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February 4, 2003

Eric Alterman promotes his new book, What Liberal Media?, out today:
Because the regular media is a bit preoccupied this week, I’d like to encourage bloggers who are not on typical media mailing lists to write to Basic Books, my publisher, and request a review copy.
The heck with that. This blogger who is “not on typical media mailing lists” went out and bought a copy at Barnes and Noble, full price, on its first day on sale. Speaking from inside the whale, I assure you that this does a lot more to help rev up Basic Books’ promotional machinery than any dozen bloggers trying to leech a free copy.

Hey, you know, this looks like a pretty shit-kicking book, too. Excuse me, I’ll be back after I’ve read just another couple of chapters. [11:31 PM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Eric Alterman:

Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2003, 09:07 AM:

I'm off to the bookstore (independent, not B&N!) to get mine now.

His other political book, "Sound and Fury", is well worth getting too.

Let's get something other than Coulter onto the bestseller list!

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2003, 09:47 AM:

For anyone interested, Alterman takes on Brent Bozell over the issue at NROnline today.

Jaquandor ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2003, 05:35 PM:

"Shit-kicking" is a good thing, right? That is, aspiring writers should aspire that their prose have the quality of shit-kickingness?

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2003, 05:41 PM:

I would say that depends on whether you are writing, say, a political expose, or a romance novel, or a cookbook. It may be observed that each entails different requirements in the shit-kicking department.

No, don't thank me, only here to help.

Carter ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2003, 07:23 PM:

I have a perspective on the "liberal media" myth. Where I used to work almost all of my co-workers were extremely conservative, and they complained about how liberal the local paper was. After a while I figured out that it was the paper's terminology that made them think it was liberal. The paper used "pro-choice" where my co-workers would have said "pro-murder." It used "gay" instead of "degenerate pervert." The paper mentioned couples who lived together, but it did not proclaim them to be wicked. For my co-workers, this was radically liberal.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2003, 01:46 AM:

Well, neither the Borders nor the B&N I went to today had the book. I was gonna try Elliot Bay, but I couldn't find a parking place. I've got to zip down the Bay Area tomorrow, maybe I can find one there.

If not, I'm going to think it's all a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Now, where did I put that tin foil?


Clint ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2003, 12:48 PM:

Being a conservative, I happen to have several conservative friends, who happen to believe in the theory of wide-spread liberal bias in the media. I have always listened and chuckled, since everyone can almost readily come up with specific examples of this or that article being biased one way or the other.

When I was in college a few years ago and not much of a news reader, I simply accepted the notion of bias and moved on. Now that I pay attention to various media outlets, I have formed a new opinion: Media bias exists within individual outlets; however, the overall effect is balanced out. Regular TV seem too liberal? Try radio. Your local paper biased one way or the other? Try several national ones. (From experience, I have seen the same subject slanted liberal in the "Washington Post" and conservative in the "Washington Times". Neither impressed me, really.)

The "Daily Oklahoman" here in Oklahoma City is conservative trash (not journalism, just trash), so I do not read it. Instead, I surf around the "Wall Street Journal", "New York Times", CNN, FOX News, etc. If I am going to get biased news, I might as well get both versions, I figure.

Thanks for pointing me to a liberal version of "Bias" and "Slander". I need to get a copy of one from each side, compare notes, and laugh at them all.

Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2003, 11:38 AM:

Clint's reference to "What Liberal Media?" as "a liberal version of 'Bias' and 'Slander'" makes me wonder: Is there already someone doing the aggressive fact-checking on Alterman that was done on Coulter to such devastating effect, pointing out her literally hundreds of misquotings and misattributions? Did Alterman make a testable claim as thouroughly refutable as Goldberg's claim about the labels "liberal" and "conservative"?

Or are the right-wing sources engaging Alterman on the facts at all? The NRO "debate" between Alterman and Brent Bozell, to my reading, consists of Alterman making attributed quotes that demonstrate his point, and Bozell saying "I've already proved my point" without engaging anything Alterman actually says.

(Round II of the debate is somewhat better.)

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2003, 03:52 PM:

I think there's a difference between deliberately slanting your coverage/reporting to one side or the other because you're a liberal or conservative—and being consistently blind or oblivious to stories or issues that the rest of the public might like investigated or explored because your political or cultural sensibilities just don't bother to look at that part of the news radar screen.

I'm thinking what conservatives claim is bias is really more of the latter than the former when it happens.

My father worked for many years as a political columnist for the Boston Globe. He got pushed out well before retirement by a new editor who didn't like his old-fashioned views on some issues. It would be easy to complain that this was liberal bias. But it wasn't. The guy was just a jerk and a lousy editor—and all the other liberals at the Globe thought so, too, and were exceedlingly happy when that editor got shit-canned less than a year after he pushed my father out the door.

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2003, 03:59 PM:

PS: Apologies to all here if they've heard me tell this story before (he said, inadvertently scattering several empty high-ball glasses across the bar as he left the pub).

Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2003, 07:48 PM:

John, one of the nice things about this medium is that people can skip over repeated anecdotes without being noticed. Another is that people like me who are interested, but never happened to have spent time with you in a bar, get to read your interesting anecdotes.

David Lindberg ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2003, 10:30 PM:

For those of you who want to save a few bucks, B&N has the book for 20% off list price until March 4th.

bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2003, 04:21 AM:

Shouldn't it be ass-kicking? I always thought shit-kicking was something cowboys did when wearing their boots.