Andrew Breitbart (a friend of mine) is nobody’s Pauline Kael, yet he produces bits of real-world journalism that eventually The New York Timeses of the world have to catch up to. This fact is apparently enough to make people’s brains pop.
The point Welch is trying to make is simple: the fact that people like Brietbart have no journalistic standards of their own doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them critiquing and influencing actual journalists. And that’s a valid point.
But as is usual with glibertarians — even newly minted ones like Welch — there is a vast oversimplification. It is not problematic (it’s good, in fact) for the media to pick up on legitimate stories uncovered by even the the most unhinged, partisan bloggers. It is is problematic that the Times and Post feel they have to kow-tow to Beck/Breitbart in order to prove that they’re not teh librul.
It’s quite remarkable to contrast the Opus Dei style ritual self-flagellation the mainstream media went through about the ACORN story with the complete lack of comment they gave about the fact that Josh Marshall started covering the US Attorney scandal months before the Times or Post picked it up. In fact, it’s a bit worse than that — Mike Kinsley and Jay Carney openly mocked Marshall’s investigation (Carney later apologized).
The trouble with conservative critique of the media is that it’s too often hysterical and bullying. For every Dan Rather memo they’ve uncovered, they’ve looked at a thousand families’ countertops (figuratively speaking). The mainstream media’s cowardly response to the bullying is not a good thing, no matter what the Reaonoids think.
I’d like to think that if the Koch family paid me whatever they’re paying Matt Welch, that I’d still be saying this….