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February 23, 2005
Success Is When All The Right People Hate You


My good friend Jon Henke at QandO (the essential libertarian blog, BTW) tips me that my blogging career has reached new heights. First I reached five million hits this week, CNN and C-SPAN mentioned my blog on the air, and now I have truly achieved success -- I have annoyed Ted Rall:

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.

What qualifications does Rall have to write opinion columns for Universal Press Syndicate? He draws cartoons -- badly -- and expresses opinions similarly. I don't pay much attention to him as a rule, as he generally makes almost no sense whatsoever, and this column is a perfect example. For instance, he excoriates "gay GOP blogger" Andrew Sullivan without apparently knowing that Sullivan blogs as a sideline to his job as a syndicated columnist, not unlike Rall himself. He claims to have been libeled by Sullivan but lacked the funds to sue him:

My jaw dropped when gay GOP blogger Andrew Sullivan accused me in 2003 of "urging the murder of American troops in defense of Islamist terrorists." Of course I'd done no such thing, and he knew it. If I had had the ready cash I would have slapped the lying bastard with a richly-deserved libel suit. Incredibly, Time magazine hired Sullivan to write a column.

Uh-huh. If Rall had a case, he wouldn't have needed much cash to go after Sullivan; almost any lawyer would have taken Rall as a client on a contingency basis. I also see that he has no clue about the most central blogger, Glenn Reynolds, whom he labels as a right-winger even though Glenn only really supports Bush on foreign policy. Then again, anyone to the right of Dennis Kucinich qualifies as a reactionary fascist to Rall.

When Rall first heard about blogs, he recounts, he rejoiced for the free speech it encourages. However, when people like me exercise speech he dislikes, suddenly he fears and loathes the blogosphere:

As a free speech fan, my initial reaction to the blog explosion--there's a new one born every 7.4 seconds--was delight. If you've been interviewed for a newspaper article you've probably had the experience of being misquoted or taken out of context, or at least had your name misspelled. If reporters get these basics wrong, how can we trust them when they tackle the big stuff? Moreover, the mainstream media is an ivory tower. Anyone who has tried to call a paper to complain has suffered through phone-tree hell before possibly wrangling out the limited satisfaction of a two-line correction on page 83 beneath the obituaries. But now anyone with access to a computer can, with the proper string of ideological comrades in cyberspace, call the mainstream media to account.

"I think the relation is more symbiotic than parasitic," writes Glenn Reynolds of the right-wing blog Instapundit. "Bloggers are more like the fish that protect sharks from parasites." Bloggers, fierce new watchdogs of the fourth estate, claim they're democratizing American journalism.

It all sounds great--until you read them. Once you spend some time surfing this ocean of likeminded righties, however, you realize the awful truth: the "populist" blogosphere is cowing the mainstream media even further into submission to the powers that be.

So his problem is that he expected bloggers to exist only to agree with his radical beliefs. Of course, that's Rall's idea of free speech. He can criticize anyone he likes, including me, but when people criticize Eason Jordan for making unsubtantiated allegations of assassination strategies about our military, all of a sudden it's McCarthyism. (I notice that Rall does the same thing, but Rall doesn't run one of the largest news organizations in the world.)

Rall, as usual, rants incoherently about how we're ideologically disinclined to hold journalistic "conglomerates" accountable right after we've done exactly that with CBS (Viacom) and CNN (Time Warner). Unfortunately, Rall appears ideologically unable to coexist with the truth, but as anyone who has had the unpleasant experience of reading Rall in the past knows, that condition appears incurable in his case. Rall doesn't really even have enough of a connection to reality to enrage; he just provides amusement, like a crazy old uncle locked in his rec room, typing and muttering about all of the people out to get him. Too bad he's not important enough for it, and that he doesn't even know it.

UPDATE AND BUMP, 2/23: Welcome, Instapundit readers -- and big thanks to Chris Muir, who gave me a better taste of immortality than Ted Rall. Be sure to read Day by Day, every day!

UPDATE II: Thanks to Michelle Malkin, a good friend who has been tremendously supportive. Thanks also to another good friend, Salem Radio host Kevin McCullough, who posts:

Does Rall realize that when he says such things that he sets up enmity between himself and thousands of "working class" in doing so? Does he realize that it is ok for the "working class" to have opinions? Does he know that it is legal, and ethical, and a constitutionally protected right for the "working class" to express those opinions - be they on blogs or otherwise?

If Rall is trying to be an elitist who portrays himself as being bigger and more self-important than the people he draws his sad cartoons for - then he is keeping a brisk pace in getting on his way.

Kevin's mother-in-law, by the way, is recovering from brain surgery and could use your prayers. Drop him a note of support while you're there. (Updated update: It wasn't a stroke, as I had written earlier, and it's his mother-in-law.)

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 23, 2005 9:00 AM

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» Success Is When All The Right People Hate You from FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog
So, Ted how about knocking off the ad hominems towards bloggers and criticise us and your bosses over at the Universal Press Syndicate (AKA MSM) on the basis/merits of our arguments. You seem to do that everyday with your cartoons. [Read More]

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