Does the CIA blog?
Jeff Jarvis and Instashitforbrains are in a tizzy over the comments made by "rabid liberal Eric Alterman" speculating that pro-American "Iraqi" bloggers might very well be the U.S.'s own intelligence agents. (Yes, that's the same "rabid liberal" Eric Alterman who once said "its kind of pathetic that so many people on the left become so tied into hero worshipNader, Dean, Chomsky, (and dare I say it, Stalin)". What an incredible asshole.)
I told Alterman on the air that that was irresponsible and dangerous. I said he had not one shred of evidence or reporting or fact to back up his speculation. I said that he could end up getting these men, whom I've met and whom I know, harmed.
That's responsible journalism? Not in any universe I know. That's the worst of tabloid, tin-hat, anti-intellectual, ammoral rumor-mongering. That's Eric, the rumor monger.
JEFF JARVIS GIVES ERIC ALTERMAN BOTH BARRELS for speculating that pro-American Iraqi bloggers must be CIA plants.
Of course, Jeff's double-barrel assault is figurative; if Eric's irresponsible comments inspire one, it will be literal.
Now, I'm not entirely clear on how, exactly, Alterman's speculation is "dangerous", or how it could get somebody hurt, exactly.
But more importantly, I'm not sure why his speculation is so outlandish. Blogging is basically an anonymous venture; you can make your identity known (as I have), but just like in a chat room, there's really no way to be sure that you're telling the truth. So far all we know, a supposed Iraqi blogger could be some 17-year-old kid from Florida. We don't have any particular reason to suppose this is the case (except for what is apparently an over-representation of pro-American sentiment; but then again anybody in Iraq with an internet connection ain't doing too bad under the occupation), but there's nothing wrong with engaging in pure speculation, as I assume Alterman was doing.
(I like to engage in pure speculation from time to time myself. For instance, I speculate that at this very moment, Instadingleberry is feasting on a meal of live puppies. It just seems like the kind of thing he would do.)
Just to reiterate, Eric Alterman is a giant, giant tool. I mean, really, the guy is just an enormous prick. I mean, just look at him.