The Worst Defense Since the 81 Colts

A really embarrassing effort from Jonathan Chait:

Somewhat belatedly, I’ve noticed that numerous commentators have decided to label Jeffrey Rosen’s online article about Sonia Sotomayor from a few weeks ago as “gossip.” The description has been employed by left-wing or liberalcommentators like Glenn Greenwald of Salon, Adam Serwer of the American Prospect, and Matthew Yglesias of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Today it’s repeated by right-wing columnist Charles Krauthammer.

“Gossip” is an effective label for those who wish to denigrate Rosen’s reporting or the reputation of TNR, but it’s an inaccurate one. Gossip is unverified information. Gossip is something you hear all the time — say, Senator X mistreats his staff. No serious publication can pass off gossip as reporting. However, if you actually speak with the principles first-hand — you interview staffers for Senator X who report that he mistreats them — then what you have is reporting. That’s what Jeff did. He spoke first-hand with several of Sotomayor’s former clerks, who provided a mixed picture. Unsurprisingly, they declined to put their names on the record, but that’s utterly standard for people who are speaking in unflattering terms about people they worked with or for.

It ends with a nice flourish: “You may not think the issue ought to disqualify Sotomayor — I don’t, and Jeff doesn’t either — but to call it “gossip” is grossly unfair.”

This post is a real embarassment for a number of reasons. First, there was a marked difference between the initial Rosen piece and the New York Times piece. From the comments section at the TNR, a rundown of the “sources” for Rosen’s piece:

one former clerk

Her former clerks

some of her Second Circuit colleagues

range of people

former law clerks

one former Second Circuit clerk

former prosecutors

former clerks for other judges

one former clerk for another judge

But, mind you, their deep thoughts about Sotomayor’s temperament or abilities, completely off the record, free from any responsibility or allegiance to the truth, just can’t be called gossip. Why, Rosen assured us they are all well-meaning. But since we don’t know who they are, how can we accurately judge their assessments? Wendy Long, who spent the last week trashing Sotomayor as a radical activist, was also a clerk on the 2nd Circuit. Was she there during Sotomayor’s tenure? If so, was she one of Rosen’s sources? Wouldn’t it make you view some of the remarks in Rosen’s piece differently if she was one of his sources? Are you starting to understand yet why printing gossip from unnamed clerks is problematic? By way of comparison, here are the sources in the NY Times piece:

said Douglas Kmiec, a law professor at Pepperdine University.

said H. Raymond Fasano, a Republican immigration lawyer

said Sheema Chaudhry, who appeared before Judge Sotomayor in an asylum case last year.

Gerald Lefcourt, a New York defense lawyer,

Judge Guido Calabresi, a former dean of Yale Law School who taught Ms. Sotomayor

said Judge Jon O. Newman

Judge Richard C. Wesley, another colleague

Does anyone notice a difference in the sourcing of Rosen’s piece and the NYT piece that Chait would have you believe is the same exact thing? Because I see a stark difference. Rather than having to rest on Rosen’s vague assurances that the sources are altruistic and earnest liberals who only want the best for the Obama administration, when I read the NY Times piece, I know who has said what, what their relationship to Sotomayor is, and how it is germane to the discussion.

The second reason that Chait’s work here was an embarrassment is that one of the people he called out was Glenn Greenwald. In fact, the title of Chait’s post is “Is the New York Times Printing Gossip?” (an excellent use of the Cavuto, btw). Now, I’m no journalist, but if I was going to address my critics in such a manner, I would check to see what they had to say on the issue. I suppose the first way I would do that is to check their websites.

And lo and behold, using the mystical powers of the internet, I have found my way to Glenn Greenwald’ site, and what do I discover? Why, a long piece discussing the very NYT piece that so interests Chait, and Greenwald’s lengthy explanation of the difference between what Liptak and company have done and what Rosen did with his drive-by smearing of Sotomayor. And it was all there for hours before Chait threw up his weak defense of Rosen. I’ll quote some of it here, since it is apparently so hard to find:

The excuse journalists typically give for indiscriminately granting anonymity — we have no choice because it’s the only way people will speak, and anonymous quotes are better than none — does not, even if factually true, justify anonymity, since anonymous attacks are often worse than nothing: they’re inherently unreliable because they’re made without accountability. But as the above passages demonstrate, the excuse is often factually false, as was obviously true when offered by Jeffrey Rosen. Journalists use anonymity not because they can’t get anyone to speak on the record, but because, like Rosen, they’re too slothful to do the work to find on-the-record sources and they crave the sort of sensationalism that is possible only when someone is allowed to spout inflammatory garbage without having their names attached.

You’ll notice that the NY Times piece doesn’t have any anonymous people calling her a bully or questioning her intellect. Funny, that.

Finally, this piece just smacks of institutional ass-covering. As Chait notes, no serious publication can pass off gossip as reporting, which is precisely the problem here. That is what Rosen did, and when you place his piece next to the NYT piece, it is glaringly obvious. How Chait thinks a side-by-side comparison of the two pieces makes the case for Rosen is beyond me (and I bet Rosen is thrilled- his handiwork is finally being overshadowed by the hysterical reactions from Newt, Rush, Tancredo, et. al, and Chait comes along and stirs things up again).

But here is what is even more depressing, and Chait simply doesn’t get it. I’m not a lawyer, and I’d wager that neither are the majority of my readers or the majority of the TNR’s subscribers. In order for us to be able to make sense of the Sotomayor confirmation, we need to rely on people who are lawyers and who do understand the arcane procedures, the mountains of precedent and case law, etc. I don’t want a radical with a poor mind on the court, and I don’t intend to support Sotomayor just because she has a (D) after her name. I’d like to know why she did or did not make the right decision in certain cases, but the only way I am going to be able to learn that is from folks like Mr. Rosen. Jeffrey Rosen has not only legal training, but he is a skilled educator and he has a platform at TNR from which to educate a large number of people about Sotomayor. He is the kind of person who should play a vital role in informing the American people.

And what does he do? Instead of using his years of experience, his expertise on the subject matter, and his megaphone to inform us, he passes off gossip from anonymous clerks, admits he hasn’t read enough of Sotomayor’s decisions to have a real opinion, and then acts surprised when Republicans and conservatives echo the smears in his piece, and when challenged, they toss out the charming phrase “even the liberal New Republic thinks this.” That was Rosen’s contribution to this debate, and it has far overshadowed anything he has or will do on this subject.

And Chait either can’t figure out why that is problematic, or worse, he just doesn’t care.






119 replies
  1. 1
    YellowJournalism says:

    The first list of “sources” is no different than what you’d find in your average supermarket tabloid.

    At least tabloids like the National Enquirer bother to mention it’s a “close” family friend or colleague.

