah, she has some desk job over there. Mid-level, I think -- an analyst or something."

In Clinton's case, there was an underlying wrong being addressed -- his treatment of Paula Jones, and pattern of sexual misconduct with female subordinates (in violation, ironically, of a law he had signed). His denial of the Lewinsky affair was to weaken Jones' case. In the Plame affair, it looks like there was no underlying crime -- it was the alleged coverup that has Libby on trial. Libby appears stupid more than anything else.

J.

I'll even go out on a l... (Below threshold)

I'll even go out on a limb and predict that at least two commenters will argue that the TANG memos were not fakes, and provide links that argue that point, in the comments below

Wow, that didn't take long did it, Jay?

Many of the bloggers here a... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Many of the bloggers here appear to have missed the significance of the Iranian "dress law" and its insertion into the media. This is a neo-con planted story designed to inflame public attitude against Iran by attempting to raise the ghost of the Holocaust. In many ways it mirrors the false stories about Iraq & the alleged WMD that did not exist.

While the right-wing blogs may have quickly recanted this story, they have done nothing to examine its origin or the motives of the people responsible.

Amir Taheri of Benador Associates, fed this lying story to the National Post in Canada and other right-wing publications . Benador Associates offers a series of neo-con speakers such as Perle, Ledeen, Gaffney, Woolsey, Richard Pipes-father of Daniel,Krauthammer etc. These are the bottom-feeding scum who used their access to Bush/Cheney Co. to flood this country w/ Iraqi WMD propaganda to facilitate this country's march to war.

Benador Associates was founded by Eleana Benador, formerly director of Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum, a neo-con war-mongering group driven to facilitate the implementation of policies of the PNAC group.

Now, this Iranian "dress law" story,was inserted into the media on Friday & picked up by the New York Sun & the Jerusalem Post & a spokesman from the Simon Wiesenthal Center w/ the expectation that it would make the Sunday talk circuit and gain currency.

When one examines the background of many of these individuals, it becomes quite clear that this lying propaganda was designed to further inflame this nation into a march for a pre-emptive attack on Iran.

With the allegations that Iran is on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons, that Iran wants to eradicate Israel and now the alleged institution of Iranian law that appears to recreate the early days of Nazi Germany, one can see that these neo-con war mongerers are working to drive this nation into a pre-emptive attack on Iran.

Rather than the simplistic linkage of this story to "Rathergate," where are the right-wing bloggers when it comes to exposing this pack of neo-con fascist war-mongerers, many of whom like Perle, Woolsey, Gaffney, Ledeen et al have had carte blanche at the Bush war councils?

It seems obvious, that an Administration that allows this fascist scum like these individuals into the inner circle is irresponsible at beat and criminal at worst.

Where is the Right-Wing outrage for being maneuvered ever closer to a disastrous war in the Middle East? Where is the outrage that slime like Perle, Ledeen, Gaffney and others have access to the Bush Administration in policy formulation?

.

This is a neo-con plante... (Below threshold)

This is a neo-con planted story designed to inflame public attitude against Iran

OOooo! Aahhhh! Those wily NeoConZionists out to besmirch the grand, good name of kite-flying, kittens and fluffy bunny loving Iranians!

Nope. Iran has never ever done anything that might make people suspicious of their motives...

Azar Nafisi might have a few comments.

DarleenIt was not ... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Darleen

It was not my intemtion to give Iran a pass... rather to show from where this neo-con crap came from as well as some the war-mongers who facilitated its promotion, the same ones that Bush used as advisors pre-Iraq.

It's a parallel to the kind of war propaganda leading to the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq.

So, mak, are you saying the... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

So, mak, are you saying there isn't a valid reason to have an issue with Iran? It's all propaganda and they've done nothing to generate concern. Heck, he probably never said he wanted to wipe Israel off the map nor did he promise nuclear annihilation if anybody tried to attack his nuke program. Iran's open approval of what Hitler did was ALSO a neo-con lie, right?

Gee, I remember when the left at least paid lip service to the concept of human rights and all.
-=Mike

MikeSCA rightie ex... (Below threshold)
mak44:

MikeSC

A rightie extremist like you typically likes to take statements out of context.

Perhaps you're a bit daft, but the point was that the cabal of neo-con war-mongering kooks like Pipes, Perle, Gaffney, Woolsey, Ledeen et al are, w/ their lies like the dress code law, deliberately pouring oil on waters already afire.
These are the same kooks that had far too much input in Bush councils about Iraq.

But for the fact that this latest story was unmasked for the fraud it was, you extremists would have added it to your arsenal for pre-emptive war against Iran, just as was done w/ the lying propaganda about Iraq & WMD.

This Iran "dress code" law is a perfect example of how the neo-con war-mongerers use lies to inflame the public.

It was deliberate & it came from the cabal of war criminals who had far too much access to the impressionable & visionless Chimp.

It was the Joooossssss, eh ... (Below threshold)
scsiwuzzy:

It was the Joooossssss, eh mak?

Perhaps you're a bit daf... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Perhaps you're a bit daft, but the point was that the cabal of neo-con war-mongering kooks like Pipes, Perle, Gaffney, Woolsey, Ledeen et al are, w/ their lies like the dress code law, deliberately pouring oil on waters already afire.

Perhaps there is some evidence forthcoming from you that they had anything to do with this story.

But for the fact that this latest story was unmasked for the fraud it was, you extremists would have added it to your arsenal for pre-emptive war against Iran, just as was done w/ the lying propaganda about Iraq & WMD.

Hardly. Making Jews wear a star is hardly a major reason to invade Iran --- considering ALL of the other great reasons (slaughtering of anybody with a different view, funding terrorism, nuclear proliferation, etc.) to do so.

BTW, note --- more than one reason. I mention this because should we invade Iran --- JUST like as happened with Iraq --- your side will claim only one reason was given, which is factually and historically inaccurate.

This Iran "dress code" law is a perfect example of how the neo-con war-mongerers use lies to inflame the public.

Yes. "Wiping Israel off the map" isn't inflammatory, apparently.

It was deliberate & it came from the cabal of war criminals who had far too much access to the impressionable & visionless Chimp.

Again, I suppose expecting the tiniest smidgeon of, you know, actual evidence behind your baseless caterwauling is too much to ask, huh?

Also, it's nice to see a leftie coming out on the side of those noted champions of human rights, Iran. Can't figure out why the country doesn't take your side seriously.
-=Mike

Mike SCYou really ... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Mike SC

You really are just a dumb rightie ass. The point of what I posted was that it was a cabal of neo-cons who planted the phoney Iran dress code story to further inflame the public about Iran just like the horseshit story planted prior to the 1st Iraq war that Iraqi soldiers were throwing Kuwaiti babies out of incubators. You rightie extremists love getting all honked up over propaganda even if baseless in fact. When the drumbeat for war sounds, just like a pack of Pavlovian Puppies, you are ready to march others off to do the dying for you.

There is nothing that I wrote that was a defense of Iran so you apparently do not comprehend English. That likely explains why you hold the assinine views that you do because you have a comprehension problem.




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