Putting aside the charge for which Ben has been pilloried and you’re left with is a particular group of critics. Unlike Ben, there is far less hope for their redemption. You see – before they settled on the attacks on his writing – they spent three days proving that they are the lowest of the low. Charges of racism were born of poor reading comprehension. Threats of violence. Obscene commentary about his mother, his sister, his father. Loathesome, vile, and disgusting – their contempt for civil behavior surpassed only by the emptiness of their own souls. These are a people that see a man who gives up drinking in the middle of his life for the sake of his family, and respond by creating rumors of cocaine addiction. These are ignoramuses that think portraying an African-American politician as Sambo is appropriate, as long as the critics are liberal and the target is a Republican.
What do these people have in common?
1. Ben Domenech:
The hate mail that I have received since the launch of this blog has been overwhelmingly profane and violent. My family has been threatened; my friends have been deluged; my phone has been prank called. The most recent email that showed up while writing this post talked about how the author would like to hack off my head, and wishes my mother had aborted me.
But in the course of accusing me of racism, homophobia, bigotry, and even (on one extensive Atrios thread) of having a sexual relationship with my mother, the leftists shifted their accusations to ones of plagiarism. You can find the major examples here: I link to this source only because I believe it’s the only place that hasn’t yet written about how they’d like to rape my sister.
2. Jim Brady:
My career as a nitwitted, emasculated fascist began the afternoon of Jan. 19 when, as executive editor of the Post’s Web site, washingtonpost.com, I closed down the comments area of one of our many blogs, one called post.blog. Created primarily to announce new features on the Web site, the blog had become ground zero for angry readers complaining about a column by Post ombudsman Deborah Howell on the newspaper’s coverage of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. If I had let them, they would have obliterated any semblance of civil, genuine discussion.
[T]he word "comments" doesn’t convey the obscene, vituperative tone of a lot of the postings, which were the sort of things you might find carved on the door of a public toilet stall. About a hundred of them had to be removed for violating the Post site’s standards, which don’t allow profanity or personal attacks.
To my dismay, matters only got worse on Jan. 19 after Howell posted a clarification on washingtonpost.com. Instead of mollifying angry readers, the clarification prompted more than 400 additional comments over the next five hours, many of them so crude as to be unprintable in a family newspaper. Soon the number of comments that violated our standards of Web civility overwhelmed our ability to get rid of them; only then did we decide to shut down comments on the blog.
3. Jeff Gannon:
I’ve been receiving threats. People have been stalking me in my neighborhood, have followed me to church, followed me down the street. And then there are phone calls and hate mail that I’ve gotten over the Internet.
And it’s been very troubling. And when it went toward my family, then I said that I needed to put an end to it.
4. Judith Miller:
It was more like a firestorm, and Miller was at the center of it. "Suddenly, thousands of people who had tapped into the blogs were e-mailing me that I had started the war, that I was the shill for the administration. None of my colleagues ever spoke to me about my reporting. But they would say, ‘We don’t want to work with her.’"
Miller later told me, "The bloggers were without editing, without a way for people to understand what was good, what was well reported—to distinguish between the straight and the slanderous. Things would get instantly picked up, magnified, and volumized.… I was appalled, not by the blogs—that would be like getting appalled at the Industrial Revolution—but by my colleagues, who believed what they read on the blogs."
I fully expect every one of you will be winners.