  2. 2
    Will Danz says:

    Wow, what a boatload of bullshit.

    “Gossip” is an effective label for those who wish to denigrate Rosen’s reporting or the reputation of TNR, but it’s an inaccurate one. Gossip is unverified information.

    Which is PRECISELY what this was: unverified “impressions” of Sotomayor by anonymous people who wouldn’t go on record. So we have absolutely no way of judging the accuracy of the info or the motives of these so-called “sources.”

    Is he that dense that he doesn’t get this?

    All Chait has is, basically, “But he’s a professional! How dare you question him?!”

    Effin’ ridiculous.

  3. 3
    Death By Mosquito Truck says:

    Agh, so many words.

  4. 4
    cgp says:

    Just as a sidenote, I’m sure that the Lions make the 81′ Colts look like the Steel Curtain.

  5. 5
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    I heard that Adolf Hitler used to read the New Republic in his bunker.

    I can’t identify who told me that, but it’s not gossip, it’s solid reporting.

    I really hate more than anything right wingers using this “even the (supposedly “liberal” writer or publication) agrees with me on this one!” tactic. Camille Paglia gets cited this way all the time after she publishes one of her loony rants and just out of sheer chaos theory it contains a number of right wing talking points, at which Rush and Drudge both link to her and say “See? Even a “big liberal” like Paglia agrees that blah blah blah is true!”

    It’s a hall of mirrors. We need some supposedly “conservative” people who are moles like that.

  6. 6
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Death By Mosquito Truck: That’s what happens when one spends to much time reading Glenzilla. The prolixity is viral.

  7. 7
    John Cole says:

    @AhabTRuler: Ok. You make my argument using fewer words. I’d like to see what I should have left out. And I’m not trying to be a jackass. Lord knows I need an editor.

  8. 8
    Facebones says:

    If TNR did not exist, conservatives would have to invent it.

  9. 9
    Bhall35 says:

    You’ve got to read some of the comments in that Chait piece defending Rosen. One responds to the idea that Rosen fell for Bush spin on Roberts with:

    Mr. Rosen did not fall for the spin of the Bush administration; he read opinions by John Roberts and formed his own judgment.

    Which is exactly what Rosen, by his own admission, didn’t do in a piece entitled “The Case Against Sotomayor.”

    Who are these people?

  10. 10
    geg6 says:

    You know, I heard from someone who is close to him and who, if he didn’t wish to remain anonymous, is someone you would be certain is telling the truth because he’s a fine upstanding citizen, that Jonathan Chait spends his spare time killing puppies and giving blow jobs in dark alleys. So I could totally write that up and TNR would publish it and defend publishing it, right?

  11. 11
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Facebones:

    If TNR did not exist, conservatives would have to invent it.

    Er, I think they did.

  12. 12
    Death By Mosquito Truck says:

    Words are stupid.

  13. 13
    beltane says:

    Has Rosen ever been pressed to reveal his “sources”? I’m eager to hear names because Rosen’s gossip does not match up with the gossip I heard when I worked at the 2nd Circuit. However, being a lowly court employee and attending law school at night, I wasn’t admitted to the lofty society of wingnut law clerks.

  14. 14
    patrick says:

    I dunno. The ’81 Colts really, really sucked.

  15. 15
    JR says:

    “Gossip” is an effective label for those who wish to denigrate Rosen’s reporting or the reputation of TNR, but it’s an inaccurate one.

    Didn’t Anakin Skywalker pretty much handle that one on his own already?

  16. 16
    Death By Mosquito Truck says:

    And I’m not trying to be a jackass. Lord knows I need an editor.

    I think you did a fine job. I was just shocked at the length of the post. That’s too much to digest on a beautiful Saturday morning as I try to decide which home maintenance project to attempt one-handed. Prolly gonna be the sprinkler well pump.

  17. 17
    El Cid says:

    What he’s actually doing is defending gossip, just basically arguing that if you write it down, then gossip should be considered serious and weighty, whereas non-written gossip can probably remain in its former disreputable category.

  18. 18
    Cat Lady says:

    @John Cole:

    I read this post thoroughly and quickly and think you’ve nailed it. I wouldn’t have changed a word, and that’s not just sucking up. And extra points for wading through Glenzilla on our behalf. That’s a lot of words.

  19. 19
    Rick Massimo says:

    I really hate more than anything right wingers using this “even the (supposedly “liberal” writer or publication) agrees with me on this one!” tactic.

    They use that tactic because it’s there, because Jeffrey Rosen and (to a lesser extent) Jonathan Chait give it to them. There’s a reason that I and many people who wouldn’t go on the record call it The “EvenTheLiberalNew Republic.” Because that’s the only time anyone bothers to cite it. Like Joe Lieberman and Richard Cohen, they call themselves liberals without ever actually saying or doing anything liberal; it’s just for Village cred when they criticize liberals.

    As for Chait’s D-Fence: As soon as you hit the word “serious,” you can stop reading. “Serious” is a big red flag that means “I have been completely exposed and am simply harrumphing around and making stuff up here, but I’m trying to give my fellow Villagers a sound bite to link to.”

  20. 20
    KidA says:

    This post exemplifies the best about about this blog. John, you’re a genius, and a true wit.

    Excuse all the slobbering.

  21. 21
    Bhall35 says:

    And the piling on continues. Sigh

  22. 22
    steve s says:

    A close friend of Johnathan Chait tells me he’s a poofter.

  23. 23
    southpaw says:

    It’s not the anonymity that bugs me so much as the inaccuracy. No well-reported story or on the record source that I know of has confirmed the impression given by Rosen’s piece. And I’ve now read several of Sotomayor’s opinions, and I’m unable to detect any deficiency of intellect. (And I don’t think I’m alone in that assessment.)

    From all the evidence we have that is more credible than Rosen’s, she seems brilliant, thoughtful and generally pretty well-liked and respected. Yet this blatant contradiction of TNR’s piece doesn’t seem to bother Rosen and his editors at all; there’s been no further reporting, no going back to sources for their response.

    The defense we get is more or less the same one that was passed off to DougJ on the washington post website: You wanted to know what [Republicans][anonymous twits][Newt and Mitt] are saying, and this here is what they’re saying so STFU.

    It’s time for journalists to realize that the news is not simply what assholes are saying, but also how what they’re saying relates to the truth.

  24. 24
    gex says:

    Is this the “Even the Liberal New Republic” of the “the Bell Curve” proves that minorities are inferior fame?

    Blech. If any liberals are persuaded that the liberal view is wrong because conservatives laud the “Even the Liberal New Republic” I’d be surprised. I think the New Republic is for a mentally ill brand of conservative who for whatever reason think they are liberal.

  25. 25
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    Prolly gonna be the sprinkler well pump.

