Showing posts with label career advancement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label career advancement. Show all posts

Monday, March 23, 2015


After hearing blessedly little from or about him in recent years, I see Hugh Hewitt has become the Important Conservative Journalist of the moment. At National Journal, Shane Goldmacher tells us in "It Had To Be Hugh" that "Hewitt, a professor of constitutional law who often sounds the part, isn't a conventional right-wing talk-radio host" and has "the demeanor of a friendly academic"; he also says Hewitt's "relationship with the mainstream media is complicated." At Power Line John Hinderaker says "Hugh tries to elevate our discourse about politics and public life" and "believes that, day by day, intelligent conversation with important, knowledgeable people on both sides of the political aisle can bring us closer to realizing the democratic ideal."

This does not much comport with the Hugh Hewitt I've been observing lo these many years. For example:

In 2005 an Iraq War correspondent suggested to Hewitt that he didn't really know what was going on at the front, and Hewitt rejoined that he did indeed know because he was at that moment broadcasting from the Empire State Building and "the Empire State Building... has been in the past, and could be again, a target..." Also, "in downtown Manhattan, it's not comfortable, although it's a lot safer than where you are, people always are three miles away from where the jihadis last spoke in America... Although you are on the front line, this was the front line four and a half years ago." Hewitt's primary residence at the time was in California.

By 2006 the war wasn't as popular as it had been and Hewitt explained that turncoats like Andrew Sullivan and Peter Beinart had only "turned defeatists" because they "feel disdained" by President Bush, and that the President should have them over to the Indian Treaty Room for a chin-wag: "Even if some are too far gone into opposition to be recalled, some will wake up." Ah, what might have been!

Hewitt also does his bit for organized religion: When Tom Hanks was pushing his Da Vinci Code movie and said "we always knew there would be a segment of society that would not want this movie to be shown," Hewitt warned Hanks, "Tom: Careful now... stick to the obvious – it is an absurd piece of invention that makes for a fun thriller – and all will be well." Nobody crosses the professorial Hugh Hewitt! When Jeff Jarvis (!) said something negative about the religious right, Hewitt said, "it is a useful exercise to run through Jeff's piece and substitute 'the Jews' for the 'religious right' and all pronounces referring to the 'religious right.' Jeff is of course not anti-Semitic..." That's elevating the discourse!

And Lord, does he go on about that Emm Ess Emm. You can catch Hewitt doing the traditional goldurn-librul-media schtick anytime, but a particularly good example of his "complicated" relationship with it is this 2004 bit in which he suggested that Michael Kinsley, who'd just taken over the L.A. Times editorial page, should hire Roger L. Simon, Laura Ingraham, Max Boot, Jim Lileks, and Mickey Kaus. But what's the difference, Hewitt went on, "even a reinvigorated editorial page and opinion page won't help much given the senior staff's refusal to deal with the poisonous bias in the 'news' reports..." Kinsley for some reason didn't take his advice, and Hewitt must have been pissed: In 2005, when Kinsley's paper did a story about a couple of North Koreans who offered an obviously untrustworthy defense of their country, Hewitt pretended to believe the L.A. Times -- or, as he called it, The Pyongyang Times -- was peddling Nork propaganda.

Hewitt's devotion to the "democratic ideal" is such that in 2011 he was trying like hell to get Herman Cain and Ron Paul bounced from the Republican primary debates so the establishment candidates could have more time on camera.

Other Hewitt nuggets: "The only reason [Chris] Muir [creator of the horrible Day by Day comic] isn't widely syndicated is MSM bias." There's also Hewitt pretending to be outraged at the treatment of John Murtha a year after supporting that treatment.  And Hewitt predicting in 2005 that the Catholic cardinals, inspired by "the cruel death of Terri Schiavo," would elect an American Pope.

And given that one of Hewitt's plums is the right to ask questions at a Republican debate, we should recall this brainstorm of his from 2013:
Proposed opening question for the first GOP presidential debate in the fall of 2015: "Was the 'shutdown showdown' of October 2013 good or necessary -- either or both -- and why?"

I don't have any idea how it will be answered by the 10 or so potentially serious candidates who may be on that stage, but the difficulty of predicting the best answer can be found — where else? — in two movies about war.
But what's the use -- every so often a rightwing apparatchik like Hewitt is elevated and promoted as a fair-minded voice of alternative reason; in fact it's happened to Hewitt before, in a 2005 New Yorker blowjob ("Hewitt is definitely a Republican, but he is no mere mouthpiece"). If Hewitt really thinks the MSM is as nefarious as he portrays them, maybe he'd consider they might only be promoting him to make conservatism look bad.

