June 13, 2008

Matthew Yglesias might want to chide his commenters.

Matt writes: "Shocking news that Tim Russert has died of a heart attack at the young age of 58." And his commenters act like jackasses. The second post is by "Dick Cheney":
Damn. That was the one non-Fox show where I could control the message.
And it's downhill from there:
i say good riddance.
he was the best example of the worst of journalism today.
we should not forget his role in helping get this war started.
after all, cheney went on his show because he knew that he would be able to "control" the message.
he was a fraud and a hypocrite and the world will be better off with him gone.
the only people who will miss him will be the republican politicians who knew they could go on his show and lie with impunity.
Posted by frankie d | June 13, 2008 4:22 PM

So now people feel the need to say what a great guy he was? Now I hope we can get someone that will ask real questions and not just gotcha's.
Posted by rob | June 13, 2008 4:24 PM...

so all of a sudden we are supposed to forget about all of the outrageously harmful things people like russert do?
if he had practiced his craft of journalism, there is a very good chance that we would have never gotten involved in such a harmful war.
if people like condi rice and cheney did not feel that they could go on his show and lie through their teeth about matters of life and death, it is very possible that they would have never felt comfortable lying, continually to the american people.
if he had actually been the "tough questioner" he supposedly was, perhaps he would have actually torn cheney's smug assurances about the coming war to shreds and the administration would not have taken us to war and wasted thousands of american lives and hundreds of thousands of iraqi lives.
he'll have to deal with his complicity in his own terms, but i have no qualms about pointing out a bunch of inconvenient truths.
if pointing this out makes me a dick and less than a class act, i wear that proudly.
Posted by frankie d | June 13, 2008 4:40 PM

Good to know I'm not the only one Sam. Seemed like a decent enough guy. This really is going to ruin my R. Kelly, "not guilty" party tonight.
Posted by laborlibert | June 13, 2008 4:40 PM...
This push-back sort of restores my faith:
Might the D in Frankie D stand for dipshit? You sound like AJ on the last season of the Sopranos.
Posted by laborlibert | June 13, 2008 4:51 PM
Oh, those last 2 comments were by the same guy!

The horrible virulence is back:
... Russert loved life you say? What a sick thing to say when you have read the kind of qualms that have been raised about Russert's moral shortcomings on this thread.
What about those million dead Iraqis? I bet they loved their lives too until they were ended by unsought and unjustified violence -- as opposed to gluttony.
Posted by The Fool | June 13, 2008 6:34 PM

ADDED: I see that not long ago, Matt wrote a little article trashing Russert:
So Meet the Press thrives, delighting precisely the sort of person who doesn't realize that a hardball is a kind of ball whereas a curveball is a kind of pitch.

Actually, the balls Russert favors may be hard, but the pitches he throws aren't curveballs, which go someplace useful. They're sillyballs, which go somewhere pointless. Russert has created a strike zone of his own where toughness meets irrelevance....

Russert's goal isn't to inform his audience. He's there to "make news"—to get his guest to say something embarrassing that lands in the next day's papers or on the NBC Nightly News. The politicians, in turn, go on the show determined not to make news. And why do they bother? Because... it's a rite of passage, and any politician too chicken to play Russert's inane games would never garner the respect of the political class.

103 comments:

Trooper York said...

People are entitled to voice their opinions about people in the public eye. No matter how distasteful it might be. This isn't Canada after all. Yet.

Host with the Most said...

Okay, I'll be the first to throw down the gauntlet.

Show us an equivalent set of comments from any conservative at the death of a liberal, with this caveat:
It can't be someone that most conservatives wouldn't give a moments notice to, like wackos like David Duke, etc.

The proof is in the pudding - you'll hear such hate from supposedly "centrist " liberals all the time. You'll be hard-pressed to find main-stream conservatives who'll take the time to write or even say hateful stuff on the level of what's posted above.

Let's just settle it now: If you're politically anywhere left of center, you're very likely to believe that it's acceptable to really hate people you disagree with.

You aren't liberal because you're a hater; you're just more pre-disposed to be a hater because you're a liberal.

The Drill SGT said...

In an earlier post, I spoke of Russert as being a classy guy,

Matt's posters clearly are from a differnet crowd.

Ann Althouse said...

Free speech includes telling people when they are assholes, Trooper.

UWS guy said...

At least Fred Phelps of the Westboro Babtist Church has the balls to say obscene things to the families face and not troll Yglesias message boards.

Difference between criticism of the mans job and revelry in someone's death. If you can ululate at Tim Russerts death, what bag of tricks do you have left when Robert Mugabe dies?

Revenant said...

I've said before that I see nothing wrong with celebrating a person's death. But I don't see what made Russert's death worth celebrating. He was a bit of a weenie, like most reporters are, but he seemed like a decent person who tried to do his job well. There should be more of that around, not less.

When Geraldo goes, on the other hand, I'm popping the champagne on behalf of the McMartin defendants.

UWS guy said...

FWIW, I think the commenters here who disliked Russerts style here (Rhardin, trooper, et al) did an alright job of critique balanced with respect for the dead.

I lost my dad near a year ago and it almost brings me to tears thinking about how his son must feel now.

Trooper York said...

Absolutely, but the assholery is in the eye of the beholder. One man's asshole is another man's truth teller. I certainly don't buy into the kos kid’s world view but I wouldn't presume to tell other people what to say or how to express themselves in an open forum. If we don't like it we can change the channel or click to another blog. They are preaching to the choir. Free speech means unpopular speech. Even when it is rude and unseemly. And creepy. And disrespectful. Just a word for free speech.

AJ Lynch said...

When is the last time Ann chided her commenters?

FWIW- far left lib men tend to be physical cowards. That is why you see them rage like they do on Yglesias' blog. Hell he is the prototypical far left lib.

Trooper York said...

Cause if you are counting on John McCain to defend free speech then you got another thing coming, let me tell you.