    Braggart.

  26. 26
    gnomedad says:

    Great post. Nice takedown of what Brad DeLong likes to call “journamalism”.

  27. 27
    someguy says:

    @Gex

    I think the New Republic is for a mentally ill brand of conservative who for whatever reason think they are liberal.

    Are you implying there’s a way to tell between mentally ill conservatives, and sane ones? Because I’ll be damned if I’ve ever been able to find a fault line between the two groups or even a continuum between them, much less any meaningful distinctions.

  28. 28
    KRK says:

    Chait (and his editor) also don’t know the difference between “principle” and “principal.” I seriously doubt that any journalist has “first-hand” conversations with abstract principles. Writing FAIL.

  29. 29
    KidA says:

    @ steve s, “A close friend of Johnathan Chait tells me he’s a poofter.”

    Just goes to prove there is something good in everyone.

  30. 30
    ppcli says:

    I heard that as an undergraduate, Chait was a huge Ohio State fan. Even today, he has a big poster of Jim Tressel right above his bed. That’s what my sources are telling me.

  31. 31
    JR says:

    @john cole #7: taking that as a legitimate bleg, I managed to cut about 100 unnecessary words (and correct one spelling error) in about ten minutes. If I had a little while longer, I could probably get you in at 1000 words, including the quotations.

    I’d be happy to email you my version so you can check it, if you’d like.

  32. 32
    Brachiator says:

    In order for us to be able to make sense of the Sotomayor confirmation, we need to rely on people who are lawyers and who do understand the arcane procedures, the mountains of precedent and case law.

    To be scrupulously fair, from here on out, every reporter and pundit who writes about Sotomayor should first name their college and their place in their graduating class before going on with their story or asking a question in an interview.

    And the only commentators on Sotomayor’s record should be people who graduated summa cum laude.

    I mean, qualifications are important, right?

    And Chait either can’t figure out why that is problematic, or worse, he just doesn’t care.

    This reflexive circle-the-wagon stuff reminds me of the over-reaction to Jon Stewart’s dismantling of Jim Cramer, which was also a strong criticism of financial journalists. The Empire had to strike back. Similarly, Chait just can’t admit that some typical journalistic practices are lazy, uninformative or a plain distortion of the facts.

  33. 33

    A former TNR employee told me Chait shares goats with Mickey Kaus. They also said he is aware of all internet traditions.

  34. 34
    Dave C says:

    Reason number 3,457 why few, if any, tears will be shed when TNR inevitably goes out of business.

  35. 35
    MikeJ says:

    WTF is wrong with actually reading stuff? I’ve never understood this aversion to text.

  36. 36
    KidA says:

    Re: that goat thing. Who is pitching, who is catching?

  37. 37
    Kryptik says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum:

    Really? I heard from a former copy boy for Rosen that he heard from a secretary that Rosen dresses up like a sheep and goes out to blow goats.

    Why won’t anyone talk about Rosen’s sheep-impersonating and goat blowing tendencies?

  38. 38
    MattF says:

    Rosen (and, by extension, Chait) objects to aspersions on his reputation. Well, Oh, Oh, Oh, and Dear Me and What Can I Say.

  39. 39
    AmIDreaming says:

    How is this any different from what TNR does all the rest of the time? They’re a bunch of goonpuppets, dancing on Marty Peretz’s string.

    Anybody remember when Krauthammer was part of their starting lineup?

  40. 40
    TR says:

    Reason number 3,457 why few, if any, tears will be shed when TNR inevitably goes out of business.

    Canceled my subscription a few years ago and switched to The Nation, and I still haven’t seen a thing that’s making me regret the decision.

  41. 41
    Woody says:

    The very best thing that can be said of TNR is that it’s the WorldNews Weekly for the Village.

    Chait, Rosen and especially Peretz, are drooling hacks…

  42. 42
    TR says:

    Here’s another approach Rosen could have taken — he could have looked at Sotomayor’s actual record.

    From SCOTUSblog:

    Other than Ricci, Judge Sotomayor has decided 96 race-related cases while on the court of appeals. Of the 96 cases, Judge Sotomayor and the panel rejected the claim of discrimination roughly 78 times and agreed with the claim of discrimination 10 times; the remaining 8 involved other kinds of claims or dispositions. Of the 10 cases favoring claims of discrimination, 9 were unanimous. (Many, by the way, were procedural victories rather than judgments that discrimination had occurred.) Of those 9, in 7, the unanimous panel included at least one Republican-appointed judge. In the one divided panel opinion, the dissent’s point dealt only with the technical question of whether the criminal defendant in that case had forfeited his challenge to the jury selection in his case. So Judge Sotomayor rejected discrimination-related claims by a margin of roughly 8 to 1.

    Wow, what a racist.

  43. 43
    lost in GA says:

    John, great post.

  44. 44
    KG says:

    well, the original article can’t be considered gossip because all those anonymous sources are lawyers. And lawyers don’t gossip. We only tell the truth. Granted, we tell the truth from slightly different points of view, but we don’t gossip. And we never lie.

    Or, we’re just like everyone else.

    Edit: just for the record, this is a smartass comment, and should not be taken seriously by anyone.

  45. 45
    steve s says:

    @ KidA: Yeah, I shoulda gone with ‘ponce’.

  46. 46
    no name says:

    I clerked on the D.C. Circuit, which is relatively unusual in that all of the judges (and their clerks) work in the same building and therefore have more opportunity to interact. But if I spoke anonymously about the intellect or temperament of one of the other judges on the D.C. Circuit, I would almost certainly be passing on gossip. Unless the 2nd Circuit is a lot different than the D.C. Circuit, clerks really don’t interact all that much with judges other than their own.

    So, sure I thought, for example, that Sentelle was a doofus, but was that based on my in-depth discussions with him about thorny legal issues? No, it was based on the fact that his clerks were sort of doofuses, the questions he asked at oral argument, and the work product we got from his chambers, and most of all his pre-existing reputation. What is that if not gossip?

    Also, I love how Chait said that Rosen’s sources were Sotomayor’s former clerks, who were obviously the ones in the best position to observe her. In fact, her own clerks gave glowing remarks (obviously there’s some bias there). The bad stuff came from other clerks.

  47. 47
    Irony Abounds says:

    Too many words? WTF? People have such ADD that they can’t spend a few minutes reading a substantive post that does a great job exposing what a hack piece Chait wrote?

    It reminds me of a scene in The Big Chill. Jeff Goldblum’s character writes for People Magazine, and he explains that he has to write articles at a length just long enough to read during the time the average person takes a crap. Is John now required to write posts at a length just long enough to read during the time the average person takes to blink?

  48. 48
    wasabi gasp says:

    im in mah base mussahjin mah doodz

  49. 49
    Martin says:

    Agh, so many words.

