Monday, November 21, 2005

Michelle the Martyr

I was just going to stay out of the whole business of Michelle Malkin's recent self-martyrdom, since it doesn't directly affect me or respond to me. Certainly none of my posts have attacked her family, nor have they even hinted at issues regarding her race (though I have discussed her potential dual citizenship).

But I couldn't help but notice a few things about it. To wit:

-- There's the headline over the post:

Readers of my ongoing series on Unhinged will recognize this line. It's the one that Michelle uses to demonstrate how disgustingly racist the left is (she features it on the back cover of Unhinged).

Yet, as already explained, the line is taken from a comment posted at Is That Legal which, as you'll see, was a satirical post written quite intentionally in the voice of a white supremacist, by way of making a point about the kinds of interests that Malkin's work actually serves:
Why can't we find competent race-traitors anymore? Issuing a retraction based on legal threats? Disgusting. This was her moment to shine - a real public forum to level a set of smears against Japanese-"Americans" that would have assured they NEVER tried to drive across the heartland of America again. Instead she knuckles under like Tojo in Tokyo Bay.

This is what happens when you send a yellow woman to do a white man's job.

Posted by: Tommy Pain at May 18, 2005 11:45 AM

Why does Malkin keep reusing this line when it's clear that the "racism" in this post is satirical in nature?

-- Malkin doesn't really appear to be responding to the source of the questions about her professional relationship with her husband. That would be MalkinWatch and its lengthy examination of the extent of Jesse's contributions to her blog (cowritten by Liberal Avenger). As Auguste points out, his blog has never indulged in the inflammatory and racist material that Malkin complains about in her self-martyrdom. Neither have ever portrayed her "as a greedy Asian whore/dupe/brainwashing victim who simply parrots what [her] white slavemasters program into [her] empty little head."

In fact, it's hard to tell exactly who she's complaining about. It's certainly not coming from any blogs of real note.

-- Most significantly, there's this little sentence inserted into the middle of this wailing and gnashing of teeth, describing just what Jesse does contribute:
He has done copy-editing on my three books, conducted background research, taken dictation, drafted language for business letters, reviewed contracts, mailed my thank-you notes, helped me with a handful of blog posts out of the estimated 3,000 I've written since June 2004, corrected the math in a few of the estimated 800 newspaper columns I've penned since November 1992, and provided me with emotional support and encouragement through good times and bad.

As Matt Stoller says, what, exactly, is a "handful"? Are we talking just one or two? Or a dozen or more? A hundred? Why else mention the number you've actually posted?

Because the issue, in the end, is a serious one regarding Malkin's professional ethics: Did she post material under her name that was written by someone else without informing her readers?

It appears that the answer, from Malkin's own admission, is yes.

If so, why? What conceivable reason could she have for not giving Jesse Malkin his own byline on those posts he wrote?

It's important to understand that the incident that sparked Malkin's post -- her interview on a radio talk show in North Carolina -- framed the issue exactly that way: Was she posting material under her name that was written by her husband?

Eric Muller at Is That Legal? heard the interview, and has been posting on it:
Brad also asked her whether there's anything to all of the chatter out there on the internet that her husband writes some of the material that's published under her name. She denied this categorically, calling the suggestion "comical."

Ooops! A day later, she was admitting that, in fact, her husband does in fact write some of the material that's publishing under her name. Seems she was, in fact, lying on the air the day before.

And the lying continued in her misrepresentation of the interview in her blog post. As Muller points out:
Malkin blogs about this interview exchange here. One correction. She says this: "During one of countless book-related radio interviews this week, a liberal radio host insultingly asked me whether I write my own column." On the radio show, when Brad Krantz asked her what she thought of the story swirling around the web that her husband writes some of her material, she responded with enthusiasm, and said that she was "glad" he had asked the question.

Evidently, Malkin is intent on deflecting the serious criticism for an egregious breach of professional ethics by playing the racism card, and lying a little to cover her tracks. Isn't that what she complains about liberals doing all the time?

-- Finally, Michelle, if you want people to leave your family out of it, it always helps if you do the same.

In the meantime, instead of complaining about anonymous bloggers whom she never identifies, perhaps at some point she'll work up enough courage to respond to her more substantive critics.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: I've finally listened to a tape of the interview, and the questioner does ask Malkin about the rumors that Jesse ghost-wrote "your column and such things". So I've edited the post accordingly. My apologies.

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