Patterico's Pontifications

9/22/2003

AN INTERESTING CONTRAST: I read

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:17 pm

AN INTERESTING CONTRAST: I read a couple of interesting stories in the news recently that I think relate to each other. See if you can spot the connection.

Story Number One was a fairly snarky profile in our local Dog Trainer (aka Los Angeles Times) of blogger Mickey Kaus, who runs a blog called Kausfiles at the Slate website. The piece asks:

Could somebody please make sense of Mickey Kaus? Why is a high-level thinker (his 1992 book “The End of Equality” was praised as a refreshing exploration of why traditional liberalism could never resolve poverty) playing on the Web? Why is a Harvard Law School graduate using so many exclamation points (some sardonic, some earnest) in his postings?

Kaus plays it off with humor: “Earnest exclamation points? They’re all ironic. Honest!” But all of this is merely background for:

Story Number Two: The Sacramento Bee has been running an excellent blog by a reporter named Daniel Weintraub. On that blog, Weintraub suggested that Mr. N-Word Cruz Bustamante would never have gotten as far as he has if he had not been a Latino. This observation is difficult to dispute, but it predictably set off the Latino caucus, who complained to management. Although Weintraub had simply been giving his opinions, the Bee decided that Weintraub will no longer be allowed to blog unfiltered. His comments will now be shown to an editorial page editor or his deputy before being posted on the paper’s website.

Do you see the connection? All of a sudden, Mickey Kaus’s “playing on the Web” doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to imply that Weintraub will not continue to be insightful even while “muzzled” by his editors. He writes a column that has always been subject to the heavy hand of the editor, and it has still been damn good. But we’ll never really know what he’s thinking now, especially if the issue involved has any P.C. overtones. And, because all his observations will now have to be reviewed by an editor, he can’t post his thoughts immediately — a tremendous pleasure (and sometimes, a critical advantage) on the internet.

Kaus himself has clearly noticed the connection. In reporting on Weintraub today, Kaus ended an entry with the observation: “Warning: What you’ve just read has not been pre-cleared. Click if you do not want to see this notice again.” But Kaus has not made any explicit connection between the Weintraub story and the recent Dog Trainer article about his own website. Perhaps he is too modest (or thinks it would sound too defensive?) to point out explicitly that the Weintraub debacle proves that the recent Dog Trainer piece was misguided. While Kaus may have given up “prestige” (in the form of gaining the approval of smug Dog Trainer reporters), Kaus has retained more: the absolute ability to say whatever he wants — and what’s more, to say it now!

UPDATE: Kaus reports that the decision to screen Weintraub predated the complaint from the Latino caucus, and came from P.C. forces within the paper.

SLOPPY ERRORS IN BOGUS RECALL

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:07 am

SLOPPY ERRORS IN BOGUS RECALL OPINION: They are pointed out by a Democratic partisan writer for the Dog Trainer (sorry for the oxymoron) here.

My favorite is this description of Proposition 54:

It would prevent the state from collecting or retaining racial and ethnic data about health care, hate crimes, racial profiling, public education and public safety.

The Dog Trainer calls this characterization “open to dispute.” Translation: it is false, but saying so would offend a lot of PC-types at the newspaper.

They often say: “Read the whole thing.” Here, you can stop reading near the end, with the paragraph beginning: “All this said . . . ” The rest is liberal claptrap to make up for the fact that the writer is criticizing a liberal decision.

RECALL ANALYSIS TONIGHT: I am

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:56 am

RECALL ANALYSIS TONIGHT: I am taping the oral argument in the en banc rehearing of the bogus recall decision. I expect to post analysis tonight after I have had a chance to see it.


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