    YouTube is that way —>

    Enjoy.

  50. 50
    rikyrah says:

    Rosen attempted a smear job on Sotomayor and had his ass handed to him.

    That’s the beginning, middle and end of the story.

    So, anyone defending him needs to be bitchslapped too.

  51. 51
    Janet Strange says:

    @someguy: Easy.

    Sane conservatives => voted for Obama last November. Now call themselves “independents” if anyone asks.

  52. 52
    aimai says:

    Someone on the internet recently relinked to Jon Stewart massacring Paul Begala and that bowtied fellow. Its really the same, exact, thing. These people, whether tv entertainers or TNR and John Chait fancy their trivial, partisan, hackery is some kind of journalistic endeavour. Its not. Its not only bad on its own merits, its dangerous. It pushes out the good stuff in the same way that fradulent money drives out good money. The look on begala and carlson’s faces when Jon calls them hacks is priceless. They know its true, but they’ve always relied on the rules of polite company to protect them from having the name stuck to them publicly.

    aimai

  53. 53
    Doug says:

    I think TNR is getting a bum rap in this comments section. I agree that the Rosen piece is awful and that they can produce articles which annoy me greatly (their 2004 Lieberman endorsement is the greatest example of this), but sometimes they make a lot of sense and advance the careers of people who have become very influential thinkers. Andrew Sullivan and Peter Beinart are two of my favorites in this category.

    Even Chait has his good moments. Look at his recent review of the faulty logic of gay marriage opponents. In my view, TNR’s most common flaw is an Israel-Centric point of view. By that I mean, working on the assumption that Israel’s foreign policy goals and America’s are identical, as opposed to merely similar.

    Also, though I have admired some of Greenwald’s writing greatly, I rarely read him nowadays because he rarely completes a column without resorting to hyperbole.

  54. 54
    Tom Q says:

    Everyone is (rightly) ridiculing Chait’s ignorance of journalistic standards, but, honestly, even more appalling is his lack of understanding of what constitutes gossip.

    If someone with direct knowledge of an event tells me his or her view of that event and the people involved, he or shes is the precise equivalent of Rosen’s sacrosanct interviewees here. And what is being passed on would rightly be labeled gossip.

    And if someone who’d only heard about the events from someone directly involved were to then tell me about it, that person would be the equivalent of Rosen. Is there anyone who’d fail to label such a thing gossip?

    I’m old enough to remember when Woodward and Bernstein were criticized by many in the DC establishment for some of their more lurid details in The Final Days, i.e., drunk Nixon talking to the portraits. It was thought to undercut their primary, important reporting. Nowadays, they’d cut the real reporting and run with the drunk story 247.

  55. 55
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    One of the supposed slams against Sotomayor is that she’s a “bully” on the bench. Obviously, these people have never been inside an actual courtroom. Evne if it’s true (and I have no real evidence that it is), If we’re going to start disqualifying jurists for being “bullies”, we’re going to have a lot of empty chairs behind the bench.

  56. 56
    dj spellchecka says:

    as someone who reads both john and glenn regularly…when it comes to words per post, it’s no contest…you can tell that glenn’s a lawyer…he reads like he’s making closing arguments…[not a knock]

    for anyone coming in late…don’t miss clicking on the scotusblog link jr provided up @ #42…essential stuff

  57. 57
    El Cid says:

    I’m not giving TNR a “bad rap”. They occasionally have outstandingly good material and have also routinely carried outright hack, deceitful nonsense and propaganda meant especially to justify liberal hawk, war mongering, and socially conservative agendas.

    They’ve been the same way, helping push the Reaganite slaughter of Central Americans and justifying every hawk-desired war and every anti-Arab and anti-Muslim paranoid screed, since the 1980s in my experience, and they eagerly embraced their propaganda role in supporting World War 1 some 90 years ago.

    I’m glad that the magazine frequently prints / publishes worthwhile material. This is zero incentive for me personally to purchase or waste my time in it, and I really loathe it for what they do when it really counts, but if someone can overlook all the awful shit they routinely publish then they should.

    Me, I’ve got much more consistently reliable and sane perspectives to turn to.

  58. 58
    AhabTRuler says:

    @John Cole: Whether that is true or not, I was in no way trying to criticize the length of your post. First and foremost, it is a blogpost and therefor is not supposed to be the most refined piece of writing that one ever produces, save that for academia. Mostly, I was trying to get at the “tl;dr” tendency of blogginness. Sorry if it slipped under the sphygmosnarkometer.

    @Doug: Wait, wait, wait. You dismiss Greenwald but hold up Sullivan as providing an important viewpoint. I think you have that backwards. I would rather put up with Greenwald being “hyperbolic” (and I am not sure that I agree with your judgment) than with Sullivan’s willful ignorance (or stupidity) about, say, health insurance.
    I notice that Sullivan seems to have a great deal of credibility amongst those who finally got religion viz Bush/Cheney insanity, but as one who always viewed with alarm, he can kiss my ass.

  59. 59
    Balconespolitics says:

    @AmIDreaming:

    Anybody remember when Krauthammer was part of (TNRs) starting lineup?

    Not to mention Fred Barnes…

  60. 60
    Doug says:

    “You dismiss Greenwald but hold up Sullivan as providing an important viewpoint.”

    False choice. This implies that I don’t feel that Greenwald provides an important viewpoint. I do. In fact I started out as a strong fan of his, and felt that this piece was a brilliant undercutting of modern conservatism, which helped start the decline of the GOP.

    But now I just find his hyperbolic writing style annoying and choose not to read it. I’m sure I’m missing some great stuff, but after the Nth time reading his variations of, “It is literally impossible to imagine a more extreme example of X,” I got sick of it and checked out.

    And I also disagree with Sullivan on many issues. On some subjects (like healthcare) I have found him to be insufferable. But I think he’s a better writer, and more inclined to listen to voices which dissent from his own opinions. Rarely do I see him breathe fire on his “Dissent of the Day” readers.

    But ultimately Ahab, you and I may be looking for different things. I enjoy having my preconceptions validated, but I also want to read things with which I disagree. Sullivan gives me a balance of those two which I find both enlightening and enjoyable. You’ve have different preferences. That’s okay.

  61. 61
    Comrade Michael "Yo, My Bloggah" Brown says:

    John “Wacky Von Smackdown” Cole pops one way, way over the right field fence, surprising the living hell out of everyone on the field. The crowd erupts in applause.

    Extra points for concision. A longish post by your standards, but by GG’s, practically a tweet.

