Maybe Andrew Sullivan and Michael Moore should get together and coauthor a book because each seems to share the same characteristic — they issue very harsh broadsides against perceived enemies, and then whine to no end when someone dare criticize them.
SpinSanity has come out on the short end of both Moore and Sullivan’s recent complaints about their respective critics.
SpinSanity has found a number of errors and distortions in the comments Sullivan posts to his web log. Individually, none of the errors really adds up to much, but taken together I have to agree with the SpinSanity folks that they show a pattern of someone who seems more interested than getting something quickly posted to his site than in getting it right. In one instance, for example, Sullivan erroneously summarized a New York Time story, indicating he didn’t read it all that carefully before posting about it.
In a chat hosted by the Washington Post, Sullivan replied to suggestions that SpinSanity and The Daily Howler keep pointing out errors on his sites with this retort,
Both those sites are ideological hit-machines.
If you look at my track record of around 1,000 words a day on my site, links to hundreds of other sites, comments day in and day out, you’ll find at most a handful of errors in 18 months, all immediately corrected or addressed. some of these “errors” are simply differing interpretations. But sure, I’ve made a handful of mistakes in the last year or so.
I don’t think it is fair at all to characterize SpinSanity as an “ideological hit machine” — although The Daily Howler certainly fits the bill. On the other hand, I am not sure what relevance at all that has. This sounds like the sort of whining that Justin Raimondo and others have done about the so-called “warbloggers.”
Being that it is a “ideological hit-machine,” SpinSanity has also earned the ire of Michael Moore in two separate articles that pointed out factual errors in Moore’s book as well as strongly suggesting that Moore plagiarized part of his book from an e-mail that had been circulating the Internet.
Moore’s response? SpinSanity is jealous of his book sales and public appearances. Here’s an exchange between Moore and Lou Dobbs,
DOBBS: Salon.com [which publishes SpinSanity’s columns] just took you to task on this book, pointing out glaring inaccuracies, which — what in the world…
MOORE: Some of these, I think they found some guy named Dan was named Dave, and there was another thing. But you know, look, this is a book of political humor. So, I mean, I don’t respond to that sort of stuff, you know.
DOBBS: Glaring inaccuracies?
MOORE: No, I don’t. Why should I? How can there be inaccuracy in comedy? You know.
. . .
DOBBS: It was metaphorical. And when you say that president…
MOORE: Well, your point was that Salon and others are like liberals, so why would they — actually, the only attacks on the book have come from liberals.
DOBBS: Is that right?
DOBBS: Perhaps that’s because, again, just dealing with what they know.
MOORE: Yes, maybe. Or maybe they’re just — some people get a little jealous. That’s what you do. “How come he’s on TV? He’s on Lou Dobbs! What’s going on?”
Moore’s position seems to be that it does not matter whether his book is accurate or not, and his critics are just jealous SOBs.
Both Sullivan and Moore would do well to focus on increasing their accuracy rather than launching ad hominems at their critics.
News, Politics and U.S. Policy With Andrew Sullivan. Washington Post, April 9, 2002.
Spinsanity in the news. Spinsanity.Com, April 12, 2002.