So we were mostly out of the office when Salon published “The War Room Hack Thirty,” a list of what Alex Pareene has dubbed the “worst columnists and cable news commentators America has to offer.” Needless to say, there were some breaths of relief in the office when we’d read through it today and seen that none of our names were featured.
Here are some highlights from the fun-to-read, blunt, stick-it-in-deep-and-twist-it list of mostly old-world print-y pundits.
On number ten, Peggy Noonan:
Peggy Noonan might be the single funniest Op-Ed writer currently working, and for that I do, honestly, respect her. Her red wine-and-laudanum-inspired tales of wandering the Upper East Side in search of some clue to the Contemporary American Mood, her ability to wring a column out of the phenomenon of seeing a Mexican, her sentence fragments and Golden Books prose — all of this makes for a reliably entertaining Friday read. It’s certainly much more fun than a Krauthammer column.
On number eleven, George Will:
George Will is a sanctimonious moralist, a pretentious hypocrite, a congenital liar and a boring pundit, to boot.
On number eighteen, Tina Brown:
While it’s obviously fun to focus on Tina Brown the larger-than-life media character—launcher of overhyped money-losing media properties, employer of close friends, big-spending fleecer of publishers, clueless throwback with no clue how the Internet works—her output as an author and pundit is bad enough without getting into her plans to cannibalize Newsweek, her latest editorial toy.
And on number twenty-two, Tucker Carlson:
A long time ago, Tucker Carlson was a good journalist. He wrote interesting magazine features with actual reporting involved. TV had a hand in ruining him, but his essential dickishness consumed him.
Full disclosure: Carlson has promised to destroy me. (In those words!) (He also said “I will destroy you” to a video store clerk he got fired for blogging about how Tucker Carlson had opened an account at his video store.)
We don’t necessarily agree with all of Salon’s choices—leave Matt Bai alone!—but it should set tongues wagging.
Alternatively, if you’re in the mood to give thanks, The Nation’s Greg Mitchell has compiled an alternative list of “30 Media Heroes” to swoon to. Voters chimed in on Twitter, via e-mail, and in Mitchell’s comments section, pasting together a list that includes Matt Taibi, Salon’s own Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, nearly every MSNBC personality, and is topped by that network’s 9 p.m. star, Rachel Maddow. It is, after all, The Nation.Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.