With passion and precision (and often at some length) the authors of these comments alerted me to at least two mistakes.
The first is the more serious: I was using the word “spin” in two different senses and my failure to distinguish between them led to a slippage in the argument of which I remained unaware until it was pointed out by literally dozens of readers.
To quote from a fellow blogger:
First off, let us praise Stanley Fish for doing (without indictment or Congressional hearing) what so few House officials are able to do: acknowledge fault, recognize correctors, and offer new clarifications of what he meant. This quality sets him apart from conservative partisans on this very page.