Well, such has been the case with some ugliness I've recently experienced in the blogosphere...and I don't want and haven't wanted to be a source of escalation, so I haven't been. I don't want to drag out an argument that seems to go nowhere because short of saying "I was wrong and you were right," there seems to be no solution. Sometimes it isn't that simple. Especially when dealing in impressions and opinions. People generally feel justified in their opinions. They usually have a reason for forming them. There is usually a basis and a foundation and an opinion has been built upon it and I think it is fair to acknowledge that.
I could address this posting at Life of Jason: To Those Visiting This Blog Based On Jackie Melton’s Comments. I could point out all the assumptions Jason has made about my character and listed as though fact and I could argue with him about each and every assumption but I choose to stay with the issue, the topic of the debate.
I've tried to put myself in his shoes, I've tried to consider how it must have felt to be called on an error, in fact, I know what it feels like to be called on an error. I've been called on them before and have been willing to even go to the extent of pulling an entire blog entry because I felt the person was correct when he charged that I had misrepresented him, but in this case I think we have two stubborn people who will not back down and, on my part, it isn't really about the "misrepresentation" that Jason claims I made against him. I understand that he probably didn't mean that Mattera had no right to state his opinion, I understand that he thinks that what Mattera said isn't conducive to civil debate and he even has a point there, however, where my stubbornness won't allow me to flatly state that "I was wrong and you were right," is in the justifiable foundation of the opinion I formed.
If it is justifiable that "any reasonable person" would have thought that Mattera was a reporter, based on impression then it is just as justifiable that based on my impression of Jason's words when he stated here that:
"I really dislike the manner in which Mr. Mattera turned the tone of his confrontation with Rep. Murtha. Mattera could have easily questioned Rep. Murtha and ended it when Rep. Murtha entered the elevator. His point was made when that happened…Rep. Murtha was going to avoid the issue and not apologize to the men he falsely branded murderers. However, Mr. Mattera went further and compared Rep. Murtha’s comments to something said by Al-Jazeera."
"Why can’t someone from the right…when they have a legitimate point against a liberal Democrat…just make your point and let it go without dragging up the “just like Al-Jazeera” crap?"
and later stated here that:
"...we cannot let people like Mr. Mattera run around like a right wing Michael Moore...."
...that he felt that Mattera's free speech should have been limited, self-limited perhaps, but limited, nonetheless.
Jason, at Life of Jason claims that Mattera's point had been made, but had it? What if Mattera wanted to make the point that Murtha's condemnation of those Lance Corporals sounded more like something Al-Jazeera would say than a Representative of Congress was a part of his point? Would that point have been made without expressly stating it? And if it would not have been made and it was a point that Mattera wanted to make which he felt had some validity does he have the right to make that statement or not?
All that to say that I understand it might have irritated and aggravated Jason that I pointed out an error in his posting on the Murtha vs Mattera issue, I can't really know if this is a part of Jason's attitude because he hasn't said that. I understand that he disagrees with me about whether Mattera's comment that what Murtha said about Lance Corporals being cold blooded murderers is more like something you'd hear on Al-Jazeera than from a Representative in Washington was a fair thing to say or not. I also feel it should be pointed out that Mattera was not calling Murtha a terrorist sympathizer, he was comparing words Murtha had spoken to something one might hear on Al-Jazeera and that's simply not the same thing.
So, sure, people enage in smear tactics, Jason's own blog piece written about me and full of assumptions is evidence of that, in and of itself. People do it on the left and they do it on the right and they've been doing it for generations.
There isn't much that moderates can do to control the words spoken by other people as they exercise their freedom of speech. It isn't as simple as whether we are going to "let" people run around saying whatever they want to say. If given the choice of "letting" people exercise their right of free speech or not "letting" them exercise their right of free speech, I'd choose to "let" them. On the other hand, I think it is fair to criticize people who make statements that are less than civil. Jason has a right to criticize Mattera, I wouldn't dream of stopping him from doing so. Jason has a right to form opinion based on his impressions and he does so regularly. So do I.