Matt Taibbi spends most of his time these days reporting on the gigantic scandals that occur on a daily basis on Wall St, but old habits die hard and Taibbi couldn’t help himself after being nudged by a reader into engaging in his favorite hobby – bashing the New York Time’s waffler in chief Thomas Friedman. The hilarious take down posted on his blog is masked as a defense of Friedman given the relentless attacks on him from every corner of the blogosphere, but it just ends up being even funnier. Taibbi does a round up of the abuse Friedman has been getting:
Other popular targets include his fetishistic use of New York Times column space as a kind of catch-all bourgeois-lifestyle complaint box (Friedman on cell reception on the our “sorry excuse for a fast train,” the Acela: “You’d have thought I was on a remote desert island”), his genius for conjuring sweepingly instant wisdom-isms out of thin air (in that “Moore’s Law” piece a few days ago he declared “Popularism,” a word he’d heard in London literally once the week before, to be the “uber-ideology of today”), and his relentless name-dropping, both of his upper-crust BFFs and his technological gizmos (“So I was turning on my web-enabled tablet accessory yesterday when the CEO of ImClone called and asked me: ‘Can Europe avert the hidden iceberg?’”).
Given Friedman’s dedication to his craft (and judging by the amount of columns, books and media appearances he does, he’s pretty damn dedicated), Taibbi asks whether it isn’t time to start appreciating the man:
All of this piling on seems not to have slowed Friedman down at all, which is impressive as hell, when you think about it. This punditry business is no joke. It’s hard work. Not physically hard work, mind you, quite the opposite, but it’s taxing in other ways. Reality showsare popular because Americans love freaks – they love people who eat testicles or drop unexpected newborns in their sweatpants or get so awesomely obese they become fused to their chairs for years at a time, not even getting up to go to the bathroom. They love cable news shows for the same reason – the freak spectacle of an ostensibly college-educated person pretending to have a serious opinion about some news event he heard about eight seconds ago.
I guess where I’m going with this is that from the standpoint of the news commentary business, Friedman has eaten more testicles and squeezed out more unexpected babies into his metaphorical sweatpants than all of the rest of us pundits combined. He’s a pro’s pro, an earner, and maybe it’s time the rest of us showed him some respect.
Maybe it is, but I’m still not reading his columns.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.