Coarse Debate

Today Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post today tries to make the case that blogs on the left and the right are equally coarse. Charles Johnson, whose blog Little Green Footballs is prominently featured, will have none of it.

Anyone who has spent more than a day on political blogs knows full well that commenters on the lefty blogs are far more apt to advocate violence against their political enemies, as well spew vulgar language and wild conspiracy theories.

Compare Powerline to The Daily Kos. Powerline is highly partisan, but professionally written and "family friendly". The Daily Kos, on the other hand, uses foul language and harsh rhetoric in a great number of its posts.

Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt and the other top conservative blogs are all rated "G", and often quite sympathetic to their political adversaries when it comes to apolitical issues. Just this week, most of the conservative blogs had supportive posts about Elizabeth Edwards. I am left to wonder if Ms. Edwards herself, a leading figure in the left leaning blogosphere, would be so kind.

Recently, there have been examples of mainstream media types attempting to demonstrate that right leaning blogs are as foul as those on the left. In more than one case, the journalists attributed the words of the commenters to the bloggers themselves, or failed to make the obvious distinction.

Kurtz doesn't go quite so far, but like his fellows in the MSM, he makes no effort to address the issue in degree. Recently the Huffington Post started deleting comments that advocate violence. In one post about Dick Cheney, they took down hundreds of comments.

Charles Johnson calls what Kurtz wrote a case of "moral equivalence". He is right. One or two uncharacteristic comments does not equal the flow of vulgarity that comes from the left side of the blogosphere. Johnson further points out that Kurtz need only read the comments on his own site to see from where these comments come. Most of the nastiness on the WaPo site is written by people on the left.

I'm disappointed in Howard Kurtz. He normally comes off as a pretty balanced commentator. But his attempt to paint the left and right with the same brush on this issue shows a kind of intellectual dishonesty more normally found at the New York Times and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.