Friday, May 28, 2010

Was I Unfair To Senator Mark Begich? No, I Don't Think So.

Last week, I posted a piece critical of Senator Mark Begich.

The original thrust of my post was Begich’s comment about his fellow Democratic Senators (and by inference, anyone else) angry over Senator Lisa Murkowski’s single-handed blockage of a bill which would have raised the oil spill liability cap from its current pittance of $75 million to $10 billion.
Begich's cavalier aside was the source of my annoyance, and the reason for my post.
To quote Mr. Begich:  
“If you look at the list of those Democrats (senators), they just don’t like oil and gas, period.”
Begich’s offhand comment about his fellow Democratic senators, whom he says are engaging in “an emotional response” was uncalled for, and merely a bone tossed to the home oilpatch crowd. 

My opinion is that the senators he categorically deemed "anti-oil" are right.  An angry response, hitting BP in the pocketbook (because that's the only thing they understand) is exactly what is called for, but that's another argument for another time.

Because of that post, I’ve been taken to task by an anonymous commenter who believes that I’m unfairly criticizing (even lying about) Begich, and that I should publish a retraction.

Personally, I think Mark’s statements concerning his fellow senators was false, and he’s the one who should be offering a retraction.

Anyway:  The commenter accused me of falsely saying that Begich supported Murkowski’s abuse of her senatorial power.  His/her parting shot:
"You shown (sic) your readers that they can't trust you. They shouldn't trust you. You don't deserve their trust. You make false allegations and worse yet, you don't have the decency to admit you have no evidence to support the allegation you printed."
Let me say this about evidence:  Go back to the interview by Matt Felling, included in the post the commenter found so offensive, and watch it in its entirety.

In the clip, Felling pointed out that the Republicans were blocking any raise of the spill liability cap, and that Murkowski in particular was responsible.  

At about 13:00 in, Begich was specifically asked by Felling if he was “disappointed in what she’s (Murkowski’s) doing?"

Instead of answering that question, Mark sidestepped, talked about the administration's concerns over squeezing out smaller oil producers, and said that he and Murkowski were working together to come up with (and I’m paraphrasing here) a plan that makes sure it isn’t just the mega oil companies that can develop the oil resources, but to ensure that smaller ones without the financial wherewithal to cover a $10 billion spill liability can participate as well (I think that also is a piss-poor public policy approach, but again, it's another argument for another time). 

During the interview, Mark would not even risk saying he was “disappointed” by Murkowski’s actions.

Maybe no one else out there agrees with me, but in my opinion, Begich's evasive reply to Felling's question not only indicated tacit support for Murkowski, it was a typical Begich weasel response.

So, to the anonymous commenter slamming me:

The price of your subscription is hereby cheerfully refunded.


Grace said...

I salute you for not taking the anonymous commenter to task for blasting you while bravely remaining anonymous.

Wolfe Tone said...

The fact that they wish to remain anonymous is alright with me.
I thought long and hard about whether or not my post about Begich was unfair - was I perpetrating a falsehood?

I decided I wasn't. I was stating my opinion.

Mr. Felling asked Mr. Begich a straight question that could have been answered... either with a "yes," a "no," or with a qualified version of either yes or no.

Instead, Begich chose to be Begich, avoid a question that made him uncomfortable, and talk about something else entirely.

In my opinion, he was gutless, and effectively, granted his tacit approval.

Grace said...

I guess I stated that badly. It's clear to me that you thought about what Anon said rather than just blowing it off. There are a number of bloggers who would have picked apart the comment and attacked the commenter, but you took the high road and that is what the salute was for.

Wolfe Tone said...

Thanks, Grace.
It's appreciated.

Anonymous said...

The allegation you picked up from Phil, and repeated here on your 'blog' without any evidence to support that false allegation, was that Begich defended Murkowski's block.

Nowhere in your convoluted and equivocal mealy mouthed attempt to justify that false allegation do you provide any evidence that the allegation was true or based on any fact.

Because it never was true or based on any fact.

Pure conjecture and presumption isn't, and thankfully, never will be an acceptable substitute for actuality in a reality based view.

As I expected, you have little or no concern for accurate, fact based editorial comment, and instead, you continue to show a propensity to attempt, through more layers of mere disingenuous inference, to continue to seek to find a way to somehow plausibly justify your disregard for the reality, and somehow find justification for Phil's original issuance of the false allegation.

Your claim, irresponsibly lifted in it's entirety from Phil, was that Begich defended Murkowski's block.

And still, you provide no evidence that this claim is, or can be, actually and factually supportable.

