Little groupthink footballs

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Looks like the next blogger celebrity deathmatch (after Cory vs. Pirillo) is going to have to be o-dub vs. Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs.
In an odd echo of the Anil vs. LFGers squabble from last year (also involving MSN’s blogspotting site), a new war of words is escalating (“I’m in his hometown. Want me to kick his ass?”), although in this case the sometimes vitriolic voices among the more reasonable at LGF are contrasted with Oliver’s wry, mocking ease.
LGF is a complicated site. Its raison d’être since 9/11 has been exposing the virulent anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli, anti-American, violent, and otherwise pathological aspects of Arab and Muslim culture, generally through direct citations of mainstream world news sources.
This tends to enrage those who feel that selective citation of just the facts that suit one’s agenda is inherently propagandistic, but it’s pretty easy to make Johnson’s case, that the web is a place where each person is permitted to turn over whatever rocks they feel compelled to expose to the light of day, and that everyone else, yes this means you, are free to illuminate whatever balancing truths you feel need to be equally acknowledged on your own blog.
The problem, to my mind, comes in when the follow-on discussions take on a sort of text-mob life of their own, with some of the worst possible slurs and stereotypes tossed around from behind the safety of a computer screen.
This makes it very easy for Oliver to cite the most egregious commenters and dismiss the gist of the more nuanced members of the community (for LGF is a true network-mediated community, recognizable in the way that some usenet groups in the past have knitted together, with their sages, bards, jesters, and village idiots). After the Anil/LGF period, I read LGF for a while and tried my hand at participating in the discussions, without trying to tweak or provoke people by pushing their buttons (we all have them).
I grew to respect some of the more predominant commenters in the community, although the overall flavor of the thing was not welcoming enough for me to find a place for myself in that group. Which is fine by me, as I tend not to fully join groups, but to haover on the fringes of as many as possible. I’m more the envoy type, I like to think.
The kernel of the issue, by the way, is that Charles is calling on Oliver to repudate his equating of al-Jazeera and Fox News, in that they are both biased news sources supporting (in Oliver’s view) an extremist right-wing regime.
This falls swiftly into the nether zone of disproportion, moral equivalence, political correctness (such as the impermissibility of a whole set of criticisms of Israel as anti-Semitism, the way the left “cried wolf” with the word fascism so many times that everyone seems to again believe that it can’t happen here, the misapplication of Godwin’s Law that Orcinus has written about recently) and believe me, no new consensus or undertanding will come from this little sideshow.
Charles, by the way, promises that it won’t detract from his war coverage, challenging Adam Felber’s contention that the neoconservative warblogs (I’m pushing the term “nanoconservative”) have spent the war shadowboxing with ideological strawmen and breathing the fug of the blogosphere instead of engaging with the facts on the ground.