Thursday, February 24, 2005

Going Fisking with Ted Rall

Ted Rall is one of the meaner liberal cartoonists; in his work, he has ridiculed the families of 9/11 victims, parodied right-wing bloggers by showing us defending a President Bush who partakes in bestiality, compared the U.S. to a dictatorship, and taken shots at Pat Tillman, the former NFL star killed in defense of this country.

Now Rall, who also writes an equally mean-spirited column, is warning his readers (yep, that's right, all fifteen of them) of the dangers of blogs; in typical Rall fashion, he puts down Captain Ed because he's not part of the 'elite' and dares to have an opinion, and casually inserts the adjective 'gay' in front of Andrew Sullivan's name in a context that has nothing to do with homosexuality.

Rall is a prime candidate for a fisking, so let's just jump right in.
Upon hearing that I'd started writing a blog, a Luddite pal asked me to describe this latest new-media phenom. Political bloggers, I explained, link to articles in traditional media. Then they rant and/or rave about them. "Great piece in the Journal." "The usual crap at" Anyone can write one; you don't even have to use your real name. "Oh," he replied. "A blog is like a column without the responsibility."
Yeah, Ted, we don't have the level of 'responsibility' you show in your published work. And yes, we link to articles in traditional media at times, but more often, we link to posts at other blogs, finding them much more refreshing, candid, and truthful than the MSM.
Bloggers want you to know that there's a new sheriff in town. Edward Morrissey, writer of the right-wing blog Captain's Quarters, boasts to the New York Times:
"The media can't just cover up the truth and expect to get away with it--and journalists can't just toss around allegations without substantiation and expect people to believe them anymore." And what are Morrissey's qualifications to police the media? When he's not harassing old-school journos like Dan Rather and CNN's Eason Jordan out of their jobs, Morrissey manages a call center near Minneapolis.
Yes, there is a new sheriff in town - and he's us. Blogs are for and by the everyman; their appeal is that they give voice to people who formerly lacked an outlet. What qualifications does one need to realize that Dan Rather took fake documents and ran with them? Apparently, whatever those qualifications are, the fact-checkers at CBS lacked them.

At a time when simply having a conservative Democrat spar with a conservative Republican is enough to earn the tag "fair and balanced," the fact is that the political blogs are dominated by the hard right.

The hard right being the liberterian 'Instapundit', I suppose, or the Daily Kos, who just passed the 100 million mark on visitors.

...conservative blogs mirror their mainstream counterparts by applying a far angrier and more violent tone than that of their liberal foes.

This is laughable; just spend five minutes with the Kosians or at the Democratic Underground if you want to truly understand the meaning of the word 'hate'. (In fairness, Rall then lists some examples of things said about him by some bloggers that are, in fact, over the line.)

Surfing this cheesy world of flag-draped neo-McCarthyite HTML makes it impossible to deny Columbia Journalism Review writer Steve Lovelady's conclusion that most are "salivating morons" who form an ideological "lynch mob."

Oh, sorry, Ted, missed that last point; I was just wiping off my saliva as I put my lasso on the horse.

Eason Jordan...lost his job at CNN for claiming--off the air--that "he knew of 12 journalists who were killed by coalition forces in Iraq," as Congressman Barney Frank quoted him in the Washington Post. And, he claimed, some had been targeted by U.S. forces. In fact, more than 50 war correspondents have been killed in the Iraq war--of whom a portion were apparently shot intentionally by American troops. Two journalists for Al Jazeera were killed in 2003 by U.S. troops firing at Baghdad's Palestine Hotel, well known to CENTCOM as the main residence for foreign journalists. Two more Al Jazeera journalists reported being tortured by U.S. troops last year; another has been rotting in the Guant�namo concentration camp since 2001. Eason had the facts right, but the blogger lynch mob howled so loudly that CNN fired him anyway.

Where to begin with this paragraph? Eason Jordan may have been 'off the air', but he was in a quite public forum. Besides, his comments were indicative of the mindset he brought to the table as the Chief News Executive of one of the marquee names of cable news. Rall then repeats the slander agains the U.S. troops that got Eason canned (Rall's job is safe, though; nobody cares about him enough to get too worked up.)

The mainstream media let Bush steal an election and lie his way into two wars.

See? There's that journalistic responsibility the bloggers are lacking.

Bloggers are ordinary people, many of them uneducated and with nothing interesting to say. They're sitting in their rec rooms, regurgitating and spinning what real journalists have dug up through hard work. They don't have sources, they don't report, and no one holds them accountable when they make mistakes or flat out lie. Yeah, there's a new sheriff in town. Unfortunately he's drunk, he's mean, and he works for the bad guys.

Speaking of mean and works for the bad guys, pot - meet kettle. I plead guilty to being an ordinary guy, and my education is sadly lacking (former National Merit Scholar, with a B.A. in Economics, since you asked), but here's where your argument falls apart, Ted. I don't own a rec room.

We all know the real problem Ted has; it's that most of the world just doesn't turn the way he thinks it should, so he lashes out at the mean, bad ol' bloggers, who have ruined civilization as we know it. Cheer up, Ted, Bush will only be in office four more years, and then you'll have a brand new Republican administration to make fun of! Just think of the possibilities...

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