Hinderaker was so intent on using this Washington Times article to make Reid look like a moron that accuracy became a minor enemy.[...]
Note the lack of elipses to denote gaps in the original author's words. Due to Bottomrocket's propensity for nimrod-style cutting and pasting, I've provided a corrected version of the blockquote in his post (just to expedite the correction we're not likely to see):
[T]he Senate's top Democrat immediately expressed doubt about the proposal, calling it "a big wet kiss to the far right."
"I don't really like the proposal given, but I'm not going to throw it away," Mr. Reid said. "I'm going to work on it."
In his floor speech, Mr. Reid called Mr. Frist's proposal a "slow-motion nuclear option."
"After 100 hours, the rights of the minority are extinguished," he said, acknowledging that the purpose of the filibusters hasn't been to continue debate on nominees, but simply to stop them.
"I say to everyone within the sound of my voice: 'Test us,' "he said. "Let's see how we can do in the future. I can't say there won't be any filibusters, but I think we're going to have a much better situation."
See those little dotted thingies, John? That's where words used to be. I should also point out that the amount of quotations used from the Washington Times article may be in violation of Fair Use, but that's for another day, LGF & FreeRepublic.
In case it isn't clear from the passage I've quoted, Hindrocket actually left the ellipses out of his quotation of a Washington Times article. He strung together a bunch of Harry Reid's statements without any indication that they weren't actually strung together in the article. And then, and this is the best part, Hindrocket says that Reid was "childish and incoherent" and "descended into babble."
So, let's sum up. Harry Reid makes a statement. Washington Times quotes part of the statement in an article. Hindrocket takes the quotations out of context, makes it look like they were meant to fit together, and then accuses Reid of incoherence.
I don't really know what you need to prove that someone's guilty of libel, but it seems to me that this comes close to the edge. I do know that
In order for a public official to recover damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct, he must prove that the statement was made with actual malice; that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether or not it was false.
And accusing a public official of "incoherence" after you've cherry-picked his statements without telling your readers seems to me to approach either "actual malice" or a "reckless disregard" for the truth.
I suppose I might as well also mention that the whole premise of Hindrocket's post is flawed as I well: he's criticizing Harry Reid for rejecting a compromise that Bill Frist offered on the nuclear option. But nowhere on Powerline does anyone mention that Bill Frist had rejected a different compromise (one worked out between Reid and Trent Lott, no less) two days before. Only by omitting that piece of information can Hindrocket say that Frist's efforts were "statesmanlike" and "scrupulously fair," while Reid's response was "childish and incoherent."
I know I shouldn't be, but I always am: I'm just astonished by this kind of dishonesty. I really don't know what kind of a person you have to be to intentionally slander the minority leader of the Senate in two dishonest ways in the same short post. How convinced of your own righteousness do you have to be to exempt yourself from the basic standards of honest discourse? How, in other words, does Hindrocket deal with his own conscience? Does he feel justified in his lies? Is he secretly ashamed of them?
Obviously, the Powerline boys are really trying to make it big as conservative commentators. I sure hope they make it, for their own sake. Because one of these days they're going to get sued for their lies, and they're going to need a good lawyer.