Clearing The Air

Earlier this morning I took issue with a post I spotted on memeorandum by those (not so) good folks over at Little Green Footballs. Without warning, my support for the troops was cast into doubt, and I had to act.

Thanks to USA Today’s “On Deadline” we finally get to hear the rest of the story.

Within a few hours of the original posting, Mitchell says he added a disclaimer: This article in no way is meant to suggest that all military members will become serial killers or mass murderers. It does point out a serious problem with what is happening in our armed forces and seeks a solution to help the brave men and women on their return back home.

But Mitchell says he then pulled the posting from both blogs after readers, liberals and conservatives alike, “ripped it to shreds.” He says no one from Daily Kos asked him to remove the posting.

“The piece was completely misinterpreted by the readers,” he says. “I don’t know if that’s because I did a bad job writing it? … My piece was pro-soldier all the way.”

Indeed, the entire post has been reinstated, and can be read here.

Whew. Okay, we on the left are again allowed to support our troops, that’s settled, right?

Well, yeah, but this brings to mind something entirely different when it comes to our cherished little blogosphere here. I won’t speak for anyone else, but for me, the blogosphere is a rough and tumble place, but a sacred one. Out of swaths of empty cyberspaces, we and our predacessors have carved out what appears to be an indellible niche in the modern political debate.

But, just like in the first Spiderman movie, “With great power comes great responsibility.” This is a forum of us, by us, and self policed. I think that when you decide to enter the arena of the political blogosphere, that comes with certain unmentioned rules. One of those rules, I think, is that when you post something, you stand by it, or you stand corrected.

You do not just remove your post upon the first onslaught of negative emails or comments. This, boys and girls, is called integrity.

The temptation to rewrite your own history on the blogosphere is incredibly great, but it takes a certain amount of fortitude not to engage in that power. The blogosphere is full contact and rough, but that’s why we play. If I all I wanted to hear was people agreeing with what I said, I would talk to no one else but myself.

That’s what the comments are for, that’s what emails are for, and sometimes, you get called on the carpet for being flat wrong, and you have to deal with it. I’ve made mistakes, I’m human, and you know, I’ve owned up to them. If people misinterpreted what I wrote, I clarify in comments. If people change my mind, I write that too. And if I’m dead wrong, I don’t try and sweep my mistakes under the rug; I leave them there, post whatever updates I need to to correct the error, and I move on.

I don’t think I would be a very good blogger if I did otherwise.

So to Mr. Mitchell who penned the original piece, I just have this advice. Take the blows and take the slings and arrows. Learn from them, and one day you’ll feel vindication when you were right, and you will wear your mistakes like a badge of honor. It’s not always the funnest thing in the world, but then, if you can’t handle that, you probably shouldn’t be blogging in the first place.

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