One of the pleasant perks of a book tour is that you’ve barely got time to check your email, let alone keep up with the latest right wing blogosphere contratemps — which has the effect of putting the latter in perspective. Contrary to the napoleonic delusions of some of our friends on the right, most people in this country really don’t have the vaguest idea what bloggers are talking about at any given moment, or even at all, and neither do they care. Always important to keep that in mind, lest you find yourself spending too much time composing replies to arguments most people will never even hear.
So I was vaguely aware that there was some sort of controversy over the release of Jill Carroll, which I found puzzling. It seemed like good news to me. Western reporter, held hostage, released unharmed — what’s the problem in that? Were they disappointed that she hadn’t been beheaded, denying them fodder for yet another round of self-righteous posturing?
Anyway, Alterman brings me up to speed on the Fighting Keyboarders’ latest antics here:
To anyone watching Carrollâ€™s videotaped statements both before she was released and directly after â€” taken in the office of a Sunni political group in Baghdad, far from the protective custody of the American military â€” it should have been obvious that she was hardly free to speak her mind, given that she was still being held hostage. Although she had been â€œfreed,â€ she was smart enough to understand her surroundings and didnâ€™t want to antagonize her new Sunni hosts, whom she didnâ€™t know.
Yet a right-wing pundit named Debbie Schlussel appeared to take Carrollâ€™s release rather personally and quickly became the most bloodthirsty of Carroll critics, complaining incessantly about Carrollâ€™s every utterance, asking, â€œWhy was Jill Carroll freed? Maybe it had something to do with the fact that she HATES AMERICA and our Mid-East policy. And, oh yeah, she HATES ISRAEL, too.â€ Her comments were picked up all over the Internet, and she continued to bash Carroll and her pre-capture writing, accusing her of being anti-war, anti-American and consorting with terrorists. Schlussel was even offended that â€œfemale Iraqi terroristsâ€ had been released in exchange for â€œPrincess Jill,â€ calling her a â€œspoiled brat America-hater from Ann Arbor.â€