Public Nuisance

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The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Tuesday, July 02, 2002
Watch Blog Watch

A number of blogs have been specialists in the blog ecosystem, devoted to examining the failings of some other blog or blogs.

I noted here last month at some length the numerous failings of Media Whores Online Watch, one of the earlier examples of the species.

At about the same time I noticed, but didn't bother to comment on, the earliest efforts of InstaPunditWatch, a blog which "Fact checks Instapundit's ass, because he doesn't bother to." Those early entries were pretty weak - shrill and commenting on silly topics or picking fights for the purpose of picking fights. And the IPWatch didn't mention more substantial criticisms of Glenn's reliability, both on this site and elsewhere.

Having made a poor first impression, I was surprised to find IPWatch being mentioned positively on other left blogs I enjoy. But I checked it out, and in fact the blog has gotten over early jitters and is now much better. This post gives an interesting and accurate description of the backslapping that often passes for debate on Instapundit, and this one has a good description of Glenn's attacks on Stanley Hauerwas, a man whom I (and nearly everyone else) have never heard of, who overnight became on IP the embodiment of Everything Wrong With Liberalism. The actual fact checking promised is still a little weak, but some is done and done well.

I was going to say that the best I could say for WarBloggerWatch was that it was a little better than MWO Watch. But on reflection, maybe it isn't even worth that much praise. The top current post claims that Bush has an IQ of 88. The 'source' for this claim is this article which shows that the claim is only a repeat (an inaccurate one at that) of a long-discredited falsehood. It isn't the first time that WarBloggerWatch has been careless with facts. And when they try to be funny, they lose the effect by mocking writers who are, unfortunately, a lot funnier than WBWatch.

Two new entrants have raised the level of the genre. Scoobie Davis, who has actually been blogging on various topics for quite a while, has lately been devoting himself to the worthy task of fact-checking the most recent drivel from the photogenic but intellectually impaired Ann Coulter, and has put up several excellent posts. There isn't a whole lot up yet on the new SullyWatch blog, but what I've seen so far is promising. But Sullywatch will be hard pressed to top some recent delicious takedowns of Sullivan by the excellent Rittenhouse Review. Maybe Sullywatch can regain top spot in the Andrew-bashing competition by fact-checking Sullivan's recent boast that he still has a 32 inch waist.