Parasitic or Condescending?

I guess Ezra is trying to pay a compliment but I just found this condescending:

To step aside from the concerns about the content of the sites Klein dislikes (I'm a fan of Atrios, DailyKos, et al, but that argument has been had already), they also serve a secondary purpose in subsidizing "the smart stuff" Klein likes. In much the way that cover stories on back pain and, in this case, "the Science of Appetite," sustain the readership and subscription numbers necessary for Klein's wonkier work and the magazine's political and international reporting, the red meat provided by the sites Klein decries create the audience and infrastructure that sustains and, more to the point, publicizes, my health care writing, or Juan Cole's Iraq reporting.

First, Joe Klein's "wonkier" work? And where is that pray tell?

Second, Ezra, by all acounts, does a fine job covering health care insurance issues. I would not know as I am not well versed in the material. But when not writing about that, what makes Ezra's "wonky" work, or Matt Yglesias, or Kevin Drum, or Josh Marshall, etc. any more creditable than any other blog? Cuz Joe Klein sez so? Sorry, I will not trade the establishment credentialism of the Media for the establishment credentialism of the so-called "wonky blogs." I do not accept that wonky blogs are "smarter" than other blogs. Some are. Some are not. You must judge each blog on its own merits. Ezra, who I judge to be excellent, based on my reading of his work since before TAP gave him its imprimatur, is not excellent because TAP thinks so, or Joe Klein thinks so, or even because Markos or Duncan thinks so.

By the same token, Joe Klein is pretty good but not because Time Magazine thinks so. Karen Tumulty is not good because she works for Time magazine. David Broder is positively horrible, and he is the Dean.

I assume Ezra did not intend this, but by comparing other political blogs to the the "Science of Appetite" stories that fill Time and Newsweek, he sets himself up as somehow superior to other blogs BECAUSE he is a wonky blogger. I think he is superior to most bloggers, but not because he is a wonky blogger, but because he is good.

This is not to say that there are no true specialists blogging who, due to their expertise, are due more consideration. Juan Cole is, of course, the best example of this. But there are others.

At this blog, three of the writers are top flight criminal defense attorneys (I am not one of them) who are specialists in their fields.

There are science blogs, and other specialized bloggers. But most of us are just citizens putting their thoughts out there. But the fact is David Broder, David Ignatius and yes, Joe Klein, know no more than any of us about politics, national security, health care, journalism (and this is a sad thing to write, because they should know more but do not about journalism) and any number of issues that they write about and we write about.

If there is one thing I hope we can end is this fetishization of folks who know no more than you and I because they write for print publications. I also hope we can NOT start a new fetishization of wonky bloggers. Sometimes they are insightful. Sometimes they aren't. You have to read what they write and figure it out for yourself.

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    I think the Times op-ed page (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 07, 2007 at 11:51:31 PM EST
    goes a long way toward proving your point. For every Gail Collins and Paul Krugman (excellent today), there's a David Brooks being propped up. It's not the institution, it's the quality of the message.