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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Combat Chat

Well that was an interesting experiment. I want to thank all the amazing people who were conferenced in and helping me during chat -- Peter Daou, Atrios, John Amato, Digby and jukeboxgrad from DailyKos (who would not let Jim Brady slide on his nebulous explanations, much to Brady's irritation) -- not to mention Markos and Brad DeLong who offered their input yesterday, Matt Stoller who was patrolling comments over at the Open Letter to the Washington Post blog (as well as Taylor who has been moderating), and Redd who was holding down the fort here. All I can say is that the answers that were given were the result of lots of people thinking together, including all the emails and commenters, and I can't tell you all how much I appreciated the collaborative effort.

And I want to thank the for the opportunity to speak, it's more than anyone else covering the Howell story has offered to anyone who was actively participating in it. That having been said, Brady had the keys to the system and he used them. There were dozens of questions on a screen that was quite complex which any of the participants could respond to at any time. They chose what questions got through and when each thread was closed down and published. Brady gave himself the last word many times, goaded me for a response and then closing it before I could answer, despite the fact that I was asking in the accompanying "chat" box for a chance to do so. Neither would he give substandial, meaningful answers to questions I posed to him.

If nobody responded to a question, it didn't appear online. In addition to tut-tutting about unruly commenters, Glenn Reynolds' job was to give one of those content-loaded "hey-indeedy" answers to questions that were hostile to me just to make sure they made it online. And you know what? That's fine. I'm a big girl, I get worse than that every day in the comments here and I knew what I was setting myself up for when I agreed to engage in this particular dialogue. The chance that we all got to give voice to our criticisms was well worth it.

But the fact remains that the real debate is between me and Brady; Rosen and Jarvis were filler and Reynolds was just there as a junkyard dog. And because of all the filler, Brady was able to avoid getting pressed on a story that he has had a great deal of success fobbing off to the media which has innumerable holes if anybody with any technical sophistication were to really press him. As one reader commented, "Listen to Brady try to defend himself, basically sounding like a 15 year old telling his parents the smell on his breath isn't marijuana, and the case is there that Howell deserved all she got and ten times worse."

Since I've shown my willingness to play by Brady's rules, I challenge him to engage in a dialogue in a neutral playing field. One-on-one, back and forth, no "background noise," no place to hide. We can do it in an email exchange, we can do it in a live chat, we do it over at the Huffington Post or any mutually agreeable place where the ground rules are equitable to both parties.

I've done my part. Let's see exactly how brave and committed to "transparency" he really is.

(thanks to Berkeley for the image)