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Like PressThink? More from the same pen:

Read about Jay Rosen's book, What Are Journalists For?

Excerpt from Chapter One of What Are Journalists For? "As Democracy Goes, So Goes the Press."

Essay in Columbia Journalism Review on the changing terms of authority in the press, brought on in part by the blog's individual--and interactive--style of journalism. It argues that, after Jayson Blair, authority is not the same at the New York Times, either.

"Web Users Open the Gates." My take on ten years of Internet journalism, at

Read: Q & As

Jay Rosen, interviewed about his work and ideas by journalist Richard Poynder

Achtung! Interview in German with a leading German newspaper about the future of newspapers and the Net.

Audio: Have a Listen

Listen to an audio interview with Jay Rosen conducted by journalist Christopher Lydon, October 2003. It's about the transformation of the journalism world by the Web.

Five years later, Chris Lydon interviews Jay Rosen again on "the transformation." (March 2008, 71 minutes.)

Interview with host Brooke Gladstone on NPR's "On the Media." (Dec. 2003) Listen here.

Presentation to the Berkman Center at Harvard University on open source journalism and NewAssignment.Net. Downloadable mp3, 70 minutes, with Q and A. Nov. 2006.

Video: Have A Look

Half hour video interview with Robert Mills of the American Microphone series. On blogging, journalism, NewAssignment.Net and distributed reporting.

Jay Rosen explains the Web's "ethic of the link" in this four-minute YouTube clip.

"The Web is people." Jay Rosen speaking on the origins of the World Wide Web. (2:38)

One hour video Q & A on why the press is "between business models" (June 2008)

Recommended by PressThink:

Town square for press critics, industry observers, and participants in the news machine: Romenesko, published by the Poynter Institute.

Town square for weblogs: InstaPundit from Glenn Reynolds, who is an original. Very busy. Very good. To the Right, but not in all things. A good place to find voices in diaolgue with each other and the news.

Town square for the online Left. The Daily Kos. Huge traffic. The comments section can be highly informative. One of the most successful communities on the Net.

Rants, links, blog news, and breaking wisdom from Jeff Jarvis, former editor, magazine launcher, TV critic, now a J-professor at CUNY. Always on top of new media things. Prolific, fast, frequently dead on, and a pal of mine.

Eschaton by Atrios (pen name of Duncan B;ack) is one of the most well established political weblogs, with big traffic and very active comment threads. Left-liberal.

Terry Teachout is a cultural critic coming from the Right at his weblog, About Last Night. Elegantly written and designed. Plus he has lots to say about art and culture today.

Dave Winer is the software wiz who wrote the program that created the modern weblog. He's also one of the best practicioners of the form. Scripting News is said to be the oldest living weblog. Read it over time and find out why it's one of the best.

If someone were to ask me, "what's the right way to do a weblog?" I would point them to Doc Searls, a tech writer and sage who has been doing it right for a long time.

Ed Cone writes one of the most useful weblogs by a journalist. He keeps track of the Internet's influence on politics, as well developments in his native North Carolina. Always on top of things.

Rebecca's Pocket by Rebecca Blood is a weblog by an exemplary practitioner of the form, who has also written some critically important essays on its history and development, and a handbook on how to blog.

Dan Gillmor used to be the tech columnist and blogger for the San Jose Mercury News. He now heads a center for citizen media. This is his blog about it.

A former senior editor at Pantheon, Tom Englehardt solicits and edits commentary pieces that he publishes in blog form at TomDispatches. High-quality political writing and cultural analysis.

Chris Nolan's Spot On is political writing at a high level from Nolan and her band of left-to-right contributors. Her notion of blogger as a "stand alone journalist" is a key concept; and Nolan is an exemplar of it.

Barista of Bloomfield Avenue is journalist Debbie Galant's nifty experiment in hyper-local blogging in several New Jersey towns. Hers is one to watch if there's to be a future for the weblog as news medium.

The Editor's Log, by John Robinson, is the only real life honest-to-goodness weblog by a newspaper's top editor. Robinson is the blogging boss of the Greensboro News-Record and he knows what he's doing.

Fishbowl DC is about the world of Washington journalism. Gossip, controversies, rituals, personalities-- and criticism. Good way to keep track of the press tribe in DC

PJ Net Today is written by Leonard Witt and colleagues. It's the weblog of the Public Journalisn Network (I am a founding member of that group) and it follows developments in citizen-centered journalism.

Here's Simon Waldman's blog. He's the Director of Digital Publishing for The Guardian in the UK, the world's most Web-savvy newspaper. What he says counts.

Novelist, columnist, NPR commentator, Iraq War vet, Colonel in the Army Reserve, with a PhD in literature. How many bloggers are there like that? One: Austin Bay.

Betsy Newmark's weblog she describes as "comments and Links from a history and civics teacher in Raleigh, NC." An intelligent and newsy guide to blogs on the Right side of the sphere. I go there to get links and comment, like the teacher said.

Rhetoric is language working to persuade. Professor Andrew Cline's Rhetorica shows what a good lens this is on politics and the press.

Davos Newbies is a "year-round Davos of the mind," written from London by Lance Knobel. He has a cosmopolitan sensibility and a sharp eye for things on the Web that are just... interesting. This is the hardest kind of weblog to do well. Knobel does it well.

Susan Crawford, a law professor, writes about democracy, technology, intellectual property and the law. She has an elegant weblog about those themes.

Kevin Roderick's LA Observed is everything a weblog about the local scene should be. And there's a lot to observe in Los Angeles.

Joe Gandelman's The Moderate Voice is by a political independent with an irrevant style and great journalistic instincts. A link-filled and consistently interesting group blog.

Ryan Sholin's Invisible Inkling is about the future of newspapers, online news and journalism education. He's the founder of and a self-taught Web developer and designer.

H20town by Lisa Williams is about the life and times of Watertown, Massachusetts, and it covers that town better than any local newspaper. Williams is funny, she has style, and she loves her town.

Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing at is a daily review of the best reporting and commentary on the presidency. Read it daily and you'll be extremely well informed.

Rebecca MacKinnon, former correspondent for CNN, has immersed herself in the world of new media and she's seen the light (great linker too.)

Micro Persuasion is Steve Rubel's weblog. It's about how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the business of persuasion. Rubel always has the latest study or article.

Susan Mernit's blog is "writing and news about digital media, ecommerce, social networks, blogs, search, online classifieds, publishing and pop culture from a consultant, writer, and sometime entrepeneur." Connected.

Group Blogs

CJR Daily is Columbia Journalism Review's weblog about the press and its problems, edited by Steve Lovelady, formerly of the Philadelpia Inquirer.

Lost Remote is a very newsy weblog about television and its future, founded by Cory Bergman, executive producer at KING-TV in Seattle. Truly on top of things, with many short posts a day that take an inside look at the industry.

Editors Weblog is from the World Editors Fourm, an international group of newspaper editors. It's about trends and challenges facing editors worldwide. keeps track of developments from the British side of the Atlantic. Very strong on online journalism.

Digests & Round-ups:

Memeorandum: Single best way I know of to keep track of both the news and the political blogosphere. Top news stories and posts that people are blogging about, automatically updated.

Daily Briefing: A categorized digest of press news from the Project on Excellence in Journalism.

Press Notes is a round-up of today's top press stories from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Richard Prince does a link-rich thrice-weekly digest called "Journalisms" (plural), sponsored by the Maynard Institute, which believes in pluralism in the press.

Newsblog is a daily digest from Online Journalism Review.

E-Media Tidbits from the Poynter Institute is group blog by some of the sharper writers about online journalism and publishing. A good way to keep up

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April 19, 2005

Darn it, that Nick Coleman is Just Good Copy

"Press Think? I'd like to see that some day." The Star-Tribune columnist, known for tangling with bloggers, sent me this letter.

I think this is what set him off. If you know him a little (Nick’s a rebel) you can figure it out. Anyway, here’s the letter. More or less in the fashion I called newsroom bully baroque, when I wrote, “Newsroom Joe Hates Bloggers: Nick Coleman’s Classic Hit” (Oct. 2, 2004.) It came today:

Gosh. Do you THINK the press is being de-certified? Which side are you on? I thought that was your game plan. You ripped me last fall without even speaking to me because I had the poor judgment (or maybe the balls) to confront right wing wingnut bloggers who have my newspaper (and most others) in the crosshairs of a constant all-out partisan attack. And they are winning, prof. The Star-Tribune now has hired a by-god certifiable right wing activist and power megaphone. Funny, I haven’t seen you make any mention of that yet. Nor do I remember you defending me in December when I criticized the dudes at Powerline, who I called extremists while most of the academic press fakers of the world were bending over to kiss their jodhpurs. By the way, in case you haven’t paid attention, many other journalists have since come to the same conclusion. I could cite chapte and verse, but why bother.

Press Think? I’d like to see that some day.

Nick Coleman

Coleman Watchers out there, send me an explication de text in a paragraph. If it’s good, I will post. (jodh·purs (jŏd’pərz)Wide-hipped riding pants of heavy cloth, fitting tightly from knee to ankle.)

Rebecca Blood:

As I read it, Coleman says that right-wing bloggers are making it more difficult for mainstream media to honestly report the news. By putting partisan pressure on news outlets to “balance” their reports, they are pulling mainstream media to the right. Such pressure, I would extrapolate, would increase the incidence of “he said/she said” reporting, and/or create a chilling effect, resulting in news outlets not reporting anything that might be construed as critical of right-wing politicians and causes. [more…]

Is Coleman right? I don’t know, but I think it’s worth Jay’s time to honestly investigate. Jay is fond of talking about the “decertification” of the press, but if, as Coleman suggests, the press is now concluding that blogging is the domain of wingnuts, the public may well be drawing the same conclusion. Weblogs are now read by only about a third of Internet users [pdf]. Is the entire enterprise in danger of being marginalized before it gains a foothold with mainstream Web users? The “decertification” of blogging due to the effect of a small number of highly influential blogs - how is that not a PressThink story?

There’s more at her weblog.

UPDATE 1.0, April 20: Coleman is now claiming his letter above was personal, intended only to start a dialogue with me. Alas, there was nothing in the letter about that. When a communiqué to my PRESSTHINK mailbox is not for publication what most people do is write “not for publication” or “personal” somewhere in it. And calling me an “academic press faker” is perhaps not the most efficient method of signaling dialogic intent.

They’re on opposite sides of course, but Nick Coleman really reminds me of David Horowitz. Some practices common to both: the instant demonization of others, the personalizing of all disputes (“nor do I remember you defending me….”); the masochism in saying what you intuitively know will get you ripped; the comical self-image as the baddest, bravest truthteller of them all; generating side issues (like the “unauthorized” publication of Coleman’s note) in case the main one flags; the use of politics for narcissistic self-display, and the quality of seeming “unhinged” in public debate.

