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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Powerline or Powertools?

posted by Jazz at 12/29/2004 10:04:00 AM


(Hat tip to Memeorandom for this amusing story.) Some of you may remember Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman, who has been taken to task many times, both here and around the blogosphere, for his seemingly random attacks on bloggers. This week, however, he comes up with a really amusing (if somewhat poorly written) frontal assault on the windbags at Powerline. (If you've never bothered to go through the annoying free registration process for their paper's online version, this one will be worth your time.)

These guys pretend to be family watchdogs but they are Rottweilers in sheep's clothing. They attack the Mainstream Media for not being fair while pursuing a right-wing agenda cooked up in conservative think tanks funded by millionaire power brokers.

They should call themselves "Powertool." They don't speak truth to power. They just speak for power.

The lads behind Powerline are a bank vice president named Scott Johnson and a lawyer named John Hinderaker. If you read Powerline, you know them better by their fantasy names, Big Trunk (that's Johnson) and Hind Rocket (Hinderaker). I will leave it to the appropriate professionals to determine what they are compensating for, but they have received enormous attention from the despised Mainstream Media and deserve more.

Coleman goes on to summarize his chief complaints against Powerline, primarily dealing with his impression that they claim to be some sort of legitimate news source while really acting as shills for the GOP. Now, shills they certainly are, but I don't' think they have ever claimed to be otherwise, have they? I mean, even their most diehard fans can't possibly think that their site represents any sort of unbiased view of political news and world events, could they? Anyway, some more from Coleman's persnickety poison pen.

[L]ike talk radio, they are dominated by the right and are only interested in being a megaphone without oversight, disclosure of conflicts of interest, or professional standards.

Powerline is run by Ivy League lawyers, one of whom (Johnson) is a vice president at TCF Bank in Minneapolis and works for Bill Cooper, an ex-state Republican Party chairman. Johnson and Hinderaker are fellows at the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank that seems to be obsessed with gays and guns and wants to return us to the principles of our founders, although I can't determine if that includes Ben Franklin's skirt chasing.

Mainstream or Extreme? We report, you decide: Last month, Claremont gave its Winston Churchill Award to that visionary statesman and recovering drug addict, Rush Limbaugh!

But Extreme bloggers don't tell truths. They tell talking points. Powerline is the biggest link in a daisy chain of right-wing blogs that is assaulting the Mainstream Media while they toot their horns in the service of ... what? The downtrodden? No, that was yesterday's idea of the purpose of journalism. Extreme bloggers are so hip and cool they can make fun of the poor and the disadvantaged while working out of paneled bank offices.

The column goes on to do some hilarious "fact checking" of Powerline and to deride their recent awards from both Wizbang's 2004 Blog Awards and their unbelievable kudos from Time Magazine as the 'blog of the year.'

The usual list of suspects lined up to answer Coleman's charges.

Shorter Big Trunk: "I don't disclose conflicts of interest in my writing? DO TOO! DO TOO! DO TOO!"

Shorter Hind Rocket: "I wasn't able to figure out what Nick wrote, so I'll call him crazy and unprofessional."

Shorter Captain Ed: "I'm going to jump on the Coleman bashing bandwagon, and maybe next year Time Magazine will fete me!"