Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 27, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

BLOG HYSTERIA....Michael Kinsley, a man reponsible as much as anyone for putting news on the internet, feels the need to riff not once, not twice, but three separate times in a recent column about the vile impact of blogs on the news industry:

Meanwhile, there is the blog terror: people are getting their understanding of the world from random lunatics riffing in their underwear....So are we doomed to get our news from some acned 12-year-old in his parents' basement recycling rumors from the Internet echo chamber?....But there is room between the New York Times and myleftarmpit.com for new forms that liberate journalism from its encrusted conceits while preserving its standards, like accuracy.

Are mainstream journalists really so shocked by the fact that bloggers sometimes use four letter words? And that some of them use their sites for political activism? Isn't it time to grow up, guys?

Kevin Drum 4:48 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (111)

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Comments

Kinsley states that journalism preserves standards like accuracy, alluding to the New York Times. Oh if only blogs could be as accurate as the mainstream press.

Oh, wait a minute. How many times have blogs corrected the mainstream press?

Part of the growth of blogs has been a result of people finding poor coverage and accuracy in the mainstream media.

I'm better informed in less time in the new news paradigm. I also understand more nuances and get more depth from blog coverage, certainly more than the stooopid pundits like Matthews et al ever provided in their McLaughlin group rantings.

Posted by: david on September 27, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

damned bloggers! get off my lawn!

Posted by: cleek on September 27, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

What do you expect from Kinsleyan contrarianism?

Posted by: Ross Best on September 27, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

"people are getting their understanding of the world from random lunatics"

Our way of life depends upon well-selectd lunatics.

Posted by: Ross Best on September 27, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Are mainstream journalists really so shocked by the fact that bloggers sometimes use four letter words? And that some of them use their sites for political activism? Isn't it time to grow up, guys?

Sheesh Kevin. You're the one who needs to grow up because you missed Kinsley's point entirely. Bloggers have no ethics. They can make up anything and lie and nobody holds them accountable. Liberal bloggers don't advance argument. They have no standards of accuracy. Instead the leftists launch angry leftist invectives like "wanker" and "wingnut" at anyone who merely disagrees with them.

Look what happened to Brendan Nyhan. He pointed out the despicableness of the left when the leftist Atrios said George W Bush should kill himself. The response of the left wing bloggers was to launch personal attacks against him. This resulted in the leftist American Prospect firing him because he was telling it like it is instead of towing the party line. Liberals have lost all rationality and can only engage in personal attacks against anyone who disagrees with their leftwing ideological correctness. You libs have no argments so all you can do is spill hate and venom from your blogs.

Posted by: Al on September 27, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

The powers-that-be are scared of blogs. That there are sources of news not under control of the RightWingNoiseMachine? Oh, the horror, the horror!

Maybe if folks like the NY Times did their job and stopped spinning right wing agitprop, there'd be a lot less blogging going on.

Posted by: Peter on September 27, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

How is this different than getting your "news" from Fox, sorry, Republican State Television?

Posted by: Matt Lantz on September 27, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Bloggers have no ethics.

Yes, it is a brave new world, when we get ethics lectures from nazis.

Posted by: POed Lib on September 27, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

If he'd just lay off my underwear -- must old people always get so personal? Are they allergic or something?

Posted by: cld on September 27, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Michael "Monkey Fishing" Kinsley?

Posted by: Rob on September 27, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently, Al is confused.

He describes Fox News, and attributes it to bloggers.

Sheesh!

Posted by: Mark-NC on September 27, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Not to mention, even if we limit our observations to the printed word, it's still the case that "people are getting their understanding of the world from random lunatics". The fact that some blogs produce junk is no more a valid basis for slamming all blogs than the existence of the National Enquirer or the fact that Anne Coulter's books find publishers are valid bases for condemning the entire print medium. It's up to consumers to use their judgment when choosing which voices to trust.

Posted by: Ryan on September 27, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Hate to say that on this one Kevin misses a lot of what Kinsley was talking about - newspapers have to innovate to survive.

But what Kinsley alludes to by mentioning the Guardian - but seems to miss is the simple fact that one of the biggest drivers in the internet blogs the last few years is simple: a lot of people found that the big papers, television and radio were NOT reporting the facts on the biggest issues of the day. And sure as heck were doing a terrible job interpreting any of the facts!

After a while I, and a lot of others would look on the internet to dig up the facts. Yeah, no surprise their are a lot of kids out there. But you know what? You can find good digging reporting on TPM Muckracker. Much better political analysis at Atrois alone than you'll find in years in any of the Times (except Krugman who just is a genius).

So you want to make money as a news organization? Well - do a good job reporting and interpreting the news. That'd be an excellent place to start.

And yes, I agree, this is mainly a problem with political reporting. Frankly it just ain't as bad in the other sections of the paper. And my guess is that this is true because there just isn't the same pressure to conform, to toe the line in the other sections. (accept of course when it comes to insulting advertisers).

Posted by: Samuel Knight on September 27, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, boo, hoo, hoo, we were having such a lovely Mutual Admiration Society party until the gate-crashing bloggers showed up and told us we're not as brilliant, cute and fascinating as we thought we were. And they corrected our mistakes, too! How rude!

