Friday, May 12, 2006

A Lynching by Liberals?

Richard Cohen over at WaPo wrote the article "Digital Lynch Mob" about the reaction he got from writing a story about Stephen Colbert's performance at the White House Correspondence Dinner. He didn't like it; he didn't think it was funny. (Disclosure: I thought it was one of the best things Colbert has ever done. Much better than his own daily show, but that is a subject for another post.)

In response, Cohen was swamped by e-mails, mostly negative, vulgar, and singularly offensive according to his second story. He likened the episode to a lynching. He disparaged the idea that emails via the internet, and indirectly blogs, add a needed dimension to the MSM. Instead, they bring chaos to journalism. I suppose he believes we would be less served by a chaotic journalism than the journalism we are getting.

At lease he still has a job at the WaPo. Others who have been the subject of the digital lynch mob were not so lucky. However, his offence – if it truly was an offence since I would defend his right to post such a story – was not a major failure in ethics or practice which is what undid other journalists.

Cohen seemed more in shock that liberals were capable of lynching anyone even digitally. I am not. The anonymity and ease of emails lends itself to the kind of attack Cohen received – most significantly from those considered liberal in label if not in practice. Liberals don't lynch. Michelle Malkin posts her hate mail frequently. Was Cohen's hate mail full of slurs about his gender or ethnic origin?

The original story about
Colbert's speech was not all that bad. He even play Colbert a complement calling him a man for our times – just not funny. And Cohen point in this story, that Colbert's speech was directed at people like me instead of the people sitting in the room, is certainly valid. Except Colbert’s performance was more to the point than almost anything that has happened in DC since the capital of a country conceived with unalienable rights of the individual was build by slaves. Cohen touched a nerve in the blogosphere and received a record number of emails and links not only for the story but also for his digital lynching story.

I don't think Cohen or the people at WaPo are thinking about this in the right way. His little article about the response to his Colbert story ranked number one in Technorati's list of top news stories May 18, 2006 and held on to the number two spot the next day – an enviable position – the most linked post on the internet. That is how I came to read it. I'd like to know how many people read Cohen's story. The days of the print media and physical letters to the editors are numbered. This is the new medium, learn to deal with it WaPo.

As to the subject of "Digital Lynch Mob", I have to agree with him on what he says toward the end of the article. I have written on the subject also,
here, and even titled one post Lynch Mob Justice.

Whether the hatred of which Cohen wrote will undermine the liberals' goal of taking power, of course, remains to be seen. It is a long time between now and November. Much will (and it certainly looks like) will happen. However, that liberals can be as hateful and mean spirited as any rabid right wing fanatic is proven out by what Cohen received.

We have met the enemy and he is us – Pogo.
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Blogger Richard Quick, Millionaire said...

A national poll conducted by Quick Research Group determined conclusively that not only is Stephen Colbert unfunny, he is pathetically unfunny. Embarrassingly unfunny.

His address to the White House press core was not offensive because of his politics, but because of his wasting the time with a video presentation that ranks of there with the worst SNL flop in their most unfunny year.

See the poll results at:

5/13/2006 2:38 PM  

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