Census Worker's Suicide

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When census worker Bill Sparkman was found hanging from a tree with the word "Fed" scrawled across his chest, some suggested that conspiracy-theorists on the right were partly to blame. But Tuesday, investigators pronounced the census worker's death a suicide. And now, lit up with news of its exoneration, the conservative blogosphere is demanding an apology from fellow pundits.

  • We Will Remember Your Irresponsible Speculation  Robert Stacy McCain isn't about to forgive his liberal brethren any time soon. "Well, you biased bastards, I have not forgotten the perfidious role you played here, and you will not escape blame for your journalistic malpractice. And he's naming names. "Yes, we remember all those headlines at Memeorandum. Yes, Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Ungar we remember all your irresponsible speculation. The people of Clay County, Ky., await your apologies."
  • I'm Looking At You, Andrew Sullivan  Michelle Malkin wants an apology. "I’m not holding my breath since I raised this question 11 days ago and there’s been no response. But I’m not going to let it go." And she's looking at the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan, who Malkin says is "too busy nursing his Palin-induced psychosis to own up."
  • The Rush to Judgment  At Reason Magazine, Jesse Welch says it wasn't just bloggers on the left who jumped to conclusions.

    What's important was the leap to judgment. A large number of commentators assumed, apparently inaccurately, that the death was a murder, that the murder was political, and that the motive was linked to one congresswoman's crusade. They made those assumptions because it fit a narrative to which they were committed.

    [cont...]When people on the far left or the far right do that, they're accused of paranoia -- of being so eager to connect the dots that they run ahead of what the evidence actually says. Let this sad story from Kentucky be a reminder that the establishment is just as capable of making this mistake as the fringe.

  • Paranoia  The Weekly Standard's Mary Katherine Ham says this was "another episode of right-wing violence that wasn't, kind of like the entire month of August's town halls." She has a round up of what she says is the left's smear campaign against the right wing blogs.
  • I Was Wrong  The Philadelphia News's Will Bunch takes the blame. "It was a bad decision on my part; I should have either not blogged the story at all or handled it differently. While I sprinkled the post with a lot of hedge words, I still used the preliminary facts -- the word 'fed' was scrawled on Sparkman's body -- as an excuse to criticize public officials engaged in over-the-top anti-government rhetoric."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.