: In the world of one-from-column-A/one-from-column-B TV, I spent a few minutes on MSNBC Tuesday night on the other side of rabid conservatives Pat Buchanan and Michael Medved (on The Passion of the Christ and the Oscars) and the next day I’m back on MSNBC placed on the other side of rabid liberal Eric Alterman (on Iraqi blogs and the election). I mentioned the confrontation here but didn’t go into detail mainly because I long ago stopped paying attention to Alterman and didn’t think he was worth the effort and moreso because I did not want to again spread the blood libel he engages in regarding Iraqi bloggers: After quoting his favorite blogger on Iraq — who else but Juan Cole? — Alterman repeats the irresponsible, unfounded, dangerous speculation that, gee, if Iraqi bloggers are pro-American they must be CIA plants, huh? ‘
I told Alterman on the air that that was irresponsible and dangerous. I said he had not one shred of evidence or reporting or fact to back up his speculation. I said that he could end up getting these men, whom I’ve met and whom I know, harmed.
Alterman said, well, gee, the CIA has done weird things before so why couldn’t they do this?
That’s responsible journalism? Not in any universe I know. That’s the worst of tabloid, tin-hat, anti-intellectual, ammoral rumor-mongering. That’s Eric, the rumor monger.
What he did was, let me repeat, not journalistic. Any editor worth his salt would have killed that speculation in print (well, except at the NY Times).
I was going to let that dog lie but now Alterman has gone on the attack:
I never had any reason to give any thought to the issue of blogs and the Iraqi elections, until I was asked to appear on a segment about them on MSNBC yesterday with Ron Reagan and Monica Crowley, who are getting a new show there, with Jeff Jarvis as the other guest.
Well, if a booker calls me to ask about coming on the air about a topic I “never had any reason to give any thought to” I would decline. But not Alterman. He’ll make up an opinion about anything, it appears.
Reagan and Crowley just might work, as cable TV goes, I dunno.
I smell Alterman sucking up to his bosses at MSNBC. But I don’t want to be a conspiracy theorist.
Monica is just about the least annoying television conservative I know and Ron Regan [sic] is, for reasons of his pedigree, given permission to say genuinely liberal things that are allowed to no other cable pundit.
Monica and I had our own interesting conversation about Eric after we got off the air. I won’t speak for her.