'Unhinged' Does Just That For Liberals
New Book Revives Critics, What's Their Real Message?
What is it about Michelle Malkin that so quickly works liberals into a frenzied state?
All it takes is a television appearance, published column or radio interview to enrage so-called "progressives". Why, reserved for her, these particular heapings of vitriol?
Certainly, ethnicity and gender must play a role, as liberal anti-Malkin hate closely resembles that of serial Condi-bashers. For non-conformity to leftist cultural expectations, both experience routine partisan media punishment.
And as can be imagined, some of the meanest attacks come from liberal Asian-Americans, who seem to feel there is some ethnic mandate to follow Democrats off the cliff's edge.
Crossing the line well into stalking territory, they've plastered her personal details all over the Internet and make a constant, bizarre and irrational fuss over her maiden name.
With the impending bookstore release of Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild, Malkin's critics are gearing up for a sequel to the meltdown they experienced over In Defense of Internment: The Case for 'Racial Profiling' in World War II and the War on Terror.
If recent history is any indication, it won't be a pretty sight, likely to underscore the very topic of her new release.
In fact, Amazon "reviewers" are already busy trashing her book:
Unfortunately, Michelle Malkin is an American traitor and an enemy of this country. She doesn't realize that liberals have America's best interests at heart, while conservatives are selfish, and will lie, cheat, and destroy others to get ahead- witness Jack Abramoff, Ken Lay, Scooter Libby, and Tom DeLay.
Malkin clearly needs therapy or needs to be confined to an asylum. She's a crazy nutjob conservative who gives aid and comfort to terrorists with anti-American rants like "Unhinged." If you buy this book, you hate America- just like Michelle Malkin, who wants to destroy everything that's great about this country.
As regular Radio Equalizer visitors know, I've a dog in this fight: three months ago, Malkin and I teamed up to cover the (still ongoing) Air America Radio funding scandal and its subsequent developments.
When, on July 26, I realized the unfolding liberal radio network's corruption scandal investigation would prove impossible to cover alone, I immediately contacted Malkin.
Why this reflexive action? Having watched Malkin's investigative work from my January 1998 Seattle talk hosting arrival, where she was a rabble-rousing Seattle Times columnist, to her present-day material, several things have stood out:
--- Particularly difficult to maintain in Seattle's "good ol' boys" politics/media environment, a real lack of fear in taking on powerful sacred cows.
--- By strongly defending her positions, a well-established ability to fight off nasty criticism.
--- A stubborn investigative sense of follow-through, where a story isn't abandoned before seen to full completion, a quality found only in the best talk hosts, reporters, columnists and bloggers. This concept is understood by very few.
--- Most importantly, a refusal to follow the crowd, independently analyzing events to determine what the media's "pack" is overlooking, crucial for the Air America investigation.
Of all the places to sharpen your journalistic or talk radio teeth, Seattle is one of the best, as it's a true liberal media hellhole.
Because the old guard has never been pushed from power, journalism and politics in the Puget Sound Area reek like a decaying geoduck (don't ask). As a result, citizens suffer with lousy government, a lack of open debate and a perpetually uncertain economic future.
Even when 3000 miles away, it turns out there's no escaping the Soviet of Washington's demons. In the course of our investigation, it's become clear Air America's decision-making and financial considerations originate in Seattle far more than New York City. In addition, many of its loudest defenders live there.
Given this background, it's probably no surprise many of Malkin's angriest detractors reside in the Stealth Canadian Province of Washington and they're among the first to emerge this weekend, in anticipation of the book hitting store shelves.
What's clear: some have old scores to settle and lingering animosity. Take, for example, this piece by hardline liberal Seattle author David Neiwert:
The other day, Atrios -- in discussing Cathy Young's (Boston Globe) piece questioning right-wing bloggers, particularly Michelle Malkin, for their handling of a series of incidents involving the appearance of explosive devices at various campuses around the country (see my take on that) -- asked the 64,000-dollar question:
By the current rules of the road is Michelle Malkin really a "professional journalist?"
I'm not really sure what the current rules of the road are, but the answer really depends on what your definition of "professional journalist" is, particularly within the realm of print media, which is where Malkin primarily operates.
If it's "anyone who works in a public capacity for a media organization" -- which does indeed seem to be the current rules of the road -- then she probably is.
But by the old-fashioned standards of what makes one a "journalist" -- which entails being primarily a truth-seeker -- she is not.
You see, it used to be that, in order to be called a journalist, one had to actually be, or have been, a reporter. And Malkin has never been a reporter, at least not in any professional capacity.
Now, part of this involves traditional professional ladders within the business. For many years, nearly everyone who was ever an editor was, first, a reporter. Then, once on the editor's rung, one had the option of writing editorials. Columnists -- the star positions on editorial pages -- were culled either from the ranks of editors or star reporters.
Thus, traditionally, anyone who held a column-writing position at a newspaper had first been a reporter and perhaps an editor as well, and thus was in every regard a "professional journalist." Indeed, it often was the case that columnists provided original reporting within their columns.
Those days have now largely gone by the wayside. Nowadays it is not unusual to find columnists chosen from the ranks of non-journalists, and often from among professional ideologues, simply for their ability to string words together in an entertaining fashion. Or sometimes they are chosen just because they fit a certain profile the editor wants for his page.
Does this sound like anything more than journalistic sour grapes? Malkin's been at this a long time, it's hard to argue she hasn't paid her dues.
Worse, Neiwert is the author of a competing book on Japanese-American internment camps and that's a likely element of his obvious animosity.
Yet this site was linked to a number of liberal blogs this weekend, resulting in much higher than average traffic. Anything to slam your enemies, one supposes.
By the same standard, how many liberal writers would hold up as "journalists"? Why can't a commentator be a journalist? Yes, the times have changed, but Malkin's role is clear to her readership.
In working with Michelle, it's clear her investigative abilities are well-honed, so is small town newspaper "crime blotter" experience really necessary to develop this skill?
Especially interesting: in order to bash Malkin, circa-1999 Seattle Times columns are cited (and their backlash), forcing the reader to trust Neiwert's interpretation of ancient history. Proving only that there were differences of opinion over a talk show guest booking dispute, his argument falls flat.
Further utilized is this tangent-ridden, conspiracy-laden 2004 anti-Malkin hit piece. In coming days, don't expect these points to get much sharper.
Aren't they revealing their real hand here, a fear of Malkin's true effectiveness?
Also: From Human Events, Michelle's top ten list of unhinged celebs.
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