P. Rich said...

I've always found it "interesting" when entertainment figures, which Russert was, die and receive tons of press and yards of sorrowful comments from people who never met the individual. I would venture to guess that for every poster here (self included) there are literally thousands of other strangers who also died today, many in more horrific ways, many leaving behind as many or more grieving family and friends, none of whom will receive a moments concern. And the same tomorrow, and the day after, and so on ad infinitum.

What's that about? Why does the death of one total stranger elicit what I can only regard as sincere emotions, when the death of another does not? Just wondering.

rhhardin said...

I gather Ann is defending the TV news as important rather than ridiculous, but it's hard to tell.

On Russert's show, I don't know it except for clips Imus may have played. Imus said he admired getting guests to say something that then they have to spend the week explaining what they meant; and the Russert let's see what you said back in 1994 bits.

I liked the ``trashing'' post's point about irrelevance, which would apply to the MSM in general. What story gets legs depends only on their target audience. Irrelevance is automatic.

rhhardin said...

I've always found it interesting

Because the story is entertainment.

Entertainment isn't what makes you happy, but what is engrossing.

Soap opera is engrossing.

So that's what you see.

Albeit for that audience only.

The rest are left baffled and staring.

The Drill SGT said...

Ann, go over to LGF and look at the 500 posts on Russert's death. I went through the first 100 and didn't find anything I thought was mean spirited.

interesting comparison to Matt's site.

The left claims that LGF is a hate site, yet Russert who was clearly a Democrat and left of center only got praise as far as I saw.

UWS guy said...

Posters on any blog like to please the alpha dog (blog owner). In all groups people and other animals will do/say things to earn status.

Yglesias' posters knew of his dislike of Russert and so act accordingly to curry favor.

...I mean, I post poems about purple flowers for chrissake...

Patm said...

what the hell has happened to the left - they've no decency anymore.

Methadras said...

What more proof is required that liberalism/leftism and it's practitioners are nothing but poisonous, vile, repugnant, and malignantly narcissistic troglodytes that would rather rend the flesh of the dead to carry the water for their baseless and bankrupt ideology as a means to further their evil political ideas. You people are the rock bottom of sub-humanity.

Methadras said...

Trooper York said...

Cause if you are counting on John McCain to defend free speech then you got another thing coming, let me tell you.


Are you trying to say that McCain might be Canadian? ;P

Revenant said...

When is the last time Ann chided her commenters?

Today.

Trooper York said...

I actually heard him on Imus say that the First Amendment wasn't as important as campaign financing and incumbant protection. He will sell us down the river so fast your head would spin. It's the main reason I might not vote for him.

Revenant said...

What's that about? Why does the death of one total stranger elicit what I can only regard as sincere emotions, when the death of another does not?

Russert wasn't a "total stranger". People had listened to him speak for hours on end. He might have not known them, but they knew him at least a little. His death leaves a little empty spot in their lives.

William said...

I think Russert had a palpable bias in favor of decency and fair play. It is very rare for a man of such ordinary looks and common virtues to have so much success in his field.

UWS guy said...

trooper!

rhhardin said...

I actually heard him on Imus say that the First Amendment wasn't as important as campaign financing and incumbant protection. He will sell us down the river so fast your head would spin. It's the main reason I might not vote for him.

The real audio is here
Apr 28, 2006.

rhhardin said...

Russert wasn't a "total stranger". People had listened to him speak for hours on end. He might have not known them, but they knew him at least a little. His death leaves a little empty spot in their lives.

The NYT analyzes the same effect from Princess Di Diana's Death Resonates with Women in Therapy.

Trooper York said...

Hey UWS, don't be shocked. Obama is nothing to be afraid of. He is bought and paid for as a corrupt Chicago Politician. He will do what he is told. The big boys won't let him get too far off the reservation. Or the plantation as it were. But McCain, I don't know. He really is loose cannon. He could actually do a lot more damage. I just don't know. I am kinda undecided. And I don't expect to be helped by the phony kiss ass lying scum main stream media. So to speak. Sorry for the thread jack. Back to the gnashing of teeth.

Blaine said...

Certainly Russert's death is a tragedy for his family and friends. And his fans.

Keep in mind though that not everyone was a fan. I'm not. I'm sure he was an amiable fellow. However, I thought he was just another overhyped in-the-beltway multimillionaire television talking head whose myth never really matched his reality. But I'm just one data point - many others thought he walked on water. Cuique suum.

As to the whole "only leftists say really hateful things" well... what a silly, silly thing to believe.

UWS guy said...

Don't forget the wailing...

(well put Blaine)

AJ Lynch said...

Rev:

But was it a kick-ass chiding which she has done in the past or was it just a sorta pep talk to get our "commenting" act together?

montana urban legend said...

It's nice to know that at least immediately following Russert's death all comments regarding the degree to which he contributed to lowering the standards of American political journalism are obviated by their "disrespectful" timing. But those who actually didn't know the man personally might want to know when it will once again be acceptable to consider just how much damage he did.

There is a difference between celebrating someone's death, not mourning it, and simply stating the degree to which their accomplishments, as a public figure, were either over-inflated or unhelpful. Can I ask someone, who feels qualified to do so, to clarify when the third option will become acceptable?

I remember when Arafat died. Russert's no Arafat. He just forces non-baby boomers to wonder exactly what kind of accomplishments or pomposity (depending on how you look at it) confer to someone such a state of gravitas that their life can't be criticized after death; or how soon one must wait to do so afterward; or whether their reverence by some means they can't be thought decidedly less of by others.

Just a few impolite and incredibly nasty questions.

Meade said...

"Can I ask someone, who feels qualified to do so, to clarify when the third option will become acceptable?"

If you know how.

montana urban legend said...

