Friday, April 04, 2008

The Putzlicker Prize

Failed P.R. hack turned tech gasbag Michael S. Malone, last seen sucking up to Silicon Valley moneymen on an unwatchable PBS show, is currently bitching that an award for newspaper journalism is being given to newspaper journalists.

By the same token, the Pulitzer for commentary will probably go to some codger at the Detroit Free Press, when it should probably go to someone who is actually clever, influential and widely read, like Mickey Kaus at And how about Terry Teachout (AboutLastNight) for cultural criticism? And instead of handing a disguised (as "editorial writing" or some other cover) lifetime achievement award to yet one more doddering old nostalgia merchant, how about awarding it to someone who actually has transformed the journalism world in the last decade: like Arianna Huffington or Roger L. Simon, Glenn Reynolds or Markos (Kos) Moulitsas? Or better yet, how about Matt Drudge, who is secretly read by every reporter in the world?

But if you think that's going to happen, you are still living, like the newspaper world, in 1998, or 1898. The Pulitzer Prizes are for newspaper reporting -- meaning print, with a quick head-nod toward newspaper Web sites. Not for the far bigger, more demanding and more influential world of independent online journalism.

The idea of Kaus as clever, influential or widely read should get an award for delusional thinking. As should the idea of Drudge transforming the journalism world, when his entire schtick is linking to newspaper websites and online newspaper columns, with occasional leaks, or outright mispresentations, of forthcoming "MSM" reporting.

Despite his references to Huffington and Kos (who doesn't pretend to be a journalist), Malone is a right-wing hack. (He's even more of a self-fellatalist, although that's pretty standard for a a right-wing hack.) Although he pretends to be the first tech reporter in the nation, Malone doesn't mention one website where former newspaper readers are now going for tech news. They sure as hell aren't getting it from Roger el-Simon or the Hairless Hack. Instead, he hypes a bunch of reactionary blowhards who spout off like deinstitutionalized mental patients. And Malone's crappy on-line column, with its endless recitation of its author's puported past glories and stories of old fart rockers, is the template for dodgering codgers of every medium.

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