Filed under:Blogging — posted by Anwyn on October 30, 2006 @ 9:16 pm

My blogfriend Xrlq isn’t somebody I’d consider riling up just for amusement. He’s an attorney, father of two, and a Virginia transplant, and when he gets up a head of steam he can typically argue circles around me, which is one reason I’m glad we’re so often on the same side of the issue.

But he’s hot and bothered now about Hot Air, one of my favorite sites. He finds Allahpundit & Co. to be too quick in jumping the gun, downright wrong about some things (comments #33 and #39), and unwilling to listen to corrections because the comment section is limited to registered commenters culled during short, limited registration periods. His disdain came as a surprise to me, because while I’ve known Michelle Malkin, who runs Hot Air, isn’t his favorite person in the world, I had no idea he harbored a similar opinion of Hot Air, which, almost needless to say, I don’t share. Hot Air is a great political site, which helps to concentrate many of the issues I care about in one place and brings me relevant video clips that I don’t watch when they’re on TV because I’m too busy watching, um, serial dramas, and if the comment section is not the easiest at which to find good discussion, it is not quite the Sycophants’ Hall of Fame that Xrlq finds it to be.

He’s said his next post will lay out his criticisms of the site and his proposed solutions. I’ll be very interested to read what they are, beyond “open comment registration,” which is easy enough to predict. It’s a good thing to have a reality check on one’s favorite things every now and then, so … let’s hear it. Aside, it’s probably a good thing for Allah’s hat size to be told now and then that he’s not the greatest thing since tabbed browser windows, but he won’t hear it from me. After all, I’m just a sycophant. … Kidding.

Update: Below in the comments, Xrlq indicated that he thought I was trying to pick a blogfight with him in this post. Far from it. The post was meant to lay out the initial salvo from Xrlq to Hot Air and look ahead to Xrlq’s next post on the same–i.e. describing a blogfight between Xrlq and Hot Air, although Hot Air’s not really playing the game, so the term “blogfight” may be a bit inaccurate here. But I can see how my statement that I wouldn’t like to have X mad at me and then going on to disagree with him nevertheless could look like I was looking for a fight. I’m not. Just going for what I always expect out of the blogs–lively debate and discussion, which we’re having.


  1. I wouldn’t worry about Allah getting a big head. He is, if anything, far too sensitive to criticism and prone to excessive self-deprecation and self-doubt.

    Comment by Patterico — October 30, 2006 @ 9:42 pm

  2. Oooo! Fight! ;-)

    I followed your link over to Xrlq’s criticism of Hot Air and I can sort of understand why you might have thought he was accusing all of the commenters there of blind obedience. I don’t think that’s what he implied but nevertheless I can see how someone might infer such a meaning — especially if one of the readers happens to also be one of those same commenters. (No, commenters is not a word… commentators?)

    Anyhoo, I’m of the opinion that more speech is better than less and, while I’m not about to start reading any of Malkin’s work on a regular basis, I think she and Hot Air might benefit from a more open forum. Clearly the blogs are popular and would continue to be so even with the occasionally intrusive troll. The “faithful” (and I use that term without a trace of malice) can easily pile on (or ignore) abusive comments. In the end though, Hot Air is a private enterprise; they don’t owe anyone the use of their servers to rant.

    I remain happily disinterested in this specific turn of events as I have no dog in this fight. In fact, I’m becoming weary of the more general blogfight thing (not just at Hot Air). As a nerd and a technogeek I hope “new media” is making a difference but sometimes I wonder… Are more voices being heard or are there just more voices? In other words: I’m beginning to question my preference for “more speech” and that, frankly, scares the poop out of me.

    My $0.02. Just another voice. Trying to listen occasionally.

    Comment by Allen — October 30, 2006 @ 10:26 pm

  3. He is, if anything, far too sensitive to criticism and prone to excessive self-deprecation and self-doubt.

    I know, Pat. I want to hear what Xrlq’s got, but I don’t anticipate it changing my reading habits … Allah’s got so many folks in his corner that it’s easy to forget he’s hard on himself. Frankly, it’s difficult to understand how he does what he does while analyzing himself–I scrutinize every word that makes its slow, tortuous way out of here and still have cause to regret some of them occasionally.