This is in addition to the most obvious parallel: the principle of all-out overstatement, almost all the time, the practice of rarely using a neutral term when a more inflammatory one can be found.

UPDATE 2.0, April 20.

“The state of transition in which we exist today is little more than its infancy and a maturing is years away.” Riehl World View (conservative blogger, self-described) responds to Blood and Rosen with a description of blogging’s illusions about itself, which are those of an infant. This is part of a long and considered reply:

The blogging phenomenon is prone to the folly of any early adoptive trend. It is more often and more rapidly embraced by the zealous, as opposed to the moderate—and in their zeal, that same group often garners the bulk of attention from anyone looking in or over…

Powerline has set itself up as a shrieking warlord against the media for the Right— but if you want to dissect their work point by point, it simply doesn’t begin to measure up to a small town daily. And with repeat visits and multiple clicks, likely doesn’t honestly reach a great many more people.

That said, it does reach some influential people— but who are they? They’re the MSM of course. The media has elected to make blogs a story long before they really have the capability of covering many themselves with more than a trickle of new information or opinion, fleshed out with a multitude of links to the MSM it, in some cases, purports to so despise.

As for this we are all one big blog machine notion, it’s utter nonsense and not born out by any objective analysis of the linking patterns of any large blog. At this stage of growth, it isn’t a whole lot more than the media talking to a few new individuals and themselves, which, as with most entities, is something it usually enjoys.

Read the rest, and leave him some intelligent comments.

Andrew Cline at Rhetorica:

The rhetorical maneuvers are similar, right and left, as you point out. I believe these to be cultural choices that transcend ideology. All seven that you mention have a common cultural source.

America is the land of individuals who hold individual opinions. The ancient Greek rhetoricians had a better understanding of opinion (because their culture had a better understanding). Opinions in the Greek understanding belong to communities not individuals. If opinions belong to the individual, then fighting for them is fighting for self. And so what you identify as personalization, masochism, etc. all become a form of heroism for one’s cause, which is no different in the American sense from one’s self.

This cultural tendency makes discussing just about anything terribly difficult because Americans tend to “take it personally.”

And give it personally.

…And the newsroom has left the building. “If the folks in the building want to insist that what they do has some sort of magical quality, well, today’s stand alone journalists have an even better chance of becoming the next generation’s most trusted names—plural—in news.”

Posted by Jay Rosen at April 19, 2005 2:55 PM   Print


You really have been an enabler, you know.

Posted by: praktike at April 19, 2005 3:12 PM | Permalink

Reading between the lines:

"The system that protected lazy columnists like me is ending, where am I going to run my vanity column now (not a blog I've burned that bridge)...what gives people to the right of Howard Dean the nerve to criticize the press?...A TOKEN CONSERVATIVE IS WORKING FOR THE STRIB, CALL THE POLICE...don't they realize what will happen to liberal Minnesota if the voice of Big, Patronizing Editorialism is forced to engage in debate...have to check and see if I still have my parking space, but things don't look good and I'm can people stand by and let this happen to me?"

It's pitiful.

Posted by: Brian at April 19, 2005 4:14 PM | Permalink

The extent of Coleman's "arguments" about bloggers is using the words "right wing," "wingnut," "extremist," and other shopworn adjectives when describing them.

Coleman has never tried to engage the arguments of the "wing nuts" with his own facts. He takes the lazy man's way out. "Nah, nah, you're a right-wing freak."

If that's what passes for reasoned argument in his mind, then the Star Tribune should hire someone else -- someone who can think.

The Powerline folks look like the voices of sweet reason compared to him. They use facts, examples and links. They address Coleman's statements and show where they have no factual basis. They make Coleman look like a mewling amateur.

If anyone deserves to be "decertified," Coleman does.

Posted by: Dexter Westbrook at April 19, 2005 5:59 PM | Permalink

Rebecca is correct.
I have no doubt whatever that much of the casually-informed public thinks -- like Nick Coleman -- that bloggers are mainly a group of rightwingnuts who have corporate media "in the crosshairs of a constant all-out partisan attack."
Do a word association test with any random eight educated people you run across.
Four will associate "blogs" with the Dan Rather's and Eason Jordan's comeuppance at the hands of PowerLine and/or FreeRepublic and/or Little Green Footballs and/or whoever is most loudly taking credit at the moment -- a development that they (the public) may find either repugnant or admirable, depending upon their own predelictions.
Another three will have no idea what a blog even is.
And perhaps one of the eight will vaguely understand that the true scope of the phenomenon is largely a cause for hope, and that it is far broader than the frustrated and truly bitter right wing finally finding an outlet to let off steam and tote up the notches on its belt. The bloodthirsty have drowned out the majority -- and that breeds both skepticism and disdain among a populace that is paying only passing attention.
As Blood notes, "the entire enterprise [may be] in danger of being marginalized before it gains a foothold." What she worries about -- the " 'decertification' of blogging due to the effect of a small number of highly influential blogs" -- is well underway.
In my capacity as the proprietor of a relentlessy non-partisan (albeit sponsored) blog, I see it all the time, in both my e-mail and my comments board.
And that is something that you don't see much addressed here, or at BuzzMachine, or by the Dan Gilmores or the Ed Cones, all of whom are loathe to acknowledge that there is a snake in the garden -- a very large snake, and one which gets all the attention, except among the true believers of an idyllic future.

Posted by: Steve Lovelady at April 19, 2005 10:37 PM | Permalink

Brian is correct. It was not the wording of Coleman's shriek that impressed me, but more the tone of it. He sounds petulant and scared.

Who was it that coined the phrase, "the rage of the drowning man"?

Posted by: Impacted Wisdom Truth at April 19, 2005 10:56 PM | Permalink

jerks like nick are so far left when the look right they're still looking left!


guys like him think a bi-partisan foreign policy debate will occur when you have russert interviewing hagel and biden.

or that a bipartisan campaign finance reform debate will occur when tina brown interviews mccain and feingold.

his disdain for blogging is similar to the left's disdain for religious people: like dinaosaurs seeing the first mammals devouring their eggs; like gorbachev watching millions of Poles rally for JPII.

coleman fails to see his own comp;icitness in his own demise - and by extension, so too do the other paleo-journalists: they fail to see how their left-wing, morally relativist, post-modern elitism has alienated them from their readership, the public - the common man.

the bottom-line is that coleman and his ilk nearly hate the common man as much as they do bloggers and the religious.

that's why coleman and his ilk think that the common man is "inauthentic" and is dumb and is MANIPULATED by shrewdies like Rove into FALLING FOR "values issues" when they should be voting their pocketbooks.

And then - to top it off, the coleman-types favor higher taxes -- as if as long as you tell Joe Q. Public that you're going to increase taxes on "ONLY THOSE PEOPLE MAKING MORE THAN YOU" you should get his vote.

BUT... because MOST Americans believe in our own individuality - and not our membership in any class - we won't fall for the class-warfare crap.

and we don't fall for derogatory slams against bloggers either.

well, because most people see bloggers as their neighbors speaking at the town hall, or as the "letters to the editor" and they accept that EVERYONE has a right to express criticism.

Even of journalists.

NO: ESPECIALLY of journalists, who have - for too long - seen themselves as ABOVE the law and apart from the people, as if the Fourth Estate were the lone guarantors of democracy.


A nation where the press is above criticism is a nation without free speech for the people. Which is really what nick seems to prefer: as if the People should just SHUT UP and take the MSM's party-line.

Guys like him are useless at best.

Posted by: reliapundit at April 19, 2005 11:48 PM | Permalink

Seeing as how my blog is home of the First Annual Coleman Award (for unhinged MSM blog-bashing), allow me to put in my two cents.

Or, more appropriately, ask about the two Nick Coleman anti-blog screeds he penned for the Strib: If Coleman's columns were so courageous and hit the nail on the head, why did the Strib pull them from its Web site? I can call up his other columns, but poof, his two print tantrums are magically missing, and have been for a while.

That's because the columns (one of which Mr. Rosen "ripped") makes a kindergartener's manners look like an ambassador's by comparison. The second column, which actually insinuated that the Powerline crew needs penile enhancement, was an expensive tantrum at that. According to the City Pages, TCF Bank pulled its advertising from the Strib after Coleman insinuated that people should close their accounts because one of the Powerline guys works there. (Estimates place the cost of Coleman's breakdown at a cool $250,000. Link.)

Coleman's latest e-mail tantrum doesn't support his cause, either. "Right-wing" this, "right-wing" that, "right-wing wingnuts" everywhere, and then he scratches his head and wonders why thr Strib "has hired a by-god certifiable right wing activist and power megaphone."

Gee ... what would give the Strib's editors the crazy idea that its opinion pages were in the need of a little ideological balance?

What Coleman calls a "constant all-out partisan attack" is an on-line public kindly asking the mainstream press not to air forged memos, not to accuse soldiers of intentionally killing journalists without proof, and to make getting a correction run by the mainstream press easier than designing a skyscraper.

Coleman's handlers obviously didn't put too tight of a choke chain on him after losing a major advertiser. Hopefully they'll look at this e-mail and reconsider his dosage of meds.

On the bright side, Coleman's now officially in the running to win his own award.

Posted by: Kevin P. Craver at April 20, 2005 12:03 AM | Permalink

Phil Boas writing for Masthead sums it up best:

"The Power Line bloggers aren’t journalists. They’re attorneys whose pedigrees include Dartmouth, Stanford and Harvard law. There is undeniable heft to their argument, so that to watch an exchange between the conservatives at Power Line and the lefty columnist at the Star Tribune is to watch an intellectual mismatch that is, frankly, embarrassing"

Posted by: Fenrisulven at April 20, 2005 12:29 AM | Permalink

"The true believers of an idyllic future?" Steve, if you will pardon the expression, that is pap. Unfair too. If that is what you get from reading PressThink, then you are doing a superficial job of it.

I haven't written about the de-certification of weblogs, as Rebecca called it, because I don't see it happening. The notion that the sins of Powerline are about to "marginalize" blogging just does not strike me as very descriptive or very plausible.

I think the sins of Powerline will take their toll on Powerline, as they should. In fact, I'm pretty sure Time magazine regrets its endorsement, but ultimately there is no way to know unless someone there says so.

It's bad form, Steve, to veer from what is perhaps a difference of assessment to calling people utopians, and suggesting they live in an idyll. I think journalists are at their worst when they try to out-realism everyone. It's an ugly habit.

Here is what I wrote from deep within my idyll back in February. I don't recall CJR daily or Rebecca linking to this piece, or adding to my attempts at synthesizing. Why not?

