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Leiter Group Blog Shows Its Typical Preference for Keeping Its Own Facts

I have no idea what to make of this post by Benj Hellie at Leiter Reports other than to think that by adding more professors, Prof. Leiter's actually taken his blog even further from reality. Hellie is praising the power of the blogosphere to "expose" his opponents whilst completely ignoring the best practices of the same. For instance:

I didn't see the "My Pet Goat" footage until mid-2003, and at the time it was secret knowledge; now "no one anticipated the breach of the levees" is available for anyone on Crooks & Liars to expose Bush's lies after Brownie's attempted self-rehabilitation.

Any honest or competent blogger would at least include a link to the source of his quotation. (Near as I can tell, it's a close but incorrect misquote.) But worse, Hellie seems to completely ignore the correction the AP printed with regards to the story, which has been widely-remarked upon elsewhere. Decent analysis requires at least confronting opposing opinions, but Hellie makes no attempt to show that he even understands the difference between a breach and an overtopping of a levee.

Yet that's a minor point in comparison to the very first sentence, astounding in its self-importance:

What if the blogosphere hadn't come into existence only shortly after the Bush Gang takeover?

Ignore the slam at Bush: Prof. Leiter seems to require a certain number of those per hundred words to keep one's position as an author on the site. Since when did the blogosphere emerge in January, 2000 or even November 1999? Even Wikipedia notes that the word was coined before that fateful election, and blogs themselves had been around much longer. To take only one example, Livejournal started in March 1999 and was hardly the first kid on the block.

True, political blogging like Andrew Sullivan's didn't break out into the mainstream until 2001. Nevertheless, the 'sphere--even it it wasn't named as such--has an older pedigree than President Bush. If a blog starts in the forest and a philosophy professor isn't there to hear it, that blog still exists.


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