There they are, cheek by jowl, at The Atlantic. Maybe they belong together.
Conor Friedersdorf writes a long and often appreciative assessment of Andrew Breitbart-the-journalist. But doesn't spare him the criticism he deserved for his shameless cowardice. Friedersdorf ends with this:
...The fact that he didn't debate me personally doesn't mean much, but it is telling that he never squared off, as William F. Buckley did on "Firing Line," against some critical figure from "the other side." In today's America, I actually don't think the pundit games requires much courage. The "happy warrior" talk always strikes me as overwrought and silly. But when Jon Stewart sits down with Chris Wallace, or when David Frum does a Bloggingheads with Jonah Goldberg, or when Christopher Hitchens debated Sam Harris, they were putting themselves out there in a way that Breitbart, who stuck to shouting matches and cable news spots, tended to avoid. Bluster, shamelessness, aggressiveness, a willingness to be confrontational -- Breitbart had all those things. Lots of people don't. Admire that or not, but courage it ain't, and his fans acknowledge as much when they comment on leftists jabbing their fingers in the chests of CPAC attendees.
...Breitbart's successors should channel his passion. They should learn from his determination. They should challenge wrongheaded narratives in the media, create platforms that expand the ability of Americans to engage in political discourse, and inject mischievous humor into their work.
They should celebrate the best of what he did.
Unlike Breitbart, they should appeal to the best in people rather than intentionally eliciting their worst; produce journalism that is ambitious in its quality, not just its short-term political utility; refrain from falsely implying terrible things about people based on made up facts or misleadingly edited footage; show courage by exposing themselves to substantive debate with skilled antagonists; refrain from doing anything they regard as abhorrent when it's done by other people; and grasp that focusing on the base's sense of grievance hasn't served conservatism well. ...The Atlantic
And that's what is so unlikable about conservative blowhards. They are bullies and cowards -- apparently unable to face the people they harrass and insult but willing to harrass and insult all the same. Honestly? After the damage he did to Acorn and Shirley Sherrod, I wasn't in the least sad to see him go. I was sorry to see him get off the hook so easily.
Alyssa Rosenberg, also writing in The Atlantic, is sorry HBO has chosen to put Palin at the center of the upcoming telenovela, "Game Change." There were other aspects of the 2008 race that were more interesting.
In one scene, Palin flings a phone at adviser Nicolle Wallace (Sarah Paulson) in a stairwell, screaming "You have ruined me! You have ruined my reputation, I am ruined in Alaska!" By setting the outburst to a horror movie score, Game Change telegraphs only that Palin's a freak—not that, in a tough campaign, she might have had legitimate concerns about her political future. And perhaps there's nothing there to contemplate. Maybe Palin was as difficult, and as mercurial, and as fundamentally empty as Game Change makes her out to be. But if that's true, it's a story we've heard retold hundreds of times, in hundreds of thousands of words, over the last four years. At the end of Game Change, when Nicolle Wallace's dramatic admission that she didn't vote is played as some sort of moral victory, it's clear that the movie isn't interested in figuring out what actually happened in 2008. Instead, it merely participates the tired, self-satisfied celebration of the country's collective decision not to let That Woman anywhere near the White House. ...The Atlantic
Or in other words, if you can't televise something new and interesting, why not put down that camera and go home quietly. I'm surprised HBO wasted its considerable smarts, time, and money on this if the result is anything like the stuff Rosenberg describes. We'll see.