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May 19, 2004

Shock: Liberal Writer Almost Mentions Discovery of Sarin in Iraq

Recovers Message-Discipline Just in Time to Avoid Actual Mention

W A S H I N G T O N -- The blogosphere was roiled today when it was learned a blog-posting written by hyperpartisan hack Josh Marshall almost, but didn't quite, mention the discovery of sarin.

The controversy arose when Josh Marshall linked a NYT column by William Safire which itself mentioned the discovery of WMD's in Iraq.

Although Mr. Marshall took great care to avoid mentioning the actual topic of Safire's column, choosing instead to criticize Safire for tangential statements, the very fact that he linked the column might have resulted in liberal readers clicking through to Safire's column and learning that Sarin had indeed been discovered in Iraq.



Josh Marshall, accused by fellow liberals
of very nearly informing his readership
about important breaking news.

"Too Close for Comfort"

"For God's sakes, what could he have been thinking?" wondered a fellow leftist blogger calling himself the Daily Kos. "We all know our duties as liberal pundits. We exist to insulate our readers within the warm and comfortable womb of orthodox liberal thought. Liberals just can't coccoon themselves, after all: this is our job. We must not, under any circumstances, ever mention anything that might cause our readers to question their partisan religous beliefs. And yet Josh Marshall -- an experienced, talented liberal propagandist -- almost mentioned the 's' word in today's posting. I'm just frankly stunned and saddened that he almost, but didn't quite, inform his readers about recent news."

Other liberals were more forgiving. "Sure, he got himself into trouble there for a little while," said Kevin Dunn, formerly CalPundit, and now writing for The Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog. "And yeah, I have to admit, I was afraid he'd actually lose control of himself and mention an incontrovertible fact which undermines liberal fantasies. But I think he managed to pull himself together just in the nick of time, right on the brink, as it were. You'll notice that he derides Safire's prediction of finding biological weapons, and yet he very craftilly manages to avoid mentioning the actual finding of chemical weapons, nerve agents, such as Sarin. The man is a pro, and I'm not going to sit here passing judgment on him. He made a mistake; but he corrected it. Isn't that all we can ask?"

"Mistakes Were Made"

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wasn't quite so willing to pardon what he called "an unforgiveable error" on Mr. Marshall's part. Krugman earned special praise in liberal circles for writing a series of damning articles about Bush's alleged association with Enron, while masterfully failing to reveal the fact that he himself had been a paid Enron advisor in past years and had, in fact, written an enthusiastically-gushing puff-piece on the company for Fortune magazine-- an article which was almost certainly a quid pro quo for his payment by Enron.

"Look, I realize sometimes it's hard to avoid mentioning important breaking news with enormous political consequences," the diminutive dean reflected. "But, for God's sakes, I'm an American economist who has studiously avoided discussing the state of the American economy for some fifty days straight now, despite writing two columns a week. If I can avoid even broaching the subject in which I am supposedly an expert for such a long period of time -- nicely avoiding any mention of GDP growth, productivity gains, falling deficits and explosive jobs creation -- I think someone like Josh Marshall should be able to manage avoiding any mention of Sarin for a couple of weeks."

Josh Marshall was contacted for his reaction but would not provide any comment. When asked about the discovery of Sarin in Iraq, he said, "I'm sorry, but I really don't know what you're talking aobut. No habla Englais. Dees is a shoe store, Senor. Please no call again."

Update: Link corrected to point to referenced post.


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posted by Ace at 04:56 PM

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