By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Trivial pursuit

Maybe I don’t get out enough — actually, maybe I get out too much — but I was struck this morning by the fact that Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby led his annual roundup of liberal “hate speech” with an example from a blog I’d never heard of.

The offending blog is something called the News Blog, although its URL — — suggests something less grandiose than that. The editors are listed simply as “Steve and Jen,” an indication that the News Blog doesn’t quite have the muscle to be part of the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy. And though Jacoby describes it as a “popular website,” it has not managed to crack Technorati’s Top 100.

If this is the best Jacoby can do, then liberal hate speech can’t be all that pervasive.

By the way, Gilliard has responded to Jacoby.

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  1. Anonymous

    Um, Dan, just because you’ve never heard of Steve Gilliard doesn’t mean he or his blog are obscure. He’s regularly linked to by most of the “big” liberal blogs. Heavily visited? Apparently not. Well-respected? Absolutely.Perhaps more importantly, though, Jacoby’s assertion that Steele was pelted by Oreos at some event has been pretty thoroughly debunked. Even Steele admits it didn’t happen.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    No doubt I’m going to get a lot of this. I already know that Gilliard gets quite a few links — I checked before I wrote. But please think about what Jacoby’s saying, and what I’m saying. This is Jeff’s big annual roundup of “liberal hate speech.” Doesn’t it strike you as pretty weak if he can’t lead with something from a prominent Democratic elected official? Or maybe Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller or Al Franken, even granting that none of them is remotely as well known as Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity? Or even a bigtime liberal blogger such as Josh Marshall, Bob Somerby or Eric Alterman?You may hold Steve Gilliard in as much esteem as you like, but for Jacoby to base his entire premise on this guy is ludicrous. Gilliard is not as obscure as, say, Media Nation, but he’s obscure enough.

  3. Anonymous

    Yeah, you’re right Dan. Who would pay attention to a guy whose primary forum is the web rather than radio, TV or newspapers?

  4. Anonymous

    Dan, my reading of this is not that his “entire premise” is based on Gilliard. He decided to lead with what he found most outrageous, not most recognized. Since the last election, Dems have wisely decided to avoid having leaders like Dean say stupid things that will come back to haunt them. Rise of right wing media has taught libs that hitting for average rather than home runs may be the way to go.(There are only so many Moores or Limbaughs). Left unanswered is whether Jacoby made the right point with the wrong example from many available.

  5. Mitch

    Jacoby’s assertion that Steele was pelted by Oreos at some event has been pretty thoroughly debunked.Yup. Of course, in a possible CYA move, Jacoby only mentioned the apocryphal Oreo incident in an excerpt from the Washington Times.Of course, if the Washington Times is the only publication he can cite to back up his point, well, that’s another can of worms entirely.

  6. Lis Riba

    Also, over a month ago, holes were poked in the Oreo story (Baltimore Sun via Gilliard).+— “They fell on the floor; two rolled up next to my shoe,” Steele said. “I remember turning to someone and saying, ‘Anyone got a glass of milk?'” Several audience members who attended the debate have told The Sun that they saw no cookies. “It didn’t happen here,” said Vander Harris, operations manager of the Morgan fine arts center. “I was in on the cleanup, and we found no cookies or anything else abnormal.”+—Considering how roundly you criticized Kennedy (and the Globe fact-checkers) for repeating one myth, I think Jacoby’s column should be held to the same standard.This is Jeff’s big annual roundup of “liberal hate speech.”One leg is a blogger not much known outside the blogosphere and another is a mostly-debunked urban legend. Yeah, we’re real big on the hate speech. [BTW, speaking of partisan hate speech, do you read David Neiwert, such as his multipart critique of Michelle Malkin’s latest? He’s got some well-researched stuff you might find interesting.]

  7. Steve

    I think Media Matters has the one of the best responses to Jacoby’s silliness, a rundown of right-wing hate speech here that swamps Jeff’s pitiful effort.

  8. Steve

    Well, there’s always room for growth, but my goal was not to run a popular blog or even a well-respected one, just to say exactly what I thought.Seems that’s where Jacoby had a problem.And Dan, I’ve been denounced by Ken Mehlman, so someone knows who I am.:)Anonymous,It’s only ridiculous to white Republicans. To black America, it’s like saying Microsoft is rich. It is hardly an original thought or comment, but since Jacoby doesn’t go to Roxbury or Jamaica Plain much, he might not have heard it.The only debate in black America is which term of derision to use, not whether to deride him or not.

  9. Wes

    “The problem with not blogging is that it becomes addictive. I thought I could control it, but it’s one of those habits that is really, you know, habit-forming,” writes Jeff Achenbach in The Washington Post.Fewer non-efforts are more rewarding.

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Steve — Thanks for checking in. I’m sure you would be the first to agree that Jacoby’s round-up would have been far more effective if he’d led with something Howard Dean had said than with a blogger — even one who’s been denounced by Ken Mehlman! One can only assume that Jeff didn’t think Dean said anything all that outrageous in 2005.

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