  62. 62
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Doug: Fair enough, I just think that Sullivan’s extreme wrongness calls into question his judgment when he may be right. I have a hard time dismissing his opinions on health insurance as only one flawed aspect of his outlook, as he is so glaringly and obviously wrong wrong wrong. And, as I said, I can have only the mildest respect for those who got religion late, even our esteemed host (which I think I have been honest in expressing all along). I can get divergent opinions from lots of places, but I think that Sullivan is, quite frankly, an idiot, no matter how open-minded he may be.

    As for Greenwald, I am sorry that you got sick of “It is literally impossible to imagine a more extreme example of X” because I think that he is one of the few people to acknowledge how deeply corrupt, flawed and dangerous our society is.

    That said, I am quite willing to agree to disagree on the subject, and claim no monopoly on intellectual or moral authority.

  63. 63
    Comrade Jake says:

    @AhabTRuler:

    I think that Sullivan is, quite frankly, an idiot, no matter how open-minded he may be.

    Then you simply haven’t been reading him. Sully’s a lot of things, but an idiot? No fucking way.

  64. 64
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Comrade Jake: How do you then explain his position of health insurance? To me this issue goes directly to the heart of his intellectual honesty and displays poor critical and analytical thinking.

    I will grant that the term “idiot” is a bit hyperbolic, but this is a blog after all.

  65. 65
    Comrade Jake says:

    @AhabTRuler: One stance you find “wrong wrong wrong” does not an idiot make. Sorry, but yours isn’t even close to a rational thought.

  66. 66
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Comrade Jake: Who said there was only one stance I disagreed with? Shall we delve into the Trig-trutherism? However, it is not my purpose to defend my use of the term “idiot,” nor is it my intention to catalog Sullivan’s errors. Rather I suggest that there are serious questions about his judgment.

  67. 67
    LD50 says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    I think the problem is that large parts of Sully’s philosophy are still completely unchanged from when he was a wingnut. His opposition to any kind of national healthcare and his kneejerk tendency to blame teacher’s unions for every problem our schools have are two of the most vivid examples. He seems to think if we just “bust the teacher’s unions” (his words) then all our educational problems will just solve themselves. You have to admit, that’s pretty fucking retarded.

  68. 68
    Death By Mosquito Truck says:

    Sullivan is an idiot in the same sense most conservatives are. That is, they can’t figure out something is shit until it hits the fan. And they can’t empathize with a situation until it impacts them personally.

  69. 69
    El Cid says:

    I think it is partly a question of taste.

    Greenwald writes in the style of someone uninterested in following the conventions of the day — i.e., not avoiding certain characterizations or figuring out a different way of saying it given that our media discussion context often ends up acclimating itself to absolutely insane conventions, with which many people have grown accustomed.

    There are many times when I would simply rather speak and write about things as I simply think they are, rather than working really hard to make sure I say things in a more acceptable and comprehensible fashion given the widespread nature of lots of assumptions.

    It doesn’t work for everybody. But that’s why I like reading regularly from the archives of commentators from S o c i a l i s t journals of the 1910s and 1920s, or from George Seldes, or I. F. Stone, or George Orwell in his complete, day to day writing as found in the collections of his journalism & essays, or, yes, Noam Chomsky.

    If I really want to get beaten about with ‘how dare you not vomit at every action of any elected Democrat’, then I’ll visit CounterPunch. Compared to what I regularly encounter there, including the purified and concentrated sneers of Alexander Cockburn, Greenwald is a hopeful writer within the societal mainstream.

    As for engaging with arguments with which I disagree and perspectives which may differ from mine, yes, I enjoy that too, but only when it actually seems to be of intellectual value, and not always just because it exists or predominates.

    The arguments for a U.S. invasion of Iraq were simply insane. They were crap. They wouldn’t have been interesting or worth my time in the slightest had they not been dominating public discourse of the time.

    They were, in other words, worth engaging because of their prevalence, but not because of their content.

    That’s the way I feel about the majority of our public discourse and debate. The vast majority of it is significant only because it is dominant, and not because of its inherent intellectual value.

    And every time I turn on the local AM radio stations and see any of the 24 hour news channels, I get a concentrated dose of the crazy which floats around, so I really do feel like I get a good amount of that.

    And as Death by Mosquito Truck reminds me…

    The whole topic brings to mind what bothers me about the whole Mancow-waterboarding stunt: There were enormous, shit-loads, in fact, amounts of evidence available to anyone, even those most casually curious, of what the effects of waterboarding on people are. And what the general effects of such torture are.

    But no, no, we can’t use our fucking brains and the common sense God gave a caterpiller to come to the sensible conclusion. No, instead, we have to trumpet idiot right wing talking points and blow our tough guy idiot talk up our own ass, until such time as we directly, personally, even physically experience the negative consequences of the very things we’ve been advocating.

    The same goes for the entire mainstreamed debate about deregulating banks and derivatives. There was nothing intellectually worthy about the effort. It was obvious, sheer hucksterism from the get-go, but no, no, it had to completely dominate mainstream discourse and thought right up until the very moment we had to experience the negative consequences of the very crap we had been previously treating as the veddy veddy serious mainstream.

  70. 70
    linda says:

    very nicely written post.

  71. 71
    teapotdome says:

    You know what the most interesting feature of the 2008 election is? Only 43% of whites voted for President Obama and he won anyway. As a white man, I would plead with America’s minorities to please, please keep voting! You can and will make a difference. Your efforts will drag the U.S., kicking and screaming, into the 21st century!

  72. 72

    @LD50:

    I think the problem is that large parts of Sully’s philosophy are still completely unchanged from when he was a wingnut.

    Well, he still is. He’s just broken from the pack in most areas, to the point of endorsing Obama.

    But again, the reason I started reading Sully was because he did break from the pack. I found his slow conversion re: Iraq to be fascinating reading, frankly. And part of it is that he does grapple with his regular bouts of stupid, in ways that, say, Glenn does not. Glenn is a lawyer, and as much as I disagree with him (and not!), his approach is to lawyer his way out of criticism. It’s great for “yeah! ra ra!” reading, and goodness knows he’s kick-ass at wrapping the rope round most of his enemies….
    …but not great for long-term reading, when you want to be challenged, exposed to new ideas, and to grapple with ideas, esp conservative ideas, in an “environment” where dissent is frankly encouraged. Sully, for all he lacks a comments section, does that better than almost any other Political commentator on the ‘net (although Ta-Nehisi, his Atlantic label-mate, is good at it as well).

    There’s that, and the simple fact that when Al Giordano of The Field called Greenwald out, Glenn ended up, in my opinion, showing every bit of his ass:

    Looks like my Roy Cohn comparison was right on the money. The guy is on a crusade. Never mind that it’s in the name of “civil liberties,” that cause for which I’ve fought daily over the past thirty years and continue to fight. He’s acting like a McCarthy committee staff counsel.

