- The Washington Times - Monday, March 19, 2007

Online feud?

Sparks are flying between two giants of the Internet, after online news hound Matt Drudge directed his sarcastic wit toward conservative pundit Michelle Malkin in a recent broadcast of his Sunday radio program.

Referring to Mrs. Malkin’s “Vent” programs on her popular HotAir.com video blog, Mr. Drudge said, “It’s ridiculous. Looks like, you know, Captain Kangaroo time, Michelle. Get real.”

Mrs. Malkin, a Fox News Channel contributor whose syndicated column appears regularly in The Washington Times, yesterday sprang to the defense of her HotAir.com team, including video producer Bryan Preston and lead blogger AllahPundit.

“I’m proud of what our team has accomplished in less than a year. … We’ve gone from nowhere to a top-30 site on Technorati’s Top 100 list,” she wrote.

Mrs. Malkin reminded Mr. Drudge of his own words in a 1998 speech to the National Press Club: “Now, with a modem, anyone can follow the world and report on the world.” She added the admonition: “The Internet is a big enough place for all of us. No need to act like the threatened [mainstream media] you became famous for revolting against years ago.”

Unelected office

“As every carbon-based life form on this planet surely knows, Barack Obama, the junior Democratic senator from Illinois, is running for president,” David Ehrenstein writes in the Los Angeles Times.

“Since making his announcement, there has been no end of commentary about him in all quarters — musing over his charisma and the prospect he offers of being the first African American to be elected to the White House,” Mr. Ehrenstein said. “But it’s clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the ‘Magic Negro.’

“The Magic Negro is a figure of postmodern folk culture, coined by snarky 20th-century sociologists, to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education. ‘He has no past, he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist,’ reads the description on Wikipedia. …

“He’s there to assuage white ‘guilt’ (i.e., the minimal discomfort they feel) over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history, while replacing stereotypes of a dangerous, highly sexualized black man with a benign figure for whom interracial sexual congress holds no interest.

“As might be expected, this figure is chiefly cinematic — embodied by such noted performers as Sidney Poitier, Morgan Freeman, Scatman Crothers, Michael Clarke Duncan, Will Smith and, most recently, Don Cheadle. And that’s not to mention a certain basketball player whose very nickname is ‘Magic’ …”

Name left out

“The three broadcast network evening newscasts were similar Friday night in featuring full stories on Valerie Plame’s testimony before the House Government Reform Committee, including video of Plame with a woman behind her wearing a pink ‘Impeach Bush’ T-shirt — ABC even caught a moment when the woman was making the ‘shame’ sign with her fingers — and not mentioning Richard Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state who was the source for columnist Robert Novak’s reporting of her name,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mrc.org.

“CBS’s Gloria Borger, remarkably, concluded her report by listing every big name involved but Armitage’s: ‘When asked whether she’d gotten an apology from the president, the vice president, Karl Rove or Scooter Libby, she said no.’

“But there were differences. Only [‘The NBC Nightly News’] led with Plame as fill-in anchor Campbell Brown announced: ‘The CIA operative at the heart of a scandal tells Congress the Bush administration blew her cover and wrecked her career.’ NBC’s Chip Reid uniquely highlighted how Plame contributed to Al Gore’s 2000 campaign and that she conceded ‘I am a Democrat.’ ”

Revolving aides

A former top aide to George E. Pataki has signed on with Republican presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani, another sign that a White House bid by the one-time New York governor is unlikely, the Associated Press reports.

Michael McKeon, a former chief spokesman for Mr. Pataki, and Jim Dyke, who served as chief spokesman for the Republican National Committee, have been hired as senior communications advisers to Mr. Giuliani.

While Mr. Pataki has been considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, he has not mounted any solid effort and told supporters in New Hampshire earlier this year they should feel free to back other candidates.

Also, a longtime political adviser to Mr. Pataki, Kieran Mahoney, has become an adviser to the Republican presidential campaign of former Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III.

The next stage

“The number of groups pushing to draft Condoleezza Rice for president has reached about 20 so far, and now one — ThinkCondi.net — is trying to get everybody on the same page,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“ ’We want to take it to the next stage,’ says ThinkCondi Chairman Richard Holt. And that means moving from the Internet to the key primary and caucus states to set up organizations and get the secretary of state’s name on the Republican primary ballots, especially in early-primary states like New Hampshire and South Carolina.

“Oddly, they haven’t asked Rice, but Holt doesn’t think that’s key yet. ‘We want to take this to her with results. We’re sure she’ll get in then, and this will take off.’ ”

Columnist ill

Catherine Seipp, longtime West Coast columnist for National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com), remained hospitalized yesterday.

“She’s sedated, with painkillers among other things,” daughter Maia reported yesterday at her mother’s blog (https://cathyseipp.journalspace.com). Mrs. Seipp was diagnosed in 2002 with inoperable lung cancer.

“Lungs collapsed so right now we just want to make sure she has dignity and is not in pain,” Maia wrote yesterday. “The doctor says she has a couple days left. … I’m at her bedside now, holding her hand. I tell her she has 292 comments on the latest blog post … but she just squeezes my hand.”

c Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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