April 19, 2003

KEN PARISH, the Wogblogger, and

KEN PARISH, the Wogblogger, and Tug Boy Potemkin all have opinions on the continuing Media Watch debris debacle. As usual, permalinks are bloggered (to use Tim Dunlop's fine word) so scroll down on sites where the relevant post isn't immediately obvious. Or scroll up, just for the giddy pleasure of redundant up-scrolling.

On MW, reader Bill Tyroler of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, writes:

Media Watch originally disparaged *a* claim by the Telegraph -- but there were necessarily multiple claims: the flag was at the Pentagon 9/11, *and* that it was recovered under debris. MW's argument that it meant to separate out the claims and focus purely on the latter is at best casuistic. Even if a reader were to put any credence in their transparent dodge, they'd still owe an apology, for fatal ambiguity -- a serious enough transgression for a self-anointed media watchdog group.

Their defense is insultingly flimsy. The emotive power of the original account derived from the fact that the flag was *at* the Pentagon 9/11. Who cares precisely where it was found at the site? It could have been blown a mile away and the symbolism would resonate no less for that: American resiliency. This is obvious, which makes your rebuttal spot-on -- that being *nearby* debris suffices.

(For that matter, the Telegraph's account says the flag was found under "the debris." There was a helluva lot of debris at the site; it wasn't a unitary whole. Take away the definitive article and the claim is plausible on its face. Media Watch likely drew a rash assumption that the flag was supposedly pulled from tons of debris, something they apparently thought implausible, and that therefore the flag had not in fact been at the Pentagon that day. Rash assumptions -- just what you'd expect from a media watchdog.)

Posted by Tim Blair at April 19, 2003 03:53 PM