    A reporter (that’s me) wrote something in a comments section that he saw as inconvenient to his crusade. One would think that civil libertarians would be smarter about the reality that we live in a world of total surveillance already. But for the sake of the crusade, the crusader apparently has to make it seem like there is still such a thing as freedom guaranteed by law and that a piece of legislation will single-handedly end it.

  73. 73
    bago says:

    @Doug:

    I think TNR is getting a bum rap in this comments section.

    You heard it here first. Sir Mix-a-lot works for TNR.

  74. 74
    Comrade Jake says:

    @LD50:

    I’ve been reading Sully since the very early days of his blog. He does get emotional from time to time, and I agree he went off the ledge with the Palin stuff. But he’s never been a wingnut, and you’re largely exaggerating his stance on education.

    Read Virtually Normal or any of his other books. I’ve found them to be fairly exceptional pieces of introspection, thought, and reason. You can dismiss him out of hand on the basis of his position on this or that if you want, but you’re missing out.

  75. 75
    John Cole says:

    @Doug: I actually still read pretty much everything at TNR except for the Tourettes like outbursts from the execrable Peretz. There are days I get hotheaded and say TNR sucks, but I still end up going back. There is a lot of value there in the longer pieces and the blogs.

    And Chait really does do a good job on any number of things. On two pretty big things, though, he just was an outright hack. His behavior re: Chas Freeman was ridiculous, and his not understanding why Rosen’s piece was so bad seem to me to be really striking.

    If I’m going to be forced to stroke someone’s ego while kicking them in the nuts, I will say that Chait’s takedown of Amity Shlaes was an epic for the ages and invaluable. And I spent the better part of 6 months defending TNR during the Beauchamp affair before they wimped out and screwed him.

  76. 76
    tavella says:

    Andrew “fifth columnists” Sullivan? The guy who called liberals traitors and swallowed down whatever shit Bush and Cheney fed him for years? He’s an idiot. That he’s not as *much* of an idiot as the people who are still drooling doesn’t mean much.

  77. 77
    John Cole says:

    @Comrade Jake: Dude. Sullivan was every bit as wingnut as I was. Have you forgotten his fifth column stuff during the Iraq war. Jesus. It was as bad as it gets.

    Having said that, he is hands down my favorite blogger. He really is the best out there.

  78. 78
    Comrade Jake says:

    @John Cole:

    Oh I know that was terrible. The guy lets his emotions get the better of him from time to time. But the period shortly after 9/11 isn’t exactly the best place to look for lots of rational thinking from the right. If that’s all it takes to qualify someone as a former wingnut, then what’s the fucking point.

  79. 79
    AhabTRuler says:

    I think we can all agree on one thing: Greenwald is much hotter than Sullivan (although a little short to be a stormtrooper).

  80. 80
    John Cole says:

    @JR: I would love it. Please email it.

  81. 81
    asiangrrlMN says:

    I am not a big Sully fan. I don’t think he does falter much from his core principles of conservativism. If he weren’t gay, I don’t think he would be so much of a centrist. I try to read him on and off, but I am put off by his self-importance. Part of that is because I saw him on Maher, and he (Sully) was an overbearing ass. I don’t think he’s an idiot, but I also don’t much agree with him on anything other than gay marriage (but not how to get there) and the wrongness of the war (which he came to much later than did I). I don’t think he’s a great writer, either.

    I much prefer Ta-Nahisi Coates.

    I don’t read Glenn on a regular basis, either, but I like his passionate defense of the law.

    As for Chait, come on. If you’re going to bring a defense that weak, you’re better off not saying anything at all.

    P.S. I did not find this entry too wordy, but then again, I’m pretty damn garrulous and verbose myself.

    P.P.S. Comrade Jake, I don’t think I’m missing a damn thing by not reading Sully. You can have him.

  82. 82
    Comrade Jake says:

    @AhabTRuler:

    Only if “whiny little bitch” is what turns you on. ;=)

    By the way, that is one fucking cool looking cat you have.

  83. 83
    El Cid says:

    Wait — before I let this pass, the supposed occasion in which Al Giordano “called out” Greenwald were based on Greenwald asking for any evidence of this statement made by Giordano:

    “All communications between the US and Mexico (and any other US ally) are being vacuumed up already by the Mexican-owned telecom companies and turned over to US agencies, with the full blessing of the Mexican state. The same goes for every other country in the hemisphere save Cuba and maybe Venezuela and/or Bolivia.”

    Now, I am willing to be as leftist as ya wanna be, and point to all sorts of stories regarding intelligence sharing between Latin American nations, corporations, and the U.S. — such as that going on in Colombia right now where the 4 most recent directors of the state intelligence agency are under arrest and under investigation for using U.S. provided electronic surveillance equipment to spy on Supreme Court justices, prosecutors, opposition (liberal) politicians, journalists, businessmen, rights activists, and more.

    But I would never, ever make the sort of unsupportable grand claim that Giordano made right there, and it doesn’t make Greenwald some sort of dupish prig to demand there be some supporting evidence for it, or at least why I said it, and if it’s based on speculation based on other reports and secret sourced interviews, that’s what you say.

    And yes, I know about Echelon too.

    I’m sorry, but that is simply not an incident of anyone ‘calling out’ Greenwald for any cause.

    To this day I have no earthly idea why Giordano or anyone else saw this as an attack or dispute rather than a simple and blunt request for sourcing. It’s completely loony, whether or not Giordano’s speculations or conclusions were correct.

  84. 84
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Comrade Jake: Do you ask Gisele Bundchen for her opinion on the GUT. No. There is such a thing as the swimsuit competition, and Glenzilla wins that, errr, hands down. ;-)

  85. 85
    Anne Laurie says:

    All Chait has is, basically, “But he’s a professional! How dare you question him?!”

    There are many reasons to regret the erosion of Professional Journalism as We Have Known It, but Chait’s outraged appeal to authority (authoritarianism) reminds us that most of the wounds are self-inflicted.

  86. 86

    A wealth of relevant example can be found at Kathy G’s blog The G Spot, in her ongoing series Why I Hate The New Republic.

    John McCain’s a reformist GOP secret feminist! Liberals are fascists! Bloggers are fascists! The voices in Hilary Clinton’s head are telling her about acts of “alleged” sexism, is she just another crazy woman? and so on.

