Steve's got his own angle, but for me the most interesting thing about the incident was the reaction of Byron York, who got stung by the colonel's tweet. In his column York describes the evolution of the story at length, and gets very stiff whenever discussing Davis:
On Sunday, I sent a note to Davis asking why, given the credibility that comes with his military career and law school position, he had distributed information he knew to be false. As he had in his earlier tweet, Davis claimed the falsehood was "sarcasm"...Here's York's closing graf:
There are several lessons to be drawn from the affair. The first, and most important, is to be skeptical about everything one sees on the Internet and make a good-faith effort to ensure that information one passes on is accurate. I will certainly redouble my efforts on that score in the future. The second lesson is that when one makes a mistake, correct it as quickly as possible, more than once if necessary. And the final lesson, narrower but still important, is: Never trust a word Morris Davis says; it might be "sarcasm."Now, York's one of the more high-class conservatives when it comes to this sort of thing -- that is, rather than just circulating any old bullshit, as so many of the low-rent types do, York prefers to explain why hearsay and innuendo is sort of okay if it's for his side, as in this classic bit:
Rick -- Sure there were lunatic preoccupations in the Clinton years. The boys on the tracks story, for example, was a peculiar fascination at the Wall Street Journal editorial page. Mena was something similar for The American Spectator. There were others, although most conservative publications simply ignored things like the "Clinton Chronicles." Clinton himself found some of that stuff useful, and cited it in his public remarks, because it allowed him to cast his opponents as nuts. Hillary used it too -- in the famous "vast right-wing conspiracy" appearance on the "Today" show in 1998, she world-wearily said that the right was "accusing my husband of committing murder, of drug running."
On the other hand, what about the stories that were grisly but true? Clinton led a colorful life and hung out with colorful people. Troopergate was probably the most bitterly denounced of all the anti-Clinton stories, and some of Clinton's defenders wrote off anybody who took it seriously as a hater and a kook. But the core allegation of the story -- that Clinton used his Arkansas security team to facilitate his philandering -- was true, and the story was, in retrospect, the most accurate predictor of the kind of behavior that Clinton so disastrously exhibited in the White House in the Lewinsky matter. So the haters and the kooks were right on that one.This kind of classy mendacity, however, is a world away from circulating Snopes-worthy falsehoods -- especially when you're duped into it and then caught at it.
That would make York mad enough, but I think he was extra pissed off because he had been burned by someone with "the credibility that comes with [a] military career and law school position" -- that is, the kind of brass hat a conservative should be able to count on to provide York and his buddies with solid anti-Obama ordnance. Once a wingnut could just accept on faith that all the uniformed types were on their side, but now each one must be vetted before York can trust him. Think how discouraging a thing like that must be!
UPDATE. Forgot this other York classic: "I didn't intend to rekindle the old [Vince] Foster-suicide questions... But I do agree that the Clintons did everything in their power to make it look suspicious." That's how the pros do it, folks! Original posts here and here.