Anyways, all this doesn't mean that I can't agree with the obligatory epitaph. Yes, I am sure that Russert WAS a nice guy. And at least Ezra Klein's post on his arguing at the pearly gates on chapters of Exodus will remind everyone, at this tragic time, that he did do his part to make sure that some in the media didn't give the administration a completely free pass on the war in Iraq.

We should celebrate and mourn the passing of good things done. Not nothings done, titles and meaningless iconography.

I'm sure others will be inclined to disagree and confuse this idea with the fact that all life has value regardless of how it is used.

montana urban legend said...

That's a clever way of using an unanswered question to not answer a question, Meade. Very fitting of the schizophrenic and not quite nearly post-MSM era in which we are living.

Meade said...

Oh, I don't know about clever. It was patronizing though, I'll admit.

rcocean said...

I'm sorry Russert died. The left wing hatred of him is rather weird considering he was a liberal and Ted Kennedy's former Chief of Staff.

And I reserve the right celebrate the death of certain public figures. (This has nothing to do with Russert, who was a harmless talking head).

But some people who are criminals or abuse power and cause harm don't deserve the "Don't speak ill of the dead'.

Fen said...

The Left turns its funerals into pep rallies, booing opposition party members who appeared to show their respect [Wellstone]. And the Left dances on the graves of those been taught to despise.

And we're surprised by this... why?

PatCA said...

There is no bottom to the well that is the bitterness and hatred of the New Left - because it is a psychological shortcoming, not a political ideology.

Host with the most, you will not find such comments by conservatives, because they base their ideology on traditional Western values, not on some pie-eyed dream of "the future." Yes, they have many shortcomings, but a sense of duty and honor is a trait valued by the true conservative.

RIP, Tim Russert. You were an honorable man. My condolences to your family.

Beth said...

It's hardly fair to mine archives and find an post in which Yglesias is critical of Russert and present it as if it's relevant to reactions to Russert's death.

I went over to LGF and the theme of the day there is how awful the Kos Kids are; most of those posters haven't actually gone over to Kos to read the posts reacting to Russert's death, because by far, most of those are respectful. But, just as some are doing here, the LGF folks are reveling in just how awful the left is. They're just terrible. Really. Thank god conservatives aren't terrible.

Nothing like a little self-righteous congratulatory high-fiving to liven up a wake.

somefeller said...

I'm curious, Ann, why did you decide to go over to Yglesias's website on this particular occasion to mine the comments pages for nasty commentary? You could have gone to any number of other liberal websites (including Daily Kos) for comment box commentary, to the extent it is relevant, on this topic. Why Yglesias? It sounds like you were waiting for an opportunity, however weak, to pounce on him, and have chosen this one.

Regarding Russert, all condolences to his family. Sic transit gloria mundi.

somefeller said...

Host with the most, you will not find such comments by conservatives, because they base their ideology on traditional Western values, not on some pie-eyed dream of "the future".

Oh, bullshit. Go to Free Republic sometime when moments like this arise for some rancid commentary. By the way, the best aspects of Western values over the past couple of centuries, sometimes called the values of the Enlightenment, have been championed by liberals far more than they have been by conservatives in this country (I'm including libertarians in the liberal camp for this one issue, in that Robert Nozick and Ayn Rand were children of the Enlightenment in their worldview). Spare us the hand-on-heart nonsense about how kind conservative blog commenters are about those they disagree with.

Invisible Man said...

Ann Althouse might want to chide her commenters.

Teddy Kennedy is rushed to the hospital...

rhhardin said...

I don't care one way or the other.

Celebrity crisis, bah. Pieties are called out.
12:04 PM

Blogger Palladian said...

Mary Jo Kopechne wishes she'd gotten such prompt ambulance service.
12:05 PM


Blogger vbspurs said...

tributes would paint liberalism in the best possible lights and his opponents in the worst.

If he dies, you mean? Maybe. I think Obama is better served by the obsequies that will come this June 6, when the 40th anniversary of RFK's assassination will come around.

They'll certainly use visuals of that in the Democratic National Convention, to great emotional effect.

(It's not a slam. We did too, about Reagan)

However, if Ted were to die, that would be overkill, err, so to speak....

Thank God.

Cheers,
Victoria

Blogger rcocean said...

I'm with you RH, I don't care.

Ted's lived a long life and did a lot of damage to this country. And I don't remember him being civil to anyone.
12:25 PM

Blogger Dave F said...

Good riddance. Couldn't have happened to a drunker guy.
12:36 PM


Blogger ricpic said...

Really, what difference does it make what I might wish on Ted Kennedy?


Blogger P. Rich said...

RFK got the brains. JFK got the looks and personality. Teddy got the production from the south end of a northbound mule.


Blogger vbspurs said...

Katieblakes wrote:

I'm surprised no one has brought up the parallels to McCain and his age. That's the first thing that came to my mind.

True, but "consider the life".

Ted Kennedy is, let's face it, a near-alcoholic playboy coddled by family and supporters all his life.
12:06 PM

PatCA said...

somefeller,
I hold my own definition of conservatism, the classical one--you obviously have another.

A conservative is to you, what, someone who is different from you, someone who votes Republican? How nuanced.

So bullshit to you, too.

titusbedtime said...

I don't think it is helpful to go onto websites and find comments and then paint a broad brush by saying all those in the left are hateful, trogolytes etc.

Why bother?

I am surprised Althouse goes for that crap.

I know I can be immature most of the time but doing this seems immature.

Who the hell cares?

I am from the left and I didn't make hateful comments about Russert. My family is left and they didn't make comments hateful about him. All of my friends are from the left and they aren't vile, repugnant, evil, rock bottom of subhumanity etc.

Gee people take a breath.

Man, making comments about the left like that makes you sound pretty damaged and hateful.

Cedarford said...