    Are more voices being heard or are there just more voices?

    Allen, one of my other favorite bloggers, about as different from Allah as you can get without becoming a liberal in that he’s a straight-ahead Christian and approaches everything from that starting point, is about to shut down partly for that reason. I’m gonna have to post on that soon. :P

    Comment by Anwyn — October 30, 2006 @ 11:19 pm

  4. Okay, I may have to turn off graphic smileys. That one was meant to be the sticking-out tongue and it just looks deliriously happy.

    Comment by Anwyn — October 30, 2006 @ 11:34 pm

  5. I’ve been out sick since the weekend so my blog entry will be coming a little later than planned. My intent is not to persuade you, Patterico or anyone else to stop reading either Michelle Malkin or Hot Air, both of which I myself read daily. It’s not the sites themselves, or their authors, that have me hot and bothered. It’s the hero worship. You’ve said you look to original sources for news, and to Allah for commentary. That’s fine. But as the commenter who inadvertently sparked the Patterico thread has shown, too many other readers rely on that site for news. I have a similar reaction toward people who get all their news from Jay Leno (no, I don’t have anything against him, either).

    Comment by Xrlq — October 31, 2006 @ 4:48 am

  6. Sorry you’ve been sick. :/ Hope your little guys are well.

    I can easily understand your issue with hero worship, but your tone here is a lot different from what it is at Patterico’s.

    Comment by Anwyn — October 31, 2006 @ 8:27 am

  7. That’s because Patterico’s been reflexively defending the site as though it were the corporate equivalent of his little sister. You, on the other hand, seem to be taking the site with an appropriately sized grain of salt. If everybody read the site that way I wouldn’t have felt the need to bring up the site’s occasional inaccuracies at all. So if you want to pick a real, knock-down, dragout blogfight with me, you’ll probably need to pick another topic. Sorry.

    Comment by Xrlq — October 31, 2006 @ 9:31 pm

  8. To say that my defense has been “reflexive” is untrue and insulting.

    I’ll defend Allah, whom I respect, before I defend the site as a whole. He is, in my view, the driving force behind the site. If he stops blogging there, it will be (for me) just another site I read occasionally, if at all.

    In any event, as I explain here, your current accusation against Allah is factually deficient anyway.

    Comment by Patterico — October 31, 2006 @ 9:57 pm

  9. The dowdification part is, that’s true. However, the whole “it seems like X” when the guy said Y problem stands. Besides, this whole argument did not begin with Patterico defending Allah against anything; it began with a post by a different regular at the site who posted an entry that was not defensible on any level.

    Comment by Xrlq — October 31, 2006 @ 10:26 pm

  10. So, in a very literal sense, you did in fact defend the site as a whole before you defended Allah. For what it’s worth.

    Comment by Xrlq — October 31, 2006 @ 10:27 pm

  11. Well, what happened is that you attacked the whole site for what Ian posted.

    I said it was absurd to throw over the whole site because of one blogger.

    And I said that because I like Allah’s blogging.

    So you can split hairs all you like, but the essence of it is that I defend the site because I like Allah.

    I think you understood that. But . . .

    To quote Rick Ellensburg, “I love how” you misread my use of the word “before” as literally referring to chronological timing rather than importance, as is clearly indicated by the context.

    But misreading it this way gives you a cheap way to call me inaccurate, so you do it.

    Disappointing, really. All of this. Increasingly so.

    Comment by Patterico — October 31, 2006 @ 10:32 pm

  12. So if you want to pick a real, knock-down, dragout blogfight with me, you’ll probably need to pick another topic. Sorry.

    I had no intention of picking a blogfight. I had hoped to soften one up or even defuse it a little. The word was in reference to you taking aim at Hot Air. Since they’re not really fighting back so far, I suppose “blogfight” is a bit inaccurate, but that was the gist–you and Hot Air, not you and me.

