Call off the Parker dogs!
I was raised to believe in fairness. That means if somebody does something wrong, you give them a face smack and then move on. It doesn’t mean piling on. When Clinton was in office, the GOP attack dogs did everything they could to smear him and Hillary on the slightest pretext. And just to be fair, although I think W. Bush was a lousy President, I’ll admit some extremists on the left piled on every time they could.
The media loves piling on. They piled onto former Rep. Gary Condit when Chandra Levy disappeared, forcing him to leave office. Now we know he had nothing to do with her murder. They pile on because the media is basically a bunch of jackals, and because their bosses in management tell them to. Piling on is un-American, but it sure does sell copy.
Now the piling on Parker is in full swing with Reign of Terror’s posting slamming the guy for a “belated” response to the Miller-Squires travel brouhaha. Not only didn’t Parker respond in a timely manner, according to ROT’s standards, but when he did, ROT found it disingenuous.
Look. Parker blew it. There’s enough coulda-woulda-shoulda in this saga to raise the Titanic and re-sink it. Parker should have supervised his contractors better. He could have replied sooner to ROT’s inquiries. He says he would have, had he not been busy on the West Coast. There are probably a dozen other things he should have done and didn’t. But can we cut the guy some slack? I believe him when he says that despite the underwriting of Miller’s and Squire’s trips, their wine reviews were unbiased. There’s no reason to think otherwise. And now, he’s come as close as he needs to to a full-on apology.
So what have we learned from this? That Parker’s a lousy supervisor? Big Effing Deal.
ROT in his blog referred to my post about this the other day and called it “compelling.” For that I’m grateful. But I would ask ROT, and other bloggers, this: When something happens that embarrasses someone you don’t particularly like, then do your thing, have some fun, express some outrage — and let it go. When Wine Spectator blew it with that fake restaurant review last summer, I called for some leniency. I did so in my blog on Parker. “But let us not make mountains out of molehills,” I wrote.
In their eagerness to topple the old order the bloggers sometimes over-react, sensing blood in the water and moving in for the kill. But reactions should be judicious; the punishment should fit the crime. What Parker did was dumb and a mistake, but not malicious.
I hope this is the end of the piling on. The blogosphere can evolve to a tabloid like National Enquirer or Fox News, or it can choose to be intellectually balanced, less interested in the exposé than in considered analysis. I hope it chooses the latter.