Oh the exquisitely delicious irony.
On Thursday, Karl Rove gave a speech about politics and the Internet at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, and, as reported by the Washington Times, commented about the frequent incidence of vulgarity at liberal blogs:
Mr. Rove cited the results of a study that found that writers and commenters on liberal blogs such as DailyKos.com cursed far more than writers and commenters on conservative Web sites such as FreeRepublic.com.
"My point is not that liberals swear publicly more often than conservatives. That may be true, but that's not my point," Mr. Rove said. "It is that the netroots often argue from anger rather than reason, and too often, their object is personal release, not political persuasion."
In response, Karl Rove got cussed out by the nutroots. [...]
Here's a fine example:
"F*ck the f*cking f*ckers."
(asterics [sic] mine)
You really can't make this stuff up. In fact, this was Markos Moulitsas's response (asterisks mine in all the following):
"Bad words" like this?
We will f**k him. Do you hear me? We will f**k him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever f**ked him!
Now, if you click that link inside the word "this," it sends you to Atrios's blog:
Now, click the link inside "civility lessons from Mr." and you are sent to Think Progress:
UPDATE II: Atrios highlights one of Rove's oh-so-civil quotes: "We will f**k him. Do you hear me? We will f**k him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever f**ked him!"
Now, click that link inside "We will f**k him," and you end up back at Atrios's blog.
As such, Moulitsas, Think Progress, and Atrios all referenced a vulgarity-laden rant supposedly made by Karl Rove by actually citing each other and without ever presenting evidence that Rove said such a thing.
Dontcha love it?
*****Update: It turns out the link to Rove's supposed vulgarities was in the "Mr." in Atrios's "civility lessons from Mr." line. It's an article by Ron Suskind (h/t NBer ChenZhen).
*****Update II: Our dear friend at Whiskey Fire didn't disappoint us, and further proved Rove's point. In his post about my link faux pas addressed in the first update, he used three vulgarities. Honestly folks, you can't make this stuff up!
*****Update III: For those that either haven't found the hidden link in question or taken the time to look at it, the following is the context surrounding Rove's supposed vulgar rant chronicled by Suskind in a January 2003 Esquire article (emphasis added):
Eventually, I met with Rove. I arrived at his office a few minutes early, just in time to witness the Rove Treatment, which, like LBJ’s famous browbeating style, is becoming legend but is seldom reported. Rove’s assistant, Susan Ralston, said he’d be just a minute. She’s very nice, witty and polite. Over her shoulder was a small back room where a few young men were toiling away. I squeezed into a chair near the open door to Rove’s modest chamber, my back against his doorframe.
Inside, Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem in some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him. I paid it no mind and reviewed a jotted list of questions I hoped to ask. But after a moment, it was like ignoring a tornado flinging parked cars. "We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!" As a reporter, you get around—curse words, anger, passionate intensity are not notable events—but the ferocity, the bellicosity, the violent imputations were, well, shocking. This went on without a break for a minute or two. Then the aide slipped out looking a bit ashen, and Rove, his face ruddy from the exertions of the past few moments, looked at me and smiled a gentle, Clarence-the-Angel smile. "Come on in." And I did. And we had the most amiable chat for a half hour.
Earlier in the piece, Suskind mentioned that his White House interviews took place between February and April 2002. As such, he heard a private conversation between Rove and an aide about a political operative seven to nine months before the midterm elections. Suskind had no idea what this operative in question had done, or what had transpired before he began eavesdropping.
As a result, we have no idea what sent Rove into this rage, and what had occurred before Suskind walked into that office. Yet, the folks in the Netroots view this as analogous to what they write at publicly accessible blogs and comments sections on virtually a daily basis.
Excuse me, but there's a difference. A huge one. When you write an article, or even a message at a blog, you've got as much time as you want to formulate your thoughts so as to offer a logical and coherent presentation. In fact, you have an unlimited opportunity to collect yourself so as not to allow anger to dominate the message.
But, this isn't always the case in work situations or many personal encounters, is it? Quite the contrary, people say all kinds of things in the heat of passion, including vulgarities, which they likely wouldn't if they had time to calm down and think things through. This is especially the case if many people will conceivably be witness to what is said.
Sadly, it seems the Netroots don't possess such self-control, and, as a result, their writing is filled with the same anger-filled utterances unfortunately present in many heated discussions with friends, colleagues, loved ones, and, apparently, White House staffers.
Luckily, as Rove pointed out, conservatives seem more capable of restraining such base emotions when it's necessary. In fact, according to Suskind, moments after Rove's vulgarity-laden tirade, he "looked at [Suskind] and smiled a gentle, Clarence-the-Angel smile. 'Come on in.' And [Suskind] did. And [they] had the most amiable chat for a half hour."
Of course, if the best the elite members of the Netroots can do to counter Rove's assertions about the differences in discourse at conservative and liberal blogs is point to a private discussion the former White House adviser had with an aide more than 5 1/2 years ago, maybe it's understandable that vulgarity is so prevalent in their writing.
If I had so little control over my emotions, and such poor deductive reasoning skills, I'd probably include a plethora of expletives in my articles, too.