Tuesday, December 8, 2009

America's Best/Worst Pundits

via Erik Kain:
  • America’s Worst Pundit: Glenn Beck, with 488 votes.
  • America’s Worst Pundit Runner-Up: Rush Limbaugh, with 390 votes.
  • America’s Best Pundit: Jon Stewart, with 443 votes.
  • America’s Best Pundit Runner-Up: Rachel Maddow, with 245 votes.
There might well be some liberal overrepresentation in the sample here, and the fact that I think these results are pretty much correct probably seals it. Stewart and Maddow, in my opinion, add something to the conversation even if you disagree with them. They have points of view, but they are aware of them and don't elevate party loyalty above all else. What I especially appreciate is that both will, on occasion, criticize President Obama while not questioning that he's on their side, trying to do the right thing. A lot of the shrill leftblogging you hear about (and that Sullivan's been publishing letters on) invariably proceeds from the assumption that Obama is some sort of stealth conservative, instead of a leader making the best decisions he can based on political realities. I don't think we progressives should settle for that, and sometimes he's going to need to be pushed. But some don't realize that Obama isn't the enemy. And some do--i.e. the stereotypical Mac Power Users* of the leftosphere, who do little else but sneer at the idiots who disagree with them.

I agree with Beck being the worst pundit in the United States. He barely even tries to hide that he's an opportunist looking to sell as many books/movies/performance tickets while he has access to the FNC viewership, stirring up ugly paranoia for pure profit. Satan's going to have to build a new circle is all I'm saying. But I'm not so sure that Limbaugh belongs in second place. He's vile and despicable, but there are worse pundits out there. In terms of people whose views and opinions have done serious damage to America over the past eight years, you really can't do much better than Bill Kristol. He's always wrong, and energetically wrong at that. In a lot of ways, he was the John The Baptist to Dick Cheney's neocon Jesus, clearing the intellectual path for Cheney to tramp through, warring and torturing all the way. And yet he's still around, and still taken as a serious intellectual leader by Republicans. Plus, he always says the same thing. That's where my runner-up vote goes.

*I said stereotypical. I know many people who fit the description who are wonderful people.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.