Friday, June 03, 2005

The case for hysteria

Ezra Klein has this exactly right on the Amnesty International/Gulag debate. While reasonable-minded pundits are wringing their hands over the harsh, harsh language ("Guantanamo is the gulag of our times?" No!) and everyone from the President to Cheney to McClellan have roundly denounced the language, the fact of the matter is, that wild and inappropriate exaggeration has done a lot for their case.

The report has burned up the blogosphere. Rush Limbaugh is still talking about it. Fox News Sunday, I heard this morning, is going to have a representative from Amnesty on their show this weekend (the local host I listened to asked Chris Wallace to ask them "What the hell they were thinking?")

Look, for good or ill we now live in a world of degraded discourse; where any wild, scurrilous, unsubstantiated attack is considered reasonable. After all, John Kerry is a war criminal, a traitor and a liar who didn't risk his life for his country as much as game the system in his diabolical plans to one day run for president. Didn't you know? The benefit for the Amnesty folks is that their conclusion is actually based on facts, whereas the Swifties claims were based on, well, nothing. If they want to throw fire, they have joined a large, distinguished crowd. Paging Ann Coulter?

And, dear, dear E.J. Dionne is upset. Glenn Reynolds is wagging his hypocrtical finger about Amensty's lost "credibility." Please. How upset were these people over the revelations of detainee abuse? Not very, as far as I can tell. They seemed more interested in uninformed hypothesizing about the motives of the messenger than addressing the actual body of evidence. Classic sophistry.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 4:15 PM

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