Not a fair fight

Oh Boy! Just when you thought the legacy media might have wised—up in the wake Dan Rather's career crash, along comes Nick Coleman, the worst columnist at the Worst Major Daily Newspaper in America. The old adage is that when you find yourself in a hole, you should stop digging. Instead, Nick has rented a metaphorical backhoe. Coleman is about to gain fame well beyond his home market, and I don't think he is going to enjoy the experience.

Evidently, Nick has been wounded deeply by the ridicule he has endured at the hands of fellow Minnesotans John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson, who comprise two of the three principals of Powerline, just named the first—ever "Blog of the Year" by Time Magazine. As result, he attempts to hit back with inuendo about the size of the sexual organs of his antagonists.

Today's Minneapolis Star—Tribune publishes a column by Coleman that is so scurrilous in its innuendo, so devoid of fact and logic, and so downright stupid that it took my breath away. How on earth does material of this quality get by an editor? Are they all on vacation? Hinderaker  and Johnson have both written their initial responses, which are far smarter and which have the virtue of being based on fact and actual references, but that is only the beginning.

You see, the blogosphere is an open forum, as the CBS News 'fact checkers' discovered to their dismay. Already, fellow bloggers who are co—members of the Northern Alliance have jumped into the fray. Being fellow Minnesotans, they are well aware of the other foibles of Coleman and his second wife, Laura Billings, of the cross—(twin)town "rival" newspaper, the St. Paul Pioneer Press. This media couple lives in a glass house, and they have been throwing a lot of stones.

In the previous couple of centuries, a wise adage told the powerful to 'never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.' Those who purchased such quantities of ink became accustomed to unchallengeable status. But, as Hugh Hewitt and others have been pointing out, we live in new times. Bloggers buy pixels by the googleplex, and they don't have to wait 24 hours before firing the next round.

The mighty Instapundit megaphone is amplifying the tussle, and other bloggers (including this one) are on the case. The Powerline guys have built up a lot of respect and a lot of good will. Most of it is because they are such good writers, and do such fantastic work. Tom Friedman of the New York Times has just had his posterior handed to him by exposure of his false premises and claims on Powerline. A minor—leaguer like Coleman should notice when a major leaguer gets beaten up so badly, and use appropriate caution.

We have an extended holiday weekend coming up, one in which many people were already poised to pontificate on "the rise of the blogs" or "the year of the blog." Coleman has just handed the year—end media pundits a late Christmas gift.

Others have speculated that Nick Coleman is "insane" or is having a "meltdown." I have no clinical insight to offer, but I do see an analogy to a well—known practice of some of those bent on extinguishing their own lives. Certain people with access to a gun lack the guts to pull the trigger and blow their own brains out. So instead, they pull their gun on a police officer and threaten to kill him. The practice is known as "suicide by cop." I think Coleman has invented "career suicide by blogger." 

Thomas Lifson  12 29 04

Oh Boy! Just when you thought the legacy media might have wised—up in the wake Dan Rather's career crash, along comes Nick Coleman, the worst columnist at the Worst Major Daily Newspaper in America. The old adage is that when you find yourself in a hole, you should stop digging. Instead, Nick has rented a metaphorical backhoe. Coleman is about to gain fame well beyond his home market, and I don't think he is going to enjoy the experience.

Evidently, Nick has been wounded deeply by the ridicule he has endured at the hands of fellow Minnesotans John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson, who comprise two of the three principals of Powerline, just named the first—ever "Blog of the Year" by Time Magazine. As result, he attempts to hit back with inuendo about the size of the sexual organs of his antagonists.

Today's Minneapolis Star—Tribune publishes a column by Coleman that is so scurrilous in its innuendo, so devoid of fact and logic, and so downright stupid that it took my breath away. How on earth does material of this quality get by an editor? Are they all on vacation? Hinderaker  and Johnson have both written their initial responses, which are far smarter and which have the virtue of being based on fact and actual references, but that is only the beginning.

You see, the blogosphere is an open forum, as the CBS News 'fact checkers' discovered to their dismay. Already, fellow bloggers who are co—members of the Northern Alliance have jumped into the fray. Being fellow Minnesotans, they are well aware of the other foibles of Coleman and his second wife, Laura Billings, of the cross—(twin)town "rival" newspaper, the St. Paul Pioneer Press. This media couple lives in a glass house, and they have been throwing a lot of stones.

In the previous couple of centuries, a wise adage told the powerful to 'never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.' Those who purchased such quantities of ink became accustomed to unchallengeable status. But, as Hugh Hewitt and others have been pointing out, we live in new times. Bloggers buy pixels by the googleplex, and they don't have to wait 24 hours before firing the next round.

The mighty Instapundit megaphone is amplifying the tussle, and other bloggers (including this one) are on the case. The Powerline guys have built up a lot of respect and a lot of good will. Most of it is because they are such good writers, and do such fantastic work. Tom Friedman of the New York Times has just had his posterior handed to him by exposure of his false premises and claims on Powerline. A minor—leaguer like Coleman should notice when a major leaguer gets beaten up so badly, and use appropriate caution.

We have an extended holiday weekend coming up, one in which many people were already poised to pontificate on "the rise of the blogs" or "the year of the blog." Coleman has just handed the year—end media pundits a late Christmas gift.

Others have speculated that Nick Coleman is "insane" or is having a "meltdown." I have no clinical insight to offer, but I do see an analogy to a well—known practice of some of those bent on extinguishing their own lives. Certain people with access to a gun lack the guts to pull the trigger and blow their own brains out. So instead, they pull their gun on a police officer and threaten to kill him. The practice is known as "suicide by cop." I think Coleman has invented "career suicide by blogger." 

Thomas Lifson  12 29 04