Posted by: shortstop on September 27, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Al, You're a Wanker and a Wingnut!

Or, is it

Al, your a Wanker and a Wingnut!

Posted by: Determined to Strike on September 27, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

I'm reminded of Kent Brockman in the episode of "The Simpsons" where Homer becomes an Internet journalist:

"I just hope that everyone remembers that *real* news is reported by professional, mainstream journalists... Next: How do they get those dogs to talk in those beer commercials? Cowboy Steve will tell us!"

Posted by: Andrew Wyatt on September 27, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

I don't pretend blogs are any more or less accurate than mainstream venues. I'm here for the sounding boards. Every topic has 57+ flavors - and each gets expressed at some point along these threads.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 27, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

....liberate journalism from its encrusted conceits while preserving its standards, like accuracy.

Accuracy? What is he talking about?


Sad to say, but I have always thought that Mike Kinsley is admirably and uniquely brilliant, but he has wasted his career in being a bit too cute.

Posted by: gregor on September 27, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

"They can make up anything and lie and nobody holds them accountable."

Up until the past few years, the same was often true for the mainstream media.

You can tell "al" is a liberal trying to pretend. A real conservative/libertarian thinks the "Army of Davids" is a positive thing.

Posted by: bobwire on September 27, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Journalists dislike criticism, especially criticism from readers. Journalists especially hate readers who understand the politics, history, and current events better than they do.

The past sycophant of W.F. Buckley is an elitist of the highest order and should not be considered a friend of liberals, Democrats, or mankind. Leftists have always known this.

Posted by: Hostile on September 27, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Adding to david...

If Kinsley's online blog reading is confined to "myleftarmpit.com, then he gets what he deserves for limiting himself to "ached 12-year-olds."

When I decided to dive into the online political-like blogs, it took me about a week (or less) to find out which were the reputable ones were, the ones that had a commitment to accuracy, and others that had intelligtent analyses and discussion.

I came to the blogs because there was something missing in the "mainstream" press. Way too often they hedge their bets, leave things unsaid and leave it up to the reader to read between the lines. Through the blogs, posters cut to the chase and really tells the story without all the hedges and newsspeak. They also help to help filter out the truth from the dishonest spin.

As for accuracy, Most bloggers keep track of what is going on via other bloggers, and through comments in their pages. If a story is inaccurate, the reputable bloggers will issue corrections and updates.

Newspapers on the other hand, may or may not issue a correction......maybe once a week.....on a separate page from the article itself buried somewhere within the paper.

I believe that people who are interested in honesty and accuracy will seek out blogs/news outlets that will provide honesty and accuracy to them. People who look for 12 year olds spouting venom will be attracted to those sites. Anyone with a shread of intelligence will know honest sites from the dishonest ones, they wont be duped into reading dishonest tripe.

I'm sorry Mr. Kinsley, not every blog will be like the NYT. There will be versions of the Moonie Times, and National Enquirer also. If they want crap they will read crap, ditto for the good stuff. If someone is putting out crap, others will point that crap out, and it is up to the readers to decide what they want....Kinsley shouldn't decide for them.

Posted by: zAmboni on September 27, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

the decline of Michael Kinsley has been a sad thing to watch. his intellectual and journalistic laziness is one reason blogs have filled in the gaps in information and discourse. that lunatics trail along with the blogs and muddy the information is just a consequence of the technology.
That Kinsley and Al have something in common tells you it's safe to click past Kinsley.

Posted by: secularhuman on September 27, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

``Journalists dislike criticism, especially criticism from readers. Journalists especially hate readers who understand the politics, history, and current events better than they do....''

Not true. WEAK journalists dislike criticism.... etc. etc. There are still a few left with the strength to accept criticism and expand their knowledge. Kinsley's got nothing left in the tank.

Posted by: secularhuman on September 27, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Michael is wrong.

Posted by: Matt on September 27, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Give me a 20 random Kos/Atrios/TPM/Drum readers and test their knowledge of World events/Government/Civics against the top Cable/TV news anchors. It would be blow out! I'd take that bet. Easy money!

Hell, they'd outscore a few national newpaper pundits.

Posted by: padcrasher on September 27, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

So are we doomed to get our news from some acned 12-year-old

I am certain this comment community is made up of middle aged political animals.

Posted by: Hostile on September 27, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

From your snippet, I see Kinsley complaining about accuracy and not language and suggesting that the Traditional Media has much to learn and take from blogs.

Posted by: jerry on September 27, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK
Give me a 20 random Kos/Atrios/TPM/Drum readers and test their knowledge of World events/Government/Civics against the top Cable/TV news anchors. It would be blow out! I'd take that bet. Easy money!
--padcrasher

Hey, not a bad idea. How about a "GE College Bowl," squaring off Atrios, Drum, Christy Hardin-Smith and Greenwald vs.
Broder, Tweety, Hannity, and Russert.

No freakin' contest.

Posted by: Charles on September 27, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

And the race is on to register myleftarmpit.com as a domain name. Free press!

Posted by: TJ on September 27, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

For all their protestations about how blogs are somehow interfering with the accurate reporting of facts, you know what mainstream journalists really fear?

Not when the bloggers are wrong, but when they are right.

