On Matt Yglesias
March 2nd, 2012

There’s nothing wrong with criticizing Andrew Breitbart or rendering a negative judgement on his work and his legacy, as David Frum did yesterday. But Matt Yglesias’ celebration is a wholly different animal.

And I can’t quite understand the non-reaction to it. There used to be a price–professional and social–to be paid when high-profile journalists who are part of big media conglomerates acted this way. A commenter at Daily Kos or Free Republic could behave badly with impunity, but the actual professionals couldn’t because they were afraid they’d get their knuckles rapped by the suits and/or their more respectable friends would disapprove, and maybe even be forced to repudiate them.

It still happens, you know. Compare Yglesias’ tweet, in terms of maliciousness, stupidity, and actual hurtful impact on real people, with CNN anchor Roland Martin’s Super Bowl tweet about a David Beckham ad. You tell me which you think is a worse ethical infraction. CNN suspended Martin almost immediately. But Slate editor David Plotz rushed out to defend Yglesias. Slate isn’t some independent magazine, like Reason, they’re part of the Washington Post Company, a corporation with a $3 billion market capitalization. Surely there’s a grownup somewhere in the company who thinks that employees should be made to uphold some minimum standard of conduct, or else they risk embarrassing the business. They sure do at other companies.

Come to think of it, they even used to do this at the Washington Post Company.

  1. Fake Herzog March 2, 2012 at 11:07 am

    The whole incident sort of proves that Breitbart was right about the liberal media — they really are rotten to the core and need to be fought into submission. I just want to pat myself on the back for a moment — I never took Matt seriously and I’m glad I’ve ignored him all these years.

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  3. sid March 2, 2012 at 11:11 am

    It would be easier to criticize Yglesias if his response wasn’t exactly in keeping with how Breitbart responded to the death of liberals — Breitbart’s post on Ted Kennedy’s death is pretty much the most mean-spirited response one could have about someone’s death.

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  5. William O. B'Livion March 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Breitbart villified Kennedy because he was a horrible human being.

    Yglesias joy was based on Breitbart having an opposing point of view and being so crass as to argue it effectively.

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  8. Nedward March 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I thought the snitty twittering yesterday was relatively mild by Yglesias’s career standard. The guy is an asshole from way back.

    However, CNN’s Martin like Sanchez got clotheslined over a perceived grievance-group slur. This is more par for the course. There are dozens of veteran op-ed columnists at the WP Group, NY Times Co, Tribune, Time, various Newhouse brands who are just as passive-aggressive and snide (even toward deceased private citizens) as blog boy is, but they’re usually more artful, whereas that bush league Financial Journalist doesn’t even try.

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  10. James Versluys March 3, 2012 at 3:17 am

    No offense, John, but *when* did left-of-center journalists suffer from an opinion probably held by 80% of Times, Slate editors (meaning, actively being glad an effective rightist is dead) hold and, conservatively 70% of the rest of the board-media?

    I’m just curious- I think you’re imagining a past that never existed, John. Where’s the evidence? Your first piece is for an Islamist- doesn’t count. Your second evidential was clearly a cheap way to avoid an obvious lawsuit and damage from a man who can *certainly* fight back.

    As Mark Steyn noted, they don’t pick on the ones who can fight back. I don’t think this ethical stance is a “thing”, as they say. I remember Nixon dying.

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  12. corp-thunk March 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    cmon – yu kid, right? Why not ask why the compartmentalizing pigeonholerz at slate didnt all resign in disgrace 7 years ago?
    yu know how hard tis to find rich-boy plastic-rim-job-spec-totin parrots with so lil self-wareness, skilz, and all that unearned sense of stature and insite outside of glute-man sully’s office?
    Dude iz uniquely qualified and irreplaceable slate material to the core.
    But a black man implying that pink might seem unconventional or even gurly to some (kinda like ravens or broncos or football tight-pantz, really); or that most regular bowl-watchin dudez actually don’t really get hyped about underwear (& would be funny if they did) iz totally completely different, cuz, cuz…cuz it reveals the troubling insulated stereotypez held by the lame-o’zes who mindlessly presume pink = gay and that opposite of ‘bruh’ iz gay and that such presumptions are not in the least offensive or embarrassing – the same well-heeled herd of non-bruh’s who go into journalism, and cannot fathom that anyone who is not white could say anything with even tinge of cheeky nuance or irony, and therefore must be disciplined if they ever defy expectations or color outside the stereotypical lines they are assigned to fill in? No room for such pot-stirring shenanigans, my good sir. Commence the aghastment and shock knee-jerk empty-suited company form-statement on three.
    Yglesias iz a company man, strait up – pure-bred, thru-n-thru. can be counted on never defy anything or pop any monocles – fitz like a gluv: born with waranty on ass not to question or challenge the small world of simplistic, comfy counterintuition and familiarly soothing dichotomies he’s grown up in and his editurz insist upon rehashing like the dried-up east-coast bate-cream it iz. Like they gonna rap knucklez that cheerz on deth of anyone who actually reportz and can ‘rite and think and makez them look like the lazy entitled dronerz they arez – child, please: Of course he getz a pazz for just distillin what they were all thinkin and sayin around post/slate/newsweek/Today Show on that day (like every day) – it’z not like he used an inappropriate cliche in hiz headline or tried to make a bad joke callin a birth-control-pissin’ fish-killa a forbidden name beyond the pale of a protest march – just celebratin deth of someone who wuldnt rezpect hiz eztablished freeloadin betterz and that he’ll alwayz be too dense and cocooned from propriety and common decency to know he oughta’ve’a’been jealous of. That’z why he getz paid, son.

