It's something of a comfort that I wasn't the only one that read Howie Kurtz's smarmy, sycophantic little Valentine's Day card to Michelle Malkin in the ComPost and thought it a bit, uh, misleading, shall we say. Eric Boehlert, like me, found himself fighting down the retching produced by Kurtz's portrayal of Malkin as a spunky, dedicated, up-and-coming media star who just happens to have a bunch of really mean detractors. Awwwww. Poor Michelle. Those 'Unhinged' ol' liberals won't give her any peace, will they? All she wants to do is drag our society back a hundred years, spew disinformation and Right Wing propaganda with impunity, and lock up anyone whose skin is more than a shade darker than a brown paper bag in internment camps. Is that such a crime?
Well, yes. Yes, it is.
…Malkin is not a serious person. In fact, she's ambitiously unserious, and her work is treated accordingly by most people in senior positions within the mainstream media (except at Fox News and the Post). That's because her daily blog is built on a foundation of hatred that literally knows no bounds — namely, Malkin's unbridled, name-calling disdain for Democrats, peace activists, journalists, immigrants, and Muslims. Yet inside the Post newsroom, or more specifically, at the Post Style desk, Malkin is seen as a rising media star worthy of focused, fawning attention.
Kind of makes you sick, doesn't it?
It would be one thing if Malkin were currently enjoying her victory lap — if she'd been dead-on about Iraq and about the defeatists on the left who didn't have the foresight to back a wildly successful invasion of Iraq. But, of course, she's not. Malkin is the field general for a squad of bitter pro-war dead-enders who lash out online against anyone who dares speak the truth about the war.
Yeah, well be careful, Mr. Boehlert. Become too vocal and incisive an opponent and they'll publish your contact information on line. That'll learn ya!
She has been wrong about Iraq in every conceivable way, with a losing streak dating back more than 50 straight months. The consequences for having habitually botched the most important policy issue of the last decade? She's taken to lunch by a Washington Post reporter (the same reporter Malkin once derided as incompetent), who then splashes a friendly profile in the paper while carefully refusing to inform readers about Malkin's glaring ignorance and unhinged loathing.
Ah, but this is the Way of the Keyboard Warrior, Boehlert-san. It is a Zen riddle. The Right Wing Blogger plan is to be so wrong, so utterly dead wrong on every conceivable issue that the cumulative weight of their collective wrongness will cause a tear in the space-time continuum and hey, presto! They're so wrong that they're right.
Except, of course, this isn't fucking Star Trek and they're all still wrong, wrong, WRONG! And yet, Power-Tools of the MSM like Howie Kurtz just hold their collective nose and swallow. No critical thinking. No pangs of remorse.
You would think that someone whose job it is to be informed about developments in the political world could see what a lying, fact-free, bilious, hysterical shrew Malkin is, but the fact is that he's a particularly moronic straight man and she's a very attractive, though deeply misguided, woman. She says, "Let's go to lunch and I'll tell you exactly what I want you to write about me." and Kurtz says, "Yes, mother! Thank you, ma'am! May I please have another?"
Back to Boehlert before that mental image makes me throw up in my mouth again:
The Post's glaring double standard was perfectly, and predictably, captured in the Malkin feature, which gave an overview of her career and focused on how nasty Malkin's critics were. "They'll ridicule my looks, ridicule my ethnicity, go after my family," the 36-year-old blogger complained.
The piece was a whitewash, plain and simple. For instance, there are scores of serious people who have written extensively about Malkin's out-of-control hate speech that doubles as insight at her blog. (Critics who never bother to write about Malkin's looks, ethnicity or her family — the topics just aren't that interesting.) Kurtz, though, couldn't find any of them to interview. He could find only one-time war supporter Andrew Sullivan, who tsk-tsked Malkin's critics for being too nasty, and the West Coast editor for the political humor site Wonkette, who was asked about a digitally altered photo of Malkin that the website posted. That's the tiny little net the Post threw out to help give readers context about Malkin and her controversial work.
Paging Dave Neiwert. That young man has extensively catalogued Malkin's myriad failures of discernment, hateful diatribes, and use of intimidation tactics. But of course, the Post would never, ever ask him what he thinks. He's a damn liberal! He's "unhinged"!
Fortunately for us, Boehlert gives us a quick rundown of some of Malkin's more public and egregious missteps. Here's some highlights:
- During the 2004 campaign, Malkin appeared on MSNBC's Hardball and insisted that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were alleging that John Kerry shot himself on purpose while serving in Vietnam. Her slanderous appearance caused a media stir, since the Swifties had never made that accusation against Kerry. The following day, while blogging and appearing on C-SPAN, Malkin lied repeatedly about her Hardball showdown.
- In early 2005, during the Terri Schiavo right-to-die controversy, Malkin embraced a dubious conspiracy theory and ridiculed The Washington Post for weeks. Malkin, who posted about the topic incessantly, was certain Post reporters had fabricated a key report about the infamous Schiavo "talking points memo" written and distributed by the GOP. In her April 1 post belittling the "Schiavo talking points memo mess," Malkin continued her attack on The Washington Post and demanded the daily start publishing a laundry list of retractions for its fraudulent coverage of the Schiavo memo. (Incredibly, Kurtz gave the bloggers a platform inside the paper to air their baseless allegations against the Post.) Malkin's claims were proven to be untrue when an aide to a Republican senator confessed to writing the Schiavo memo.
Mmmmmmm. You want some more?
I knew you did:
- Last summer, Malkin led yet another angry charge against The New York Times after its Travel section, in a puff piece about an exclusive Maryland vacation town, published photos of weekend homes owned by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney. Based on nothing more than a conspiratorial hunch, Malkin and company shrieked that by running the photos the unpatriotic Times had (deliberately) emboldened Al Qaeda and endangered the lives of Rumsfeld and Cheney by showing terrorists where the men lived. In truth, the Times received Pentagon approval to run the innocuous photos. Said Rummy's own flack: "I'm a little confused about why this has caused such an uproar." Join the club.
- In January, Malkin experienced a particularly humiliating setback. For months, Malkin had been pushing a far-fetched media "scandal" by accusing the Associated Press of manufacturing a "phony" and "bogus" Iraqi police source who was reporting false stories about the daily carnage inside Baghdad. She claimed the phony AP source proved that all of the AP's Iraq reporting was suspect. (Malkin and company cling to the notion that the situation in Iraq is not as bad as biased journalists make it out to be.) In January, the Iraqi government confirmed the police source's existence, thereby ruining Malkin's press-hating conspiracy theory. (The Post remained silent when Malkin's Jamil Hussein allegation imploded.)
You know, if it weren't all so disgustingly pathetic and tragic, I think it would be hilarious. I mean, what sentence in the English language could be more inherently delightful than, "In January, Malkin experienced a particularly humiliating setback"?
(Well, besides, of course, "The judge declined to release Ms. Coulter on bail, claiming she posed a flight risk.")
Thanks for knowing my pain, Eric B. The sensations of dizziness and nausea I was getting reading Kurtz's one-handed paean to Malin's tight sweater were starting to make me wonder if I'm the one who's crazy.