Because when the bloggers get something right, and mainstream journalists have either gotten it wrong, or have simply ignored the issue, then it is embarrassing in the extreme to their profession, and often to them personally. They look like fools, and know in their guts that they are fools.

THAT is what drives them nuts. It's not the supposed hate mail they get. It's the "despise mail" they get, when grounded on logic and evidence.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 27, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

I found Kinsley's column weak, in general. His smearing of bloggers doesn't convince me. Yes, as Al points out, a particular blog can choose to slant the news, but other blogs will be happy to point it out.

Another advantage of blogs is that they link whenever possible. E.g., when Kevin mentioned Kinsley's column. he linked to it. Kevin couldn't misrepresent the column (not that he would have wanted to) because his readers would have noticed.

A third advantage is Reader Comments. Had Kevin misrepresented Kinsley's column, this Comments section would be filled with complaints.

For these reasons, I have more confidence in Kevin's blog (among others) than in the New York Times.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 27, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Reading the article, my feeling is that Kinsley is lampooning the cliched view of the blogger. He doesn't actually believe bloggers are "random lunatics riffing in their underwear" or "some acned 12-year-old in his parents' basement". Cut the guy some slack.

Posted by: sls on September 27, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Just watch your fucking language, OK?

Posted by: A Hermit on September 27, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Kinsley:
Another obsolete elitist troll going down.
(IMO - Kinsley is at least as repsonsible as any other supposed left-wing pundit, for the utter takeover of the cable pundocracy by the fascists. He was there, debating Novak on Crossfire, and every time, the snivelling little twit caved, with his whiny voice. Kinsley was and continues to be a terrible representative for the progressive movement.)

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 27, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

You don't think Kevin *ever* misrepresents something he links to?!

I'm sure Kevin has his blind spots like everyone.
However, as was pointed out
- he provides a link to his source
- these threads will usually address problems

The NYT and Meet the Depressed offer neither.

Posted by: Determined to Strike on September 27, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, in between the Iraq War, the War on Gore, the lapdog treatment of Bush, Whitewater, and similar items, the MSM has largely discredited itself.

There's a lot put on blogs that I disagree with. The idea that liberals are softball players as opposed to the mean Republicans is laughable - as a parade of witnesses ranging from Lawrence Summers to Clarence Thomas can testify. The liberal's obsession with gay rights is downright weird - yes, liberals are pushing it and it is an outright lie for them to assert otherwise.

Nevertheless, despite such flaws, there is more and better information on the blogs than on the news. And who has been fired for Whitewater? Who - besides Judy Miller maybe - has been fired for Iraq? What has the MSM done to clean up the Washington insider cocktail circuit nonsense? And since when can a candidate run as a "uniter not a divider" and then turn into the most radical ideologue in history. Don't you think the MSM should give us some sort of idea of what sort of fellow we are actually voting for?

I mean, when are these guys going to get fired for stuff like this? And if this question bothers Kinsley, then I am not the only person who should be bothered by him.

Posted by: Thinker on September 27, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin;
How many more housing bubble posts are you going to do today? You're just a malcontent trying to talk down the economy to bash Bush. Because you're a Bush Basher. You've got Bush Derangement Syndrome, and you're irrelevant just like all the other sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome. The world will be better off when we don't have to listen to your whining anymore.

Posted by: (fake)Michael Kinsley(posting as rdw) on September 27, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently, bloggers and the folks who comment them still have a long way to go with sarcasm detection.

Posted by: Alex Parker on September 27, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

How is myleftarmpit.com (which you have to admit is kindof funny) any different from people getting their understanding of the world from talk radio. Or fox news for that matter. Where's the outrage at other media?

Posted by: KT on September 27, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't they just say what's really bothering them. Blogs can do a better job of keeping government accountable from their study that the national press. In fact, they do a better job because they can do it from their living room. They don't have to please anybody.

Of course, the only places I know that have managed to do the actual legwork of reporting and digging are Rawstory and Talkingpointsmemo, and occasionally Huffingtonpost. Anyone who cares deeply about finding a way to circumvent the media need to support Mr. Marshall.

Posted by: Memekiller on September 27, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

After a while I, and a lot of others would look on the internet to dig up the facts. Yeah, no surprise their are a lot of kids out there. But you know what? You can find good digging reporting on TPM Muckracker.

I agree. However, TPM was conceived and is mostly written by someone, only in his thirties, who, like most critics and analysts worth reading, honed his craft as print a journalists for a reputable publications.

You can't throw the entire NYT baby out with the bath water. Pound for Sunday pound, it is still the best paper in the country. Similarly, the news sections of the WSJ is excellent even if the op-ed page is run by some of the most deluded and/or dishonest people in the business.

Kinsley is correct that the overwhelming bulk of the blogosphere is crap written by people with no appreciable background in journalism, history, political science, etc. Even most of the blogs written by people with decent backgrounds are still hit or miss because most "stories" or issues can't be digested as they develop nor are they likely to be privy to all the facts sitting in a room somewhere well removed from them.

Much better political analysis at Atrois alone than you'll find in years in any of the Times (except Krugman who just is a Posted by: Samuel Knight

"Political analysis" at Eschaton? You're joking? Duncan Black mostly links to things, just like is rightwing doppleganger, Instapundit. He rarely contributes anything original.

