Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Amazing Disappearing Posts

Speaking of The Pesky Fly, as I will in the next post you'll read that I've already written and posted, I've noticed something this week that I find really disturbing.

First there was a Nikki Tinker post (referenced here) that disappeared. Pesky Fly (nom de blog of Chris Davis) at least explained the disappearance, but there's more to it, I think.

The post began by using as its hook the fact that no one had "disproven" Davis' assertion in an earlier post that Tinker had fabricated a claim about Hope scholarships being "disproportionately" awarded to middle-class and wealthy white Tennesseans. I pointed out in comments to that earlier post that I had seen a local television news story on just this subject, so it bore double-checking.

Davis then went on at length excoriating Tinker and her followers, in the typically hyperbolic and crude manner Pesky Fly readers are familiar with. So, I did the research that Davis hadn't and found several sources that proved my point and invalidated Davis' whole post.

Shortly after, that post disappeared and was replaced by the following:
The Youtube clip imbedded in the nerds post was causing problems. When I tried to take it out I got html errors. So I killed the post. Extra special thanks to Mr. Mike for hepping me to the links I was asking for. Everyone should have so helpful an archenemy.
That may be true, but I don't for a moment doubt that the unravelling of Davis' hook was also a factor, if not the deciding one.

At least that post's journey to the aether was memorialised.

Then yesterday they had a post with a now-infamous photoshop of Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman in blackface. (Scroll to the bottom.) The post was a general expression of vilification of Lieberman and support for his anti-war/anti-Bush primary opponent Ned Lamont.

Overnight, the photoshopped image sparked outrage from Lieberman's camp and demands for Lamont to repudiate the image and disassociate himself from the instantly-discredited creator of the image, Jane Hamsher. She blogs as FiredogLake and has been linked appreciatively by The Pesky Fly in the past. Although Lamont did suddenly claim to have no idea about that Intarwebs thing:
"I don't know anything about the blogs, I'm not responsible for those, I have no comment on 'em...Independent blogs, I can't say anything about it."
Others quickly documented Lamont's numerous and long-standing connections to Hamsher.

Anyway, overnight the Pesky Fly post with all this just went poof! with no explanation or notice. Just gone. Sadly, a check of Google's cache didn't turn it up either.

Removing posts is one thing. I've done it and there are a lot of legitimate reasons for doing so. But for a post to simple disappear after a lot of readers have seen and commented on it, with no explanation of any kind, is another matter. It is, at the least, bad blogging and, at worst, smacks of historical revisionism in the service of ass-covering.

When you run your blog by sending your mistakes down the memory hole it makes readers wonder what else they are missing and what might be missing from the posts that remain. It chips away at your credibility and integrity which, in the case of The Flypaper Theory blog, is a precious and scarce commodity already.

Shame on the folks there for doing this. Doubly so for a newspaperman, who by all rights ought to be outraged at himself for this.

ADDENDUM When I wrote this post, the Fly-post had already gone so I was, necessarily, writing from memory. I've only been reading (other than following links) one lefty blog of late and that's Flypaper Theory. I've only seen the Lieberman black-face photoshop in two places: there and at Michelle Malkin's blog, where it was the subject of a lengthy attack on Ned Lamont and Jane Hamsher. The image used there is different from my memory. No other blog I've been reading this week has used or linked to that image. (Maybe Instapundit? I don't think so, though I'll check again.)

That's where I got this post. The Flypaper Theory has a history of flirting with Nazi imagery and with other tasteless offensive graphics. I'd like to wish they were above that sort of stuff, but they seem to love it, sadly.

So far, only three of their five bloggers have spoken up to deny posting it.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Well I've earned the "Juvenile Obscene Sobriquet" of the Week award from Chris and the gang. Rather than address points, as he has somewhat done in the comments to this post, he takes the old tack of just slinging childish names and taunts. Trust me, I've been called much worse.

Let's recap my post: One Flypaper Theory post disappeared with a note that addressed the disappearance but not the content of the missing post. Ostensible reason: HTML issues. My allegation? That might be true, but having your argument kicked out from under you because you didn't do your homework, which is embarrassing, also played a role.

Another post a few days later also disappeared but with no anything. Just gone. It was a photoshop of a black-faced Joe Lieberman. That image, from another website, had ignited a storm of controversy nationally and gotten the blogger responsible into a whole lot of hot water. I alleged it disappeared to bury an embarrassment or controversy someone didn't want to handle, for whatever reason.

The "mystery" is why? There's no conspiracy being alleged. Just bad blogger behavior. Pesky's response? "Nuh-uh! F*cktard!" The only thing I'm saying is that, if what I see is true, then going down the road of disappearing inconvenient posts is dangerous to credibility. If they are doing what I suggest, then I hope they stop. I read their blog every day and, when they stick to facts, they are invaluable. Introducing an element of distrust will ruin the blog for me and everyone else.

Can anyone else corroborate my seeing the Lieberman black-face photoshop on Flypaper Theory and it disappearing? So far, one commenter says he can't recall it.

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