Althouse is right. Real slime-fest happening on Yglesias's blog comments.
Of course, Yglesias deserves them since he basically aspires now to be a minor league Huffington or Kos.

rcocean said...
I'm sorry Russert died. The left wing hatred of him is rather weird considering he was a liberal and Ted Kennedy's former Chief of Staff.
And I reserve the right celebrate the death of certain public figures. (This has nothing to do with Russert, who was a harmless talking head).


This was a pretty special guy if you follow his biography. Dad a garbageman, Tim Russert went through college working two jobs - one booking rock&roll bands. As an obscure grad from an obscure law school (Cleveland State) he was found up in Buffalo and picked by Daniel Patrick Moynihan over hundreds of hyper-ambitious hyper-pedigreed Columbia, Harvard, NYC slicksters, and Yale grads working Moynihan's Senate campaign. And within a year, mid-20s, had risen to be Moynihan's chief of staff on his brains, leadership, and outstanding interpersonal skills. Then he was campaign manager. Then Mario Cuomo, another heavy thinker, sought and got him.
Then Jack Welch, who personally mentored him as an exec. Then after Russert was head of news - on the thoroughness, charisma, and depth of Russerts briefings - coaxed Russert to take a stab at appearing in front of the camera instead of being MGMT - and reforming "Meet the Press". Me, a potato faced lawyer?? The public wants that???

The part of the pity is that in another 10 years they would have been talking about Russert as one of the "wise old men, the go-to people" society could count on to give something authentic, from the heart, and insightful and carefully thought - just as Moynihan and Welch were recognized as wise men. More the pity was only a few like Russert make it out of the Lodis, Buffalos, Jacksonvilles...if Moynihan hadn't decided to figure out who or what was making the dramatic difference in Buffalo's effort or decide he wanted to know more about this young Cleveland State nobody when he had dozens of Ivy League lads at his ear....???

Quite an American success story. The man was anything but an empty, harmless talking head.

titusbedtime said...

Did he work for Kennedy?

I thought he only worked for Moynihan and Cuomo?

Chip Ahoy said...

This lie, lie, everything is a lie, Bush lied, Cheney lied, Rice lied, Rumsfield lied, people died because these people lied, lie, died, lie, lie, died, lie, 100,000, lie, lie, died, lie -- is itself a lie. A big fat stinking irrational lie that must be retold at every instance to keep the lie alive. It's a lie these liars will take with them to the end of days. I'm so tired of hearing that lie I could smash their faces in. They do provoke the lowest that is in me and bring it to the surface.

*does the lying dance*
*flings lies*

Their lives must be a living hell. Contemplating their hellish lying stinking lives which brings the worst in me to the surface compels me to make some delicious potato chips as a curative measure.

I can hear workers assembling and dropping pipes. That means there's going to be a concert this weekend. Another chance to do the lying dance!

I don't share your view of Russert. My opinion is much more shallow than yours. I viewed him as another of the legacy media and I avoided his shows. I found him friendliest and most tolerable when he was promoting the book about his father. However, those remarks you cite here are disgusting. They infuriate my gentle soul and make me want to knock their heads together. As always, every single post on any single political subject is exactly one predictable degree from the boiling cauldron of self-indulgent and narcissistic seething spittle spewing hatred so characteristic of the unlovely on-line Left. Therefore, their company is to be avoided at all cost. Wouldn't do to get any on you. It's toxic.

Ann Althouse said...

Beth said..."It's hardly fair to mine archives and find an post in which Yglesias is critical of Russert and present it as if it's relevant to reactions to Russert's death."

I put that up because it related to the nastiness of the commenters. Presumably, they knew MY's attitude and thought it was appropriate to say mean things. Obviously, as I think my post makes clear, MY was not being disrespectful on the day of TR's death.

somefeller said..."I'm curious, Ann, why did you decide to go over to Yglesias's website on this particular occasion to mine the comments pages for nasty commentary?"

Someone mentioned it to me. I wasn't lying in wait.

titusbedtime said...

Also, I am more concerned about what I am going to where to Boston Pride tomorrow.

500,000 people-yikes!

I think some of this passion, hostility and crazyness comes from people who go to blogs and sites because they are alone and it is an outlet. This doesn't excuse any of the behavior.

But my sense is that is has something to do with lonliness or being alone.

It would be interesting to know of a survey about what % of people that participate in blogs are living alone, and have no marriage or partner.

I would be one of those that is alone but I don't consider myself lonely. I love being alone and the thought of someone here with me makes me sick.

Simon said...

As to Russert: What was special about Russert to me was a certain quality unmatched by anyone else on network news today (with the possible exceptions of Pete Williams and JCG): he came across as neither full of it, nor full of himself. He projected integrity, familiarity with the subject matter and a genial, unpretentious manner that was thrown into even sharper relief by the lesser men -- Charlie Gibson, Brian William, etc. -- that surrounded him as supposed peers. He was not tough interviewer. As Victoria and any other recovering Brit will tell you, America does not have tough interviewers. But he was civilized and probing in an age that encourages neither attribute in the media. This loss - and it is a loss - is devastating, and American civic life is the poorer for his passing.

He was in the prime of his life, damnit. The man was only 58. :(

As to the critics - One is immediately reminded of Alan Dershowitz, who, while the late Chief Justice's body was still warm was taking to the airwaves to smear him. Tacky, classless, badly brought up little droids with no sense of common decency.

UWS guy said...
"I lost my dad near a year ago and it almost brings me to tears thinking about how his son must feel now."

Not to mention his father: Big Russ yet lives. For a parent to bury their child is all the more unbearable.

titusbedtime said...

wear not where!

titusbedtime said...

I just ate a whole pizza.

rcocean said...

Titus,

I stand corrected, Russert worked as Chief of staff for Moynihan - NOT Kennedy. And yes he worked for Cuomo. Sorry, I get my East coast liberals mixed up. BTW, Mudd was a close personal friend of Ted's until 1980.

CF;

I liked Russert and he was a good interviewer. But he was harmless compared to someone with real power, Like Ted Kennedy or George Soros.

