June 30, 2002

Manufactured outrage

You may have noticed the name Stanley Hauerwas suddenly popping up in Glenn's every second post. I. P. Watcher thinks this is an good example of how Glenn manufactures outrage against a specific target:

First, he links to an (supposedly) outrageous article of his victim.

Second, he somehow connects this victim to something negative.

Third, he links to anybody agreeing with him.

Fourth, if anybody disagrees with him, he either doesn't acknowledge it, or he uses it as another springboard for an attack on the original subject.

Fifth, he'll report on reader feedback showing that they overwhelmingly support him, occasionally skewering whichever unfortunate person is the token dissenter.

Finally, he reports on anything negative other bloggers may say about his victim. He also keeps up the smear campaign, again by connecting the victim with anything his readers will percieve as negative.

Glenn doesn't think fraud, deception and criminal acts have nothing to do with Worldcom's downfall:

A READER SENDS THIS WORLDCOM-RELATED OBSERVATION:

First, the accounting delusions did not cause the company to collapse and 17,000 people to lose their jobs. No, a very bad business model that said if you keeping on growing by acquiring lousy companies, you can become one great big good company, failed (this is simply a variation of the old, we sell everything at a loss but make up for it in volume). All the bad accounting did was extend the time before these people HAD to be laid off. In other words, they were not screwed because they worked for a crooked CFO; they were screwed because they worked for a stupid company.
Second, the CFO was, almost for sure, not trying to defraud people in the sense of achieving any personal gain. Without any personal knowledge of this company, I can almost bet you, what he was thinking, was that if I just buy the company some time, things will correct themselves--and nobody will ever notice how I bridged this problem.

I think that's probably right.

I.P. Watcher knew Instapundit was naive, but this naive? Does he not know that Worldcom's founder Bernie Ebbers, got $430 million in loans from the company, plus a $1.5 million yearly pension from the company -unlike the 17,000 workers just laid off. Note there's no collateral for the loans --Ebbers used it to keep up payments on Worldcom shares, which are now practically worthless.

Sources:
Boston Globe
Red Herring

As you may have noticed, somebody bought off the blogspot ad for Instapundit Watcher, because they support her efforts. The kind sponsor, who prefers to remain anonymous, has her appreciation.

Glenn, talking about this Observer article, opinionates:

THE BUTCHER OF BAHRAIN: God knows what people would be saying if this guy were an American. But he's not, so it's okay.

Not that there's anything in this article to prove this absurd statement. It was Amnesty International, (who Glenn earlier accused of anti-Americanism) who together with Human Rights Watch called attention to "the butcher of Bahrain." It was the Observer, sister newspaper to the wellknown anti-American Guardian who published this article. And it's Britain, not America which is accused off keeping silent. America is not even mentioned in the article.

But all of this doesn't matter to Instapundit: any opportunity for a political attack can and will be used by him, doesn't matter if it's irrelevant, doesn't matter if the facts don't support it.