That's the trouble with printing someone else's unsupported opinion and unsourced false assertions, if you don't check the accuracy of those statements you reprint, you're caught trying to weasel out a way to justify your mistake in not checking first.

You're caught, not only trying to find a defense for your own irresponsibility, but you're caught trying to defend the indefensible act of someone else.

That becomes quite the pickle, eh?, ...especially since the person you lifted the false allegation from can't provide any assistance and in fact, can't and won't defend his own indefensible and irresponsible act, ....leaving you to try to clean up the mess, leaving you hung out to dry, causing you no end of consternation over your plight.

(oh, and Grace, wolftone did try to pick at the commenter instead of addressing the issue, reread the posts, Grace, I even pointed out the rhetorical gamesmanship and asked if wolftone didn't recognize the inappropriateness of the attempt.)

continued below:

Anonymous said...

wolftone, whether you think you can find, through inference and presumption alone, justification to say you were not 'unfair', the fact is you repeated a false allegation and no amount of backtracking or revisionist confabulation will change the reality of the utter falsity of the claim that Begich defended Murkowski's block.

He simply never did defend her block. Phil knows it, and you do too.

(and wolftone, no matter how much misguided injudicious fanboy praise may be heaped on you by disillusioned adherents or devotees, the reality still isn't going to somehow reverse itself to vindicate Phil or you when you make unsupported false allegations.)

Painting oneself into a corner inevitably leaves some messy tracks in the paint when you have to finally leave that corner, and no amount of laying on new coats of paint will serve to deny that you tracked through the paint trying to get yourself out of the corner you painted yourself into. You might come in later and attempt to repair or revise the 'appearance', try to 'cover' those tracks, but you know those tracks had to be repaired because of your own lack of preplanning, even if someone comes along later, doesn't see those tracks you know you had to touch up, and they then proceed to unknowingly tell you what a nice paint job you did.

In short, you haven't magically extricated yourself from the corner you painted yourself into, you still just don't wish to acknowledge that reality can't be shaped to suit your self-serving whims.

In the end, there was a perfectly acceptable way to speak of your apprehension about Begich's policy or your concern for what appears to you to be a lack of commitment one way or another on a particular issue.

You didn't do that.

You passed up that chance and opted instead to follow someone else's derelict lead, chose instead to impetuously reprint someone else's rash and foolhardy fictional fabrication.

It remains to be seen whether you learned anything, or whether you're likely to take any deliberate or conscious action to prevent a lamentable and preventable repeat performance. From all 'appearances', your 'appearance' seems to trump concern for journalistic integrity and reality.


Anonymous said...

It's simple enough to see that holding an 'opinion' that Begich didn't do enough to denounce or renounce Murkowski's block is a far different matter than actually stating that Begich defended Murkowski's block when he did no such thing.

On the one hand, the 'opinion' can be reasonably defensible by the lack of any firm renunciation coming from Begich.

On the other hand, (...and this is the crux of the matter), there is no valid or warranted support to falsely claim that Begich defended or supported Murkowski's block.

The former is an opinion, ...the latter is a wholly concocted fictional falsehood. An utter misrepresentation, a libelous defamatory false declaration.


Wolfe Tone said...


I have two things to offer, after which your comments, though not deleted or blocked, will certainly be ignored by me.

1. As I said in the post, the cost of your subscription to this blog has been cheerfully refunded.

2. or Either one makes it easy for you to set up your own blog, where your penchant for vitriolic verbosity will serve you well.

Anonymous said...

your 'bullet points', 1 and 2, might give you the idea you've weilded your 'blogmaster' powers, but your bullet points 1 and 2, neither of which have any relevance to the issue of your printing libelous fictions, only serve to enforce your fantasy that your 'opinion' can displace reality.

You sound like Rush Limbaugh, turning off a guest's microphone because the guest wouldn't pander to Limbaugh's lies.

Like GW Bush, you think you can sit back now, since you've declared 'Mission Accomplished'.

Ignoring reality is a recipe for failure, and you've established your preference for ignoring reality.

Since you're willing to print lies, anything written on this blog is suspect. It's your credibility that has disappeared, you can't repair that by ignoring reality.

You might ask yourself why or how I was able to predict you would attempt to allow the lie to displace the reality?

But then, you're less concerned with reality than the fantasy you've constructed for yourself, you mustn't allow reality to intrude into your 'domain' where you rule that reality won't conflict with your edicts. In the 'domain' you've constructed, where you have granted yourself the 'role' of omnipotent 'blogmastery', integrity, honor, honesty, and all those other pesky ethical concerns can be declared by you to be of no consequence.

Congratulations, you've passed the test of the Rush Limbaugh school of conduct.


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