March 24, 2005

Do Victims Have an Obligation to Protest

A Power Line item on Terri Schiavo talking points has this update:

UPDATE: Jon Miners writes: "The reason the authenticity of the Schiavo memo is not in dispute, is because those in a position to know haven't disputed it."

This brings back memories of the Rathergate controversy. Back then, this same line was trotted out by Democrat partisans but soon collapsed under the weight of obvious forgery evidence in the controversial texts. Could we be seeing round two of exactly the same tactic on the part of savvy Republicans?

The question that nobody seems to be asking is whether not protesting a fraudulent document is a legitimate tactic in the political arena. On the pro side, there's generally no obligation to speak up to denounce crime anywhere. It also breaks up the he said/she said dynamic in media coverage by not providing any "she said" rebuttal. The mainstream media are then either forced to do their own work to verify or run stories that are fundamentally unbalanced and risk their careers if they end up backing fraudulent documents. In the end, the risk to career will force independent verification to come back in style.

On the other side, not issuing a denial means you have to do an awful lot more work and some people will believe the lie far longer than otherwise. Increasing the number of deluded, conspiracy theory believing people is not generally healthy in any democratic republic.

So which rationale is more convincing? I'm tending toward the innovators in this instance, at least for now. The down side of having a hard core of true believers who buy into all those documentary lies will hopefully not express itself violently. I'm willing to entertain emails to the contrary.

Posted by TMLutas at March 24, 2005 10:10 AM