Ken Layne sees Sullivan’s point and as evidence says, among other things, “I mean, just look at the deeply insulting way Romenesko has dealt with Matt Drudge.”
Ah, but that goes to the point I’ve been trying to make (badly, apparently): Though I happen to enjoy Drudge, I could see many reasons why someone doesn’t like him. Could be because he’s conservative… or because he’s new media… or because he offends certain journalistic standards with his tabloid (and sometimes sloppy) ways.. or because he is — even he’d admit it — obnoxious. If Romenesko criticizes or ignores or even insults Drudge, it’s not necessarily because he’s “left-leaning,” as Sullivan assumes. Motive matters and to assume the motive and base an attack on that assumption is worse than lazy, it is manipulative and essentially oppressive: If I criticize George Bush and you call me a leftie (or unpatriotic), then you are trying to shut me up, not deal with my criticism. You’re trying to make me the issue rather than deal with the issue. You’re making it personal.
That is the problem I have with Sullivan.
I also got mail today from Matthew Yglesias, saying he is “glad to see someone criticize Andrew Sullivan’s increasingly hysterical tone; I’ve been a longtime reader of his and have been disappointed to see his site garnering more and more praise as it gets worse.”
Right. I, too, have come to respect Sullivan even though I come from a different side of the prism; I sometimes disagree with him and often agree with him and that doesn’t make me a leftie or a rightie; Sullivan should hope that just makes me smart or right. Sullivan is too smart to be off leading the torch-bearing villagers on his ideological bitch-hunt. That is the issue: He’s not dealing with issues then. Sure, it’s entertaining and an easy way to whore for clicks but it’s insulting to the audience and, ultimately, himself.
Hitch speaks the truth
: Bush has been in office a year now and Christopher Hitchens brilliantly expresses the surprise that awaits us on his anniversary:
Mr Bush is still one of the most unqualified people ever to have run for the highest office, let alone to have attained it. There will never come a time when he reads for pleasure or takes a serious interest in another country. But the oldest political joke in America has a double-edged point to it. In this society, anybody can be President. And this particular anybody has happened to match an hour in which it is precisely the ordinary people of the country who have behaved with distinction.
Britain: Breeding ground for the ‘binmen’
: The Observer says Britain is thick with terrorists, many now under arrest.
The lesson now appears clear. There are al-Qaeda links from Brighton to Bolton, from Scotland to Slough. The idea that Islamic extremism was limited to a few loud-mouthed polemicists in north and west London has been shown to be nothing more than a comforting fallacy.
‘For years the intelligence community has tried to play down the levels of activity and the threat from Islamic extremism in Britain,’ one London-based security expert said yesterday. ‘But they can’t do that any longer.’
In Washington, Paris and capitals across the Middle East and Asia, officials charged with winding up al-Qaeda are pointing to the UK. They say that Britain is more than just a haven for Islamic dissidents and a centre for the dissemination of extremist propaganda. The French and the Americans maintain that the UK has played a key role as a logistics base for al-Qaeda itself and was critical to the 11 September attacks.
People in glass prisons…
: Without irony, the Observer notes the same day that (1) Tony Blair warns us to treat our prisoners better while (2) Britons complain about the treatment of all the terrorists Britain played host to.
Who pays whom?
: Cheeky Afghans start presenting us with bills for their reconstruction. We were planning to help but let’s remember that this nation harbored and nurtured the terrorists who attacked us. Let’s try billing them before they think of billing us.