John on May 22, 2008 at 2:35 pm
Howard Kurtz is the media columnist at the Washington Post. For the record, I like Howard even if I sometimes think he misses the mark. But I believe he genuinely wants to be fair to both the left and right side of the internet.
Unfortunately, Howard’s idea of being fair is to find fault with both sides and call it even. Sort of a no-fault-divorce approach to journalism. There’s no careful weighing of the evidence which might show that liberal commenters are consistently more profane and viscious than their conservative counterparts. As Charles at LGF notes, the Post itself has a problem with mostly liberal commenters becoming vile on its own site! But for whatever reason, Howard is content with “A pox on both their houses!”
Case in point… HotAir notes that Howard went out of his way to be critical of Michelle Malkin (or at least her readers) today. Here’s what he said:
(A digression: Michelle Malkin is among those conservatives asking readers to put aside political differences and pray for Kennedy and his family, and most of her commenters did just that. But there were a few, revoltingly hateful exceptions– posters who were reveling in the news and, in one case, talked of celebrating.)
Now I actually think what he’s said here is perfectly accurate. Michelle did ask readers to wish Kennedy well and, if you check the comments, the vast majority did just that, offering prayers and kind words about the arch-liberal in his moment of crisis. Of course there were a few who couldn’t bring themselves to be charitable. That’s all true.
Here’s what bothers me.
Why add this digression to a piece about Kennedy in the first place? More to the point, how many times has Howard gone out of his way (that’s what a digression is, right?) to point out the reaction over at Huffington Post every time a Republican dies or is hospitalized? There have been plenty of opportunities in the last couple years. Let me give you a sample:
- 05-16-06 – Snow Chokes Back Tears When Asked About Cancer Fight… – No comments opened on this one. Wonder why…?
- 11-05-06 – Saddam Convicted, Sentenced to Death – Charles at LGF grabbed a few of the nutty anti-Bush comments that appeared on this one. Now the comments have vanished.
- 11-22-06 – The World According to Jimmy Carter – This one used to be full of anti-Israeli Carter supporters now there’s just this “Comments for this entry are currently under maintenance but will be restored soon.”
- 11-23-06 – A Thanksgiving Prayer for Dick Cheney’s Heart – The article was bad enough but the comments were truly unhinged. Here again its “Comments for this entry are currently under maintenance but will be restored soon.”
- 03-12-07 – Bush Sr. Hospitalized After Collapse – The comments on this Huffington Post blurb have disappeared. You can see a sample of some of the choice ones that used to be there by looking here.
- 03-23-07 – Tony Snow to Undergo Surgery for Abdomen Growth – This one used to be chock full of hateful comments but now has the ubiquitous “Comments for this entry are currently under maintenance but will be restored soon.”
- 06-07-07 – Cheney to go in for Another Heart Checkup – You can see some of the choice comments that used to appear under this one here. But guess what “Comments for this entry are currently under maintenance but will be restored soon.”
- 02-27-08 – William F. Buckley Dead at 82 – Comments never opened on this one.
- 03-06-08 – 7 Die in Shooting at Jerusalem Seminary – This one’s just creepy. Closed comments.
- 03-07-08 – Former British PM Thatcher in Hospital – Comments closed.
- 04-06-08 – Charlton Heston Dead at 83 – Once again, comments closed.
Quite a few of the death-wish comment threads seem to be undergoing unspecified “maintenance.” Apparently this is easier than having to note that they’ve been taken down for being vile (though Arianna has done that on occasion as well).
As you can see from that list, HuffPost increasingly doesn’t even open comments on these stories. Does that tell you something about what they were expecting? It seems a bit unfair to note the very few negative responses at Michelle’s site without noting that her counterparts at Huff Post wouldn’t dare even open comments on such a thread. Again, nothing in his column was false, but I think one could argue there’s a bit of selective outrage here.
So what about it, Howard? Will you take a little digression over to Huff Post the next time a national Republican is ill or dies? I don’t think this bad-actors-on-both-sides approach really conveys the reality of the current situation.
Category: MSM & Bias |