Posted by: JeffII on September 27, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Now Kevin has to tell us what he wears when he is pontificating to us.

Posted by: gregor on September 27, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

The liberal's obsession with gay rights is downright weird - yes, liberals are pushing it and it is an outright lie for them to assert otherwise.Posted by: Thinker on September 27, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

No - it's a conservative distortion to assert that Liberals are pushing for gay rights. There is no such thing as "gay rights". The rights that are being fought for, are EQUAL rights - the right for gays to not be discriminated against. The right for anyone, gay or straight, to hold a job without being discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation. The right for anyone, gay or straight, to obtain housing without being discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation. The right for anyone, gay or straight, to marry the person they love.

. . . . I mean, when are these guys going to get fired for stuff like this? . . .

Now?:
http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlDC/newspapers/washington_blade_parts_ways_with_jeff_gannon_44172.asp

Posted by: (fake)Michael Kinsley(posting as rdw) on September 27, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Bloggers have no ethics. They can make up anything and lie and nobody holds them accountable.

And that would be why so few lefty blogs allow comments while almost every right leaning blog has a healthy and active comments section.

Oh, wait...

Posted by: Thumb on September 27, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

determined to strike, how the hell do you link to a conversation between two people, a reporter and his source? and many of kevin's links are to traditional news outlets like the nyt.

the blogosphere is no better or worse than traditional newspapers, mags or broadcast outlets. the 12 yr old in his parent's basement can rant all he wants on the web. that doesn't mean anyone is going to listen. put out an appealing product, do a little marketing and you'll get an audience. the big advantage of the blog is its low entry threshhold. for a relative pitance compared to traditional outlets, anyone can publish a blog and that means there are a lot more voices out there, which is what freedom of the press/speech is all about.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on September 27, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

The Internet is both an enabler and an enemy of democracy. Anyone's opinion can be read, shared and understood by millions - and anyone's opinion can also be a piece of shit priodly on display for the world to see. Like Michael Kinsleys'.

Posted by: A Cynic's Cynic on September 27, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum >"...Isn't it time to grow up, guys?"

*sigh*

LONG, LONG past

BTW...what about myrightarmpit.com ?

"...let`s face it, modern man is just ancient man...with better electronics..." - Mr. Jack (in the box)

Posted by: daCascadian on September 27, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

If there's a single logical mistake that people make in evaluating the blogosphere it's to confuse the quality of individual bloggers, or even the quality of the average blogger, with the quality of the product of the blogosphere.

The product of the blogosphere is shaped by a feedback mechanism that allows it to be far sharper, and more accurate, than the product of the average blogger, or, typically, even than that of the best blogger in isolation.

By means of argument, counterargument, and counter-counter-counter-...-argument, the blogosphere manages often to converge on important truths.

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 27, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Kinsley is still upset over an encounter with pimply lunatic Brad DeLong awhile back. It did seem to bother him.

Posted by: sniflheim on September 27, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Why do I somehow believe that "myleftarmpit.com" was inspired by "Myleftwing.com"?

(Which does, in all honesty, strike me as kind of a lunatic central for the left wing blogosphere.)

Posted by: frankly0 on September 27, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Look, the blogosphere is Democratic. That means you get All opinions, and 99% of opinions are crap.

Right now, the media is 100% crap because the only opinions they won't allow are the 1% you can find in blogs.

Posted by: Memekiller on September 27, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I bet all you lefty bloggers feel really stupid, after all your predictions in 2003 about what a disaster Iraq was gonna be!

Posted by: Wingnut on September 27, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

The aristocracy once said similar things about the Democratic form of government.

The people couldn't rule themselves, it would end up in disaster etc....

Kinsey, baby, where's your faith in the people...?

Posted by: Bubbles on September 27, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah Al, right-wing bloggers never make crap up and spread it around, do they? Naah, no sir, never happens. Only mean lefties do that.

Posted by: Speed on September 27, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Strawman alert! How many 12-year-old political bloggers are out there anyway?

Posted by: Groucho on September 27, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kinsley is bombing more often than not these days.

And this part about how newspaper should lose their objectivity? As if there just isn't enough Fox news and Judith Millers for Kinsley's taste. If you ask me, its the lack of objectivity that got NYT in trouble in the first place with their access loving reporter Judith. I think people are staving for the truth - but its harder and harder to find the truth, hard hitting reporters and indepth news. If newspaper want to survive, they must value objectivity as well as fact more than anything else.

Nothing wrong with ditching the paper part and become news wires/online news magazines.

Posted by: Cheryl on September 27, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Who is Michael Kinsley? Is he the one with the debilitating brain disease? Perhaps he should be institutionalized.

Posted by: Pechorin on September 27, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Sheesh Kevin. You're the one who needs to grow up because you missed Kinsley's point entirely. Bloggers have no ethics. They can make up anything and lie and nobody holds them accountable. Liberal bloggers don't advance argument. They have no standards of accuracy.

Al is so fucking cute when he gets mad. He's just adorable. I just love him to death.

Posted by: humble blogger on September 27, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Blogs are good. Writers like Kinsley know that many people are crazy. The crazies on Blogs simply confirm what they should already know.

We all depend upon the fact that when we write something, someone will probably "get it".

