But I think there might be something more going on than just the MOPNS typical lack of rigor. It's interesting that this mass message is going out exactly as Gladney and lawyer David Brown's already flimsy story is unravelling before our eyes. As I wrote earlier, Brown has been lying, even to conservative bloggers, about the incident. And their story still does not fit with the video evidence. Could right-wing activists be panicking because this story's about to blow up in their face?
I think they should be. Right-wing hacks like Bill Hennessy, Gateway Pundit, Dana Loesch, Sharp Elbows, and now MOPNS have all spoken with complete certainty that Gladney was the victim of an attack. Despite the fact that there is no conclusive evidence to support their story, they have not hesitated, or said "maybe", or allowed for any possibility that Gladney might have been partially to blame. And I submit that if it turns out that Gladney in fact was the instigator rather than victim, or even if he was merely equally culpable as McCowan, they will have revealed themselves to be liars who should never be trusted again.
We generally think of lying as saying something that we know to be false. But there's another kind of lying that right-wing extremists have mastered, and that is asserting that we know something that we don't actually know. Cheney said that he knew that Iraq had WMDs. By the very definition of the word "know", if Cheney knew that Iraq had WMDs, then it must be true that Iraq had WMDs. But since it is not true that Iraq had WMDs, then it is clearly not true that Cheney knew that they did, and hence Cheney was lying.
Likewise, all of these GOP mouthpieces are asserting that they know that Gladney was attacked. So if it turns out that he was not, they are clearly lying to us. Perhaps more importantly, they show that they are people whose words cannot be trusted, whether it's because they are deliberately dishonest or because they simply are not capable of evaluating evidence outside of their ideological blinders. Notice that none of this would be true if they simply were willing to say things like, "it looks like Gladney was attacked by SEIU thugs," or "the evidence seems to support Gladney's story." It's precisely their complete and ungiving uncertainty that make them so untrustworthy.
Finally, I should note that I have seen one exception: Jim Rubin of 24thstate.com. Though he is overly committed to the right-wing talking points, he was at least willing to propose a method for seeing whether McCowan or Brown were telling the truth. And after I showed him that Brown was lying, he (more or less) acknowledged it:
You're absolutely right. There is clear photographic evidence that there was something sold that showed Obama smoking weed, which means David mislead me, and it corroborates an important part of McCowan's second story.
I'll post this on my blog and get his response, but it's pretty clear.
I did some more digging last night, and there is more to this, so McCowan isn't exonerated, but David has some very pointed questions to answer that he can't duck
He's still using a lot of hedge words, but at least he was capable of being open to some evidence. The sooner local conservatives can start moving towards people with at least some ability to think, such as Jim, rather than the current group of completely cynical and self-serving leaders, the sooner we can start having real conversations.