  87. 87

    @El Cid: Because, as the final updates notes, it’s been known to any number of people for AGES that the US was involved in that activity. Al freakin’ Put It In the Original Response, his article on the topic that he linked to in his initial response, which gives his context. Official proof? No. But as you say, there’s more than enough stories about it to come to that conclusion.
    But Greenwald refused to accept his reporting, and insisted on an independent source. Which is his right — but it’s also a reporter’s right to tell him to bugger off.
    That Al was correct is the point, from his POV. He didn’t feel a need to prove it to Glenn, and as well:

    Greenwald likes to sledgehammer his opponents. And I find it funny as hell, and sad as all get out, when the sledgehammer gets smacked right back in his face, because he just exhausts me, and I wish he didn’t. As much as I want to agree with him, and as much as he says Very Smart Things about the issues this country deals with, he’s got all the nuance of a drunk Crusader.
    But even if I agree with him, it’s a crap approach for actually Getting Things Done, and THAT, more than anything, is what gets under Al’s skin. And I 100% agree with that.

  88. 88
    tony smith says:

    Excellent. Rosen lied throughout the piece. His false description of the “footnote” proves it. Rosen’s Hatchet Job Debunked

  89. 89
    MNPundit says:

    He is right.

    He’s damn well right that I want to denigrate Rosen’s reporting AND the reputation of TNR. Marty Peretz has done more to sour me on Israel than a 100 Netanyahus or 3 A. Lieberman’s. I wish nothing but the worst to Marty Peretz.

    It just so happens that criticisms of this particular piece are deserved.

  90. 90
    El Cid says:

    @Woodrow “asim” Jarvis Hill: See, this is where we will fundamentally disagree, because I’m neither Glenn nor Al, and Al’s original claim was never firmly established beyond his repeated assertions that he had done so, and the evidence he cited in his own update still never supported the original assertions.

    Al “freaking Put…In the Original Response” responses that failed to [fully] support the original statement, and as somebody that has followed a whole hell of a lot of reporting from and about the region, I don’t give a shit just about a reporter insisting they’re correct.

    So don’t repeat claims that something was already proven like I’m somehow stupid and missing Giordano’s point, or that anybody who follows up with basic questions is some sort of naif with regard to Latin America and the nature of reporting under tense and life-threatening conditions.

    The world isn’t divided between Glenn Greenwald and Al Giordano and a world of either tight-asses missing an argument and brave reporters with a world of experience who ought to be god-damned listened to.

    Colombia’s Semana magazine which broke the entire god-damned story I mention which has resulted in the arrest of the last 4 heads of the state intelligence agency not only made claims but cited their sources and when citing anonymous sources described their verification procedures for weighing and matching the testimony of their anonymous sources. Further, their reports never claimed wider surveillance than they could actually prove cases for, even if it was obvious to anyone what the likely unproven cases might include.

    And all it would have taken would have been for Giordano to have clearly worded the statement in the first place.

  91. 91
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    How about Sully’s hawking of The Bell Curve as recently as two years ago? He made Charles Murray respectable by devoting almost an entire issue of his magazine to the book when it first came out, and continues to support Murray’s debunked theories as far as I can tell.

    Sorry, but Andrew Sullivan is wrong about so many things and has been wrong for so long that I can’t applaud when the blind squirrel finds a nut and says, “Hey, wait, maybe Bush was lying to us all along. Sorry about the ‘fifth columnists’ crack, guys.”

  92. 92
    kay says:

    @tony smith:

    Lord. That’s terrible. The legal expert misconstrued a one paragraph footnote? He can’t read?
    I think I narrowed it down, why this whole thing has me so incredibly cranky.
    It’s about class. They don’t think she belongs on the Court with the Serious Professorial Intellectuals.
    The attacks are so sloppy, so thrown-together and knee jerk, that it had to be one of the Big Three: ethnicity, gender, or class.

    I pick door number three.

  93. 93
    bago says:

    Sullivan is interesting in that his instincts seem to be wrong, but his education is wresting him from the grip of impulsive conclusions. He has the temperament of an ideologue, but the skills of an intellectual, and it’s fun to watch each side fight it out on his blog. An Oxford educated gay catholic trying to marry an American, who name checks friends of mine here in Seattle. People who bridge that many social groups are always interesting.

  94. 94
    aimai says:

    I have to agree with Mnemosyne, of course. The question isn’t whether Sullivan is “an idiot” or not. Who cares? He’s a totally unoriginal thinker with no particular expertise. As an editor, he permitted, encouraged and defended the Bell Curve ( the most outrageous racism scam of modern times) as a hysteric he made the argument that both coasts and all the liberals were a “fifth column” inside the US, and he is consistently wrong on major issues like health care and education. Occasionally, in a man bites dog sort of way, he can make an interesting observation that is contra his white male priviliged right wing point of view. But usually its because for some reason, his sexual orientation or the experiences of a friend, its because he was able for five seconds think outside his prison box of conservative self interest. But he’s really nothing but a jumped up commentator–he’s not a lawyer, a philosopher, an inventor, a military dude, a poet or the possessor of any other skill or talent whose perspective is worth hearing.

    aimai

  95. 95
    gwangung says:

    @bago: Meh. When he’s so spectacularly wrong as he is on The Bell Curve, it’s often not worth the time to separate the crap from the gold.

  96. 96
    Fulcanelli says:

    Great post Mr Cole. Too many werds?, Nah, good stuff, keep it up.

  97. 97
    LD50 says:

    Read Virtually Normal or any of his other books. I’ve found them to be fairly exceptional pieces of introspection, thought, and reason. You can dismiss him out of hand on the basis of his position on this or that if you want, but you’re missing out.

    I’m not dismissing him. What I am saying is that he’s very thoughtful about some areas of his philosophy, while other areas are very neglected. He seems to hold many political opinions that he’s never really examined or given real thought to, at least not since he was still in thrall to the wingnuts. And I have indeed seen him refer to how we just need to ‘bust the teacher’s unions’ as a solution to all our educational problems at least 4 times. Sorry, but that is a fucking moronic thing to say, regardless of how insightful and nuanced he unquestionably is elsewhere.

  98. 98
    Michael Scott says:

    A really embarrassing effort from Jonathan Chait

    . . . but you repeat yourself . . .

  99. 99
    Napoleon says:

    It should be noted tonight that NBC on its nightly news ran the shortened out of context Sotomayor quote on race, but then after some discussion not only went back to place it some what in context, but then discussed the SCOTUSblog piece which basically puts to bet the bs that has been floated about her (of course without specifically crediting them, just showing a screen shot of the web site).

  100. 100
    Will Danz says:

    By the way, Mr. Cole,

    NOT too many words, as far as I’m concerned.

    I’m all in favor of occasional longer pieces like this one, when the subject needs it. Excellent, well-written, and worth every word.

  101. 101
    omen says:

    wonder how stephen glass is doing.

