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Hooray, it's the Hack List!

Once again, Salon's Alex Pareene has brightened my holiday season with his mean and wonderful Hack List, an "annual list of the worst of political media." (I posted about last year's installment here, and the 2010 version here.) This year, instead of targeting only individuals, Pareene takes on "the 10 media outlets that are hurting America" -- starting with The New York Times, which, he says, is "the best paper in the country" but "has a columnist problem" (namely, most of their columnists are lousy). But individuals judged to be hacks don't escape ridicule. Particular attention is paid to Thomas Friedman ("a national embarrassment...a fraud and a simpleton, whose job is to sell comforting platitudes to rapacious plutocrats and those who aspire to be rapacious plutocrats") and Nicholas Kristof ("crusading opinion columnist hero"). Ah, but the Washington Post is worse (our own E. J. Dionne excepted, of course). "The Post opinion section," Pareene writes, "exemplifies the most aggravating feature of the American punditocracy: that there are simply never any professional consequences for being constantly wrong or dishonest." Except, of course, repeat appearances on the Hack List, which will have to do.

About the Author

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly is an editor at large and columnist at Commonweal.



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I didn't read it all, but I agree with the comments about Russert and Scarborough. (Why don't they get better wigs?)(I hope the editors of Commonweal will provide a Hack List of the worst of religious media.)

One has to appreciate Pareene's observations as they are unique,clever, incisive, thought provoking and mostly important to consider. He certainly is spot on with some but may paint with too wide brush for the most part. His hack job of Kristof makes him lose a lot of credibility and prompts greater scrutiny of his words. His criticism of Kristof, that Kristof does not seek the why of the problems where American policy and greed might be contributing more to the problem than the evil persons Kristof is raking over, might make sense. But Pareene's meanness should not be excused because he is so clever. Kristof may be subject to criticism. But is it right to demean him? And why didn't Pareene go after Dolan?On the whole I do appreciate this type of analysis. Gore Vidal was quite good at it. I guess if you throw your opinion hat in the ring you have to learn to take your lumps. Or better still change your behavior.

"Kristof may be subject to criticism. But is it right to demean him? "Yes. Yes, it is."And why didnt Pareene go after Dolan?"And why didn't Superman ever go after Magneto?

Pareene's certainly not afraid to let acid drip liberally from his pen...Wolf Blitzer, Piers Morgan, Joe Scarborough, Tina Brown, Ariana Huffington, and plenty more get a verbal beating.Good thing for Pareene the defamation and libel laws are so forgiving when the targets are public persona.

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