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on September 27, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile: I am certain this comment community is made up of middle aged political animals.

Commenters, yes. Not necessarily readers.

A year or two ago, Kevin did a post inviting readers to say something about themselves. People came out of the woodwork--there were hundreds and hundreds of people talking about their jobs, spouses, education, hobbies, pets, favorite books and political parlor games. It was so weird, because most of them hadn't posted before and haven't since.

Anyway, I was surprised to see just how many lurking 20-somethings read this blog. Most of the regular posters were older than their 20s (whatever "regular" means on a blog where people drop in and out, some posting 20 or 30 times a day for three months and others hanging around for years but rarely posting). Lots of people were in their 30s, 40s and 50s; fewer, but still a significant number, in their 60s and 70s and up. And I recall one longtime poster who apparently was quite a bit older--he got upset that so many people were younger and said bye-bye, never to return. It was too bad, too, because he was a good contributor.

Posted by: shortstop on September 27, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kinsley is bombing more often than not these days.

And this part about how newspaper should lose their objectivity? As if there just isn't enough Fox news and Judith Millers for Kinsley's taste. Posted by: Cheryl

This is horseshit, as is most of the criticism of Kinsley. He has been one of the biggest critics of the Bush administration and the Iraq war from the beginning. As most of you either don't know this or have forgotten it, go Google Kinsley and Iraq and Kinsley and the Bush administration.

Posted by: JeffII on September 27, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

A year or two ago, Kevin did a post inviting readers to say something about themselves. People came out of the woodwork--there were hundreds and hundreds of people talking about their jobs, spouses, education, hobbies, pets, favorite books and political parlor games. It was so weird,. . .

. . . because most of those posts came from a program written by Jimmy in Mrs. Simpson's home room.

Posted by: 12-y.o. acne-stricken blogger on September 27, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

people are getting their understanding of the world from random lunatics riffing in their underwear....So are we doomed to get our news from some acned 12-year-old in his parents' basement recycling rumors from the Internet echo chamber?....

If newspapers were selling widgets and some 12-year-olds in their underwear were doing a better job of it, I think the newspaper people would say to themselves, "We gotta do a better job, boys and girls."

Funny, though, when it comes to the marketplace of information and ideas, the newspaper people get whiny and complain it's not fair and say, "Oh, no, where are their standards?"

In fact, the reason I go to the web is because it does a better job of giving me what I want. That includes accuracy, breadth, and and a progressive look on things. With attitude, no less.

Because I don't rely on just the traditional media doesn't mean I've given up reading newspapers and magazines. They serve a purpose too.* An invaluable one, actually, and for that reason I'm confident they'll be around for many years to come. I just wish they'd do a better job.

* TV is another matter. Still the most influential of the media, but as for informing the public, except for a few live events I really don't know what purpose it serves anymore. Somehow newspapers survived TV, even if in the long run the country doesn't.

Posted by: JJF on September 27, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

...This is horseshit, as is most of the criticism of Kinsley. He has been one of the biggest critics of the Bush administration and the Iraq war from the beginning. ...
Posted by: JeffII on September 27, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

He's been a big critic yes. But not an effective one. I think he's done more harm than good to the Liberal cause. He's like a pasty, whiny Colmes.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 27, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

So are we doomed to get our news from some acned 12-year-old in his parents' basement recycling rumors from the Internet echo chamber?

That's silly. Nobody actually listens to Al, Charlie/Thomas1, or Jay.

Posted by: ckelly on September 27, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

But Rush Limbaugh is OK???

Posted by: ckelly on September 27, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Dag-nabbit! these newfangled automobiles! Soon, just about anyone will be able to buy one and 16-year olds with no accountability or values will be driving hither and yon!

Posted by: Buggy-whip manufacturer on September 27, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

mhr

rich. very rich.

You got to hand to the Repblican'ts for their chutzpah.

Posted by: gregor on September 27, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

OBF, you are cracking me up, as usual. "Hither and yon" is a particularly good touch.

Posted by: shortstop on September 27, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Did he say accuracy?

Was he giggling when he wrote that?

Posted by: craigie on September 27, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

mhr rich. very rich. You got to hand to the Repblican'ts for their chutzpah. Posted by: gregor on September 27, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, notice how all the rightwingers are all of a sudden coming out in defense of Michael fucking Kinsley.
Without him, Novak/Hannity/O'Reilly would have nobody to interrupt and bully.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 27, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

You have some nerve posting here after a big night at the Londinium pubs, craigie! Since when do they stay open so late, anyway?

Posted by: shortstop on September 27, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop:

Link is still there.

Comment function is dead by now, though.

Posted by: ein on September 27, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Is the blog "myleftarmpit.com" taken? Great blog name. Randomlunatics.com, livefrommyparentsbasement.com and riffinginmyunderwear.com sound like winners too.

Posted by: G Spot1 on September 27, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Media people who think and speak like Michael Kinsley are doing so because they find themselves on the outside of a revolution, that is reacting to the authoritarian centralized control of current media. If reporters were reporting then there would be no need for blogs. Kinsley of all people is well aware of this reality.

Posted by: patience on September 27, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

ein: Link is still there.

Thanks for posting it. Wow. Will have to do a search on the posters I've gotten to know better since that time, for comparison purposes only, of course!

