Patterico's Pontifications


Balko Dragged Against His Will Into Whining About Me Some More

Filed under: Buffoons,General — Patterico @ 11:08 pm

About two weeks after Radley Balko wrote me an e-mail accusing me of being obsessed with him, he tells Politico that the “biggest blunder” and “biggest dustup” of his entire life revolve around . . . me.

Biggest blunder: “I’ve given in to the temptation to get into these petty shouting matches that tend to be over minutiae that no one cares about and makes everyone look small and doesn’t contribute to anything,” he says.

The L.A. prosecutor [that’s me; bad editing has me introduced further down — P] has goaded him several times, and Balko says it’s been a mistake to respond every time other than on the Johnson [sic] case.

Ever the victim, Balko just gets dragged into these things against his will. It’s not that he consistently makes ideologically driven errors, shows reluctance to admit them, corrects them only in a whiny fashion, and lashes out at me for pointing them out.

Why, he was dragged into bringing it all up again in this Politico interview! It’s not his fault at all!

But it’s no wonder that he feels the Johnston case is the only one where he feels justified in responding to me. It’s the only one of our interactions he can point to where I shared to any degree his penchant for sloppy argumentation — and I admittedly did, as I acknowledge below. So, of course, he harps on that — and, as is his custom, shades the truth to make himself more the hero:

Biggest dust-up: Balko says he has had frequent spats with a Los Angeles County prosecutor who blogs at Patterico’s Pontifications. The biggest, he says, came when the prosecutor accused Balko of jumping to conclusions about the death of 92-year-old [sic] Katherine [sic] Johnson [sic], who was shot and killed during a police raid.

“The reason why I speculated early on is because I had studied so many of those botched raids and it all seemed familiar,” Balko says. “I’m happy to say my conclusions were correct and his were incorrect, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Or, as he graciously put it in a blog comment: “you were wrong there, too. I was right.”

The actual truth of the matter is a little more subtle. I discussed my mistakes at length in this post and don’t feel the need to rehash it here. (If you feel the need to rehash it, you can find one of the old posts and bring it up there, yet again. I’m not enabling comments to this post.) But it’s not quite as simple as Balko portrays it, and he has always resorted to quoting out-of-context comments (which I freely admit in my post were phrased badly) to make my arguments seem other than they were, as any fair-minded reader who read my entire post would conclude.

It’s interesting to see that, while he accuses me of being obsessed with him, I apparently loom so large in his life that I figure in his Biggest Blunder and Biggest Dust-Up — ever!

The self-absorbed Balko may fancy himself a victim of my obsession — but regular readers know I have targeted Michael Hiltzik, and Henry Weinstein, and David Savage, and Glenn Greenwald, and Dahlia Lithwick, and Ann Coulter, and John Carroll, and Dean Baquet, and Bill Keller, and Andrew Malcolm, and Anthony Kennedy, and Eric Boehlert, and Sadly, No!, and Think Progress, and . . . and maybe even a few others during the course of my four and 1/2 years of blogging.

I criticize people when I see them making mistakes and bad arguments. To the extent that any of these individuals — and this includes Mr. Balko — wish to get less attention from me, the solution is simple.

Make fewer ideologically driven mistakes. Admit the ones you do make, without whining. Be more careful in your research. Disclose hidden biases in your published writings.

Do that, and you’ll find my attention turned to other targets who don’t.

And then you’ll have a different “Biggest Blunder” to point to in the future.

P.S. When asked about his “killer post” — guess who it was about? Yup: Cory Maye.

P.P.S. And no, I never did hear back from the good folks at the Wall Street Journal, even after sending a carbon copy of my reply to Paul Gigot and James Taranto. If they had a good response to my inquiry — one not filled with strawmen and easily discarded rhetorical dodges — they didn’t bother to share it with me.

And no, I’m not surprised in the slightest.

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