  102. 102
    slightly_peeved says:

    I’d agree with aimai and Mnemosyne; what exactly does Andrew Sullivan bring to the table? For a guy that’s that badly wrong on some things (the Fifth Column, the Bell Curve, universal healthcare) where are the insights that would make up for this? If I want to read someone who gets it wrong so badly, I’ll at least go to this blog where I can read someone who appreciates where they screwed up, learnt from it, and through this has developed a perspective on the world worth reading. Being able to see the cat that ate all those other cat’s cheezburgers is a bonus.

  103. 103
    bob h says:

    I’ve been suspicious of Rosen from the time he reported on one of the talk programs that a female student of his had sexually propositioned him (in his interpretation), and that he had reported her to the school authorities for disciplinary action. If a female made an inappropriate pass at me I would politely rebuff her rather than do something that would damage her career.

  104. 104
    gex says:

    @someguy: Good point. Still, there’s something wrong with conservatives who call themselves liberal given the violent visceral reaction they seem to have to the word.

  105. 105
    gex says:

    @Death By Mosquito Truck:

    Agh, so many words.

    What, you’d rather we discuss the issues via punchy sound-bite sized arguments? That’s the road to Republicanism.

  106. 106
    Napoleon says:

    NPR just ran a piece on Sotomayor with a focus on Rosen’s hit piece as setting the tone of the debate when it was amplified in the echo chamber. They had both Rosen and Greenwald on as part of the piece.

  107. 107
    DR says:

    Don’t have the time to read all the comments, so someone else might have pointed this out before me:

    Chait justifies Rosen’s use of anonymity this way: “that’s utterly standard for people who are speaking in unflattering terms about people they worked with or for”. But the list of sources for Rosen’s article mentions only potential former employees. I can understand wanting anonymity if you’re giving dirt on your current employer, but about a former one? Not so much.

  108. 108
    blevine says:

    Worse than that. TNR doesn’t seem to realize that when you quote attorneys anonymously, you are quoting people who are often adversaries. Attorneys, and Judges, fight with each other. Its their job. They often have favors owing, axes to grind, and debts to pay. To grant them anonymity in quoting them is foolhardy and naive.

  109. 109
    Omar says:

    Jeffrey Rosen has not only legal training, but he is a skilled educator and he has a platform at TNR from which to educate a large number of people about Sotomayor.

    And, of course, a Rosen would tell you that that’s not his responsibility at all. When its time to take the accolades as being the fourth estate, the Rosens of the world are happy to do so. When its time to take responsibility for craven institution-blowing reporting, then, of course, the media is a private enterprise that can do whatever it wants.

  110. 110
    Hedley Lamarr says:

    Don’t forget Chait’s cute quilt by association analogy concerning a senator who mistreats his staff.

  111. 111
    cwolf says:

    “The Worst Defense Since the 81 Colts”…

    I donno,,, Detroit was verrrry bad last season.

  112. 112
    Doug says:

    @Slightly_Peeved

    “I’ll at least go to this blog where I can read someone who appreciates where they screwed up, learnt from it, and through this has developed a perspective on the world worth reading.”

    Dude, you just described much of Sullivan’s appeal, and why he has one of the most popular political blogs on the net. Watching him slowly dismantle his initial assumptions about Bush until he became one of Bush’s harshest critics made for some of the most compelling reading on the net.

    The whole point of reading Sullivan is that he’s not a team player, so he serves as a good barometer for how the teams are doing. He has an imperfect but mostly consistent philosophy whuch he tries to follow, and when he realizes that it has led him in the wrong direction, he admits it.

    I’m amused at commenters here who call him a wingnut. Because if you go to The Corner (or any blog where actual wingnuts hang out), you’ll quickly discover that they HATE Sullivan and consider him one of the most liberal bloggers around.

    And for those of you who say they’d rather read John Cole or Ta-Nahesi Coates, two points:

    1 – You don’t have to choose between them. You can read all three. (And more!)
    2 – Ask JC and TNC who their blogging heroes are. 10 bucks says they’ll include Sullivan, if not put him at the very top of the list.

    Or to quote JC from earlier in this discussion,

    Having said that, he is hands down my favorite blogger. He really is the best out there.

  113. 113
    gonzone says:

    However, if you actually speak with the principles first-hand

    Uhh… Chait, it’s principALs …. geez, no wonder The New Republican is failing!

  114. 114
    MBSS says:

    sullivan? read once and a while and has never excited much interest.

    “the field?” you mean that guy that drools all over obama and posts people magazine shots of him on dkos?

    greenwald? oh, that guy who pwns faux logicians on a daily basis with rock solid arguments and extensive legal knowledge and research?

    please spare me the comparisons.

  115. 115
    SB Gypsy says:

    and I don’t intend to support Sotomayor just because she has a (D) after her name.

    Who says she does? After all, she was originally appointed by Daddy Bush.

  116. 116
    LosGatosCA says:

    TNR, so bad that it can’t live up to the same standards as the NY Times. The MSM is one step behind GM for exactly the same reasons.

    TNR, Jeff Rosen, and Jonathan Chait deserve every bit of abuse they get. Not only for this but for their continuing association with the biggest hack in the MSM – Marty Peretz.

    As for Andrew ‘inherent black inferiority’ Sullivan and Peter ‘Republican penis envy’ Beinart being examples of TNR contributions, I’m not buying it.

    I used to have a subscription to TNR but the only thing I found interesting were the reprints – notably John Maynard Keynes on Versailles.

  117. 117
    Anonymous Coward says:

    Excellent piece. Thanks for writing this.

    I share the disappointment you express at the end: we could be getting something valuable from people like Rosen, but instead we get articles like his case against Sotomayor (and whether he would have approved the title or not, it’s apt). That, and the defenses of his article, have been very frustrating.

  118. 118
    Ron Barth, Jr. says:

    Another thing for Chait to be embarrassed about: his use of “principles” when he meant “principals”:

    …if you actually speak with the principles first-hand….

    Or maybe he doesn’t know the difference.

  119. 119

    […] At any rate, I’m inclined to think Soros is right, although I’m sure there are a bunch of you who could explain how they truly could be useful tools. And while I am at it, I should probably note that while I take potshots at Clusterstock a lot, I really do like their website. I kind of have the same sort of love-hate relationship with it that I have with the TNR. Sometimes I think their stuff is really good, sometimes I think it is just horrid. Jonathon Chait is the classic example at TNR- when he is good, he is superb. When I think he is bad, I just think he is atrocious. […]

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  1. […] At any rate, I’m inclined to think Soros is right, although I’m sure there are a bunch of you who could explain how they truly could be useful tools. And while I am at it, I should probably note that while I take potshots at Clusterstock a lot, I really do like their website. I kind of have the same sort of love-hate relationship with it that I have with the TNR. Sometimes I think their stuff is really good, sometimes I think it is just horrid. Jonathon Chait is the classic example at TNR- when he is good, he is superb. When I think he is bad, I just think he is atrocious. […]

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