Creating "Jeff Gannon" as a credible White House correspondent, and creating radical doubt about the intentions of mainstream journalists (in order to de-certify the traditional press) are two parts of the same effort, which stretches beyond the Bush team itself to allies in Republican Party politics, and new actors like Sinclair Broadcasting, or, or Hugh Hewitt, or these guys.

It is this larger picture that accounts for a professional tribe of journalists who, as Lemann said, "collectively felt both more harshly attacked and less important" in 2004. The more harshly attacked part comes from the Culture War rumbling below, while the message "you're unimportant" is sent directly from the top.

And I have a hard time getting worked up about the Star-Tribune hiring a right wing columnist too.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at April 20, 2005 1:16 AM | Permalink

>I think this is what set him off. If you know him a little (Nick's a rebel)

No, it's pretty clear. Lack of sufficient lithium is what set him off.

Sorry, I hate to be the one to inform you, but frothing at the mouth liberalism isn't "being a rebel" in the media. Bringing down Dan Rather from his liberal high horse is being a rebel.

It's relentlessly amazing. Liberals think anyone but themselves are paying attention when they try and claim the "reason" high ground after screaming (Dean) or putting forth blatantly falsified documents (Rather and Mapes) or just plain lathering themselves up (Coleman).

To Coleman:
Clue <---- Get one, they're absolutely FREE!!

Posted by: Nick B. at April 20, 2005 2:51 AM | Permalink

What he's saying is liberal bloggers aren't working the ref to the degree the other side is. And the "lazy equivalence" that results from this imbalance is de-certifying the press. In short, he's saying liberal bloggers aren't doing their jobs.

You ripped him without contacting him first?

Hey he may have been nasty, but if his tone were polite would it have made the front page of Pressthink? Yeah...maybe it would have. Still, journalism textbooks (or mine at least) instruct the students to "look for the conflict" in any situation.

Posted by: AF at April 20, 2005 4:48 AM | Permalink

What she worries about -- the " 'decertification' of blogging due to the effect of a small number of highly influential blogs" -- is well underway.

BINGO! Man, I thought it was just me, and even thought all the Powerline-as-blog-of-the-year was a conspiracy of the MSM to hasten blogs' de-certification. SF Chronicle said the top TWO political blogs were Instapundit and Powerline. DailyKos? Who's that? (DKos is based in Berkeley.)

Posted by: AF at April 20, 2005 4:59 AM | Permalink

I had lunch with a friend yesterday who said the neocon types were so "happy" after 9/11, because now they could go to war, war, war.

But in talking more, I noted it wasn't happiness at war. It was happiness about being able to speak the truth, to not be silenced by Political Correctness. (OK, Summers at Harvard is still not happy, is still censored.)

MSM, and University Profs, and Artists, are almost all spewing the PC-junk (which does include many good critiques of Bush's subsidies for the rich), so DailyKos ain't much different than Times or NYT.

Powerline and Instapundit ARE different, in a way like Rush was, but because they are written, permanent, and google-able, unlike talk radio, the right-wing blogs are the other half of the news. The half that shows the advantages of Rep/ Bush policies, and the disadvantages of Dem policies -- the half mostly missing from MSM. And almost totally missing from well read but less relevant Kos.

Maybe THIS half will get some play in the Star-Trib by a Rep reporter, making it more obvious if it's missing from other reporters. And Ms. Blood prolly doesn't like any breaks in the PC dyke of thought control.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at April 20, 2005 5:26 AM | Permalink

Ah, Nick. Wipe the lickspittle from your pie hole and listen up. You have lost touch with your customers. You are supposed to provide a customer service. That would be a service that a customer might like to use/read. Instead we hear some paranoid ravings of a partially unhinged demigod. Loki anyone. Nick, paranoid? Do ya think? Here is a little bit on paranoids from a Dr. Brickner that I poached from an essay by Terry Bohannon.

Dr. Brickner dedicates this chapter to explain why the paranoid is dangerous. "Several major characteristics compose the paranoid character. The first is the need to dominate. . . . A second characteristic is suspiciousness. . . . A third paranoid characteristic is an exaggeratedly high opinion of one's own importance (megalomania). . . . A fourth characteristic of paranoids is false rumination over past events"

Hmmm. Does anyone else see Nick’s picture in the dictionary next to this definition?

Posted by: thirdfinger at April 20, 2005 6:43 AM | Permalink

MSM has been so far left for so long anything near the middle is considered a right-wing fanatical position much less a true right-wing nut.

How many times does the MSM have to get busted for outright lying in order to promote a left political agenda?

People like this "reporter" aren't upset with "right-wing agendas". They're upset that they are being caught as the little propaganda machines they really are.

Posted by: Faith+1 at April 20, 2005 7:39 AM | Permalink

concerning Rebecca Blood's "interpretation"

[...right-wing bloggers are making it more difficult for mainstream media to honestly report the news. By putting partisan pressure on news outlets to "balance" their reports...]

Move the author's quotation marks from "balance" to "honestly", contrast the two versions, then reassess her intention, and possible bias.

[Such pressure, I would extrapolate, would increase the incidence of "he said/she said" reporting, and/or create a chilling effect...]

Extrapolate, indeed. If a "chilling effect" results from reporting both sides of an issue (he said/she said), then what's being chilled?

[Weblogs are now read by only about a third of Internet users.]

In numbers, that would be what? A third of 221 million people (from a quick Google search). And newspaper readership? About half to two-thirds of adults. And of those, how many get to the editorial page? Assuming that some of the same people read both newspapers and weblogs, then the "domain of wingnuts" characterization tells me more about the writer than about the facts.

Then comes the question:
[Is the entire enterprise in danger of being marginalized before it gains a foothold with mainstream Web users?]
Is this an honest inquiry? What facts is it based on? Ignore the facts of declining press readership, and growing electronic media influence. Keep telling yourself, "this isn't happening, this isn't happening."

Posted by: GQ at April 20, 2005 9:35 AM | Permalink

"if, as Coleman suggests, the press is now concluding that blogging is the domain of wingnuts, the public may well be drawing the same conclusion."

If blogs needed to appeal to "the public" to maintain circulation and stay in business, Rebecca might have a point.

But as evidenced with Buckhead and so many other takedowns over the past few years, blogs don't need to appeal to the masses, just to the right people.

Their primary function is to provide an alternate megaphone for voices and ideas that would otherwise be squelched by the MSM, to give them a chance at being heard by those with the influence to make a difference -- it all flows outward from there.

When I switched to blogs, it wasn't because I thought they were the biggest baddest new thing, it was simply because I had become so disgusted with the stuff from the MSM that just about ~any~ new info, outlook etc become instantly refreshing simply by contrast.

And I also have to question Rebecca's characterization of blogs as being dominated by the right -- last I heard KOS and Josh Marshall were doing just fine.

Posted by: Scott at April 20, 2005 9:38 AM | Permalink

De-certified? The guy is certifiable.

Posted by: Achillea at April 20, 2005 9:53 AM | Permalink

I enjoy Power Line, but wonder, isn't it guilty of the same arrogance and more bias (on the other side) than the MSM? A bit more humility, accountability, and honesty would be nice. Found this through Power line trackbacks, and wish there were more like it on both right and left:

It's nice to see Coleman taken down a peg or two as well.

Posted by: TJ at April 20, 2005 10:17 AM | Permalink

Coleman Has A Good Point

Not that I agree with all of it, but Coleman has a good point. The real problem is, the pressure for the press to move right started a long time before the invention of blogs - even before the widespread use of the Internet.

It started in the 1980s when the Moral Majority helped elect Ronald Reagan president.

I've tried for years to get activists on the left to realize that the reason they do not get adequate press coverage in hinterland daily newspapers and local TV news stations is because of this pressure. The only way to "balance" the situation is for those on the left to engage in similar pressure and make news organizations feel the heat.

What we saw in the last election cycle is that some bloggers on the left started striking back, which as you may recall, evan had the New York Times "public editor" calling bloggers on the left "more vile" than the ones on the right.

Of course the Times is struggling to appear objective about 25 years too late.

The Times is so concerned about appearing middle of the road these days that you won't even find this story in the national newspaper of record.

The very idea that the Bush administration lists environmental groups as "terrorists" and not right-wing nutjobs like Eric Rudolph's Army of God - and the fact that this story gets no play as the Pope who helped Bush beat Kerry dominates the news like he's Michael Jackson - is quite revealing.


Posted by: Glynn Wilson at April 20, 2005 10:47 AM | Permalink

Nick has Dropped it in the Dirt So many times and now that he's being EXPOSED, He's commin UNGLUED!!

Posted by: Mike at April 20, 2005 10:56 AM | Permalink

Jay Rosen refers to the "sins of Powerline" (see below). What precisely are their sins/

Posted by: wyck holland at April 20, 2005 11:25 AM | Permalink

Jay Rosen refers to the "sins of Powerline" (see above). What precisely are their sins?

Posted by: wyck holland at April 20, 2005 11:26 AM | Permalink

Nick, stop whinning and start reporting the news. Why do you think "common folk" have begun reading blogs (liberal, conservative or independent)? The reason is simple..there is so much editoralizing in all media as well as overt bias in reporting all facets of the news! When I read comments like yours I am not surprised your readership is declining. People like myself owe you nothing. Your job is to report! I decide for myself after hearing all the facts! My suggestion is to stop complaining and just do your job--report the news!

Posted by: BFP at April 20, 2005 11:26 AM | Permalink

BFP: It is not the job of a columnist to "report the news." It is the job of a columnist to comment on the news, which by its very nature is "editorializing."

I found Coleman's most recent column on the pope and McCarthyism right on, as in reporting "the "truth," not necassarily from the right or left.


Posted by: Glynn Wilson at April 20, 2005 11:39 AM | Permalink

I'd like to second the question about powerline's "sins." What are they?

Posted by: stan at April 20, 2005 11:44 AM | Permalink

My daughter used to ride horseback, so I have a lot of experience in buying jodhpurs. They're very practical, actually, but I recommend buying them second-hand for practice, and having just one new pair for shows.

Nick Coleman? Ah, yes. He writes for a newspaper, doesn't he? I had never heard of him until I had been a regular PowerLine reader for some number of months (or maybe over a year).

The problem with Coleman and his ilk is that they are reactionaries. They are used to being the high priests of information gatekeeping, and now they're being challenged. And they don't like being challenged, because it forces them to actually put up coherent intellectual arguments for why they write what they write rather than rely on their positions of power to carry them through.

They will either adapt or be marginalized.

If I were allowed to offer my own 2 cents to the journalistic profession, I would suggest that the MSM focus on what it does best -- information gathering and reporting -- and make an honest effort to leave out spin, analysis, editorializing, or whatever you might want to call. Analyzing the raw information is what the blogosphere does better than the MSM.