    Comment by Anwyn — October 31, 2006 @ 11:13 pm

  13. I wouldn’t have felt the need to bring up the site’s occasional inaccuracies at all.

    I don’t have a problem with you or anybody bringing up inaccuracies, out of Hot Air or anywhere else. That’s one big reason blogs exist, no? My initial problem was the same as Patterico’s: you seemed to be trash-talking the whole site because of Ian’s post, and like Pat, I wasn’t about to throw Allah under the bus for anything of Ian’s. So then the focus shifted to hero-worship of Allah and how that concept magnifies Allah’s misstatements into web-sized problems. I don’t think that’s a small item, but I continue to be surprised at how angry you sound over all this. It’s not like I’ve never “heard” you argue this way before, but it just seems a little harsher in this context. To be clear: I do not have a problem with you calling out anybody, fellow conservatives included, who is inaccurate, but Hot Air does have the need to strike a balance between speed and 100% accuracy without corrections. For a site that has to pay its bills, they can’t afford to be behind the curve, is how I see it. So far, your main gist seems to be that they’re sacrificing too much in accuracy for what they retain in speed. I’ve already said I’m waiting to read your post, and I guess it makes one of your points to say that you being too harsh on Allah personally is the problem here, but nevertheless that’s the case.

    In other news, I’m looking into upping the font size on these comments. My own damn blog is hurting my eyes.

    Comment by Anwyn — October 31, 2006 @ 11:41 pm

  14. Well, what happened is that you attacked the whole site for what Ian posted.

    No, that’s not what happened. Primarily, I attacked Ian for posting what Ian posted. Secondarily, I also took a shot at the site generally, both because Ian is a regular contributor who inevitably reflects on the site as a whole (can you attack Jayson Blair and Howell Raines WITHOUT saying anything bad about the NYT as an institution?!) and because this was neither the first instance where I had encountered a Hot Air blogger playing fast and loose with the facts, nor the only blogger who had committed that misdeed. Had this particular entry been a first offense, or had every other prior incident involved the same individual blogger, I’d have written a different post.

    FWIW, I agree with both of you that among Hot Air bloggers, Allah is likely the best of the lot.

    Comment by Xrlq — November 1, 2006 @ 5:44 am

  15. Oh yes, I also agree a larger font size would be nice.

    Comment by Xrlq — November 1, 2006 @ 5:44 am

  16. FWIW, I agree with both of you that among Hot Air bloggers, Allah is likely the best of the lot.

    Actually, I think Pat and I are pretty well agreed that Allah is likely the best of the lot among *all* bloggers. I can’t speak for Patterico as to specifics, but Allah’s in my top five.

    I feel like I’m losing the thread here, so I’ll try a small summation. P and I initially got started because you attacked all of Hot Air (read: Allah), first of all based on a post by Ian and second of all because of a misstatement by Allah that he has so far refused to retract or mitigate. He maintained, in Pat’s comments, that it sounded to him like Sabato heard Allen use the word himself. I disagree and disagreed at the time, but never considered it a big enough deal to make an issue of–my thought is pretty much “Allah thought it sounded this way, and I didn’t,” and in addition, Sabato **clearly wished to give that impression,** stopping short of saying “Yes, I heard him say it” presumably only because it could be disproven, which it later was. Your beef is that Allah was outright wrong but others took him as gospel.

    Given that I’ve stated the case correctly, I don’t know how much is to be gained by continuing to go around about it. If Allah admitted it was a false factual step without a correction, you might have a case for their emphasis on speed over accuracy, but his “testimony,” so to speak, is that it was an honest mistake *of opinion only* that he still stands by as warranted by the video and not warranting a correction. If Allah now believed his initial opinion was unwarranted, there might be a case against people having taken that opinion and run with it, but here’s the thing, Xrlq: at its extremest end, your argument sounds as though you are blaming Allah for others’ inability to tell the difference between fact and his opinion. I can’t go along with that.

    Comment by Anwyn — November 1, 2006 @ 7:59 am

  17. I spent some time in the CSS last night but haven’t been able to find the magic line that contains the comment font size. I’ll keep looking. I’d hate to have to change themes altogether since I spent some time customizing this one, but we’ll see.

    Comment by Anwyn — November 1, 2006 @ 8:00 am

  18. Xrlq: at its extremest end, your argument sounds as though you are blaming Allah for others’ inability to tell the difference between fact and his opinion.

