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Rudy Giuliani, and Jounalism vs. Journamalism at the Atlantic

Matthew Yglesias watches the Republican debate, and then watches his weblogging colleagues at the Atlantic:

Matthew Yglesias: [T]he takeaway message... is that Democrats need to realize that in 2008 they'll be... up against... audacious -- almost awe-inspiringly so -- lies, and they need to be prepared.... Rudy Giuliani said:

It’s unthinkable that you would leave Saddam Hussein in charge of Iraq and be able to fight the war on terror. And the problem is that we see Iraq in a vacuum. Iraq should not be seen in a vacuum. Iraq is part of the overall terrorist war against the United States.

Now you might think this would count as a giant gaffe... worse than Gerald Ford... [on] Soviet domination of Poland. ... Giuliani is either totally ignorant... or else breathtakingly dishonest....

My colleague Jim Fallows has that take -- "Huh???" he responds in a post entitled "What Is Rudy Giuliani Talking About???"

Unfortunately for Democrats, the way political reporters in practice cover this stuff is much better exemplified by my other colleague Marc Ambinder who merely notes that "Giuliani linked Iraq to the broader war on terror and kept accusing Democrats of burying their heads in the sand."

I don't like it, but that's the way the game is played. What I'd... like to see... is the politician with enough confidence... to... shoot back... [that] BS like that from Giuliani demonstrates not "toughness" but his unfitness to lead the country...

But, Matt, that's not "how the game is played." That's "how Marc Ambinder plays the game." Agency, Matt. Active voice. Marc Ambinder is a smart and competent and hard working man. He is playing the journamalist because he thinks that there is safety there, while following the Fallows strategy of being a journalist is risky.

Your mission, Matt, should you choose to accept it, is to convince Marc Ambinder that it is safer for him to be an honest journalist than for him to be a dishonest journamalist who puts his thumbs, wrists, and elbows on the scale on the side of Giuliani by refusing to point out the untruth of the matter asserted by Giuliani. If only Ambinder were more scared of the horde of spearchucking webloggers of the left and of the honest right who will get medieval on his person if fails to do his proper job--then Ambinder would behave and be the journalist he could be rather than the pathetic hack he is here.