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December 30, 2005

I Erred

This has been endlessly hashed out by now, but a confession is in order: I was sloppy and careless in titling the NSA poll post to include the word "warrantless." That wasn't acutally in the question posed, as a number of liberal critics pointed out (and a number of conservative readers here agreed).

I didn't try to sneak anything past anyone; it was just sloppiness. I didn't actually read the full question -- mistake number one -- and I just tried to come up with a title to alert people to what the poll was about. It wasn't a poll about eavesdropping, generally; it was about the specific eavesdropping conducted by Bush (although, in fairness, the question posed is open to criticism for not fully explaining the situation). I came up, in three seconds, with "Warrantless Eavesdropping" as a way to describe it. Warrantless was a mischaracterization, and, in fact, so was "Eavesdropping," as we're talking about wireless intercepts, by and large.

But, pressed for a title, I should have relied upon the actual question more, and the actual title Rasmussen gave the article (which of course did not include the word "warrantless.") Instead, I tried to quickly come up with my own digest of the article, a digest which it turned out was misleading or just plain false.

I did change the headline about fifteen minutes after I became aware of the complaint at all. That post simply got buried; I never revisited it, nor did I notice all the argumentation going on in the thread. I saw some arguments going on in the "Most Recent Comments" section, but I didn't pay them much mind, assuming all the fuss was about Rasmussen's question itself, not about my headline in particular.

Incidentally, I think Rasmussen's question was perfectly fair, for reasons I won't bother getting into, as this is about my error.

I shouldn't have written "Warrantless" in the title. Sloppy. Loose shit. Incorrect. Misleading. I did change it once I realized there was a genuine complaint about the headline (my defenders on the site were defending my integrity while also conceding I was wrong in this particular case, which is a pretty good tip-off you're on shaky ground at the very least). Incidentally, the post title is still the same on RSS feeds, I'm told, but if you actually click on the link, you'll see it was changed.

But one point: At some point in one of the threads, someone posted as me, claiming to be making a statement based on advice from my legal counsel, and concluded "this thread is locked." I was going to pitch a bitch about that, but, let's face it, posting under another's name for humorous effect is something that gets done around here a lot, so I didn't say anything. I didn't see the humor in it, but I decided not to make a big case about it. I had myself posted as "Woody Guthrie" and "Dorothy Guthrie" and "Brick Tamerland" in the same thread, so I really couldn't get all outraged someone had swiped my name for this pot.

But I didn't write it. DB tells me that some liberals are making an issue of this post, apparently over the "thread is locked" part, suggesting I attempted to stop discussion in a thread about my error. Well, I didn't write that, and the thread is not locked, and you may all continue discussing my error.

I don't think I've ever "locked" a thread in my history, nor ruled some discussions out of bounds (except for Downtown Lad challenging me to a fight, and then threatening to call the cops when I agreed that I would kick his ass).

Just to clarify: I was wrong, but I didn't mean to be deceptive; I was sloppy, which is itself blameworthy. Just not as blameworthy as deliberate deceit. But I did correct fifteen minutes after finding out about the complaint (my first words on it were something like "yeah, you've got a decent point about wording," though I did go on to defend the wording). And I never, ever said "the thread is locked," and I'd appreciate if people didn't steal my monicker any more, except in cases where the humor -- and the falsity -- of the post is clear.

I actually assume that the person who wrote that is a regular, and was trying to be funny. Well, it wasn't really funny, and it wasn't over-the-top enough to alert people to the fact that it was a false-attribution post. And it included something that now has people thinking I don't allow free discussion: "this thread is locked."

Please don't do that again. If you want to post by "ace" saying "I'm a big retard and like the smell of poop," go ahead, that's obviously parody. But don't write a post that can easily be mistaken for a real post by me. If you're not sure it's clear that it's a parody, say it's by "Ace Junior" or "Ace's Left Nut" or something.

Multiple Layers Of Painstaking Editorial Fact-checking Update: I had an idea to ad that I don't have the "multiple layers of etc." that the MSM does, but in fact I do-- I have readers who point out my errors, some helpfully, some just to hurt (like JeffB.), and of course liberal critics as well. The main reason this one took so long to correct is I just didn't even realize I'd made an error.

I don't read every thread. I read some, skim others, and don't read others at all.

If you do see some glaring error that needs correction, and a notification to that effect in a thread doesn't seem to be attracting my attention, please, if it's not too much trouble, alert me by email. I usually don't allow errors to go uncorrected out of stubborness or laziness; it's usually just because I don't know about them. So if there's a big error, one you have to concede to a liberal critic is an error, and yet I'm not correcting it, please drop me a line to make sure I know I've goofed.

I allow a lot of typos to go by -- like "auf widersehen" yesterday, with the missing "e" after the "i" -- out of laziness, and a fundamental belief that a slapdash, sloppy approach to things is, in some retarded way, charming. But not big things.

BTW: How hard was this confession to make? Not hard in the least. The good thing about making so many errors is that you kind of get used to making corrections.

Clarification: I only posted as Woodie Guthrie once. Allah had quoted Anchorman about taking out Woodie Guthrie's mom, Dorothy Guthrie, out for a nice seafood dinner and then never calling her again, and I posted as "Woodie Guthrie" to do the follow-up line: "Dorothy Guthrie is a saint!" In context, I thought it would be clear that this wasn't Woodie Guthrie, since he wasn't in on the Anchorman joke, and certainly wouldn't play along. Not when he had such good put-downs to offer, like "PUSSY" ever five seconds.

Steve_from_hb just asked if I had been posting as "Woodie Guthrie" to stir controversy or something, so I thought I'd clarify. No, he was real. Real, and dumb. I didn't post as him, except that one time, just to complete the Anchorman exchange. I don't do fake-troll postings to create arguments or whatever (and, by the way, Hoke Malokey continues to be real). I just did that one little line to complete the joke.

Related: Cop Attacked By Angry Chihuahuas.

Thanks to both Steve and CG.


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posted by Ace at 02:06 PM

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