Given that my Thanksgiving chores are pretty much done until this afternoon, thought I’d throw out a quick holiday post. So, it’s Thankgsgiving, what are you thankful for? Personally, I rate for the opportunity for a guilt-free day off, and also for the fact that the nightmare business partner will soon be history (see post below).
I’m also thankful (well, not really thankful so much as filled with schadenfreudistic glee) for the Salon War Room’s Hack Thirty. Given that today is all about the turkeys, this seems like an appropriate time to talk about the Top Hacks. Several of my old pals made the list:
Billy Kristol, who I’ve also poked with a stick on this blog, came in at #17, but because this is a family blog I’m not posting his picture.
I’m also proud of the fact that I called 2 of the top 4 just hours before the top 10 were announced, in comments over at Mr. Bogg’s. At that point, they had only released the winners of slots 11 – 30; everyone was breathlessly awaiting the announcement of Top Hack. TBogg was rooting for Byron York: “Also. Too. I’ll be disappointed if Byron York doesn’t make the list. Anyone who honestly believes that they attained greater credibility by leaving the National Review for the Washington Examiner deserves some kind of special recognition for being, well, special.”
My response: “What, no David Broder? No Richard Cohen? I agree that York is hacktacular, but the regularity with which the two I’ve noted are inflicted upon the public-at-large should give them a leg up over amateurs like York. Besides, if they give York a spot, they’ll also have to give one to his hair, Milton.” (Broder comes in at #4.)
Immediately after posting that comment I started kicking myself for failing to include Tom Friedman, but obviously he didn’t need my help; his work speaks for itself.
There was a lot of chatter around the blogs about who should make the list until the finalists were announced, and a lot of the usual suspects were floated as nominees: Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Coulter…but as TBogg commenter pseudonymousinnc astutely noted, “Pareene has done a good job of distinguishing partisans who, though they may be hateful fucks, are good at being partisans, and hacks who are good at nothing except being hacks.” Which really points to a larger, and sadder, fact: even without the partisans, this list could be exponentially longer, were it not artificially limited by the “Top 30” construct. I’d quibble around the edges on a few of the honorees – S.E. Cupp possesses the requisite banality but is not ubiquitous, memorable, or well-known enough to keep company with most of the other luminaries, and Laura Ingraham, ditto, as well as being blatantly partisan, though perhaps she won out because she’s inept even at that.
Taken all together, the list paints a picture of what is considered acceptable opinion by our corporate media: a mushy, center-right muddle of illogical and irrational rationalizations and conclusions dressed up as “moderate” ideas, all advanced in service of either keeping the status quo or advancing the interests of America’s oppressed wealthy people. At first glance, it might seem as if they could at least find people better at this hackery, but…that’s the point, isn’t it? Smart, principled people wouldn’t be willing to carry these buckets of swill.