Malkin’s wild, wired world

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Michelle Malkin is a busy woman. A nationally syndicated columnist, she is the author of three books and a regular contributor to Fox News Channel, where she recently filled in as guest host on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Mrs. Malkin, 36, is also a successful Internet entrepreneur, proprietor of two sites that are ranked No. 1 and No. 3 among conservative-oriented political blogs, according to ratings by Technorati.com. MichelleMalkin.com has recorded nearly 84 million visits since 2004 and currently averages more than 100,000 visits daily, as does HotAir.com. A blog featuring online videos, including Mrs. Malkin’s popular “Vent” programs, HotAir.com has recorded 29 million visits since its inception in April 2006.

“The blogs are the business, but the syndicated column’s always been the anchor of everything I do,” says Mrs. Malkin, who has two children with her husband, Jesse.

Last week, Mrs. Malkin and HotAir.com’s Executive Producer Bryan Preston were interviewed by editors and reporters for The Washington Times, including David Eldridge, Audrey Hudson, Brian DeBose and Cheryl Wetzstein. An extended transcript is online at washingtontimes.com, and the following are excerpts from that interview:

Question: Liberal bloggers have claimed credit for the Democrats’ victory in the 2006 elections, and most observers agree that Democrats have done much better at working with bloggers. Why is that?

Answer: That’s a good question. I think there’s no question that the left-wing blogosphere had a huge impact on the midterm campaign. But their No. 1 candidate, [Connecticut Democrat] Ned Lamont, lost. And they certainly can’t claim victory for all those [conservative] Blue Dog Democrats who ran to the right of many of the Republicans who lost. So, I think there’s certainly a perception that they’re very powerful. In practice, I don’t know. I don’t know how much influence they truly wield.

I do agree that a lot of the Democratic leadership has done a better job than the Republicans have of pandering to the netroots, but look what that got [former North Carolina Sen.] John Edwards. Two of the nuttiest, most vulgar bloggers in the left-wing blogosphere insinuated themselves into that campaign, and no one thought to stop that until it caused him a huge heartache and embarrassment. And, obviously, even now, a lot of these Democrats haven’t learned.

Just last week, [New York Sen.] Hillary Clinton was blogging for another of the most vile, hate-filled sites, Firedoglake. …

Q: You’ve become, whether you wanted to or not, sort of a symbol for women online who are standing up to the vulgarity of the blogosphere and the Internet. You were quoted [April 30] in The [Washington] Post. … Can you talk a little bit about that?

A: It would have been nice if The Washington Post reporter had actually contacted me before they took what I said out of context. My colleagues at Hot Air took care to make sure that my comments were put in context. … Ellen Nakashima’s article … had a very sympathetic view toward a lot of these left-wing women bloggers, who are now discovering that there are unhinged elements on the Internet that say very sexually degrading and violent things to women. …

It’s amazing how much press coverage it got … because one female tech-blogger had gotten anonymous comments on her blog. And these pale in comparison to the signed comments … that I’ve had to deal with ever since I entered the blogosphere in 2004. What I said was, “Yeah, well, welcome to the club. You know, Janie-come-latelies, thank you for the discovering this, but I’ve been highlighting this for three years now.” I wrote a whole book about it. It was called “Unhinged.” … I said when those threats are serious, you should report them to law enforcement, but otherwise, you should continue blogging.

I think that cowering and trembling and deciding you’re going to quit blogging because some anonymous person has called you some sexist name is the opposite of what a proud feminist position should be. …

Q: Your critics dragged your family into it. What kind of precautions do you take as you become a public persona online? And how much of it is reasonable precaution and how much of it is, like you say, cowering and allowing someone to bully you away from what you’re trying to do as a journalist and as a blogger?

A: Well, I think every journalist now, in the context of the 21st-century information age, is essentially a public figure. …

Precautions? I take plenty of them. I won’t get into the details, but it’s sad that I can’t do things on my blog that I used to when I started out. I used to post pictures of my kids. I used to talk about going fishing with them. …

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