When spectators jeered Michael Rasmussen, a world-class Danish cyclist, at the end of a long day’s climb through the Pyrenees in the Tour de France last week, they turned the sporting world upside down.
The fans were not upset because Rasmussen had performed badly. He had in fact set a blistering pace to clinch what looked like ultimate victory in the bicycle race that is France’s summer glory and concludes today in Paris. The spectators were booing precisely because Rasmussen (and others in the race’s leading rank) had performed like Superman.
His numbers were too good to be true without the aid of performance-enhancing drugs, the fans had concluded. They did not need to wait for the scientific testing of athletes that is redefining the public’s faith in sports industries on both sides of the Atlantic.
Their instinctive judgment — which was validated a few hours later on Wednesday when Rasmussen’s embarrassed team expelled him from the race — parallels the increasingly skeptical reaction voiced by many American baseball fans as Barry Bonds has closed in on Hank Aaron’s home-run record this summer. [Emphasis mine]
Ignoring the fact that this has absolutely nothing to do with either the blogosphere or politics (and oh how Washington Post columnists love irrelevant analogies), Hoagland’s making the exact opposite point that he wants to make. Rasmussen was accused of using steroids because everyone could tell he was using steroids.
Which when you think about, is a lot like those mean, vindictive bloggers calling for Bush’s impeachment because he’s committed numerous impeachable offenses. So I guess Hoagland is onto something after all.
UPDATE: I’ve been asked to clarify what I’m trying to say here and going back and reading the post it isn’t exactly clear. Basically Hoagland is trying to convince us that bloggers are viciously attacking people who don’t deserve it and in order to convince us of this he draws an analogy between bloggers and a group of people who accused someone of something that he was, indeed, guilty of.