You know who has real power? Its the NBC exec who hired Russert and the NBC exec who will decide who to replaces him. Most of the TV reporters ARE Talking heads and easily replaced. The "suits" decide who gets on camera and who doesn't. If Olbermann died tomorrow, the liberal MSNBC execs would just replace him with another liberal.

knoxwhirled said...

Well, Invisible Man, Ted Kennedy did let a young woman die in his car while he ran away. It's asking a lot for people to ignore that. Obviously you can find hateful stuff on that freeper site and elsewhere on the right. But bringing up the Kennedy thread is disingenuous. Unless Russert killed someone it's not really comparable is it?

titusbedtime said...

I happen to think it is kind of sad and pathetic to go onto websites after something tragic happens with the purpose (or if someone told you to) of finding nasty comments in order to make a point that all or most people of a certain political sway are horrible.

OK< I am done. It is outfit planning time. I also am in Beantown now and may go out for a little drinkey to see what I am worth. I don't want to trick though because I need to be on tomorrow and don't want to be wearing the bags under my eyes from a night of passionate love making. The rare clumbers are here and loving the view from the balcony at the corporate apartment in the fabulous Back Bay.

Beth said...

I put that up because it related to the nastiness of the commenters. Presumably, they knew MY's attitude and thought it was appropriate to say mean things. Obviously, as I think my post makes clear, MY was not being disrespectful on the day of TR's death.

There's a dangerous recursiveness to the topic of commenters and how they do and do not reflect on the blogs they frequent.

Sadly, the response to this post has been to throw any real reflection on Russert by the wayside in favor of inane finger-pointing and self-laudatory circle-jerking.

Revenant said...

This lie, lie, everything is a lie, Bush lied, Cheney lied, Rice lied, Rumsfield lied, people died because these people lied, lie, died, lie, lie, died, lie, 100,000, lie, lie, died, lie -- is itself a lie.

Now I have Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer" stuck in my head. Thanks.

LoafingOaf said...

Oh dear, will we ever get beyond bloggers cherry picking other blogger's commenters to try and attack the other blogger?

Spread Eagle said...

The main thing that really bothers these leftists about Tim Russert was that he was fair to conservatives. They own the MSM. They don't want their MSM figures and talking heads to be fair to conservatives. That's exactly the opposite of what they're supposed to be doing there.

somefeller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PatCA said...

Wise choice, somefeller.

somefeller said...

A conservative is to you, what, someone who is different from you, someone who votes Republican? How nuanced. So bullshit to you, too.

Actually, I'm pretty familiar with serious conservative thought, including folks like Russell Kirk and Claes Ryn. (Ever heard of those guys?) So, hey rube, I probably know more about conservatism than you do. I certainly know that conservatism isn't some unchanging ur-text and in the end, it (like all ideologies) is for the most part defined by a simple concept: conservatism is what most people who call themselves conservatives say it is. The same can be said for liberalism.

Ann, I'll take your word for it you weren't waiting for an opportunity to pounce (cougar-like? I kid.) on Matthew Yglesias. Still, I wonder who tipped you off to his comment string on this issue.

rcocean said...

Somefeller,

Thanks for being a typical liberal. Given what a decent guy Russert was, I thought you guys had stopped being little political robots for a minute and actually had individual feelings - but I was wrong.

Sadly, Matt's left wing commentators are happy that a "heretic" like Russert is dead, and are doing the happy dance.

You're not upset about that, but ALthouse had noticed it and it makes looks the left look bad. Bad PR, bad for the cause right?

So our course you have show up with the pivot and attack gambit. Sticking up for the left, fighting "the good fight". Pushing back against Althouse, pushing the party line, making her feel guilty. Why are you attacking the left Althouse? Are you a fascist?

We know its all fake. We know you don't care about Russert or civility or being "fair". Its all about the "cause" and propaganda.

Invisible Man said...

knoxwhirled,

And I, as well as others found Russert to be a sometimes bad journalist, but the point of my exercise was to show how easy it is to rail against a blog and its random, anonymous commentors for sport during a tragedy. Just as Ann appears to point fingers at Matt's blog for nastiness during a grieving period, I easily displayed in one post the nastiness that occurred on her own blog during a grieving time for someone who this blog's commentors disagreed with (whether true or not). And I can't see how Ann defends herself by stating how innocuous her post was when Matt's was pretty vanilla. Linking to an old unrelated post just shows how disingenuous this line of attack truly is.

You know how they say point one finger at someone, and find several pointing right back at you.

somefeller said...

Shorter rcocean: blah, blah, blah, dumbass nonsense.

In case you didn't notice earlier, I stated that I offered my condolences to his family, and offered up a nice Latin phrase commonly used for great people when they die. I simply pointed out that it was a little odd that Ann jumped on Matt Yglesias's commenters (some of whom, I agree acted in bad taste), rather than other liberal websites, like DailyKos, which had more respectful responses. But keep to that mind-reading there, Carnac, regarding what I care about. And don't forget to throw that "fascist" word in there, even though you don't know what it means!

Palladian said...

"Ann Althouse might want to chide her commenters.

Teddy Kennedy is rushed to the hospital...

Blogger Palladian said...

Mary Jo Kopechne wishes she'd gotten such prompt ambulance service."

Did Tim Russert ever let a woman drown in his car?

Beth said...

I am from the left and I didn't make hateful comments about Russert. My family is left and they didn't make comments hateful about him. All of my friends are from the left and they aren't vile, repugnant, evil, rock bottom of subhumanity etc.

Well said, and true for me as well, Titus, and for most people over here on the left.

Presumably, they knew MY's attitude and thought it was appropriate to say mean things.

Remove the apostrophe + s, and that makes sense.

montana urban legend said...

