Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Myths That Aid Troy II: "Everybody knows..."
("Freedom of Speech for Grown-ups" can be considered Part I in this series)

Funnily enough this myth was first raised just a few days after the blog began. On Monday Oct 28th it was brought to my attention that BendingTruth had been discussed in the comments section of Zeyad's HealingIraq blog. In those days the blog was a little less clear in its template, and at least one person had at first glance assumed it was attacking Riverbend herself. I posted a follow-up comment on HealingIraq clarifying my position and giving a few details on Troy's activities.

A reader called Anne responded, with it must be said, a detectable froideur that "I think everyone knows the other RiversBend site is fake". Was she right? Well the next day on Wednesday October 30 Zeyad posted in his blog the controversial comment that riverSbend "looks like an Iraqi or someone from the CPA". From that one can infer, I think, that Anne had been perhaps a little premature in her judgement. After I followed up Zeyad's remark with a correction Anne was once again right into the fray.

Now one might have thought that Anne's first comment on the matter would have expressed some surprise at Zeyad's apparent confusion, since she had apparently believed at that stage that everybody knew the truth. One might even have expected a certain contrition that her comment of the previous day had been an attack based on error. But in fact Anne's next comment to Zeyad's blog was again attacking BendingTruth, this time for presuming that Zeyad was "responsible for defending the fake blog", which of course was a claim no one had made. This is just to show that Anne's attacks on BendingTruth have been consistent in their direction. But not their logic.

When on Friday November 14th Sam of Hammorabi was observed by myself and others with dismay to have placed a link to the riverSbend smearblog on his site, which he then removed having been informed of the nature and history of the site, this might seem to the impartial observer to conclude that - at the very least - before Friday November 14th not everybody knew . But in fact the Everybody Knows myth has proved persistent.

Indeed I would have to admit having arguably fallen prey to it myself. When Wendy McElroy of Fox News emailed me on Nov 4 to ask for my assistance in having her photograph removed from the riverSbend smearblog, I assured her that the detrimental effect of it being there would be negligible since anyone who would go there would know of the site's history and that the presence of her photograph signified nothing. She replied that unfortunately this was not the case. Enough readers and even professional contacts had been in touch with her inquiring about her association to make her afraid that her professional reputation may have been damaged by this represented affiliation with the smear blog. Established fact - Nov 4 everybody still did not know...

Yesterday, Tuesday 18th Oct, regular readers will have noted I posted follow-ups to Troy's riverSbend promotional comments in a couple of new Iraqi blogs, and that I anticipated some anti-BendingTruth comments. A poster called Mike again revived the old Everybody Knows saw: "it seems everyone, except for you, is perfectly capable of telling the difference between riversbend and riverbend. "

Funnily enough as I explained to Mike, a mere couple of hours before he posted his comment another poster on a different Iraqi blog had asked the question, 'Who is this "Riversbend" person?'

Of course, an illogical partisan could venture the suggestion that this individual was the very last person on the planet who did not know the truth and that once I had answered their question this acted to stamp out the last vestige of extant ignorance on the matter anywhere.

An honest observer though, would have to conclude that, even though certain people have been attacking the BendingTruth campaign on the grounds that "Everybody knows" since virtually its very inception, the continuing weight of evidence suggests this:

Every time the claim that "Everybody Knows The Truth about riverSbend" has been made it has been made in error.

So the next time anyone would think of making this claim I would suggest that the onus is very much on them to demonstrate that it is true. Otherwise they are merely perpetuating myths which may serve to the benefit of Troy's nefarious activities, and they ought to carefully consider the effect of giving such an individual their misdirected succour.

I do appreciate that some people who are regular contributors in the comments section of the welter of recent Iraqi blogs will have heard and will be familiar with the difference between the genuine Riverbend blog and the riverSbend smearblog. However I will insist that that does not give them the right to falsely - or rudely - act as if they can and do speak for all.

New Iraqi blogs are springing up all over, their exposure is increasing. It is not only false, but in fact nonsensical to suggest that everybody is familiar with the minutae of the comments written on blogs in previous weeks. My suggestion is that people tired of being reminded about the debased history of the riverSbend blog should, if they feel the need to speak up, address any negative comments about the situation's perpetuation to Troy when he promotes his smearblog, as opposed ot BendingTruth when it seeks to educate newcomers on the origins of the offensive smearblog.

I will insist that to continue to attack BendingTruth instead of the smearblog will ultimately serve to condone the low course that Troy has embarked upon. To do so will send out the message that if you lie and deceive for long enough, that's OK because people will have gotten bored of being reminded about it.

[Certain names have been changed in the above to dilute any suggestions it is intended primarily as an attack on individuals as opposed to their tenuous logic and claims]