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April 15, 2006

Angry for a Reason

Shakes here...

My Left Wing’s Maryscott O’Connor is profiled today on the front page of the WaPo in an article called The Left, Online and Outraged. The entire piece made me squirm, not because it was so determinedly (and exclusively) focused on the anger of the lefty blogosphere, which is an important story—lots of Americans are really pissed off—but because of author David Finkel’s assumptions about the genesis of this widespread anger.

[A]fter years of being the targets of inflammatory rhetoric, not only from fringe groups but also from such mainstream conservative politicians as Newt Gingrich, the left has gone on the attack. And with Republicans in control of Washington, they have much more to be angry about.

Now this is technically true. I am bloody angry as hell because the Republicans are in control of Washington, but it’s because of what they’re doing in their leadership role, not simply because the Democrats are not in control or because conservatives are nasty. I blog because their leadership is thoroughly incompetent, corrupt, untrustworthy, and beholden to corporate and conservative Christian interests that are bad for me as a worker, a consumer, a believer in the separation of church and state, and a woman who values her bodily autonomy—and bad for the LGBT community, the poor, the ill lacking healthcare, undocumented workers, public school children, and lots and lots of other people, not to mention bad for our civil rights, the environment, national security, the economy, our international reputation, etc. etc. etc.

It ain’t sour grapes that fuels my ire.

Finkel mistakes passion for poutiness, and that’s what made me squirm. There are a lot people who feel disenfranchised and disheartened right now, and that’s why they’re angry. Meaningfully addressing the source of this anger isn’t as convenient as chalking it up to the same old tit-for-tat game as which the media loves to cast politics, with a winner and a loser and gloating supporters on one side and petulant ones on the other. What the winners do with their spoils matters. The GOP leadership has been a disaster, and most of us who respond with righteous anger aren’t throwing tantrums like two-year-olds denied what we want; we’re doing the hard work of responsible citizenry—trying to hold to account a failed administration that’s bad for our country.

April 15, 2006 | Permalink


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Tracked on Apr 16, 2006 3:23:20 AM


Don't get angry. Get even.

Posted by: Petey | Apr 15, 2006 4:06:53 PM

I avoided reading the Wa Po article, precisely because it was totally predictable that this is how it would go. The MSM ignores the truly scary rage on the right, with their eliminationist rhetoric, or, worse, treats them as respectable (Malkin, Limbaugh, Coulter, Savage, LGF, etc.). However, should anyone on the left utter a peep, we start hearing about how "angry" (and thus unreliable) they are. David Neiwart has documented this phenomenon extensively.

Posted by: Rebecca Allen,PhD,ARNP | Apr 15, 2006 5:40:32 PM

Actually, get angry and get even.

The article seemed like it was supposed to be one of those "oooh, look how angry the angry left is! Michael Moore is fat and angry, and the angry left is being angry on the internets now, angrily!" - but the reporter just didn't quite have his heart in it. But he couldn't quite bring himself to write an article about what you said - people on the Left are angry at what this administration/congress has done to hurt people, and are using the web to not only vent that anger but also find productive outlets for it.

And as Ezra points out, the "angry Left" has nothing on that which is expressed at LGF. But of course we would all need to season our anger with large doses of fear, entitlement and hatred.

Posted by: Stephen | Apr 15, 2006 5:41:02 PM

I don't read the MSM anymore, rarely even follow the links. Too angry, and disgusted with their lack of integrity and professionalism. Point me to the good reporters that remain.

Mistaking Caricature and Generalization for Journalism ...Glenn Greenwald

Come to think of it, my favourite part was a quote from O'Connor. Finkel had never been to a blog before, visited about three, and had a header in mind before research. WaPo and the rest of MSM is completely worthless.

Payback ...Billmon

"The problem is that Lord Acton's maxim is equally true in reverse: If power corrupts, so does powerlessness. It can lead to fatalism, apathy and irresponsibility – or to paranoia, rage and a willingness to believe evey loopy conspiracy theory that comes down the pike."

Why is Billmon attacking me? :) Damn it is nice to see him back, as long as he wants to hang. I suspect he wants to chronicle the Apocalypse.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Apr 15, 2006 9:39:11 PM

And on Daily Kos and My Left Wing, the responses keep rolling in.

"Thank you, Maryscott."

"Thank you for the kick in the [expletive]."

"I wrote to my [expletive] so-called representatives."

"I also wrote to my [expletive] congressman to get off his [expletive] [expletive] and do the right [expletive] thing."

"You know what?" O'Connor says. "I did a good thing today." And for a moment, anyway, she isn't angry at all.

Moonbat therapy... and she's not forcing someone else to pay for it.

Two thumbs up!

