I am a big fan of YouTube, and would, in fact reckon it the major internet advancement of the last two years. No blog has made more effective use of it than Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish, which is, in fact, my favorite blog outside of Harper’s. While Andrew is off being hitched (congrats to him and Aaron Tone), a quartet of guest bloggers are holding the fort at the Dish: three I know and like almost as much as Andrew and a newcomer named James Kirchick, who I understand is Marty Peretz’s assistant over at The New Republic. Most of today’s posts are from Kirchick, and I can’t say I’m impressed by them.
The worst of the set is an attack on Max Blumenthal for his recent series of short videos in which Max visits Religious Right and conservative youth conferences. The short films became very hot items on the web and demonstrated an effective use of the medium. Blumenthal has been doing some good work in this area, and his pieces on the internal goings-on at the Washington Times and the Religious Right’s onslaught against the Air Force Academy are important.
According to Kirchick, all Max Blumenthal is doing is
crashing crazy right-wing events and making the participants look dumb. It’s not so hard to do, and this type of gotcha “journalism” is lazy and cuts both ways.
In fact Blumenthal doesn’t do anything to “make the participants look dumb,” they do that all by themselves. He does a very good job of showing the vigorous efforts underway to control the meeting’s message to the media, and how deceptive that message is. But Kirchick then strains to try to make Blumenthal look dumb. It doesn’t work—instead it’s Kirchick who comes across as a dullard.
Reading to the end I get the distinct sense that, for Kirchick, Max Blumenthal’s great offense is being the son of Sidney Blumenthal. That’s revealing.
This post is far below the standards of the Dish and Kirchick needs to grow up and stop abusing Andrew’s website.
One other thing really sticks in my mind. Max Blumenthal has been out there busily defending The New Republic from the onslaughts of Bill Kristol and the Weekly Standard over the last two weeks. It looks like Kirchick is giving him repayment in kind. Remind me please: which of these publications is Kirchick actually working for? I think we just found out.