White Noise: News from Inside the Media Bubble
William Buckley, RIP
By the time we started running William Buckley’s column (filling the apportioned conservative slot on our editorial page previously held by Ann Coulter) he seemed more preoccupied with parsing the English language than engaging in ideological trench warfare. We’ve had bad luck with established partisan columnists, by the way: Buckley’s counterpart on the left, Molly Ivins, preceded him in death. Why did we choose Buckley? It’s hard to nail down the squishy term “conservative” these days, with both reactionary xenophobia and neo-con triumphalism on the rise. The answer is that Buckley was a principled conservative, a man of ideas, and someone you could respect for his intellectual honesty whether you shared his opinion or not. The father of modern conservatism suggested in a 2006 interview with CBS News that President Bush had strayed from the faith. “I think Mr. Bush faces a singular problem best defined, I think, as the absence of effective conservative ideology – with the result that he ended up being very extravagant in domestic spending, extremely tolerant of excesses by Congress. And in respect of foreign policy, incapable of bringing together such forces as apparently were necessary to conclude the Iraq challenge.”
Blogfight no more?
Last week it finally happened. Greensboro blogfather Ed Cone (edcone.wordup.com) banned the commenter known as Bubbanear, or just plain old Bubba, from contributing to his blog. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, this goes way back. Bubba’s been throwing far-right hooks at Cone’s place for years now, issuing “gotcha” arguments and link-laced tirades about global warming, terrorism, former Greensboro police Chief David Wray, the Democratic Party and the war in Iraq. He also engages in open disdain for Cone himself. Cone, who has been playing the whole thing straight, is often subjected to criticism from other regulars on the blog, who sometimes feel victimized by Bubba’s characterizations, for continuing to allow his presence. It all came to a head last week in a thread about Barack Obama’s middle name. (It’s Hussein, by the way. Mine is Thomas) In a series of comments begun at 10:21 a.m. on Feb. 27, Bubba used sarcasm, ridicule, taunts, fearmongering, a straw man and the word “Oprahfication” to make his points, one of which was a defense of President Bush’s tour of duty in the Texas Air National Guard. At 5 p.m. on March 1, Bubba unleashed his final challenge to Cone concerning his banning, which ended with the imperative: “Do it now!” Cone obliged. Bubbanear says he’ll keep commenting about the content on Cone’s blog at his own web presence, Noteworthy, at bubbanear.blogspot.com, but methinks it just won’t be the same.
Do you read John Hammer’s weekly Rhino column “Under the Hammer?” Me neither. But I did this week just so I could catch you up on Hammer’s keen take on the world of presidential politics. First, did you know that Hillary Clinton is not a very likeable person? I don’t know how Hammer knows this, since he probably hasn’t spent much time with the senator from New York. Also, Barack Obama’s middle name is Hussein. That’s right. And just in case you missed it, I’ll say two more times: Hussein, Hussein. Like Saddam. Hammer refers to Obama by his full name three times in the column, although, to be fair, he gave the same treatment to Clinton. I lost count of the number of “Hillary Rodham Clintons” after seven or eight. What’s going on over there? You guys got a lot of space to fill?