Remember that story? A guy beat up an off-duty soldier after a Toby Keith concert. Freeperville went nuts, flogging the story as a case of an antiwar protester and John Kerry supporter attacking a soldier because he had on a t-shirt showing he was in the military.
I wound up having several posts on this:
Roy Edroso, whose blog pokes fun at rightwing trends all the time, sort of like my Chuckie Watch feature, has been following this story. From his post on Citizen Journalists 12/18/04:
Yesterday Cornwell [the assailant] pleaded guilty to a felonious assault on Barton [the off-duty soldier]. In his statement to the judge, Cornwell did not denounce the Bush Administration or the Iraqi invasion, or cry "Viva La Huelga." He told the judge that the fight outside the Toby Keith concert "started after the two exchanged insults about the other's military unit," according to the local news.
Former Soldier Pleads Guilty To Concert Assault NBC4i.com News 12/17/04.
Roy's blog post also has several links to some of the stories from rightwing sites pushing their version of the tale. One of them features a photo of what looks like a silouetted Manson cult crazy standing in front of a giant bonfire placed before a huge American flag.
I originally picked up the story from RepublicanJen's AOL Journal. Among other things, that led to an exchange with one of her readers: AOL-J jerks: A case study 09/27/04. I'll be curious to see if RepublicanJen bothers to post on the resolution of the case. Currently, she seems to be mainly obsessing over the alleged campaign against Christmas.
This is a story worth remembering, not because it's substantially any different from any other story of a rowdy guy starting a fight. But because it was highlighted on the Drudge Report and spread all over Freeperdom, and because very few of those who flogged the story as showing how Iraq War critics hate the soldiers will bother to inform their readers of the resolution, this will be remembered by many people as a factual occurrence.
So five or ten years from now, stories will still be circulating about how "antiwar activists used to assault soldiers that were home on leave." Those who sneer at the "reality-based community" don't much care whether their favorite tales are actually true or not.