The problem is that “more context” and “caveats” aren’t what was needed. Just the facts would have sufficed. Smith’s work in those posts was not “good” or “brave.” And “the nature of blogging” doesn’t excuse the phenomenal errors. Given Smith’s admissions, “reliable” is not a word that should attach to his Lebanon reporting.
We are all fallible. We all make mistakes. But these were not small mistakes. They were XXL ones.
Moreover, online journalists and bloggers can’t have it both ways: They can’t ask for mainstream media parity when their reporting is dead-on and ahead-of-the-curveand at the same time hide behind the “well, I was just blogging” excuse if their reporting turns out to be as ill-sourced and wrong-headed as the legacy media’s. Also note: In one of the tainted posts, the headline isn’t “Blogging from Lebanon.” It’s “Reporting from Lebanon.”
One difference with TNR: Smith is still employed as a free-lancer by NRO, and wrote these untruths as a
staff reporter regular blogger on NRO's site.