Bon Appetit, Joe
Greg Sargent’s piece at The American Prospect is worth reading because it speaks volumes about the true reasons behind all the noise being made about the "angry bloggers" by people like Joe Klein:
Before, Joe Klein and his colleagues enjoyed an exclusive perch, one that was maintained for them by the folks who controlled the systems that, previously, were the only ways commentary and news were disseminated. One could argue that columnists earn their perches — through hard work, experience and, occasionally, talent. But once they attain their position, their status is more or less protected — both by the fact that news orgs rarely fire columnists and by the kind of de facto gentleman’s agreement that has long kept columnists from attacking each other too aggressively.
The blogosphere has shattered that comfy arrangement — permanently. All of a sudden, there’s no longer a system in place that allows columnists to grow lazy, sloppy, or biased without facing consequences. Suddenly it’s possible to pinpoint a commentator’s weak reasoning or inaccuracies and broadcast them far and wide. Suddenly underperforming columnists, and their editors, are no longer insulated from competition — from bloggers who, as hard as this may be for established commentators to accept, actually do work that’s as good or better than they do.
As I’ve noted before, Klein’s efforts to toss off a few poorly written paragraphs and post them at the Huffington Post (where no doubt we should all be grateful he graced us with his presence, I suppose) were no doubt an attempt to stick his toe in the waters of the blogosphere. He got his ass resoundingly kicked (much like he did in the CJR for the journalistic malpractice he committed with Primary Colors — hat tip Digby). There is absolutely nothing he does that hundreds of people in the blogosphere don’t do better every single day of the week. The fact that the pundit game is turning competitive, and it looks like it will will increasingly be played out on the internet, must be truly terrifying to the likes of Klein, who is constantly being invited to dine on a buffet of his own words by the institutional memory of the blogosphere which has the audacity to hold him accountable for the things he’s said.
As Atrios said this morning, he is small and not so honest.
Update: I didn’t realize it but the person who put the question to Klein during his recent Washington Post chat about the left hating America (which Klein denied saying) was our very own Matt O, whose column on war profiteering appears here every Saturday afternoon.
Update II: Chris Anderson gets "quote of the day": "When silent movies gave way to talkies, a whole raft of stars who couldn’t make the transition saw their careers destroyed. Nothing really changes does it?"