Posted by: fletch | Apr 15, 2006 11:22:08 PM

The Washington Post is having a really bad week in what has already been a really bad year. The New York Times will gain some credibility back with "Bad Leak" kicking WaPo's embarrassing "Good Leak." Would anyone complain if they just took a few weeks off and went for some remedial journalism classes?

Posted by: clb72 | Apr 16, 2006 1:52:01 AM

Hey, this is exactly right.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Apr 16, 2006 3:34:24 AM

There is a distinct difference between being angry and being vicious. I am an angry democrat, not at the Republicans, but at their failure to keep their house in order and do the things they promised in their campaigns. Ann Coulter and others of the same ilk are vicious, regardless of their politcal affliations. When it is not beneath someone to lie,cheat and steal, about or from, anyone, then they are vicious.
I'm 63, and pissed about the direction of our government and therefor this country. I did everything required of me to be a responsible, hardworking, saving, giving person and in the end this lousy government screwed me now that I am of retirement age.
It's not over, either, I see a future of more government screwing of the middle/working class. All I can do is hope that these vicious people of all political persuasians "reap their karma" before I die so I can see the justice with my own eyes.

Posted by: Mary the Moderate | Apr 16, 2006 8:51:01 AM

I did everything required of me to be a responsible, hardworking, saving, giving person and in the end this lousy government screwed me now that I am of retirement age.

Well, Mary, that's a pretty bold statement. Exactly what did the gummit do to screw you now that you are of retirement age?

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 16, 2006 4:37:17 PM

i find it amusing that when the right gets angry, it's passion, and when the left gets angry, it's nutty.

yet it's the right who believes that god will lift them up out of their clothes when the dead walk the earth and jews burst into flame. and we're the nutty ones.

Posted by: skippy | Apr 16, 2006 4:56:49 PM

She didn't sound any wilder than the righties when they get profiled on the tee-vee.

Posted by: Pepper | Apr 16, 2006 6:03:12 PM


I don't think David Finkel saw himself as writing a political story with http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/14/AR2006041401648_pf.html. I think he set out to write a story whose subtext is this-is-a-strong-willed-woman-with-issues-who-is-a-few-hoppers-short-of-a-full-carload.

He's done this before, last January 31:

>[Utah Town Has Question About President: 'What's Not to Like?'](http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost/access/978549571.html?dids=978549571:978549571&FMT=FT&FMTS=ABS:FT&fmac=&date=Jan+31%2C+2006&author=David+Finkel&desc=Utah+Town+Has+Question+About+President%3A+%27What%27s+Not+to+Like%3F%27): Author: David Finkel Date: Jan 31, 2006 Start Page: A.01:To get to the place where they like George W. Bush more than any other place in America, you fly west for a long time from Washington, then you drive north for a long time from Salt Lake City, and then you pull into Gator's Drive Inn, where the customer at the front of the line is ordering a patty melt. "Patty melts! No one makes patty melts anymore," she is saying to the counterman, Ryan Louderman, who knew she wasn't local as soon as he heard the sound of a car being locked. "Can I get it without onions?" she says. "And can I get mustard? On the side? Dijon mustard?"...

>"No onions? With mustard?" says Orton, who voted for Bush in 2004 and 2000. "Oh, God, we get some weird ones" -- but she cooks it anyway, as requested, and passes the non-patty melt out to the woman, who takes a bite, declares it "fabulous" and wraps up the rest to go. She's on her way to a ski resort. She is going to be lifted by helicopter to the top of a mountain with untouched snow, and then she is going to ski down....

>"Dijon mustard," Louderman says as the woman drives away. "I don't know what Dijon mustard is. Don't care to find out, either."...

>In Randolph... where Bush received 95.6 percent... the mind-set is even more specific to a place that seems less a part of the modern United States than insulated from it. It isn't just mustard, but everything....

>Terrorist threats? That's anywhere but here. Iraq? That's somewhere over there.... [Orton] turns off the "open" sign and starts adding up the day's receipts. It isn't much. She netted $10,000 last year, if that. She has no savings. She has no retirement plan. She works seven days a week, 12 hours a day. Her last vacation was a quick trip last Thanksgiving to see her in-laws.... Somewhere out there are the sounds of chattering terrorists, and shivering homeless people, and helicopters ferrying soldiers, and a president rehearsing a vitally important speech. Here in 71.5 percent Utah, though, and 95.6 percent Randolph, and 100 percent Gator's, the only sound is of a believer explaining why, come Tuesday night, she doubts she will bother to listen.

>"I don't think there's anything he could say that would make me dislike him," she says.

Finkel, of course, says: "You can't tell anything about what I think from the article. You can't tell anything about me other than that I am male and write for the *Washington Post.*"

Posted by: Brad DeLong | Apr 18, 2006 6:19:12 PM

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