Posted by: shortstop on September 27, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

Knight praised Paul Krugman's column, calling him a genius. I agree that Krugman is very smart, but what makes his column special is unrelenting Bush bashing. If you hate Bush, you'll love Krugman's column.

OTOH Krugman got most of the economic issues wrong. Over the last few years he wrote column after column claiming that there was no real economic recovery, jobs weren't being created, etc. In reality, millions of jobs were created, the unemployment rate is low, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is near an all-time high, and real wages are up.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 27, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

....In reality, millions of jobs were created, the unemployment rate is low, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is near an all-time high, and real wages are up.
Posted by: ex-liberal on September 27, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK


In reality, the number of jobs created did not keep pace with the number of people entering the work force. (ie. graduating from college).

The MEASURED unemployment rate is low. Whatever that means.

The DJIA is making small headway after 6 years of stagnation, and most likely only due to a temporary drop in oil prices - which does not reflect the long term bleak outlook for stability in the middle-east, the oil prices are a short-term phenomenon.

And real wages are up - well, not really, if you exclude income for the Investor Class.


So. . . what "reality" would that be that you're talking about? Oh yeah, the artificial rightwing reality created by FauxNews and the WSJ OpEd page.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 27, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Blogs are a threat to people like Kinsley, Novak, and Broder (hard to believe I'm treating them as a group).

Bloggers devote more time to analyzing the issues than the cocktail crowd in DC, and old style journalists are offended by real time commentary on their blessed copy.

Columnists like Kinsley, Novak, and Broder, are often representing the political players, so their deliberately biased writing is acutely vulnerable to attack by less involved critics.

Blogging is also interactive nearly 24/7, ye olde journalists can't be bothered to do this, and claim instead that only they are able to divine the truth from the undifferentiated morass of fact and rumor on the web.

Posted by: kim on September 27, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

Kinsley is taking a very short-sighted view of blogs, and one that simply isn't warranted given the minimal time that blogs have been in existence. Any medium he might cite as mature probably had a gestational period of 50 to 2000 years before it got good at sifting fact from fiction. Given the state of the New York Times (Judy Miller) and the CBS Evening News (Katie Couric), not to mention FOX News, I'm not sure any argument can be made that preserves the integrity of the best of the mainstream media while relegating blogging to farce.

One the point of fact checking, I think Kinsley is particularly wrong. Individual blogs may vary in terms of intent, but the blogosphere as a whole is an open-source network of information, and invariably the truth does get out. People may choose to ignore the truth, but it gets out and in general it becomes part of the narrative.

See also: http://thepremise.com/archives/09/23/2006/175

Posted by: Mark Barrett on September 27, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Osama_Been_Forgotten wroteIn reality, the number of jobs created did not keep pace with the number of people entering the work force. (ie. graduating from college).

The MEASURED unemployment rate is low. Whatever that means

Here's what it means:

Number Unemployed = Work Force - Number Employed

So, the fact that the unemployment rate went down means that employment grew faster than the work force.

The DJIA is making small headway after 6 years of stagnation, and most likely only due to a temporary drop in oil prices

The DJIA is up 55% from its low point in 2002. (Those investors who ignored Krugman's incorrect advice made a killing.)

which does not reflect the long term bleak outlook for stability in the middle-east, the oil prices are a short-term phenomenon.

The long-term prospects are excellent, as long as we keep electing Repubicans.:} Seriously, nobody knows the long-term economic future.

And real wages are up - well, not really, if you exclude income for the Investor Class.

Look around you. Computers, color TVs, Tivos, i-pods, cell phones are flying off the shelves. Health care is better than ever, due to advances in medicines and techniques. Hunger is virtually eliminated, although obesity is a growing problem. Home-ownership is at an all-time high. People are living longer than ever. More and more old people participate in sports, such as golf and even tennis.

The reality is that Americans are wealthier than ever. Anyone can see it. It comes down to the question:

What are you going to believe? Krugman's cherry-picked statistics or your lying eyes?

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 27, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

FWIW, a couple questions: isn't a major problem of the mainstream media that it feels compelled to follow a story line?

Charlie Peters told me once that ALL stories have a fearsome dragon, a damsel in distress, and a knight in shining armor. I don't think you can find a single one of the zillion Monthly graduates who doesn't use that model -- and it is by far the most influential model for progressive political writers.

Isn't the great sin AND advantage of the right wing media that they consciously identify themselves as part of a Movement? They don't have to be accurate, aren't necessarily convinced accuracy exists anyway: what's good is what advances the Cause.

Isn't the great flaw of political blogs that folks meld the two? I've read most of the more popular ones on both the Left and Right, and it seems pretty clear to me.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 27, 2006 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

Disappointing. My recollection is that Mr. Kinsley praised bloggers (and blog readers) as unusually intelligent and perceptive not so many years ago.

Being only a part-time journalist, I don't feel especially threatened by the existence of blogs; they're a much needed check on officialdom, and opinion makers. (The people who actually do most of the most reporting, and even editing aren't the problem; its the generously compensated front page reporters, syndicated columnists, and more than anyone else the suits who are the problem.)

But - you know - this is about feeling threatened for the future of your livelihood.