    I don’t blame Allah for others’ inability to do anything. I do, however, blame Allah for failing to handle the rumor better after the fact. Even if his post were 100% accurate, which it’s not, it’s gone a long way toward helping to “prove” a point that is simply false. That alone is reason enough for a clarifying update. I know I’d do that, if anyone used one of my posts to prove something that doesn’t follow from it, and which appeared to be getting any real traction in the blogosphere. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for Allah, or anyone else with an audience nearly as large as his, to do the same.

    Besides, it’s not as though Allah made one itty-bitty boo-boo, and others took it to completely new and unforeseeable places. Start with the truth, which is that Sabato made it clear he believed Allen had said the N-word, but flatly refused to say whether he had or had not heard him say the word himself. Add Allah’s spin, and suddenly Sabato is strongly implying the very thing he explicitly refused to say. That’s a big leap. From there, it takes a relatively small leap to infer that Sabato intended to imply this (as you yourself seem to be suggesting), and a smaller one still to have him openly stating what Allah has him implying.

    Indeed, if I thought there were any real substance to the claim Sabato had deliberately misled anyone on this point, or that he had been “caught” in this alleged deceipt by anything other than his own statements in a subsequent interview, then I’d have left the whole issue alone. Any moral distinction between lying outright and deliberately deceiving people with half-truths is a finer distinction than I care to focus on here. The problem is much more basic than that: there’s no evidence that Sabato did either.

    Comment by Xrlq — November 1, 2006 @ 9:13 am

  19. Oh yeah, and if you do go poking around anymore on that comment template, you might want to consider embiggening the comment box, too.

    Comment by Xrlq — November 1, 2006 @ 9:15 am

  20. That was an easy one, for a change. Comment box enlarged. Still hunting the font size.

    Comment by Anwyn — November 1, 2006 @ 12:06 pm

  21. Okay, I’ve changed the spacing of the font in the comments–to my eye it now looks identical to post font, which is to say, more readable. Let me know if your mileage varies.

    Comment by Anwyn — November 1, 2006 @ 1:13 pm

  22. I agree, it’s much more readable now.

    Comment by Xrlq — November 1, 2006 @ 8:18 pm

  23. I think someone who:

    1) Says he “knows” it’s true that Allen said it; and

    2) Says it’s a “fact” that Allen said it; and

    3) Says he is only saying about the N-word; he’s not saying about other incidents; he wasn’t there for those incidents;

    is implying he was there for Allen’s use of the N-word.

    And yes, Anwyn. Allah is my favorite blogger.

    Why, he’s my HERO! Even if he said many clearly wrong things, I would nevertheless support him, due to blind hero-worship.

    I’m just that big of an idiot.

    Comment by Patterico — November 1, 2006 @ 9:21 pm

  24. My eyes are closing of their own accord and I’ve got houseguests, so I’ll have trouble keeping up with this if it goes much farther, but my next post (hopefully tomorrow, but not sure) will answer Xrlq’s “Redux.”

    I agree (and disagree) with you both. Pat, I think the guy was weaselly and was *trying* to imply that he heard it, but since he couldn’t actually say that he heard it, I never believed he knew jack about it, so I disagree with you and Allah there, and yeah, Xrlq, I believe he was trying hard to make people believe he heard it, so that given that, it wasn’t as huge a leap as you make it when people actually believed he was implying he heard it.

    I’m over the sycophant thing … this new post I can work with, as it’s a lot more rational than the tone at the beginning of this thing.

    Comment by Anwyn — November 2, 2006 @ 12:09 am

  25. […] So the fight turned out not to be between Xrlq and Hot Air, but between Xrlq and Patterico, who wound up a ridiculous amount of comment thread going back and forth over whether Allah’s initial interpretation of a weasel’s remarks was a reasonable one. With that more or less put to rest in that same comment thread, this is old news, but I promised an answer to Xrlq’s calmer post taking Hot Air to task. […]

    Pingback by Anwyn’s Notes in the Margin » Blogfight Redux — November 9, 2006 @ 12:12 am

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