Nate Silver has a nice take down both of the ridiculous lies, including falsely labeled photos, about how many people attended the tea bag protest in Washington and also the tendency to dismiss the protest’s importance.
If you follow the second link above to redstate.com and are willing to sift through some pretty astounding comments on the thread, you’ll be treated to an illuminating exchange.
A commenter, who apparently has had an account there for a few years but is new to commenting, suggests that they should not leave themselves open being discredited by so blatantly and egregiously overstating the size of their protest. In response, he is jumped on in short and predictably Pavlovian order.
He is called a troll and a poseur. His motivations and mental acuity are questioned in very uncivil tones. Still, he persists and even makes a reply to another poster further down the stream.
But the important and instructive aspect of this exchange is that not a single poster backs him up, restates his point or even begrudgingly if only slightly agrees with his premise.
Other commenters continue to take shots at him and use him as an example to avoid in instructing another new poster on how to avoid the misdirected — in fact, inward turning — fire of another respected and long time member of the redstate echo chamber.
We do learn in the exchange that the author of the original post, the blog’s big cheese Erick Erickson, added the question mark and the footnote calling the bogus 2 million figure into question. And some commenters disingenuously use that fact to claim that they were not actually arguing for the grossly inflated number, when, incredibly, just a few comments they were doing just that.
It’s amazing to watch the duplicity and self delusion unfold on the record.
In microcosm, this is another example of what I frequently comment on: the seeming inability, or unwillingness, of so many on the right to understand and respect the power of the web as an archive in addition to a fleeting bullhorn.
Their words and action really are being recorded and are available for future easy and widespread access and retrieval. Going on four years after macaca, they can no longer credibly claim ignorance of this web facet.
They are stubbornly and childishly refusing to acknowledge this part of reality. This may sometimes be effective in arguing — or shouting at — people, who frequently don’t want to or don’t quite know how to respond to such a tactic.
However, it is not a useful strategy in dealing with an obvious and undeniable fact about the nature of the web and how it has affected our political discourse.
The effect this guy has is quite obvious (via ThinkProgress):