First, much of the bloggers’ vaunted fact-checking was seriously warped. Their driving assumptions were often drawn from flawed information or based on faulty logic. Personal attacks passed for analysis. Second, and worse, the reviled MSM often followed the bloggers’ lead. As mainstream media critics of CBS piled on, rumors shaped the news and conventions of sourcing and skepticism fell by the wayside. Dan Rather is not alone on this one; respected journalists made mistakes all around.

Corey Pein’s wrap-up of what he calls Blog-Gate — the weblog “takedown” of Dan Rather over the Bush National Guard memos — is well worth a read. As you can probably guess from the quotation marks in the previous sentence, Pein challenges the notion that weblogs proved to be an infallible check on the so-called mainstream media, reminding us of the facts that got lost in the rhetorical insanity of the pile-on.