Good advice

If there’s one thing Howie Carr is, it’s a survivor.

He’s been a Boston gadfly for literally decades. An unabashed conservative, he’s been a muckraker in the heart of one of the most muck-filled cities in the United States. He’s been a thorn in the side of Massachusetts politicians — mostly Democrats — and media figures and other assorted scoundrels. He’s been a part of the downfall of talk show hosts, columnists, and major political figures. He’s been threatened by many, including mobsters who talked about killing him.

And yet he is not only still walking around, but still busting the hacks and the corrupt and the venial and the hypocritical.

How has he survived this? It’s no secret.

Literally.

Carr survives by a simple rule: he has no secrets. No secret skeletons in his closet, no secret relatives on the public payroll, no secret criminal record.

And he doesn’t even keep his “survival secret” a secret. He proudly proclaims it on a regular basis, and urges others to follow his example at every excuse. Currently, it’s the DC Madam and her little black book.

It’s good advice, and advice I’ve tried to follow in my blogging. I have never once written a piece I wish I had not written — or been tempted to go back and covertly delete or alter something I wrote. It’s partly out of a sense of integrity, but mainly it’s self-defense.

Here at Wizbang, we have our share of detractors. I can count at least a dozen current commenters (and other bloggers) who would leap on any chance to attack me. I have no problem with that; in fact, I revel in it.

But I won’t help them do it.

I know they’re going to attack me. It’s part and parcel of the job. But I won’t give them any more ammunition than I absolutely have to. And hypocrisy should be the death knell of any blogging career. (Glenn Greenwald and his sock puppets being an inexplicable exception.)

I “own” everything I ever wrote. (Well, not strictly in a legal sense, but certainly in a moral one.) If I make mistakes, I will own them as well. I will correct them as I see fit, but I will not deny them or surreptitiously fix or remove them.

Because in addition to Howie Carr’s aphorisms (“never to say anything to anybody that he or she wouldn’t mind reading in transcript form on the front page of the newspaper,” “Never write when you can speak. Never speak when you can nod. Never nod when you can wink.”), there’s the single lesson from Watergate that rises above every other element of that scandal: “it’s not the crime that gets you, it’s the coverup.”

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