Note from Quin: Please do NOT read these two pieces individually; if you read one, please read the other. They are sort of pro-con companion pieces, meant to show balance while asking each side (among ordinary readers) to at least respect the intelligence and good will of the other. Thanks.

The Reasonable Case for Moore’s Defenders

Without taking a position on whether to believe Roy Moore or to believe his accusers, a fair-minded observer can see a rational basis for the beliefs of each.

This column will explain to Moore haters why many (not all, but many) Moore defenders aren’t foolish, ignorant, or hypocritical for believing the allegations false.

My next column will explain to Moore defenders why it’s not illogical, dishonest or anti-Christian to believe that the case against Moore looks strong.

Honest people can see the same set of facts and analyze them differently. This doesn’t mean that every half-baked reaction, pro or con, is intellectually or morally defensible; it does mean that the automatic assumption that the other side has bad motives (or is plagued with utter stupidity) is unfair and unwise….

[later in the article:]

Here’s why a rational, non-hyped-up Alabaman could legitimately doubt that the Post’s story relates events that truly happened.

First, while it is ignorance personified to believe that professional reporters just make things up or encourage accusers to make things up, it is an incontrovertible fact that the vast majority of national reporters hold cultural and political beliefs different from the majority of Alabamans. Is the Post putting resources into digging for dirt on Doug Jones the way it is dirt-digging against Roy Moore? I seriously doubt it. What can happen, then, is that reporters using reasonable journalistic standards might still, in subtle ways, be inclined to accept as legitimate some “corroborating” accounts that in other circumstances they would dismiss as hearsay…..

[Full column here.]

WaPost Story as Conspiracy? That’s Nonsense on Steroids:

Yes, there are good reasons to believe Roy Moore misbehaved with teenage girls 40 years ago.

My previous column explained why it’s not obviously absurd for many Alabamans to disbelieve the allegations against the former chief justice. A man’s longtime public reputation does merit at least some benefit of the doubt.

On the other hand, some of the emotional, reflexive, and conspiracy-minded assertions put forth by many of Moore’s backers – not to mention absurd comparisons to Saints Mary and Joseph, or calls to criminally charge Moore’s accusers – are examples of extreme ignorance, sheer stupidity, or both.

As my earlier column handled the arguments in list fashion, let me use a parallel format here.

First, many Moore defenders say that just because the story ran in the “liberal” Washington Post, it therefore cannot be believed. This is nonsense on steroids and amphetamines at the same time. Many news outlets may have a liberal bias, but ones as prestigious as the Post also have very high professional standards, and many stages of review. Post reporters and editors may (or may not, and often don’t) have biases that subtly affect their stories, and they may make errors on details, as humans often do. But they don’t just make things up, nor do they publish things they don’t fully believe are true.

In this case, by professional journalistic standards, the original story on Moore was quite well sourced and very tightly reported. … [Full story here.]