Thursday, April 17, 2003

Very angry piece about Instapundit (Glenn Reynolds) by Kevin Drum.

This week Glenn seems to have completed his transformation into the Rush Limbaugh of the blogosphere. Like the piece above, in which he "can't help but feel" that journalists and intellectuals are really motivated by sympathy with murderous dictators, Instapundit has turned into an orgy of innuendo and name calling, with anti-war activists saddened because they "didn't get the oceans of civilian blood [they] wanted," smug remarks about how the BBC "has shot itself in the foot" simply for reporting the looting in Baghdad that everyone is reporting now, and snide comments about scare-quoted "neocons," as if these folks don't really exist and it's shocking to suppose that anyone has ever wanted this war to expand beyond Iraq.

Glenn's schtick has always been a bitter and cynical one, but the end of the war seems to have been a watershed for him. Like Rush with his "stack of stuff," Instapundit has turned into nothing more than a clearinghouse for bile, with post after endless post explaining that anyone who disagrees with him is really motivated by a seething hatred of America and a desire to see everything that is good and true torn limb from corrupt limb. The level of rage and contempt that it takes to continue extracting pleasure from banging out this kind of stuff on a daily basis baffles me.
My vote on this is that Glenn is trapped in a "David Brock dilemma". Brock said in his book that although he was bothered by the length and breadth of vitriol that he went to in attacking Clinton and the Democrats, he knew that if he softened up, he'd be in deep trouble with his newfound Movementarian friends. While Glenn isn't a neoconservative, it's pretty clear that any rise in prominence and fame that Glenn will enjoy from here on out will be through Movement outlets like the Washington Times, Fox News, the Weekly Standard and the like. If he antagonizes them by veering off message, like Brock did when he wrote that book about Hillary Clinton, he'll end up persona non grata, or at the very least the kind of person who prompts muttered whispers when not quite within earshot.

In other words, if he veers off message, he'll never be anything more than he is now. I don't think he's quite willing to do that, and in that situation, where there is a logical (if flawed) case to be made for the Movement's positions, it's easier to stay on message and just ratchet up the rhetoric. That's what he's doing, and that's why he's being slowly "Rushified".

On the other hand, he could just be being an ass. Still, the "Brock effect" could be a factor.

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