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  14. Bugs March 6, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Word to yo mutha!

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  16. Steve March 6, 2012 at 9:27 am

    You give hi way too much credit (and ink for that matter) Matt Yglesias and his entire body of “work” will never accomplish a tenth of what Breitbart could do at a single CPAC keynote address. It’s like comparing a fart to a hurricane.

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  18. LogicalUS March 6, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Serious that Yglesias is one of the stupidest “experts” around.

    He has no credentials, no experience and no accomplishments upon which to base his asinine “analysis” and it shows every single time he attempts one. But as everyone quickly finds out…leftist love ignorance and failure as some sort of measure of future success and then are shocked when their “brilliant” lights fail miserably again.

    I shudder to think how much fools like Yglesias and his adored messiah, Barry Obama, have downgraded an Ivy League education.

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  20. cantabrigian March 6, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    How dare you question your betters, you peon? Mr. Yglesias and Mr. Obama are both graduates of HARVARD. You’re fit only to lick their boots and thank them for the privilege of having done so. I used to think Yalies were the most disgusting creatures extant, but you have disabused me of that delusion.


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  22. Patrick Carroll March 6, 2012 at 9:45 am

    I think this is a wonderfully clarifying moment.

    The myth of the objective journalist is being shown the door, and news organizations are exposing themselves for the partisan hack organizations they’ve always been.

    Given Yglesias, and the supportive response given by his organization to his splenetic rant, one can now happily assume that when one reads anything from the Washington Post organization, one is reading propaganda from a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party. This makes the “news” a lot easier to filter and understand.

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  24. Hans Schantz March 6, 2012 at 9:53 am

    A bit ambiguous there…

    “Slate isn’t some independent magazine, like Reason, they’re part of the Washington Post Company, a corporation with a $3 billion market capitalization.”

    So, Slate isn’t some independent magazine, like Reason?

    Or like Reason, they’re part of the Washington Post Company?

    I’m pretty sure it’s the former, not the later, but please clarify.

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  26. Esteban March 6, 2012 at 10:49 am

    If I were Andrew Breitbart’s brother, cousin or friend, and Yglesias said something like that to me, say, in a bar, I would feel fully justified throwing a drink in his face and then smashing a fist into his faggoty ass glasses. Little pussies are brave behind their typewriters, but not so much where big boys roam.

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  28. A. Reasoner March 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    For years, my standing protocol when watching, reading, or listening to any “news” from corporate media (including NPR) that does not self-identify as conservative is to simply understand it as liberal propaganda and DNC talking points.

    Overt liberal journalistic bias can be objectively observed to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear.

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  30. John Blake March 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Having avoided mass media in all its sleazeball manifestations since Li’l Pinch absconded with the New York Times c. 1984, we’ve discovered that informed self-sufficiency is not only possible but key. Who cares what vicious partisan hacks put out, what pejoratives Dan Rather and Peter Gleick may hurl at infidels threatening their respective cults?

    As for proctocratic Big Gummint poseurs exemplified by BHO and his
    gang of puling wreckers: Suck it, fatheads.

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  32. Caroline March 6, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Disinformatzia. What the Soviets used to practice with Pravda and Izvestia, still works. And media like NYT, WaPo, LATimes and standard network broadcast channels fashion themselves after this model. This transcends corruption. They are politically driven, and devoted, true believers.