And here's where I think the real rub is from bloggers: When the MSM deliberately twists, omits, or simply misstates material facts in a story, we are left with a situation of "junk-in/junk-out;" i.e., without full and accurate raw data, it is nigh impossible to get an accurate read on what is actually happening in regard to some discrete event. The MSM tends to get itself into hot water with bloggers (especially conservative bloggers) when it relies on its biases and conventional wisdom (sometimes expressed as a meme or a predetermined "meta-narrative"; i.e., Pope Benedict XVI is a "hardliner" or a "rottweiler", or the U.S. is failing in Iraq) as a substitute for actually gathering information and reporting it.

Posted by: SWLiP at April 20, 2005 11:44 AM | Permalink

Could someone please point me to the evidence that blogs are becoming marginalized?

As for Nick Coleman, well, the term "pathetic" just doesn't seem sufficient. But what singular term best describes behavior that is unhinged, whining, paranoid, past-his-prime, self-important, combed-over, warmed-over 60s faux-radical-now-reactionary in style?

How about Colemanesque?
Maybe Wardchurchillian?

But who cares about Nick now anyway, since no one reads him except when the now-marginalized Powerline is ripping him.

Posted by: Pogo at April 20, 2005 11:50 AM | Permalink


If you read the story you allege is being covered up, you'll see it says "were inspired by radical right-wing movements." You can claim you were inspired by Gandhi to murder people; that doesn't make Gandhi a terrorist.

I don't like Army of God, but they don't advocate violence, as much as one might like to see them condemn it more often. ELF and ALF, otoh, explicitly state their members will and should commit violence. That makes them terrorist groups.

On your larger point, the media is something like 4:1 left-of-center according to numerous polls. The pressure to move right doesn't come because there are right-wing groups (there are left-wing groups like NAACP, NARAL, NOW, etc ad infinitum that do the same thing), it comes from consumers of the news. Once the ironically named "Fairness Doctrine" was dismantled, it quickly became obvious the marketplace was starved for a right-of-center perspective as Rush Limbaugh (a talent, but not an exceptional one) went from being on one station in Sacramento to being nationally syndicated into virtually every market, signing a $300M contract, and generally being the biggest draw in radio. Fox News outdraws all other cable news networks combined.

The marketplace has spoken loudly and clearly, and it wants news to move right.

Posted by: TallDave at April 20, 2005 11:57 AM | Permalink

Jay, you're taking this a little too personally. It's not as if I accused you of wearing Jarvis' rosecolored glasses, or even of wearing a lighter shade. I understand that even along the same side of the spectrum there are infinite perches, and no two gurus occupy the same one.
As for Rebecca, she can certainly speak for herself -- but, as I read it, she was raising questions, not asserting premises.
And as for CJR Daily failing to link to your suppositions in February, frankly those musings struck me as a fairly obvious conclusion extrapolated from Lemann's article, not as a fresh take on the subject.
We did write about Gannon, more than once -- but we also concluded, after poking around a bit, that there was a complete lack of convincing evidence at the time (and for that matter to this day) that he was either a White House plant or a White House operative.
Sometimes good journalism is defined as much by what you leave unpublished as it is by what you print.

Posted by: Steve Lovelady at April 20, 2005 12:04 PM | Permalink

Steve "Drooling Morons" Lovelady writes,

"In my capacity as the proprietor of a relentlessy non-partisan (albeit sponsored) blog, I see it all the time, in both my e-mail and my comments board."


Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back, Steve. And do yourself (and your readers) a favor--get out more. You don't just look pompous when you (inaccurately) congratulate yourself for being an Unbiased Higher Being, you look dumb and dishonest as well. Poor form.

Posted by: Will Collier at April 20, 2005 12:11 PM | Permalink

Well, this is fun....

Posted by: Jay Rosen at April 20, 2005 12:21 PM | Permalink

Steve reads me right: in the first paragraph of my post, I was trying to interpret Coleman's note, as Jay asked. in the second, I was articulating the questions that reading raised for me; and in the third, I was stating my own opinion.

Gannon: I do have other things to do besides comment on your site, you know. :)

Posted by: rebecca blood at April 20, 2005 12:29 PM | Permalink

TallDave: The Army of God doesn't advocate violence?

Oh, they just commit violence in the name of God. If that ain't terrorism, what is? They are not so different from Al Qaida. If you can't see that, blog on in ignorance.

As for the MSM or as Jay calls it "the legacy press" being liberal, try reading the Birmingham News sometime or watching the local NBC affiliate. They wouldn't hire a liberal for $15,000 a year.

If the NYTimes and Washington Post and CBS news are "too liberal" for you, try reading a newspaper in Europe or even Canada.

Scream "liberal" all you want. It's old hat. We're over it.

BTW: Just because someone thinks George W. Bush is a bad president doesn't make them a liberal. Down here in the Deep South, we like a bit of civil libertarianism with our liberalism, unlike the liberals in Portland, Oregon, where they have rules for everything.

Also, if you think Bush's budget is conservative, look again. Just the facts, Jack, er, Dave.

Posted by: Glynn Wilson at April 20, 2005 12:34 PM | Permalink

Gannon: I do have other things to do besides comment on your site, you know. :)

Well, of course you do. And I have other things to do than investigate Powerline and the Strib.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at April 20, 2005 12:36 PM | Permalink

Such pressure, I would extrapolate, would increase the incidence of "he said/she said" reporting...

I'm not sure what's wrong with more stories that quote people on each side of an issue and are forthright about who those people are. We unwashed consumers of news don't require media outlets to draw our conclusions for us or to prejudge where we might come down on any given story. All we require is that you tell us who the players are in a story and tell us what those players have said. We'll handle it from there. "He said/she said" stories are very valuable where there are facts in dispute. More of them would not be a bad thing.

...and/or create a chilling effect, resulting in news outlets not reporting anything that might be construed as critical of right-wing politicians and causes.

This completely misconstrues the major complaints fom the right. We are not looking to get a free pass. We're looking to get a fair shake. We don't expect that our causes and political leaders will never be criticized but we expect that those who profess to be objective will do their very best to be so. When a story quotes a righty think tank and identifies it as "conservative" or "right-leaning", we expect that the lefty quoted will be likewise identified. We expect that if you quote four people on the left side of an issue, you try to find more than one on the right.

But we've also been asking for something else - representation. It boggles my mind that a newsroom where left outnumbers right 4-1, 6-1, or even 10-1 can be seen as either fair or objective. How in the world can you expect a reporter to write objectively and authoritatively about conservative causes when you have to put out an APB in the newsroom to find a conservative? We on the right see that sort of gross underrepresentation and we aren't baffled that media outlets look more like echo chambers than newsrooms. I'd never ask that only conservatives be allowed to write about consevative issues, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a few conservatives about to help with fact-checking and to lend their worldview to the overall worldview of the newsroom.

I've been reading more than a few articles about the new Pope in the last two days and one of the thing that strikes me is that most of the news stories I've read have been written with a single premise in mind: that the Church has some obligation to consider fundamental change on hte say-so of its followers. That's driven the "is Benedict XVI too conservative?" and "new Pope alienates American Catholics" stories that have been all over the front pages of the major newspapers recently.

What I've not read, though, is a story that assumes the opposite: that the Church is right and the parishoners wrong. That would create a much different story and would, I think, prove interesting reading. How, though, are you going to get a story like that if you have to launch an interstate manhunt to find someone who can entertain that thought without bursting into laughter?

Posted by: Jimmie at April 20, 2005 1:15 PM | Permalink

Like Will Collier, I got a chuckle out of Steve Lovelady's claim that CJR Daily is "relentlessly non-partisan." With a few rare exceptions, it reads like the press office for But I guess we can thank Lovelady for trying to bring some levity to this passionate debate.

Posted by: shirley at April 20, 2005 1:15 PM | Permalink

Steve Lovelady said "Little Green Footballs and/or whoever is most loudly taking credit at the moment"

Strange, because Charles has repeatedly and emphatically said that others did far more than him and deserve far more credit.

You describe yourself as "relentlessy non-partisan" but your inability to take seriously the criticisms raised at Powerline and other blogs reveals your partisan biases. IF you really believe it's all "frustration" and "letting off steam" and cutting "notches on belts" then you need to take a deep breath and look again. If you are just indulging in rhetoric then shame on you.

And by the way, Charles is not a right-winger in any rational sense of the term. He's a liberal who woke up on 9/11 and decided to document the dangers of Muslim extremism. And along the way he got more and more involved in documenting how so much journalism ignores or misreports the facts. For these activities lefties call him a right-winger, which is about as fact-based as Walter Duranty report on the state of the Soviet Union.

Posted by: pst314 [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 20, 2005 1:21 PM | Permalink

Well, from the conspicuous absence of any mention of left wing-or just plain liberal-blogs in his rant, Mr. Coleman seems to think that-in enlightened and responsible hands-blogging would only be dangerous to those who truly deserve it. Y'know, people like Rich Gannon.

But the right wing baboons blog like a three year old that found daddy's loaded gun. And Mr. Coleman senses that his corpse is about to fall on the innocent victims pile currently populated by Dan Rather and Eason Jordan. Still, he appears to take comfort that it would be a martyr's death.

Can this be prevented? He hopes so. Of course, this means we would have to regulate the academic fakers.

Posted by: Steve Irons at April 20, 2005 1:27 PM | Permalink

All this talk about the "chilling effect" criticism has on journalism, plus all the complaints by journos that they can't do their job for fear of being labeled "unpatriotic", "biased", or whatever, makes me think we are in for a serious shake down cruise in journalism.

Journalists have been a protected species for decades, never having to fear the wrath of news consumers. The rise of alternative media has changed all that. Those who are serious about journalism will withstand the criticism and be better for it. Those who cannot tolerate criticism will become daycare providers, join ngos or become social workers. Just as the real estate crash of the '80s weeded out the nonserious realtors, the open public scrutiny of journos will weed out their undesirables.

Also, can be have a moratorium on the use of "chilling effect" every time someone in the media is criticised?

Posted by: kilgore trout at April 20, 2005 1:54 PM | Permalink

Everybody would benefit from stepping away from their laptops for an afternoon and going to a good research or university library, and cranking the microfilm reader through a few decades of local and urban newspapers (it won't take too awful long; they're almost all weeklies and usually with around eight pages, but the print will make your eyes swim).

There is a cycle, of which we are in the latest rondelay, through naked partisanship to vague objectivity (but always in the service of moving the product, i.e., selling papers). Around the Civil War, each town in Ohio, let alone Columbus, Cinc'y, and Cleveland had two papers, Dem and Rep, admittedly so. Recurrs between World Wars, as it had back in the 1830's. Econmic contractions filled in the gaps, when only one paper could get ad dollars to float, and market realities meant the bias was less partisan.