Just about the only comment here that seems to go beyond "When Repressed Midwesterners and Friends Get Indignant" mode and provide some actual thought is, have to say it - Simon's. He makes no apology for Victoria's critical comments following the visiting of grave illness on other famous people (whom she didn't know personally) which were referenced. But instead, notes that:

"As Victoria and any other recovering Brit will tell you, America does not have tough interviewers. But he was civilized and probing in an age that encourages neither attribute in the media. This loss - and it is a loss - is devastating, and American civic life is the poorer for his passing."

If British civic life prides itself on tough interviewers, then as the society which descended from that one I'm not sure why we can't follow their lead in coming to value provocative discourse over ceremoniousness. Certainly if the words of vbspurs provide anything to go by - and modern Britain is the society which can actually teach America a thing or two about ceremoniousness - then I am not sure why we are sitting here as if we have the wherewithall to decide when and how to elevate ceremoniousness over unrepressed discourse (despite the negative effects it can undoubtedly have on the latter) and, indeed, refer to Russert's inneffective approach as some kind of model to go by when it comes to making such decisions.

vbspurs said...

Good God, I had NO idea Russert was the bane of the far-Left, and that they wouldn't give him the courtesy of a rest from their opinions today, of all days.

Look, it probably happens in the Rightosphere too, but let me just say that on LGF, the grand total of one comment was deleted. And even then, it wasn't terribly egregious (just unclassy). Universally, the comments there were shocked/dismayed/saddened at the news.

montana urban legend said...

Perhaps this text could provide the useful lessons to America that Britain has achieved in learning how to bridge that gap between ceremoniousness and unrepressed discourse - the latter including speech that was provocative both politically and otherwise. I know the moralists here will focus on the part of the title that doesn't refer specifically to satire, but the part that does is what interests me most in this regard. There is hope yet! I'm inspired.

montana urban legend said...

But vb, aren't you blurring the distinction between being classy and mandating shock/dismay/sadness? There is a difference. One can not mourn something, without that being necessarily crass.

Beth said...

Good God, I had NO idea Russert was the bane of the far-Left, and that they wouldn't give him the courtesy of a rest from their opinions today, of all days.

And are you correct in holding that idea now? Take a look around--you'll see a few idiots here and there, on a few blogs, and in every case, other people commenting take them to task. And on most left blogs I've visited, the comments are no different from what I read here in the first post on his death: so shocked, so young, condolences to family, and so on.

You ought to be just as shocked, shocked I tell you, that, upon being told of a few classless comments, commenters here immediately start pontificating on the left because, after all, a few misanthropic internet commenters represent the left. All of it. All the time.

I'm trying to keep in mind that a few moronic, gullible, kneejerk conservatives don't represent their side of the fence all the time.

This is a tempest in a teapot. Or perhaps, a vortex.

Beth said...

Universally, the comments there [LGF] were shocked/dismayed/saddened at the news.

Except when they were railing against unspecified comments at Kos, and the horrible left. Then they weren't really very dismayed about Russert's death, or even thinking about it very much.

montana urban legend said...

Beth's comments make sense.

Why can't we focus on how what was most tragic and relevant (beyond the immediate impact left by those who knew him personally - and the untimely nature of it) was the effect that the timing of his death had on what his legacy would ultimately be. The media was and is in a state of transformation. There does seem to have been some disagreement (based on recent essays, by Matt, but also quite a few others) on whether Russert's folksey politeness was a sign of some kind of civility that was dreadfully missing or emblematic of a televised medium which was in a state of marked decline - for many reasons, but being overly deferential to the political establishment was certainly part of the story. The fact that some saw Russert as a huge part of that (the latter) makes his death tragic in that not enough time has passed for those who would even know how to raise disagreement with that observation, let alone realize the impact of such a criticism, to make their case.

Deaths from a young age of heart attacks are tragic but usually run in families. I wonder the extent to which Russert was aware of any family history in this regard, because if he was, it seems that more aggressive and attentive treatment would have at least lessened the severity of his MI.

Sherry Sea from Austin said...

Stunning. I like Ann's blog but she has me scratching my head. She found tactless speech on the internet! Who knew? If Matt pauses to chide witless commenters, then I'll think less of him for wasting his time on such rubbish.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

This is why the internet is wrong.

Wrong or, at least, maybe bad.

Anyone can say something horrible, anonymously, on the internet, and I dare you to prove that it represents any fraction of a popular opinion.

Blah blah blah...

Funny that we commenters are the ones that are actually on the fringe.

Let's talk to average people (average voters), and let's talk to people face-to-face and see what they have to say, if they even have anything to say.

If they even know who Tim Russert was.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Ann, I'll take your word for it you weren't waiting for an opportunity to pounce (cougar-like? I kid.) on Matthew Yglesias. Still, I wonder who tipped you off to his comment string on this issue.

Huh? WHO CARES who "tipped her off"? I did! So what??

People worry about stuff that doesn't matter at all...

FYI, I'm a fan of Yglesias's blog and I support Obama. So if you're imagining some devious, evil conservative waiting to "tip off" my mom to "pounce" on the liberal blogger Yglesias, you're ... imagining things.

somefeller said...

JAC, I'm not worrying about anything. The only reason I made the comment about "tipping off" is because I thought it was odd that out of all the websites to talk about, Matthew Yglesias's website came up. There has been no shortage of respectful commentary about Russert's death, including on that supposed bastion of netroots anger, Daily Kos, so I thought it curious that one of the few websites that had a lot of septic comments came up. My initial assumption was that perhaps Ann was waiting for a chance to give Yglesias a smack (perhaps because of some prior altercations), and when she said that wasn't the case, I took her word and merely said that I wondered who raised the issue. That's about the extent of it.

Anyway, all this talk of what people said in comment boxes of websites x, y and z is getting all too meta-blogospheric for me. I'll end my comments on this topic with what I started with - all condolences to his family, and a great one has passed.

Zeb Quinn said...

