Saturday, January 29, 2005

Hack Gap

A couple years ago I would Glenn Reynold's Instapundit every day. I started trailing off and then, about a year ago, I stopped dead. I don't recall if there was a single post that pushed me over the edge. He just became such a hack that I removed his bookmark. Practically the only time I even hear of him is when someone points to his site. His peddling the Kerry intern story was such hackishness, and I would be shocked if he didn't pump the Swiftboat liars stories too -- even the ones that are demonstrably false beyond question to any reasonable observer (not to a hack).

It's repugnant how he became such a Republican partisan, while claiming to be a Libertarian. I'm sure he still pays lip service to Libertarian ideas. But he's part of the smear machine, and there need be no factual basis for his smears -- he'll spread them if they help his side and hurt the other side, while, I'm sure, decrying one or two of them so he can be a little above Ann Coulter.

Some hyperbole during an election could conceivably be written off, though I don't think some of Reynold's calumnies were mere hyperbole. I see that he continues to this day, even after the election. Max Speak's burst of disgust at Reynold's tactics is spot on, as is that of Oliver Willis.

People such as Reynolds, scream about Michael Moore but do even worse than Moore does at distorting the truth and manufacturing outrage. If he teaches his students with that style of argumentation, University of Tennessee Law School is going down the drain quickly.

I guess he's found that the court of opinion of his public is far below the standards of any true court, and he's going for it. Politics is dirty business, but there are people who do it honorably. Glenn Reynolds is not one of them. And don't get me started on Little Green Footballs or, for that matter, Powerline. The big lefty bloggers (Atrios and Kos), while occasionally incendiary, aren't regularly mendacious like these three rightwing blogs. The hack gap is real.

I suppose I should make an obligatory statement about blogosphere triumphalism, too. Here it is: Blogs aren't the baby Jesus. I'm in agreement this post byEzra Klein, at his spiffy new site. Jeff Jarvis is mentioned therein, and he's a prime example of the thinking about blogs that makes me cringe. I like a lot of things Jarvis says, and he is demonstrably not a hack like Reynolds, but he gets tiresome quickly when he gets on his "blogs will reshape humankind" hobbyhorse.

Of course, riffle will reshape humankind. But calling riffle a blog is like calling a pebble a boulder.

1 comment:

gaw3 said...

I prefer to call my own blog a "boutique" rather than a "pebble," but I catch your drift.
I used to read Glenn for tech stuff (but have recently migrated to Wired and the Register). I think the last time I clicked was a week or so ago. Politics, I gave up with the Swift Boat Vets.
You're right on about Jeff Jarvis. He's a good soul, but I'm not waiting for blogs to change the world.

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