Posted by: Linus on September 27, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

But - you know - this is about feeling threatened for the future of your livelihood.

Agreed. Bloggers sing for their supper. Big time journalists have golden handcuffs, and they like them too much to deal with competition openly.

Posted by: Bob M on September 27, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK
...OTOH Krugman got most of the economic issues wrong...ex-liberal at 7:46 PM
To bad that you are too much of a 'publican to realize that Krugman attacks are the policies of the Bush regime not Bush. To make only two points It has taken six years for the Dow to exceed its previous high. That means that Bush's policies have taken 6 years to reach the point we were at six years ago.

Secondly, the best Bush month has not created as many jobs as the worst Clinton month. By this time in his term, Clinton has created over 15,000,000 jobs; Bush's record shows nothing to brag about

The White House issued a fact sheet today on President Bushs economic record. The headline blares 5.4 Million Jobs Created Since August 2003. The sheet suggests recent job growth proves President Bushs economic strategy is a smashing success.
Lets set aside for a moment that the fact sheet conveniently ignores the 22 months of jobs losses that proceeded August 2003. Instead, lets put Bushs job record since August 2003 in perspective:
1. Monthly job growth since August 2003 is 50% lower than the average of President Clintons entire term. Since August 2003, job growth has averaged 160,000 per month. During Clintons eight years in office job growth averaged 236,000 per month.
2. Real wages have fallen since August 2003. The average workers real wages were twenty cents lower in June 2006 than they were in August 2003.
Any way you slice it, Bushs economic policy has resulted in slower job growth and lower wages. Thats nothing to brag about.

Not that facts will keep Bush's lick spittles from bragging about bad data.

Posted by: Mike on September 27, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Blogs, including this one, have their value, mostly entertainment value, and are generally run by propagandists rather than by serious people.

So mhr, Thomas Paine and Paul Revere were not serious people. That's good to know, putz!

Posted by: Keith G on September 27, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Also, I would like to point out that there are few greater pleasures than knowing you have just had two beers, but that the bottle for one of them has disappeared, so you can pretend that you've only had one and are therefore due a second.

Posted by: Linus on September 27, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Mike - you are correct that Bush's economy doesn't match Clinton's. Clinton was President during a terrific boom that created enormous numbers of jobs and drove the unemployment rate down to remarkable levels.

However, compared to the lohg-term average, Bush's economy has done quite well, especially when you measure from 2003, which is when his economic program mostly took effect. It's true that we were in recession from 2000 to 2003, but it't not clear that Bush deserves blame, because he hadn't make substantial economic changes yet.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 27, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Computers, color TVs, Tivos, i-pods, cell phones are flying off the shelves.

That's because these items have become very cheap, not because people are suddenly fantastically wealthy.

Hunger is virtually eliminated

If I didn't understand that you are just a well-meaning jackass, I'd rip your fucking head off for having the gall to make such an obscene statement.

The number of families going hungry is on the rise in the U.S.

More and more old people participate in sports, such as golf and even tennis.

Old people in some of the poorest countries of the world not only live longer on average than Americans, they're much more fit and healthy at an older age. I know a Bolivian couple in their eighties who can outrun most Americans in their forties.

Posted by: Windhorse on September 27, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

"people are getting their understanding of the world from random lunatics riffing in their underwear"

How would Kinsley know what David Broder wears to write his stuff?

Posted by: Steve Paradis on September 27, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

If MSM is so good, so accurate, how come we in the blogosphere got it right about Bush, about his `war on terror,' his diversion into Iraq, questioned his intentions and motives right out of the gate and they didn't?

I wrote about journalists' `embeddedness' (particularly the Washington scene) yesterday at my place.

I never found Michael Kinsley to be particularly insightful, or any kind of a liberal (as he encouraged in his Crossfire days); he belonged in MSM covering the `Establishment.' He still belongs there.

Move on, Kevin Drum. Or don't. He's irrelevent.

Posted by: Maeven on September 27, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Windhorse: [Computers, color TVs, Tivos, i-pods, cell phones are flying off the shelves] because these items have become very cheap, not because people are suddenly fantastically wealthy.

Windhorse, the point of wealth is being able to buy things. The more things the middle class can buy, the wealthier they are.

Hunger is virtually eliminated

If I didn't understand that you are just a well-meaning jackass, I'd rip your fucking head off for having the gall to make such an obscene statement.

Sorry, but I can remember when there really was hunger. Going back before FDR there was a lot of hunger - I mean people starving to death. Now groups who want to collect money can't claim large numbers of hungry people, so they invented a new class called "food insecure." I have smypathy for the food insecure, but they are not what traditionally has been meant by "hungry".

The number of families going hungry is on the rise in the U.S.

No, the number of "food insecure" (whatever that is defined to mean) is on the rise.

Old people in some of the poorest countries of the world not only live longer on average than Americans, they're much more fit and healthy at an older age. I know a Bolivian couple in their eighties who can outrun most Americans in their forties.

I believe you. The US life span ranks 48th by entity and 29th by sovereign state at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy ,

However, the point we're debating is whether Americans are wealthier than Americans used to be. One indication of improved American wealth is that our fitness and lifespans continue to improve.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 27, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

All those vile, politically-engaged citizens! Horrors!