One thing going on is that ├╝berbloggers from all over the political scatterchart, left, right, eclectic, wherever, have long since drawn a bead on exactly who their core readership is and what flavor of red meat they like, and then when the opportunity arises they throw it to them. It gets the comments popping like a popcorn popper.

AJ Lynch said...

Chip Ahoy said:

"This lie, lie, everything is a lie, Bush lied, Cheney lied, Rice lied, Rumsfield lied, people died because these people lied, lie, died, lie, lie, died, lie, 100,000, lie, lie, died, lie -- is itself a lie. A big fat stinking irrational lie that must be retold at every instance to keep the lie alive. It's a lie these liars will take with them to the end of days. I'm so tired of hearing that lie I could smash their faces in. They do provoke the lowest that is in me and bring it to the surface. "

Great point Chip. I could not have said it better. This is the best comment of the week!

PatCA said...

Oh, I take back my compliment, somefeller. I thought you had had the wisdom to close your mean, angry yap.

somefeller said...

Since I'm being mentioned by name, I'll make one last comment on the thread. I notice you don't have any substantive responses to my comments, PatCA, and you don't deny that the Free Republic crowd (a) are generally considered to be conservatives and (b) are likely to say some nasty stuff in situations like this, despite your claims that conservatives are all hearts and flowers in these circumstances. Better luck next time, chief. Oh, and while I can definitely be mean, I'm not angry. In fact, I'm laughing right now.

Beth said...

So if you're imagining some devious, evil conservative waiting to "tip off" my mom to "pounce" on the liberal blogger Yglesias, you're ... imagining things.

I don't think that's what anyone is imagining, JAC. Zeb Quinn nails it at 9:39 am. It's about vortex action, not politics. I find it odd timing, given her professions of respect and sorrow over Russert's death.

Simon said...

somefeller said...
"I thought it was odd that out of all the websites to talk about, Matthew Yglesias's website came up."

He's one of the better leftosphere bloggers - one that even conservatives read (at least, some do, including me). Furthermore, he very often makes it onto Memeorandum, which I think is one of Ann's main portals into the blogosphere. there are any number of reasons why he would be on the radar.

montana urban legend said...
"But vb, aren't you blurring the distinction between being classy and mandating shock/dismay/sadness? There is a difference. One can not mourn something, without that being necessarily crass."

No one is saying that feeling "shock/dismay/sadness" is "mandat[ory]" - but manners and good upbringing do dictate that one not feeling those things keep their fat yappers shut about the deceased for a decent period.

The Exalted said...

trolling the comments section of a minor blogger...

important work you do here ann.

The Exalted said...

The Drill SGT said...
Ann, go over to LGF and look at the 500 posts on Russert's death. I went through the first 100 and didn't find anything I thought was mean spirited.

interesting comparison to Matt's site.

The left claims that LGF is a hate site, yet Russert who was clearly a Democrat and left of center only got praise as far as I saw.


yes, interesting. maybe you should reconsider your assumptions.

madawaskan said...

Well I'm not going to be able to add much but let me be a complete hypocrit and do it anyways.

Tim Russert was a conundrum.

These comments that are illustrated-well they were all over the place before this.

What happened to Tim Russert?

I think he let it get to him.

And who wouldn't?

It would take a Herculian effort-not to bend.

To me , to be in the industry he was in and to be coming from the political background that he did-

Tim Russert was surrounded by a certain stream or pool of thought.

And what that they hated about him the most?

That he managed to swim against the tide better than most.

But that takes a certain amount of energy doesn't it?

downtownlad said...

I liked Russert, but I think this is a big warning to Palladian to stop eating all those Nachos.

Ann Althouse said...

1. Matt Yglesias is an important blogger. He's been on my blogroll for years, probably from the day I set up a blogroll. And I've done 2 episodes of Bloggingheads with him. I don't think my interest in what's going on on his blog is at all weird.

2. "It's about vortex action, not politics. I find it odd timing, given her professions of respect and sorrow over Russert's death." It was very sad news, but it's not as though I'm in mourning and can't have any fun at the same time or do anything unrelated to showing respect for him. Please. You might as well require me to go around crying every day of my life because thousands of people are dying. We're allowed to live even in the midst of death.

Beth said...

It was very sad news, but it's not as though I'm in mourning and can't have any fun at the same time or do anything unrelated to showing respect for him.

By all means, enjoy life. You surely don't think I meant you ought to be solemn. I simply find poking the conservative reflex to wail about those damn classless liberals a bit tasteless. At least I get the joke, citing MY's commenters Pavlovian "meanness" as a response they think will please the blogger while your own blog post and subsequent commenters response mirror that same phenomenon is funny. Oddly funny, and a little crass, but funny. I tip my hat to you.

Chet said...

"I see that not long ago"... what? Matt Yglesias is as bad as some of his commenters because he couldn't forsee Russert's unexpected death, and therefore refrain from criticizing him before he died?

You really are one of the most irrelevant voices in the blogosphere, Ann. Just profoundly unserious.

Chet said...

but manners and good upbringing do dictate that one not feeling those things keep their fat yappers shut about the deceased for a decent period.

To the deceased's family, sure, because they're the people who, already reeling from a grievous wound, might be even more deeply hurt by even the most fair criticism.

But amongst the rest of us? Who gives a crap, except moralizing busybodies looking to give themselves a pat on the back for their "restraint"?

No part of any "good upbringing" I'm aware of enjoins a person from commenting on the death of a public figure, regardless of what they have to say. Only that respect be showed to the family - that is, when you're right there with them, in person - in their time of grief. Are Tim Russert's family members posting at MY? Here at Althouse's? I doubt it.

Simon said...

Chet, I appreciate your takin the time to come here and exemplify the sort of tacky, classless, ill-bread "little droids with no sense of common decency" that I mentioned above. Don't stay long.

blake said...