Nick (and those yelling a bit too red-facedly from the other margin), you need to know that partisanship in the service of newsgathering is not the sixth seal of the Apocalypse. Live to be 110, and you may see an era return more like the one you thought you liked . . .except it will be different in other ways, so just enjoy the platform we have to publish in right now -- in other words, START A BLOG.

Posted by: Jeff Gill at April 20, 2005 2:35 PM | Permalink

Nick has become a lightning rod for ridicule within the blogosphere (and elsewhere) not because he defends his lively-hood (I just can't bring myself to say "profession" as it is practiced by Colman), but because of the incredable hubris he displays in doing so.

Can you imagine a columnist from the Chicago Tribune demanding respect because he "knows stuff"? And meaning it?

Coleman is his own worst enemy.

A more mature individual would know when to cut the losses and let it go, but Coleman is a guy who hits bottom and just keeps digging because he doesn't know what else to do.

Posted by: tjswift at April 20, 2005 2:45 PM | Permalink

Jimmie: "We are not looking to get a free pass. We're looking to get a fair shake."

Bingo. If the MSM had practiced objectivity and balance, there never would have been a need for conservatives to create their own parallel media in talk radio, there never would have been a need for FOX News, there never would have been a need for the Blogosphere. The MSM's wounds are self-inflicted.

Its Economics 101: If you aren't serving half your customer base, they will find someone else to buy from.

Posted by: Fenrisulven at April 20, 2005 2:49 PM | Permalink

If Rathergate was a "chilling affair" then bring on the ice cubes. The left media is like the kid that used to be the only one with a baseball.

What is it about right-wing'ers being capitalist lap dogs? First, I've never seen the connection and second, if there was who cares? How does being a corprate advocate diminish the power of your argument? If you can't debate the issue then cripple the messenger, I guess.

Posted by: Brad at April 20, 2005 3:36 PM | Permalink

So much comment wisdom here; must be new visitors. I hope these clear-seeing and perceptive guests stick around and continue to pull aside the curtain of our dominant media's pretense of objectivity.

Posted by: Trained Auditor at April 20, 2005 4:46 PM | Permalink


Do your commenters ever worry you? I mean, language like:

Mr. Coleman senses that his corpse is about to fall on the innocent victims pile currently populated by Dan Rather and Eason Jordan. Still, he appears to take comfort that it would be a martyr's death.

It sounds like someone trying out for the Khmer Rouge.

Posted by: adamsj at April 20, 2005 6:47 PM | Permalink

"It sounds like someone trying out for the Khmer Rouge."

Hyperbole. If you can't argue the merits of the case, then damn your detractors as extremists.

Posted by: Fenrisulven at April 20, 2005 7:54 PM | Permalink

I'm a little amused at supposedly professional writers who capitalize whole words for emphasis, or those who exhort others "to honestly investigate". Maybe editors do a better job of making these writers ready for publication than I had suspected.

As for the concern that this will have a "chilling effect" on the media, making them less willing to criticize right-wing politicians and causes

Posted by: Pat Curley [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 20, 2005 8:38 PM | Permalink

there is no evidence that this is happening. Apparently Rebecca's concern stops and ends with wingnuts; has she ever heard of Media Matters for America? Or does she just look at them as providing balance?

Posted by: Pat Curley [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 20, 2005 8:41 PM | Permalink

From what I gather, we can agree that anything Coleman said would've been fine if he'd said it on a blog.

Seems to me Coleman's rude, offensive and prone to personalizing a debate. All bad.

But he's right.

Political bloggers won't like to hear this, but you ARE marginalized. Come on, folks -- if The Daily Show is making fun of you for having two ideologies (archliberal, archconservative), it's time to take a quick look in the mirror. It's only a matter of time before you get nailed on The Simpsons as well, and that episode will run in syndication until we can no longer type. Write those off as tools of the liberal media if you like, but those of us in journalism can only dream of reflecting society as accurately as they do.

Fortunately, the blogosphere goes beyond those who throw red-blue talking points in each other's faces 24/7 and think they're enlightening America. It's thousands of personal blogs and neat little communities of people who treat all politicians and all political bloggers with justified skepticism. And it's blogs like Zach Braff's. Who? You may not know him, but his blog is attracting thousands of comments. None of it could be confused with Plato or Shakespeare, but it's harmless fun. (He's an actor/director -- Scrubs, Garden State)

So those who think Coleman's reacting hysterically are, for the most part, right. But so is Rebecca, who goes on to write: "A few journalists are unwilling to admit the positive potential inherent in blogging; but too many bloggers are equally unwilling to admit the negatives. It will always be easy to identify the serious students of the form: they will look at both."

Frankly, in journalism, we aren't doing that. There are a few ink-stained wretches who aren't paying attention at all. Then we have a bunch of people trying to prove how hip they are by genuflecting toward anyone with an RSS feed and a bad attitude. We need more Rebeccas.

Posted by: Beau at April 20, 2005 9:06 PM | Permalink

"Political bloggers won't like to hear this, but you ARE marginalized. Come on, folks -- if The Daily Show..."

Huh? Bloggers are marginalized because John Stewart mocks them? The Belmont Club as arch-liberal/conservative? Are you serious? Please, this could be an interesting and enlightening conversation: detail how blogs have become marginalized (remember, wishing doesn't make it so).

Also, I too would like to hear Jay's explanation of Powerline's "sins". And I'm the 4th or 5th here to ask. What, is it a secret? ;)

Posted by: Fenrisulven at April 20, 2005 9:52 PM | Permalink

... I too would like to hear Jay's explanation of Powerline's "sins". And I'm the 4th or 5th here to ask. What, is it a secret? ;)

What, Powerline has broken with human nature and is without sin? That wouldn't be blog of the year but blog of the ages.

Actually, I wasn't suggesting a chapter-and-verse catalogue of sins. If you're waiting around for that, find your coat and car keys. I was explaining to friends of mine, people I respect and argue with--Rebecca Blood, Steve Lovelady, and by extension others who read them--that I am not worried about Powerline's sins, whatever they may be. Hubris? Contempt? Jealousy? Greed? Pride? Bad judgment?

I was making the point that if the authors of a highly visible weblog lie, cheat, steal, attempt to intimidate, cook the books, fake the evidence, and demagogue their way through, while failing to admit mistakes or correct the record when clearly wrong... this will eventually subtract from their reputation and effectiveness online. They will matter less. Over time. This is as true for Oliver on the Left and it is for Patterico on the Right.

Thus: "I think the sins of Powerline will take their toll on Powerline, as they should." As against dicrediting "blogging" as a whole-- which my friends suggested might happen.

Now, this is not a point about Powerline, but all the right-leaning bloggers, and their readers, who participated with such enthusiasm in the Dan Rather and Eason Jordon episodes, winning what they saw as a measure of vindication in the end.

I felt during those events that a dangerous over-confidence was building up among some, a tendency to find in the spectacular details of specific cases confirmation of laws about "the MSM" and its behavior that were actually rotten as generalizations, and likely to lead the observer seriously astray in future cases.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at April 20, 2005 10:37 PM | Permalink

Sorry, Fenrisulven, but I'm not here to debate you. I'm asking Jay whether or not he finds the violent imagery of so many of his commenters disturbing. Tough luck if you don't like the question.

Posted by: adamsj at April 20, 2005 10:37 PM | Permalink

I can't speak for Jay, but I think TJ (above) did a pretty good job of recounting PowerLine's various "sins" when he/she wrote:

"I enjoy Power Line, but wonder, isn't it guilty of the same arrogance and more bias (on the other side) than the MSM? A bit more humility, accountability, and honesty would be nice."

Let's break that elegantly compact analysis down into its component parts:
*Lack of accountability or self-correction.
In other words, all the qualities usually ascribed to the dreaded (and woefully mislabeled) MSM.
I don't know TJ from Santa Claus, but I've seldom seen anyone hit the nail so squarely on the head. The only thing she/he forgot was:

*Unseemly gloating over the mangled fruit of the hunt.

But that one is a whole other story, isn't it ? Having to do with upbringing, class (or the lack of it), sense of fairness, and lessons learned or not learned along the road of life.
Of course, human beings -- even lawyers -- are ultimately redeemable, so perhaps today's vultures will become tomorrow's bluebirds.
But don't count on it.

Posted by: Steve Lovelady at April 20, 2005 11:05 PM | Permalink

Karl Rove Says Press More 'Oppositional' Than Liberal

"I think it's less liberal than it is oppositional," Karl Rove said according to this article in the Wasington Post.

Damn right.

"Reporters now see their role less as discovering facts and fair-mindedly reporting the truth and more as being put on the earth to afflict the comfortable, to be a constant thorn of those in power, whether they are Republican or Democrat," Rove said.

His indictment of the media - delivered as part of Washington College's Harwood Lecture Series, named for the late Washington Post editor and writer Richard Harwood - had four parts: that there's been an explosion in the number of media outlets; that these outlets have an insatiable demand for content; that these changes create enormous competitive pressure; and that journalists have increasingly adopted an antagonistic attitude toward public officials.

I'm wondering what this does to some of the arguments here? Tell you what, we'll get back to that . . .

Posted by: GW at April 20, 2005 11:27 PM | Permalink

Without realizing it (and certainly without intending it), Coleman has added validation to the complaints of conservatives about left-wing press bias.

"...I had the poor judgment (or maybe the balls) to confront right wing wingnut bloggers who have my newspaper (and most others) in the crosshairs of a constant all-out partisan attack."
Why no attacks from leftist bloggers? Unbiased journalists would be attacked from both sides.

Posted by: The Dread Pundit Bluto at April 20, 2005 11:42 PM | Permalink

Thnak you for the acknowledgement, Jay. I've documented some points where Powerline has mis-stepped - pointing out that "journalism" isn't easy and anyone can fall prey to the pitfalls. It isn't, or shouldn't be an us vs. them game for either side, particularly when the battlecry is objectivism.

You should have seen what happened when I called Wizbang on their unfair treatment of the NY Times on a particular story. lol Talk about hysterical - they were convinced I was a liberal in sheeps clothing.

But, what I learned from that is that there also a great many of bloggers, left and right, who do value objectivity and insight, as opposed to the daily rant. Ultimately, blogs will find balance and hopefully become a place for productive political discourse, as opposed the the sharp-shooting contest at least the political blogs seem so locked into at present.

Posted by: Dan at April 20, 2005 11:53 PM | Permalink

"I was making the point that if the authors of a highly visible weblog lie, cheat, steal, attempt to intimidate, cook the books, fake the evidence, and demagogue their way through, while failing to admit mistakes or correct the record when clearly wrong... this will eventually subtract from their reputation and effectiveness online."

