03/28/2008 02:44 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Straw Men At Play in the Fields of the Conservative Blogosphere

Earlier this week, Tom Gross, writing for the National Review Online, did what any good blogger does--lend some voice to the sort of story that too often falls through the cracks of the mainstream media. In this case, he relates the death of one Jafar Kiani. Kiani, an Iranian, was apparently found guilty of adultery, whereupon he was buried to his waist and stoned to death by a crowd. It's a fitting, and necessary reminder of the barbarism and brutality that still exists in the world, especially in that part of the world corrupted by Islamic fundamentalism, and it's a story worthy of writing.

But don't you just know, Gross can't leave well enough alone. He basically sabotages his own effort, by tossing in this sentence at the end:

"And the Iranian regime still has its defenders in the West."

Oh, really? Care to maybe name one? The story is worth the telling on its face, so why on earth drag the empty-headed "Some have argued" bit of rhetorical flimflam into it? The Straw Men, it seems, are never too far removed from the discourse in the right-o-sphere. From the Straw Men who, in the wake of his abrupt removal from the webpages of the Washington Post, "bashed" Ben Domenech "instead of America," to the constant references to journalists who want terrorists to destroy the way of life that, uhm...allows journalism in the first place (a la Howard Kaloogian), they are ever-present.

It's sad, because Gross doesn't need to invoke The Straw Men to make his point. I guess the hallucinations are just that powerful! But, like Michael Chertoff's "gut feelings," they are just as insubstantial.

Stoned to death in Iran [NRO]

[image LOLcatted from an original from Sasha Frere-Jones]