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July 22, 2008

Breaking: Jonathan Alter is a Stupid Fuck

In yet his latest screed about how the "Good Guys" (reporters) are losing the Media Wars to the "Bad Guys" (everyone else), and that's so horrible boo-hoo-fucking-hoo, the moron writes:

A reader logging on as KellyB last week posted a comment on a Politico.com story covering the funeral of former White House spokesman Tony Snow: "Rest in peace, Tony. You were a kind, decent soul on this earth for too short a time. May God always watch over your family." But KellyB couldn't resist amending the gracious condolence with this: "Politico.com—The Official Water Carrier of Barack H. Obama's Campaign."

How cordial. After a decade of waiting for the first "Internet election," it's finally here, and we're adrift from all the old-media moorings.

First of all, it's not uncordial at all. It's criticism. The press reserves the right to criticize and examine everyone for improper motives and a lack of ethics, but when others attempt to do the same to them, O! the caterwauling.

It's just so unfair.

In one breath they're clapping themselves on the back as the "Fourth Estate," the institution that actually guarantees the democracy the Constitution promises, and in the next breath they take umbrage that their institution is actually subject to public scrutiny, comment, and critique. I'm sorry-- if your little guild is as important as you say, are you claiming it's the one important institution in the country -- one which has, in de Toqueville's phrasing, a quasi-governmental function -- that is above criticism?

But of course Alter is even stupider than that. Because, of course, that closing KellyB "amends" her comment with is a sig line. Which is just a quotation one enters in one's user profile, and which then is added automatically to each and every comment one posts. KellyB didn't "amend' her comment-- she amended her user profile, possibly months ago, and now that sigline just automatically shows up in everything she writes.

The line between her comment (#4) and the last line should have been a tip off.

Perhaps Jonathan Alter ought to spend less time taking umbrage at the decline and fall of the mainstream media and consider instead the reasons for it. Such things as gross incompetence and/or dishonesty, such as we see here, where Alter either doesn't know the first thing about the medium he presumes to criticize, or does know about it, but chooses to hide this from a public that largely doesn't, relying on the public's ignorance to aid him in his point.

Or perhaps the unrelenting bias that's always on display -- no matter how many vicious statements liberals might make in reaction to Tony Snow's death, of course it's a conservative that is chided for "amending" a condolence with an out-of-place political message.

49% of the public believes the Dying Media is in the tank for Obama. Does Alter believe all 150 million Americans that statistic represents are stupid? Well, he probably does.

And that's the problem right there. He just can't concede that maybe they have something of a point. That might involve self-examination and self-criticism, and the Dying Media is far too emotionally invested in the notion of their own virtue and hypercompetency to indulge in such unproductive thoughts.

Blogging and the alternative media generally would shrivel up and die if there were a professional alternative that delivered the news without bias or the chronic arrogant ignorance of the media. The problem is that the media stubbornly resists cleaning up its own partisan bad behavior -- alienating half of their possible customers, because pleasing themselves and "doing Good" is more important that providing the public with objective information -- and thus creates the need for an amateur counter-weight to their hyperpartisan excesses. (Even the professional outfits which are closer to the political center of the nation -- FoxNews, the New York Sun, the Boston Herald, etc. -- are a sort of alternative media themselves, and tend to be tabloid or incomplete rather than "prestige media.")

So, Jonathan Alter bashes a conservative gratuitously, ignores all the viciousness of the left which would have better served his point, and either ignorantly or dishonestly commits an obvious error of fact, all in his lede paragraph.

And still he's scratching his head: Why am I held in such contempt? Why does no one give a shit about what I write anymore?

I guess we're all too dumb, Jonathan. We're dumb, we have short attention spans, we can't handle nuance or depth.

You keep telling yourself that, Squirt.

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posted by Ace at 04:09 PM

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