Thats a fair point. Thanks for the clarification.

It intially appeared you were engaging in something akin to the dishonesty of labelling someone a racist but then refusing to provide evidence to back up the accusation. Good to see that wasn't so.

I've been reading Powerline since this summer, and have not noticed the "Arrogance, Bias, Hubris, Lack of accountability or self-correction, Dishonesty" that Steve seems to imply they are guilty of. Perhaps he would be so kind as to provide examples?

Posted by: Fenrisulven at April 21, 2005 12:06 AM | Permalink

These comments about PowerLine's "sins" appear to come from folks who don't often read the writings of those three fine attorneys. It seems to me the Ivy League-educated PowerLine gentlemen go out of their way to opine with humility and generosity. They've admitted being wrong on a number of occasions. There may be some exceptions (perhaps warranted), but I think some observers may be transferring the sins of others onto PowerLine.

Or perhaps, to some, one must be a "drooling moron" if one turns the spotlight on our nation's newsrooms to expose the scuttling vermin infested there.

Posted by: Trained Auditor at April 21, 2005 12:18 AM | Permalink

"Sorry, Fenrisulven, but I'm not here to debate you. I'm asking Jay whether or not he finds the violent imagery of so many of his commenters disturbing. Tough luck if you don't like the question."

I wasn't debating you, just pointing out that defining this statement:

Mr. Coleman senses that his corpse is about to fall on the innocent victims pile currently populated by Dan Rather and Eason Jordan. Still, he appears to take comfort that it would be a martyr's death.

as "violent" imagery or tryouts for the Khmer Rouge is fallacious and renders your credibility suspect.

Posted by: Fenrisulven at April 21, 2005 12:20 AM | Permalink

"I was making the point that if the authors of a highly visible weblog lie, cheat, steal, attempt to intimidate, cook the books, fake the evidence, and demagogue their way through, while failing to admit mistakes or correct the record when clearly wrong... this will eventually subtract from their reputation and effectiveness online."

That's a hell of a big IF there.

Anyway, I have a point that everybody seems to miss.

It's not the blogosphere. The blogosphere is just a blip.

It's the internet. It's the utter elimination of barriers to entry in every sphere of communication. Blogs are one result of this. But so are email, usenet, web crawlers, file sharing, forums, wikis, webcams, VOIP, listservs, MMORPGs, instant messaging, portals, Amazon, day trading, eBay, iTunes and a million and one other things. The internet is transforming everything, and you can either adapt or get steamrollered.

The blogs vs. MSM issue is just a teeny-tiny corner of the complete transformation of society that is underway and accelerating. It gets a lot of attention because it directly effects the people who we rely on to keep us informed about the world. Over a very short period of time, with or without blogs, the MSM as it exists today is going to change beyond recognition - and/or be destroyed and replaced. In the end, you won't be able to tell which one actually happened. (Though I expect someone named Murdoch will still be making a great deal of money when the dust has settled.)

Posted by: Pixy Misa [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 21, 2005 1:16 AM | Permalink

New PressThink (just posted) Guest writer Chris Nolan: The Stand Alone Journalist is Here... Please check into it.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at April 21, 2005 1:32 AM | Permalink

Jay -

Yes, Chris Nolan has a good take on it, though it's still only one small part of the picture.

Interesting that you mention Mike Magee. One of the most successful fields for the stand-alone journalist so far has been computer news and hardware and software reviews. There must be thousands of web sites devoted to this, and some of the larger ones make serious money. In the process, they've cleaned the clocks of the print magazines.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 21, 2005 5:28 AM | Permalink

Jay said, "I felt during those events that a dangerous over-confidence was building up among some, a tendency to find in the spectacular details of specific cases confirmation of laws about "the MSM" and its behavior that were actually rotten as generalizations, and likely to lead the observer seriously astray in future cases."

In the case of Powerline or LGF, I have a much higher degree of confidence (based on their daily performances as reporters and analysts) that they will not go astray than that the MSM won't. The Powerline guys seem incredibly dedicated to not being wrong on facts, and humble and straightforward when they are, which is not often. I can only wish the MSM cared as much as those guys do about what actually happens and why.

Posted by: DAve at April 21, 2005 6:10 AM | Permalink

Fenrisulven, you're welcome to challenge my crediblitly. However, if you don't find that to be violent imagery, then I hsve to question your reading skills.

Posted by: adamsj at April 21, 2005 8:11 AM | Permalink

Blogs are the best thing to happen to journalism since the First Amendment.

I agree with Jack Shafer over at Slate that blogs can not and will not replace the MSM news desks. The blogs just don’t have the capability or resources to do what they do. Personal accounts of bloggers at the scene of a new event notwithstanding, they do not have the support to finish the story that a conscientious reporter has. And much of that conscientiousness comes from training, education and experience. (By the way, did you notice that MSNBC posted a request for local bloggers at the last earthquake in Malaysia?)

But columns are a different story. Add a comment or trackback capability to a column or op-ed piece and you’ve got a blog. That’s the next big thing in MSM – at least the ones that have an internet front. Smart MSM is online. I read almost all my news online now. I go through periods when I comment more on other people’s blogs (this one for example) than I post on my own. What if I could comment or read other’s comments on a column in the New York Times or over at Why do I have to visit a blog to comment on some columnist opinion? I do send e-mails but I can’t read what others have written. I can’t visit the site of someone who linked comments I find interesting.

As far as Powerline and the Instapundit are concerned, come on, they are lawyers. If I believed what they say about MSM’s liberal bias, I have to believe what they say about lawyers. They are leeches on society who provide no useful service and live off the misfortunes of others, but I don’t think that about lawyers and I don’t think there is some liberal conspiracy in the MSM. I would be the first to complain about the shortcomings of MSM, but it’s nothing so noble as patrician politics.

Posted by: scout29c at April 21, 2005 8:51 AM | Permalink

I'm one of the bloggers that Coleman's been tangling with this past year, from the "Northern Alliance".

Coleman's problem is that while he wraps himself in the flag of "journalism" (he "knows stuff", he said in his famous FU to bloggers), he frequently can't be bothered with journalistic impedimenta like finding facts or getting them straight.

His constant insistance (in print and on his really awful radio show, on the local Air America affiliate) that Powerline and the rest of the right-wing blogosphere are on Karl Rove's payroll is a good start; read the article where he "criticized the folks at Powerline", he says in as many words there's a chain of command and financial stream between the big right wing think tanks and the right-wing blogosphere!

IN other words; he makes stuff up, he considers himself above the "law", he thinks his reputation is all he needs to give himself credibility... other words, Coleman IS a blogger, exercising the worst traits that bloggers supposedly exhibit. Just one that works in print.

Posted by: mitch berg at April 21, 2005 9:13 AM | Permalink

Dread Pundit -- Coleman is a columnist with a clearly defined point of view. Why would you expect him to seek hate mail from "both sides"?

Op-ed columnists are a teeny, tiny part of newspapers. They're the least relevant part in people's everyday lives. They're the ones bloggers are most capable of replacing because columnists long ago got lazy and stopped reporting. If bloggers want to brag about that, fine, but be specific in defining the target you've bagged. Chances are the rank and file of your local newspaper share your opinion that the big-shot columnist is a stuck-up ignoramus.

I think discussions of blogs and the "MSM" will be much stronger when we stop hopping from specific to general as we see fit. We exalt blogs as the voice of everyday citizens, then we hold up one particularly intelligent, semi-professional blog as if it represents the medium. Then we flip around and take Dan Rather's sins or a bunch of 60somethings' ignorance of Craigslist as proof that the MSM "doesn't get it." (Quick grammar point: It should be "don't." "Media" is plural, and that's a distinction that would help the conversation.)

There are excellent blogs and horrible blogs -- every time I do a search at Technorati, much of what I find is either hateful or childish. There are also good newspapers, bad newspapers, good reporters, bad reporters, good editors, bad editors, good underpaid peons, bad underpaid peons, etc. The "MSM" include everyone from your local high school basketball beat writer to Ann Coulter. How can anyone possibly paint that with one brush?

Posted by: Beau at April 21, 2005 9:15 AM | Permalink

I should add; the guys at Powerline, Fraters Libertas, Spitbull and I have been catalogueing the *many* factual errors in Coleman's columns for the past couple of years.

Now, I'm going to go write a post about how Steve Lovelady is "rigorously non-partisan", and see if people think I'm really Scrappleface.

Posted by: mitch at April 21, 2005 9:16 AM | Permalink


Coleman did not lament attacks against "columnists", but against "newspapers".

Posted by: The Dread Pundit Bluto at April 21, 2005 10:25 AM | Permalink

The "MSM" include everyone from your local high school basketball beat writer to Ann Coulter. How can anyone possibly paint that with one brush?

No, I think most use the term "MSM" to define the Monoploy of Mis-Information that Joe Sixpack must wade through each day - ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, WaPo, NYT.

Posted by: Fenrisulven at April 21, 2005 12:00 PM | Permalink

I like the term "dominant media" far more than "mainstream media". Particularly when coloring those embodied by that term with a broad brush when applicable, such as "liberal".

The term "dominant media" accounts for the most influential voices in the public square, the 19 organizations composing the media wing of Gang of 500, as ABC News' The Note calls them.

But "dominant media" also answers the left's canard about "conservative bias" in many small, local news outlets (chiefly located in fly-over country, between the coasts). Some small-fry news media may be conservative, but their voices are weak and don't carry far.

It is the dominant media that, well, dominates - - and their liberal bias is thus most consequential.

Posted by: Trained Auditor at April 21, 2005 1:28 PM | Permalink

I wouldn't agree with your comparison of Coleman and David Horowitz. Even with his rhetorical level cranked, Horowitz usually deals with facts and challenges his oponents to deal with his facts. Coleman, on the other hand, is a bloated gasbag whose only response to the many factual errors in his columns pointed out by Powerline, Shot in the Dark, and other blogs is to rail that those blogs (a) are run by partisan right wing nutjobs and (b) say what they say because they're being paid to do so by GOP interests that can be ultimately traced up to Karl Rove. Now (a) is simply a slur, of course, but (b) is demonstrably false. And yet Coleman continues to make the charge over and over again like a broken record. Not once has he rebutted in any substantive way any of the charges of sloppy and erroneous writing.

Posted by: OregonMuse at April 21, 2005 1:55 PM | Permalink

Fenri and Auditor -- Who says Joe Sixpack HAS to read the NYT, WaPo, networks and CNN? In my trendy-lefty grad school, everyone listened to NPR and watched PBS. The Wall Street Journal and USA TODAY (disclaimer: employer) have more readers than either the NYT or WaPo. CNN's ratings woes are well-documented; besides, cable news is veering farther and farther away from news-gathering and closer to full-time punditry, CNN's excellent Vatican coverage notwithstanding.

