Saturday, August 27, 2005

In the reality-based community, we call that a "screw-up."

Back here, I amused myself by slapping around Weasel Boy for yet another bit of right-wing wankerville bullshit regarding the U.S. military and recruitment quotas. Turns out, there's quite the little story here about how Wankerville really is (surprise, surprise) completely full of crap. And, why yes, I'd love to explain.

It all started here, with an op-ed piece by Ralph Peters in the New York Post, bragging about how the U.S. military was doing just fine, thank you very much. (Subscription/login required for that link but don't worry -- you'll get to see all the good stuff shortly. Just note the date -- August 23, 2005. Onward.)

Not surprisingly, it didn't take long for everyone in Wankerville to get absolute woodies over how the U.S. was just goddamn chock-full of Bush-lovin' patriotism, and how this meant that all of those spineless, weaselly 101st Fighting Keyboarders weren't chickenhawks since no one really needed them after all and, whew, good thing, too.

Just one teensy-weensy problem with the story, as I already pointed out -- it was bullshit, as Peters 'fessed up the very next day:

Correction: My article in yesterday’s paper (“The Real Iraq News”) contained a substantial error: The new-enlistment rates I cited were wrong. The Army is still falling short on new enlistments. I deeply regret the mistake. But the numbers on the inspiring re-enlistment rates of our combat soldiers — the central issue of the column — were correct. I stand behind every word I wrote about the patriotism, commitment and valor of our troops. — RALPH PETERS

Before we continue, let's be clear about one thing -- there's a huge distinction in talking about re-enlistment rates versus first-time recruitment rates. As a number of folks in the blogosphere have explained, re-enlistment generally involves, in large part, career officers, those folks who plan on staying in for life, so it's not at all surprising to get a high rate of re-enlistment.

First-time recruitment, on the other hand, is far more affected by the popularity of the cause, and it's that rate that's more significant here. So don't confuse the two, as many wankers want you to do. Like Peters, who gets caught spewing bullshit about first-time recruitment numbers, then tries to make it sound like it wasn't that important since that's not what he was talking about, anyway.

Now, the burning question is, how did the citizens of Wankerville process this story? More importantly, how did they process the subsequent correction?

As one example, we have wanker site number one, crowing over the numbers. Note the date: August 23, the date of Peters' original good-news piece. Boy, that didn't take long, did it? And yet, even though Peters' correction hit the streets the very next day, here we are, three days later, and you will look in vain at that piece for an update or correction, even though the piece quotes liberally from Peters' piece, specifically referring to recruitment rates. Here in Realityville, we generally refer to that as being sleazy and dishonest. And, of course, it doesn't stop there.

Since that blog gives a hat tip to America's favourite crazy-assed bitch Michelle Malkin, let's pop in there and see whether she covered this. Yeah, like you had to ask. Again, note the date. Michelle was all over the apparent good news the day it came out, but even she has to bow to reality with a couple updates.

Note Update 1, in which Malkin has to admit that Peters' numbers regarding recruitment were rubbish. Note to Crazy-Assed Bitch: that's not an "update", it's a "correction". Or, better yet, it's a "Holy shit, did we fuck up with that story and please forgive us!" kind of correction. In Wankerville, apparently, a simple "update" suffices. (Malkin's second update is similar crap since Peters most definitely was talking about both types of signup. So the current strategy from Wankerville is apparently to pretend that the recruitment numbers weren't all that important a part of the story, just ignore it, move on, nothing to see here.)

Over at Captain's Hindquarters, Captain Ed similarly brandishes his cutlass over the news (note once again the date -- August 23 -- proving that these folks can be all over good news like a Republican on a cheap hooker at a convention). To Captain Ed's credit, he does reveal the bad news later, but in a Michelle Malkin-inspired weaselly way as an "update", suggesting that Peters has some "'splainin' to do." No, Ed, he doesn't. He already explained it -- he fucked up big time, and you owe your readers a big, wet, kiss-ass apology, not some shuck-and-jive "update" where you dump the blame on Peters.

Not surprisingly, the poster children for intellectual miasma over at Wizbangblog jump on the original good news as well, with nary a warning that it's been deflated. Bad pundit. No biscuit.

And how could we finish the story without zipping over to check out Weasel Boy who, in one of the comments of that post, gets into pure strut mode by linking directly to Captain Ed. And yet ... and yet ... here it is, August 27, and no update or correction from WB that he's full of it.

And that, kids, is how Wankerville works. Please tell me you're not surprised.

AFTERSNARK: Perhaps the funniest tap-dancing here is by Michelle Malkin who, in her first update to the story, openly admits there's a problem and makes it sound like she really wants to get to the truth:

There seems to be a discrepancy between these stories and what Ralph Peters has written. I'm not sure what the explanation is for the difference in these stories. Does anyone else have an idea? Please, let me know. Is Peters focusing on one part of recruitment and are Fox News and the Washington Post focusing on another set of numbers? Let me know if you have something that explains this since I wouldn't want to use misleading information.

So how does Malkin finally accept that the first-time recruitment numbers were bogus?

I changed the title as several people pointed out that his column focused on reenlistments and not recruitment. Sorry.

That's right -- she changes the title of her article to ignore them. Is that adorable or what?

READER'S DIGEST CONDENSED VERSION: For the hard of thinking who can't wade through all of the above, let me give you the shorter version:

News piece 1
: Good right-wing news! Good right-wing news!
Wankersphere: Hey! Good right-wing news! Good right-wing news!
News piece 2: Whoops, retraction of news piece 1.
Wankersphere: Well, apparently, there is some discrepancy in recent news coverage and we're getting conflicting reports, but we want to make sure we're giving you the right information so we're going to withhold judgment and would ask everyone not to jump to conclusions while we convene a task force to investigate the different interpretations and, whoa, how about that bright shiny thing over there?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow.. I didn't realize that so many people could be so ignorant and vicious. You class all americans as ignorant dumbasses. Your summary shows your true opinion best: "Anything american is wrong, Bush has done nothing right". You are so blinded by your pre-disposition to hate Bush that you don't really care what the news is.
- Average Joe