I am from the left and I didn't make hateful comments about Russert. My family is left and they didn't make comments hateful about him. All of my friends are from the left and they aren't vile, repugnant, evil, rock bottom of subhumanity etc.

Well said, and true for me as well, Titus, and for most people over here on the left.


Yep. "All of my friends are from the left" does seem to apply to most people over on the left. ;-)

rhhardin said...

No one is saying that feeling "shock/dismay/sadness" is "mandat[ory]" - but manners and good upbringing do dictate that one not feeling those things keep their fat yappers shut about the deceased for a decent period.

I had a great upbringing.

However, decency doesn't work that way.

The reason for sympathy (``sorry about your father'') is to cut the other guy some social slack. It's okay if he doesn't laugh at your jokes, or his project is late. That's the real message. You're not really sorry, and your sorrow furthermore would do him no good. He does have some use for social slack, and that's why it's decent to offer it, and indecent not to.

If you don't in fact know the bereaved, you have no slack to cut him, and he has no use for your sympathy. You're entertaining yourself with it.

Against that, there's social value in speaking out against the news biz pretending to speak in your voice about your sorrow about this or that great man that you in fact didn't care a whit for or positively thought a menace to the well being of the nation, or at the least a public nuisance.

All of which applies here.

PatCA said...

"you don't deny that the Free Republic crowd (a) are generally considered to be conservatives and (b) are likely to say some nasty stuff in situations like this, despite your claims that conservatives are all hearts and flowers in these circumstances."

Okay,
My last word on this.

1. I never read Freep because they're so weird so I don't know if they're conservatives in my sense of the word. Yours, I don't know and don't care. I didn't know you were raising Freep as an issue; I thought you were hurling an insult.

2. I never claimed conservatives are "all hearts and flowers."

Now I would like to end this out of respect to Tim Russert.

blake said...

Wow, once again RHH fails the Voight-Kampff test.

Seriously, dude, people actually are sorry when other people die, and share a measure of their sadness.

As for it doing no good: It creates a shared reality where we agree that death (and other tragedies) are Bad Things, and not just in the abstract. We're personally moved by them.

This is part of what allows us to communicate. I know communication troubles you; this may be one of the reasons.

rhhardin said...

Seriously, dude, people actually are sorry when other people die, and share a measure of their sadness.

Fine, except that's you entertaining yourself.

There's a great TV market audience for it.

But evolution has not kept pace! People in actual neighborhoods not watching TV have not evolved to communicate with others in the nation about the passing of talking heads. They restrict their negotiations in life to actual neighbors and friends.

When your boss says ``Sorry about your father,'' is he sorry? Or is he just saying that? ``To be polite,'' as the saying goes.

Why would it matter to you? What it means is that he's taking your father's death into consideration. You have some slack from his quarter.

I'm sure a good crying fest is the ideal for some, but life hasn't evolved yet to work that way.

Chet said...

Chet, I appreciate your takin the time to come here and exemplify the sort of tacky, classless, ill-bread "little droids with no sense of common decency" that I mentioned above.

I gave Russert a day. The moratorium on honest reflection of a professional life lived only lasts 24 hours, no matter how well-bred you are.

Now that he's been suitably hagiographed it's time to actually look at what kind of journalist he was.

wk147 said...

Smooth your plaits, lassies - Althouse might want to chide her own research habits. Check the post above that one, the post below that one - hell, I can't recall the last time I saw a comments thread on MY that drew so many knee-jerk morons. The comment regulars didn't take part, and the level of aggressiveness wasn't characteristic IN THE LEAST of the usual centrism on display. Cry foul all you want, but all I know is I kept scrolling through the comments on that thread, waiting for the usual sane, intelligent discourse seen on both Ross' and Matthew's blogs. Needless to say, it never materialized.

Shame on them, but also shame on Althouse for this lazy attempt at a smear.

downtownlad said...

The right does the same exact thing. They were cheering for Teddy Kennedy's death too.

Look how Malkin treated Susan Sontag - and we're not even talking about commenters there.

http://michellemalkin.com/2004/12/29/how-to-write-a-susan-sontag-obituary/

Richard said...

"The right does the same exact thing. They were cheering for Teddy Kennedy's death too.

Look how Malkin treated Susan Sontag - and we're not even talking about commenters there.

http://michellemalkin.com/2004/12/29/how-to-write-a-susan-sontag-obituary/ "

That's a bad example. Michelle compares the obits of different media outlets. So?

blake said...

Seriously, dude, people actually are sorry when other people die, and share a measure of their sadness.

Fine, except that's you entertaining yourself.


In the larger, meaningless sense of entertainment being something that holds our interest, and that, in fact, all of life is nothing more than us entertaining ourselves, sure.

In another sense, though, it's just being human, whether it translates into some real world action, or simply represents a potential.

They restrict their negotiations in life to actual neighbors and friends.

Not really. Few people's interests are limited only to people they know. It has ever been thus, since civilization made the possibility of affecting others out of one's immediate circle.

When your boss says ``Sorry about your father,'' is he sorry? Or is he just saying that? ``To be polite,'' as the saying goes.

Yeah, you keep repeating that, but no, I really, truly am sorry, even if it doesn't affect me immediately, and even if I can't cut the person any slack. (And I've been in plenty of crunch situations where slack wasn't possible, even when there were deaths in the family.)

Why would it matter to you? What it means is that he's taking your father's death into consideration. You have some slack from his quarter.

"All mankind is of one author and is one volume."

Or, if you like: "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee"

I'm sure a good crying fest is the ideal for some, but life hasn't evolved yet to work that way.

Well, no, not if you're a replicant. But eventually they'll develop the Nexus-7 model.

But as I said, the shared experience is really what makes communication possible.

Jonathan said...

Wow. My first reaction when I heard about Russert was that he was probably overall the most well respected journalist in the world across the political spectrum .

Maybe I was mistaken.