I could grant frustration with the offerings of the three networks. But there's plenty of choice at the newsstand. Even on the local level, many alternative papers of all kinds are thriving. (I actually wonder if we'll see the day when a well-capitalized blogger starts a newspaper! Leaving a paper in a crowded restaurant or on a bus is good publicity.)

Posted by: Beau at April 21, 2005 1:56 PM | Permalink

Beau, you're right, of course. Joe Sixpack does not have to get his news from the dominant media anymore. In fact, the rise of FOX News as an alternative proves it. Now Joe can get both sides of the story if he searches for them.

Which is why the former information gatekeepers in the dominant media sound so deperate and bitter these days.

Posted by: Trained Auditor at April 21, 2005 2:09 PM | Permalink

Are you defining Fox News as not the dominant media ?
That's a woeful misinterpretation of a steamroller in our midst.
Fox News utterly dominates ... in that the other cable channels have fallen, and continue to fall, all over themselves to copy-cat Fox's most lurid innovations. Even local TV has begun to follow suit.
That's why you can't find news on the "news" anymore.
It's been replaced by 7-day-a-week shoutfests that outdo anything that the original Sabbath gasbags who once dominated weekend television could have imagined.
And whatever Fox tries tomorrow, be assured the rest of the pack will be trying day after tomorrow.
Take a look. It's the panic of the stampede, and it's featured daily -- all day and all night.

Posted by: Steve Lovelady at April 21, 2005 3:39 PM | Permalink

Fox news is mainstream news media, but not dominant news media (I define "dominant" as influencing the most politcal players, including voters).

This is because Fox's fair and balanced brand of reporting* is overwhelmingly offset, on the whole, by the cummulative impact of our dominant media's liberal bias: ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Wash. Post., N.Y. Times, L.A. Times, Time, Newsweek, and more.

The megaphones held by Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and U.S. News & World Report, though growing, do not dominate maistream news media relative to the rest of the big players.

* Really, one should only evaluate as news those parts of Fox's broadcast that Fox calls hard news: Two minues at the top and bottom of every hour and the nightly Special Report with Brit Hume. The rest is commentary of the kind dominated in the morning by NBC's Today show. The difference between Fox's hard news and it's punditry shows is the same diference as that between your national broadsheets' news pages and their op-ed pages (just in different proportion) - - they may have newsmakers speak and pundits opine, but it's generally not considered objective.

Posted by: Trained Auditor at April 21, 2005 4:28 PM | Permalink

"Fox news is mainstream news media, but not dominant news media (I define "dominant" as influencing the most politcal players, including voters)."

By that measure again, Fox is dominant. (Checked who's in the White House lately?)
Not just Fox, of course, but the aggregate of Fox, U.S. News, the Wall St Jrnl, the Washington Times, the New York Post, Sinclair Broadcasting, Clear Channel, plus of course PowerLine, Little Green Footballs, FreeRepublic, Vodka Pundit, Hugh Hewitt, Glenn Reynolds, and a dozen clones.
That is the true MSM, in that their guys control the White House, both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court and most state legislatures. The ragtag band that you cite is the loyal opposition, and they're very much on the run these days,
Legacy media is one word for them, and it's an accurate rendering, in that it has the whiff of musty old lace about it.
But Remnant media might be more accurate.
Or maybe The Last of the Mohicans ?

Posted by: Steve Lovelady at April 21, 2005 4:59 PM | Permalink

Steve, you scare me. Get a grip. I worked at newspapers for 15 years. For quite awhile I was the only person I knew at work who went to a Christian church. I wasn't blindly following the Democratic party and would vote for whatever party/candidate had better ideas (which made me an independent). It was clear to me and my-coworkers that I was not like them. It was more pronounced at the more larger newspapers I worked for.

I have been asked by editors to rewrite leads and stories in order to make a different "point." Without question, the views of editors can dominate news coverage. You know that, and you should stop pretending it's not true. Mainstream media reflects the views of those in power...both elected officials and editors. You are naive to think otherwise.

I don't think blogs are the perfect solution to anything, but what they do is give voice to lots of people who were shut out of the newsroooms I worked in. There, it was one-way information flow, with ideas going out and nothing coming back. Now, lots of people can say what they think. You, as a journalist, should find that refreshing.

For example, I read CJR. There was recently an online article about education reporting. As a PhD candidate in education and a former reporter, I wanted to respond the article. There was no where to do that. I emailed CJR. Never heard back. Apparently CJR doesn't give a rat's ass about what I think, or anyone thinks about its content.

Do you understand why people like blogs, and worry a bit about media outlets that have one-way communication?

Posted by: JennyD at April 21, 2005 5:22 PM | Permalink

But Remnant media might be more accurate. Or maybe The Last of the Mohicans ?

More like the last remnants of the Roman Empire.

The MSM (or whatever the heck you want to call it) got complacent with being the only ones with national reach and got their lunches eaten quickly by leaner, hungrier outlets who remembered an important rule of news: never speak down to your audience.

Posted by: Jimmie at April 21, 2005 5:26 PM | Permalink

Lovelady, the fact that Republicans are currently in political control is not proof of which side dominates news media - - that would only be true if the dominant news media were the only means of communication. Your analysis overlooks campaign-paid media. A good candidate's advertisements, particularly on television as part of a concerted campaign sustained intensively for some (necessarily fixed) time, are still occasionally powerful enough to overcome the dominant media liberal bias. This is especially true if the dominant media's power can be at least partially neutralized in other ways.

Of course, our liberal media friends now try to counter-attack certain candidates' paid media. They do so by spinning against certain campaign ads with various "ad-watch" articles and so-called "reality check" broadcast reports, in which the dominant media pretend to be impartial referees, or watch-dogs, in the campaign ad wars.

In some cases our liberal press friends succeed in their aim to influence our nation's polity, but not always. Though they continue try - - and thus must be respected in the same manner that a big-game hunter must respect a wounded dangerous animal, even in its death throes.

And now many blogs, in part, often form an answer to the question, "Who watches the watchers?"

Posted by: Trained Auditor at April 21, 2005 5:57 PM | Permalink

It's good that you're momentarily dropping the victim pose and reluctantly acknowledging that maybe, just maybe, the game is over, and maybe, just maybe, the MSM (as I define it above) has won.
That's you, guys.
Usually it's the loser who can't face the awful truth. That's what's interesting about this instance. This time, it's the winners who are reluctant to give up their imagined status as an aggrieved minority. Whereas the losers know all too well what's happening. (Just spend a day on Romenesko tallying up the gnashing of teeth, rending of garments and wails of distress from legacy journalists; you'll see what I mean.)
The losers know the score and they know it's late in the game. The perception gap is on the part of the winners, pure and simple. We'll spend the next year or so watching it gradually close as perception catches up with reality.
If I have any advantage in all this, it is that I really am non-partisan, although zealots clearly have a hard time believing that. But being non-partisan does give a certain perspective -- it puts you in the position of a man who has made no bets nonetheless intently watching a horse race unfold. He sees things the bettors miss.
I get paid to watch it and to comment on it to those who care a lot about the outcome; that keeps me alert, certainly, but it also adds another layer of indifference.
The paycheck will be there whichever horse wins. In fact, that's all the guys who sign the paycheck ask for -- that I describe the horse race in all its agony and ecstasy without choosing a favorite or approaching the pari-mutuel windows.
It's not a bad deal.

Posted by: Steve Lovelady at April 21, 2005 5:59 PM | Permalink

Jenny, I can't speak for CJR.
The print magazine (and its website) are entirely different operations from CJR Daily, which is, well, daily, and which does print comments -- one post alone drew nearly two dozen today, at last count.
However, I'll certainly pass your concerns along to Mike Hoyt, who is the editor of the magazine and of, the online presence of that magazine.

Posted by: Steve Lovelady at April 21, 2005 6:07 PM | Permalink

Steve - You may be understating the influence of legacy media. Just one example of how they shaped the last election:

1) John Kerry's "Christmas in Cambodia" hoax getting a 30-year pass from "investigative" journalists,

2) contrasted with Mapes & Co spending 5 years on Bush's military record, deliberately using fraudulent documents as the centerpiece of an attack on a sitting President, mere weeks before the election.

I believe CBS's intent was to rescue Kerry from more hemorraging (accusations of SwiftBoatVets) by creating a different news cycle to drown them out. The new story ended up being about Rather instead of Bush, but the result was the same. I think CBS was aware of this risk to their credibility (they knew the memos were suspect) but willing to take the hit if it meant helping Kerry's campaign.

This is not what Americans want from a news organization.

Also, I note that you've declined to elaborate on your charges against Powerline...

Posted by: Fenrisulven at April 21, 2005 6:18 PM | Permalink

I really am non-partisan, although zealots clearly have a hard time believing that.

But of course, because if I were to find your tone and measure partisan, I would self-identify as a zealot. LOL.

Posted by: Fenrisulven at April 21, 2005 6:29 PM | Permalink

Jay, I think you're getting played. Nick Coleman doesn't understand blogs to a spectacular degree, but what he does understand is that Power Line and the rest of the Northern Alliance crew like Mitch (who has a couple of comments in this thread) consider trashing local liberals a sport. Never mind that Coleman's seen better days and isn't half the writer he was when I moved to the Cities in '88, the fact is the Northern Alliance — Mitch, Power Line, etc. — have been merciless in their taunting of Coleman.

I've been blogging on the St. Paul side of the river since '99, and Mitch and friends have a long history of taunting and badgering their perceived political enemies. After starting up City Pages' Babelogue blogging community, I regularly earned their wrath for my political comments. But it wasn't tit for tat and some of Mitch's friends thought it was funny to drag my business into their taunts.

That stopped but it took a lot of testosterone on my part to get them to back off. These guys (for the most part) spoil for fights and delight in tormenting Nick Coleman. If anyone here thinks Coleman is a world class ass, they really should visit these blogs to see what they've been writing about Coleman (and his wife).

Coleman is hardly without sin, but in a fight between one man and the world of wingnuts, Nick really doesn't have much of a chance.

We used to have some good back and forths at Table Talk years ago Jay. You know me to be partisan, but I don't abuse people unless they start it. Nick Coleman didn't start this fight. He's dumb to drag you into it, but you'd be even dumber to join in with the Power Liars on this one.

Go to Power Line, Shot in the Dark, Fraters Libertas and Hugh Hewitt and search for their Nick Coleman posts. I think you'll find this is a tarbaby for all concerned.

Posted by: Mark Gisleson at April 21, 2005 7:27 PM | Permalink

Hey, Fen, I wouldn't discuss Memogate with Mr. Lovelady. If you remember, that's the issue that CJR decided to ignore until it went away.

