Joel Achenbach, about whom I blogged below, appeared today on Hewitts radio show to respond to the response his blog post on the death of Zarqawi inspired. I felt sorry for him. The more I listened, the more it seemed to me that this may very well have been a simple case of sloppy writing. It reminded me of a similar incident that happened to me back in college when I was a freshman reporter. Of course, I had to admit my mistake and submit a correction. It was very embarassing but the kind of thing one hopes is behind you before you start writing for a major American newspaper! Achenbach, on the other hand, tried to defend himself and his writing and did not do a credible job of it--but he also said nothing to persuade me that he is capable of the kind of mental gymnastics and moral bankruptcy required to equate Zarqawi with American bombers. I say this not to excuse Achenbach but in the interest of fairness and clarity in the argument. I dont think this man meant to imply what his writing implied.
But while I am glad (for Achenbach and his childrens sake) that he is not as morally confused as Michael Berg or Bill Mahr, there are (sadly) plenty folks ready to stand in for him.
It wasnt up when I last checked, but the transcript from the interview with Achenbach should be posted at Radioblogger and this live blog during the interview gave a pretty fair assessment of Achenbachs performance (though it was too interested in the question of whether or not he ought to have given the interview from a narrow self-interest point of view). In sum: Achenbach stepped in it. He should avoid this cow pasture in the future and stick to being a humorist.