UPDATE. In comments, The_Kenosha_Kid: "Don't make fun of the dangers of working in the Empire State Building! I saw a documentary once where it was attacked by a giant monkey."

Hardcore spelunkers can also read Hewitt's 2008 propaganda ebook, "Letter to a Young Obama Supporter." At the time, I reviewed its mendacious and definitely not "friendly academic" approach, though I missed some of Hewitt's youth outreach, such as this let-me-put-it-in-terms-you'll understand explanation of why Obama's lack of experience should concern the youngs:
If you could be given golf lessons by either Tiger Woods or the local club pro, guitar lessons by Eric Clapton or the guitarist for the garage band playing downtown, cooking lessons by Emeril Lagasse or by the night cook at the local diner, which choice would you make in every case?
 I like to imagine Hewitt laying aside his pen after that one and sighing with satisfaction, "eat your heart out, Greg Gutfeld."

Sunday, March 08, 2015


The Wall Street Journal announces that Emily Zanotti has joined their staff. alicublog readers will know her as E.M. Zanotti, and perhaps recall my review of her culture-war work ca. 2007. Highlights from one Zanotti post at National Review:
There seems to be a degradation of the concept of art that starts around the Enlightenment. Naturalism was a rejection of the spiritual art that came before it... Somewhere along the way, [art] became less about making a visionary artistic statement, and more about making a statement that was "counter-cultural" (the Dada movement, for example) and meant to shock the collective consciousness... what fit this qualification often garnered an artist fame in his own community and an increase in his paycheck...
Modern art, whatta racket amirite? You may wonder how National Review let this one get away: Her last post for NR, filed from the 2008 Michigan GOP primary, contains this:
McCain has added difficulties of his own making as his Michigan campaign winds down. His sudden affinity for plaid dress shirts has ensured visually painful clashes with the blue backdrops at press briefings.
We also learned from this valedictory post that "good hair and rolled-up sleeves are in the Romney blood."

Zanotti kept her own blog for a while, too, where she tackled head-on and without a helmet issues like "If [abortion] IS a killing, why don't you just throw everyone who has one in jail?!"
To answer the question outright, if its a life, then taking the life is murder. We have no problem with that assertion, and frankly, believing it to be a life makes even their arguments easier. Its hard to stand on stable ground when your fundamental argument involves a distinction you cannot prove, but allowing, for a moment, that the fetus is a human could present a wealth of not esoteric but legal defenses...
[Blah blah, Margaret Sanger, the Spartans, Peter Singer, murder, etc.]
That said, its not as though making something illegal necessarily makes it punishable. Widespread recognition of the dignity and worth of human life by making it a crime to take one isn't something we brought into being by majority vote. Its a long-standing tradition. Some might call it the "natural law." Whether humans punished it was up to them...
On and on through thousands of words of point-dodging, but nothing resembling an answer; those who hung on till the end, however, got some nice anti-feminist insults ("everything short of unfettered access is totally unreasonable to Anna [Quindlen], though she'd never care to admit it"), and were probably satisfied.

Then came years of banging out boob-bait for outlets such as the American Spectator; last week, while other outlets were covering the recent Department of Justice report on Ferguson with headlines like "DOJ Report Condemns Ferguson Police Department's Practices" (NPR) and "Ferguson Officials Suspended After DOJ Report Have Resigned, City Confirms" (NBC), Zanotti's Spectator dispatch was headlined "DOJ FERGUSON REPORT VINDICATES OFFICER DARREN WILSON." She has also served as a "strategic partner" at Republican consultant bullpen Hynes Communications, and occasionally goes on Catholic sites to bitch about "the stretch pants ladies’ substituting Maya Angelou poems for Gospel readings." Can't say she hasn't paid her dues!

Zanotti seems to have calmed down, or at least gotten hungry enough to send in better first drafts. Her first offering for WSJ is a thumb-sucker on the Chicago mayoral election -- did you folks know that progressives are dissatisfied with Rahm Emanuel? Zanotti characterizes the contest as "two unappealing candidates who are battling for the measly one-third of the electorate that hasn’t checked out completely," which may seem a strange way to describe Chuy Garcia, an activist who came out of nowhere to win 34% in a primary against a standing mayor, but Zanotti huffs that Garcia's "a man who has many progressive dreams and no idea how to pay for them," and though she currently lives in Chicago she really wants to move away (presumably to some conservative oasis like Fritters, Alabama, to serve as the village strategic partner), and what else do Wall Street Journal editorial page readers need to hear?  I predict a bright future, for Zanotti if not America.