But it didn't. (And to CJR's credit, it did run a piece on Memogate three months later, albeit with the technical knowledge of a grade-school essay on summer vacation. But it's the thought that counts.)

What boggles my mind here is this: Why are people trying to have an intellectual conversation with a man who called alternate media "the salivating morons who make up the lynch mob" on this very Web site?

Posted by: Kevin P. Craver at April 21, 2005 7:40 PM | Permalink

" ... the man who called alternative media 'the salivating morons who make up the lynch mob' " ?
Come on, Kevin, You can do better than that.
I did not, and never would, call "the alternative media" the salivating morons who make up the lynch mob.
Do you seriously think that you and your like make up the "alternative media" ? Somehow, you just demoted Josh Marshall, the Daily Kos, Eric Alterman, Rebecca Blood, Jay Rosen and hundreds of other sharp-eyed observors.
What I did do, and stand by, is to call the salivating morons who make up the lynch mob just that -- the salivating morons who make up the lynch mob.
Additionally -- and this seems fairly elementary to me, but it apparently escapes your powers of perception -- to say that "The salivating morons who make up the lynch mob have prevailed" is not to say that the entire lynch mob consisted of salivating morons.
It is to say exactly what it says -- that those among the lynch mob who were salivating morons prevailed.
This is a distinction understood in any 7th-grade debate class.
Apparently, that was an elective you chose to pass.
It's not too late, you know; maybe they give correspondence courses.

Posted by: Steve Lovelady at April 21, 2005 8:22 PM | Permalink

Table Talk, of course... 95-96, was it? I recall many discussions then, including the seeds of what we call open source journalism now.

I'm always open to the possibility that I have been played, but I do like a little more information. Played, by whom, for what purpose and with what illusion in gear?

Coleman (who has done the "you printed a private e-mail" thing with other bloggers, I learned) sent me a nasty e-mail. I printed it with a little commentary on the way he does things. Now we're having this discussion, and some blogs out there wrote about the post, because Coleman is a much ridiculed figure for doing things exactly like this. I was played, then, because...

Posted by: Jay Rosen at April 21, 2005 11:45 PM | Permalink

Why are people trying to have an intellectual conversation with a man who called alternate media "the salivating morons who make up the lynch mob"

Wow. I had no idea this was that Steve. Somehow I expected him to be taller. Thanks for the heads up, Kevin. Explains much.

This is a distinction understood in any 7th-grade debate class. Apparently, that was an elective you chose to pass.

Steve, when you're done launching grade-school ad hominem at Kevin, can we all just pretend you've put us in our place with your charm and wit, and get back to more serious matter? I will affirm your ego if needed: You are my Non-Partisan Overlord. Happy now? Can we move on?

As you've declined for a 2nd time now to support your accusations against Powerline... and since you're already parsing your "salivating morons" attack... would you at least explain why you said such a thing to begin with? What behavior on their part justified such language from you? Please be specific. I'm counting on you to lead us on a fascinating journey that cycles this discussion back through a mindset akin to poor Mr. Coleman's.

Posted by: Fenrisulven at April 22, 2005 1:02 AM | Permalink

I'll toss this piece by my friend Warrior Monk from Spitbull out there.

As to Mark Gisleson's bit:

Nick Coleman didn't start this fight. He's dumb to drag you into it, but you'd be even dumber to join in with the Power Liars on this one.

Go to Power Line, Shot in the Dark, Fraters Libertas and Hugh Hewitt and search for their Nick Coleman posts. I think you'll find this is a tarbaby for all concerned."Tarbaby?" As if.

He's a treasure trove of material, for a group of people who live to deflate bloated media egoes. If he's not getting the facts wrong (a constant thing - as Gisleson suggested, look through all of our archives), he's throwing bombs (his little post-election slur of Republicans, hardly his first), and always, always the hubris.

Posted by: mitch at April 22, 2005 8:54 AM | Permalink


Good luck with that one. Ever since the "Powerline Lied!" meme started circulating on the left, I've been asking "Where? How? What?"

(crickets chirping)

The Powerguys ARE friends of mine, I've done a weekly talk show with them for the past year, and while I'm highly biased, I can recall nothing that would come within a Rather-ego-span of a "lie".

Posted by: mitch at April 22, 2005 8:57 AM | Permalink

Jay, Nick Coleman is another Ward Churchill. He's real enough, but until this brouhaha with the Northern Alliance started, no one outside of Minnesota had ever heard of him. The fact you got an email means he finally learned how to use Google (or started reading Romenesko). But if there was a hit counter on his Strib column you'd be forgiven if you thought he wrote for the Mason City Globe Gazette and not the Strib.

But now the Northern Alliance reads him eagerly each morning hoping he's said something they can jump on. Usually Coleman's sins are pretty subjective, but on too many occasions he does say something boneheaded. So?

Yes you can take exception if you want, but why? It's not like you've been insulted by someone who counts. Rush Limbaugh has a brother, but no one cares what he says even though he has a syndicated column.

Right now Powerline's Scott Johnson has up his second post in two days flogging the Claremount Institute. If you read the bios you learn that Hinderake and Johnson have strong ties to the institute, but it doesn't even occur to Johnson to put a disclaimer in his posts.

And in the post before this one, Mitch (who, sadly, is a near mirror image of me on the right), implies that Dan Rather told lies. Really? When? I thought the guy just read scripts.

I guess you can have some fun kicking Nick Coleman around, but here in Minnesota the folks doing the kicking are doing so for sport, not to improve journalism. Most of them routinely dismiss the Star Tribune as a propaganda organ. They gleefully quote the NY Sun like it was the savior of journalism.

I just don't want to see blogging become another "manufactured outrage" industry like everything else the hard right touches. Mitch and his friends have found someone to beat up on. The fact they enjoy doing it so much should tell you everything you need to know about their motives.

Posted by: Mark Gisleson at April 22, 2005 9:22 AM | Permalink

But Mark you said I was played. Doesn't that imply that I was fooled by someone, somehow? I was asking who played me.

From my last go 'round with Saint Nick, I know about the long-running feud you describe.

Thing is, I don't get out my scorecard, turn on my motive-detection machine, and total up whose side is going to be helped or hurt before I post something. If the bloggers tormenting Coleman have a little extra material because of what he wrote to me, I'm not going to get too upset about it.

Coleman is a clown, and a professional embarrassment to the Star-Tribune. (I agree with your comparison to Churchill, by the way.) They created him and now have to deal with him. From Wednesday afternoon to Thursday evening I received 15 abusive e-mails from Coleman. I printed only the first one; the others have much richer material for his "fans" out there.

He said he was contemplating retaliation in his column, and said he would follow up with my university-- the kind of threats that the right wing crazies make when they get going on "leftist academic" this and "you liberals" that.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at April 22, 2005 10:05 AM | Permalink

"Additionally -- and this seems fairly elementary to me, but it apparently escapes your powers of perception -- to say that 'The salivating morons who make up the lynch mob have prevailed' is not to say that the entire lynch mob consisted of salivating morons."

Actually, a genuine grade-school graduate would know that you are implying that all members of the lynch mob were morons. According to your statement, who makes up the lynch mob? Salivating morons. You didn't say anything that would subdivide the lynch mob, such as "the salivating morons who lead the lynch mob" or such, so the only reasonable assumption by any educated person is that you are identifying all members of the mob as morons.

But hey, you're the non-partisan genius.

Posted by: HHS at April 22, 2005 10:06 AM | Permalink

"As you've declined for a 2nd time now to support your accusations against Powerline... and since you're already parsing your "salivating morons" attack... would you at least explain why you said such a thing to begin with? What behavior on their part justified such language from you? Please be specific."

Happily. (And, by the way, I haven't declined anything.)
In the first instance, they weren't "my" accusations. I was citing by way of example a post by TJ, if you'll recall, which contains his recounting of Powerline's "sins" -- and he's a guy who enjoys Powerline !
Tracking even further back, to "salivating morons" -- my 15 minutes of fame -- return to those glory days for a moment and simply scan the message boards at PowerLine, FreeRepublic, Vodka Pundit, et. al., in the five days before Eason Jordan's immolation. You'll see exactly "what behavior on their part" inspired my comment to Jay.
My personal favorite was the boys at FreeRepublic, who having decided that Dan Rather was their kill, began describing Jordan as the next "target of opportunity" and began discussing how to take him out.
Target of opportunity ?!?
People who talk like that are not engaged in debate; to the contrary, they're usually paid assassins.
Either that or armchair thugs who have watched one too many Soprano's scripts or read one too many Tom Clancy phantasies.

Posted by: Steve Lovelady at April 22, 2005 10:40 AM | Permalink

I guess it's easier to ignore the crazy aunt in your own attic than it is the whacko emailing you from halfway across the country.

I don't know what the hell goes through Coleman's mind when he does this, I just try my best to ignore it. For whatever reason, Coleman seems to like stirring this up almost as much as the Northern Alliance crew does.

But nothing any of those parties does or says should worry you. Reading through this comments thread (again), it's hard to see how the cause of good journalism is being advanced.

The longer this drags on, the more attention all involved parties get, and that's the real problem here. Coleman's readership doesn't read blogs, and the Northern Alliance hates the Strib. The more you know about these parties, the harder it is to care about any of this. Seriously, they're not worthy of such attention.

Or let me put it this way. Why do you care about a regional columnist who is known outside of Minnesota solely because of Power Line's attacks on him? If this mutual PR strategy proves successful, then I guess lefty bloggers will need to find some city beat columnist in Nashville to fulminate about. And won't we all be the richer for that.

Jay, I love it when you're serious. Do you really think this post served some greater good? Played was probably the wrong word. It implies Coleman has an agenda. I think that gives him too much credit. Then again, what do I know? I stopped reading him years ago.

Posted by: Mark Gisleson at April 22, 2005 10:45 AM | Permalink


You seem to know alot about having a rich fantasy life and engaging in ostentatiously muscular rhetoric. Were those people your mentors, or was it vice versa?

Posted by: Brian at April 22, 2005 10:47 AM | Permalink

Mark: My serious posts can take 10, 15, 20 hours to do. This took five minutes. Most of my posts have titles like "Laying the Newspaper Gently Down to Die," while this one was quite a bit more jocular. So no, I wouldn't claim any great journalistic or intellectual purpose was served here-- and I signaled that in the way I did it. It was a one-day story, and the next day there was Chris Nolan with The Stand Alone Journalist is Here.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at April 22, 2005 11:07 AM | Permalink

And at an even 100 posts I am closing this thread. Thanks to all who dropped by. A final word: I do think it's strange that Coleman's columns about bloggers and blogging cannot be found online. Cheers.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at April 22, 2005 11:47 AM | Permalink

From the Intro