Tim Blair reckons that Australian “leftoid” bloggers are losers. Why? Blair has discovered that those bloggers sometimes make mistakes!. For example, David Heidelberg mistook a spoof of Pajamas Media for the real thing, while Chris Sheil made a spelling mistake. But right-wing bloggers make mistakes too. How do they differ? Well, being weak lefties the bloggers he lists let themselves be swayed by facts and updated their posts with corrections and admissions of error. Whereas someone strong like Blair laughs in the face of mere facts and does not need to correct posts that are untrue. Let’s look at some examples.
I am one of the people on Blair’s list because Miranda Devine published a poorly researched column on DDT. Among the many factual errors she made was a bogus quote that she attributed to Rachel Carson. John Quiggin wrote a post about her mistakes. In comments to his post, I noted that Google couldn’t find any uses of the bogus quote and speculated that Devine was the one who screwed up the quote. Quiggin added an update agreeing with this. “Not so” thundered Blair, claiming that the bogus quote had appeared in The Age and despite not being able to find the quote himself in The Age‘s archives attacked Quiggin because Quiggin had not found it in the Fairfax internal library. Trouble is, the bogus quote did not appear in The Age. Quiggin eventually tracked down the origin of the bogus quote to Murdoch’s tabloid, the Melbourne Herald-Sun. If you compare the posts you will see that Quiggin corrected his error, but Blair did not. Is it is possible that Blair is somehow ignorant of the fact that he was wrong about The Age? Well, no, because in a later post he spins the matter like this:
“It was a mistake on my part to draw the conclusion that Miranda Devine was responsible for adding the quote marks, since I should have considered the possibility of an intermediate republication or reproduction of the quote. I apologise for this.” — Quiggin recants after it is revealed Devine had used a quote sourced from Age archives, earlier published in the Herald Sun
Which is untrue. Blair has linked to his own, uncorrected, post where he revealed that the quote was published in the Age. And the new story that she got the quote from Age archives doesn’t make any sense since Devine works for a different newspaper, published in a different city.
Refusing to admit to even blatant errors seems to Blair’s standard procedure. He seems to have been the only person in the country who thought that Australia’s 2004 election was about Iraq. Even on something as trivial as the sample size of the Lancet study, Blair just would not admit that he got it wrong.
So there you have it. If you correct mistakes, Blair thinks you are a loser. The way to win his respect is, like him, not to admit when you are wrong, no matter how obvious it is.
Update: To the mystification of his readers, Blair has posted a correction, though without adding a correction to his erroneous post.