Incapable Of Correction

Alex Koppelman finds that the Breitbart crew are unapologetic about the “Friends of Hamas” rubbish:

Now, Shapiro and are refusing to admit that Shapiro made a serious mistake, and attacking anyone who suggests otherwise. This kind of behavior from them is unsurprising, and not just because it’s an outgrowth of the worldview and strategy of their founder, Andrew Breitbart. … To be embarrassed about the story, they’d have to understand that the hypothesis of Shapiro’s story was “Chuck Hagel may have been the recipient of funding from a group called Friends of Hamas,” and they’d have to care about proving it true. Their version of the hypothesis is much simpler, and more vicious: “Someone told us that Chuck Hagel may have been the recipient of funding from a group called Friends of Hamas.” This has the virtue, from a certain perspective, of being completely unfalsifiable—as soon as the source gave them the tip, the story was true by definition and in perpetuity, no matter what.

Jonathan Bernstein wonders whether will pay a price:

Do pundits and politicians learn to be highly skeptical of the news source and, if it doesn’t clean itself up, eventually shun it — or do they continue to cite it as if it’s totally legitimate? The answers to date suggest that the GOP is perfectly happy to welcome into the tent an organization that is happy to fabricate “news” that supports conservative story lines.

The ones out front deploying this McCarthyite smear are – in the cases of, say, Andy McCarthy and Frank Gaffney – among the very people who once bragged about “creating reality”. In the end, reality in Iraq and Afghanistan destroyed their ideas. But since they cannot confront such an intellectual dilemma, they simply continue to create reality. Fox did it right up to election night. But in the end, as any actual conservative knows, reality always wins. And it’s usually a surprise.