Posted by: George on September 27, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

More and more old people participate in sports, such as golf and even tennis.

Gawd, how I wish people who knew nothing about econ would just sit on their hands.

Posted by: Disputo on September 27, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Just you wait until Bob shows up. Boy, he'll settle your hash and make an eloquent case against your various and sundry points.

There are many writers who write well, but they cannot match Bob. Bob is a champion.

Posted by: Red on September 27, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

red: KITFO, 'kay?

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 28, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

If Kinsley and the msm did their jobs as well as they once did ( just the facts, thank you ), the blogs what be nowhere near as popular as they are. Find a need, and fill it. Simple as that.

Posted by: badgervan on September 28, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

"Disappointing. My recollection is that Mr. Kinsley praised bloggers (and blog readers) as unusually intelligent and perceptive not so many years ago."

Praised them? Hell, he basically was one himself! Doesn't anyone here recall the much-publicized move he made in 1999 (prehistory, in blogosphere years) from CNN to Slate?

"Disappointing. My recollection is that Mr. Kinsley praised bloggers (and blog readers) as unusually intelligent and perceptive not so many years ago."

Yep. 7 years ago.

"He's irrelevent."

And that probably scares the crap out of him.

"However, the point we're debating is whether Americans are wealthier than Americans used to be."

No, the point WE'RE debating is whether Mr. Kinsley and traditional newspapers are threatened by bloggers. Get a room, you two.

Posted by: RobW on September 28, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

(oops. sorry about the double quote. spastic pasting finger.)

Posted by: RobW on September 28, 2006 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

KITFO - Knock it the fuck off.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 28, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

Sometimes it is spelled KitFO

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 28, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Don't blame me when I left TNR, Crossfire and Slate they were all bastions of truth and democracy. Now leave me alone so I can get back to spending all that Gates Foundation money in peace.

Posted by: Michael on September 28, 2006 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

Global:

Thanks.

Thomas:

Now that it's after 3 (EDT), I'll answer you silly question. I have no idea if you are right or not because I went to bed before midnight PDT.

All I know is that I've seen archive threads shut comments off at odd times. I remember this because I was having a (civil) discussion with Americanist in the afternoon in an archive thread, and was disappointed when the comments went off.

Maybe Kevin shut them off manually then, and otherwise they're timed? Who knows ... certainly not yours truly.

You could pester Kevin with an email about it if you're really *that* burningly curious about it, I suppose ...

Whether he'd answer it or not is of course a different question.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 28, 2006 at 3:25 AM | PERMALINK

Jeez, Kevin--I thought you were a lot older than 12. Shows what I know. Sorry about that complexion . . .

Posted by: rea on September 28, 2006 at 4:46 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: mmf铃声 on September 28, 2006 at 5:03 AM | PERMALINK


ex-lib: It's true that we were in recession from 2000 to 2003


LIE...


http://www.nber.org/cycles/recessions.html

The National Bureau's Business Cycle Dating Committee maintains a chronology of the U.S. business cycle.

The chronology identifies the dates of peaks and troughs that frame economic recession or expansion.

The period from a peak to a trough is a recession and the period from a trough to a peak is an expansion.

According to the chronology, the most recent peak occurred in March 2001, ending a record-long expansion that began in 1991.

The most recent trough occurred in November 2001, inaugurating an expansion.

Posted by: mr. irony on September 28, 2006 at 7:34 AM | PERMALINK

HYSTERICAL that he thinks "accuracy" is still one of the "standards" of journalism. I thought it was to be stenographers of the Repug talking points...accuracy be damned!!! I knew that Bush and Company would totally screw up this country and spill over their incompetence into the world if "re-selected"...but they have outdone themselves! And, still the sheeple call in WJ every day saying, "I support President Bush, he is doing a heckofa job". WE ARE DOOMED!!!

Posted by: Dancer on September 28, 2006 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK

. . . "while preserving its standards, like accuracy."

Said Kinsley, while working at the HAHAHAHA Washington Post, and HAHAHAHA citing the New York Times....

..this is just a riot. Judith Miller, Brooks, Tierney, Dowd, Friedman -- these folks ARE Jayson Blair. Maybe Jayson Blair happened to inocculate the NYTs against Judith Miller's impending lies.

As for WaPo and Kinsley-- HE NOR they will EVER have a claim to standards of accuracy.

Some good writers at that paper--but the frauds more than eviscerate the reputations of the company, across all divisions.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on September 28, 2006 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

The MSMers have done such a bad job lately, who are they to complain anyway? Kinsley is at heart a dorky prick who resents the critique and the competition.

Posted by: Neil' on September 28, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Mike Kinsley is probably among the first tech-savvy journalists to go dinosaur. His zenith was in the 90's and it's been downhill ever since. Perhaps he should just retire to his place on Camano Island north of Seattle. It's great up there and he won't have to deal with us lunatics in our underwear...

Posted by: TimW on September 28, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

David and Sam Knight have it right. All the talk about bad language and political activism are just stalking horses.

Kinsley and his ilk hate bloggers because bloggers keep telling the public that the Kinsley's are not accurate, not talking about the important issues and sometimes outright lying.

Bloggers "remember" what pols said last week and last year. The Kinsleys don't.

Posted by: zak822 on September 28, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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