I’d go for the “rearranging deck chairs” metaphor, but under the circumstances I find it reductive.
Jesus tapdancing Christ, these people are idiots, and tomorrow, Assrocket will be asked onto some CNN panel about politics, and Malkin will be identified as a “syndicated columnist and bestselling author” when she’s invited on MSNBC and this isn’t about professional jealousy, it’s about pointing out yet again that everything important in the last six years has been discussed entirely by crazy people.
Crazy. Because when you refuse to admit you got taken, you’re behaving in an irrational manner. Look, people fuck up all the time. Especially journalists. I can’t tell you how many times I got that sick feeling in my stomach when I got something wrong, or listened to somebody who turned out to be talking out his ass, or just plain got suckered by a storyline. And you can sit at your desk (and I did) or at home on your couch (and I did) and make all the twelve dozen excuses you want about how it made sense at the time, it was worth it anyway, so-and-so should have caught it before you did, in the grand scheme of war famine pestilence and death it really isn’t that big a deal, etc etc ad nauseum ad bullshitium, because when you get to the end of the list of excuses what you have is, “Oh God, oh God, oh GOD I just screwed up really huge.” That doesn’t always disqualify you from ever doing anything right again. That isn’t fatal. It doesn’t have to be.
But if you want to keep hanging out with the grown-ups, the only thing grown-up people respect — your colleagues, your bosses, your readers, the people in the story who got hosed by your source — is your saying exactly that. “I fucked up huge, and I’m sorry, and I’ll issue a correction, and I’ll not fuck up like this again.” You can talk to yourself for hours in front of your bathroom mirror but if you have any kind of — God, I’m coming to hate the word “integrity,” especially on the bizarro-world reality show that is the Internet — pride, let’s say, you look at yourself, sack up, and admit you’re human and you got suckered. Then it’s done.
So watching these people flail around trying to justify themselves is just sad. It’s sad not because I feel sorry for them in any way. It’s sad because there’s no chance this whole circus incident is going to make them one iota more cautious the next time they think they have some tiny bit of proof that will invalidate every single one of their critics. It’s sad because we’ve seen it over and over and over, and we’re going to keep seeing it, this pathetic grasping at something, anything, to prop up their desperate need not to be wrong.
Just stop it, you fucking idiots. Just stop it. Admit you screwed up. Admit you got suckered. Admit it. Sack up. Apologize, and learn, and generally be older than the age of five. Your imaginary friend didn’t make you invest in the Jamil Hussein story, and the dog didn’t eat your proof Hussein was fake, and Caspar the Friendly Ghost sure as shit didn’t swing by to spirit him away. You fucked up. Just admit it, and maybe we’ll let you sit at the big kids’ table someday.
Or, you know, keep la-la-la-ing about how it doesn’t really matter that your mistake “happened” all by its lonesome. I hope the Shirley Temples taste good, because that’s all you should be sipping for a good long while.