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A personal aside

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 1, 2006 08:32 AM

Every weekday morning, after I get my kids dressed and fed and off and running for the day, I sit down in my home office to blog, write columns, manage Hot Air, and juggle duties as a Fox News contributor. I can’t wait to see what’s happening in the world, what tips readers have sent, what stories are being covered and not covered. And I can’t wait to write about them all. Breaking news. Commentary. Ideas. Journalism. It’s in my blood and always has been. Those of you who are regular readers know that I rarely have time to reflect on what I do because I am too busy doing it.

Today, a pause from regularly scheduled blogging.

I love what I do. I count my blessings every day that I can make a living as a writer. I have been privileged to meet and work with and befriend some of the most brilliant, funny, engaging, talented people through the Internet. I’ve derived immense inspiration, stimulation, entertainment, and courage from fellow bloggers and readers over the last two years.

There are many unhinged people who would like me to shut up. There are those who engage routinely in active defamation and empty ad hominem attacks. There are also those who enable, excuse, and snicker at these attacks.

When I ignore them, lies are perpetuated and assumed to be true. When I respond, I am belittled as a self-promoter, whiner, humorless scold, and opportunist. Trolls at places like the Democratic Underground and obscure far-left blogs don’t warrant responses. But when the attacks come from a publicly subsidized UNC law professor and the largest blog conglomerate (valued at $76 million in 2005), they cannot go unanswered.

There seem to be some very dense people who don’t understand that this is not just about a bikini Photoshop. It is about disseminating the fake photo to cast me in a false light and “prove” that I’m somehow a hypocrite.

Someone created a fake Flickr site by filching photos from an innocent college undergrad’s Webshots site without her permission or knowledge. That student is Ashley Herzog of Ohio University, whom I heard from yesterday. She is upset and embarrassed to see her photos manipulated, and I am sorry she was dragged into someone’s deranged scheme because she happened to have her photo taken with me at CPAC earlier this year. Whoever created the fake Flickr site intended to mislead viewers into believing that Herzog was a classmate of mine 14 years ago. Whoever created the fake Flickr site went to the trouble of posting a photo of a dorm from my alma mater to give it authenticity.

Nobody would fall for such obvious fakery, right?

A law school professor did. Major gossip sites took the bait. Some people still refuse to believe it’s all fake.

If one anonymous creep, still out there somewhere, can successfully dupe supposedly smart people into believing his/her dumb but relatively innocuous Photoshops of me are real, I can only imagine what far worse things may be done.

But I’m supposed to just laugh along.

I don’t consider it pointless to hold up a mirror to liberals who think racist ping-pong ball jokes are respectable discourse. The Wonkette editors slimed me with that in response to a light-hearted Vent episode I did on the lack of conservative speakers at commencement addresses. For not laughing along with their senseless abuse, I’m considered a prude.

I don’t consider it pointless to note that the hate-filled cowards at Gawker Media have a pattern of repeatedly smearing and attempting to humiliate me. I have ignored most of their petty, pointless jibes. But I would not let Friday’s attack go unanswered. For responding to their idiocy, Wonkette guest Ken Layne accuses me of being a publicity seeker.

You posted the picture. You engaged in gratuitous insults. You had nothing better to write about.

But how dare I respond.

I don’t consider it pointless to note that a professor with whom I cordially engaged in lengthy debates over profiling and WWII history has descended into madness. I invited Muller to appear with me on radio. I encouraged students to read our extensive blog exchanges and gave out his website address on C-SPAN and in countless other appearances. If you paid attention to his behavior over the course of those interactions, what he did on Friday was no surprise. He called on his readers to get my book banned. He helped organize a “Historians’ Committee for Fairness” that demanded that any media organization that had me on to talk about my book “formally apologize to the Japanese Americans who have been slandered by Ms. Malkin’s reckless presentation and invite a reputable historian to present a more even-handed view of the evidence.” He allied himself with a hate-filled nut who refers to me as “Me So Michelle.” Later, he creepily monitored me while I was traveling. He distorted my writing so grossly that even his own readers tired of it. He trolled around on some fake Flickr site and linked to a photo he falsely asserted was of me, without verifying it, in order to make a nonsensical point about my supposed hypocrisy–a blog item which was picked up several hours later by Wonkette after a “tipster” e-mailed the story. A reminder of what Muller wrote:

With no further ado, I give you: Michelle Malkin, Spring Break, March 27, 1992. Could that be an all-you-can-drink wristband?

Here, incidentally, is the flickr page where the photo appears. Somebody forwarded it to me a couple of months ago. I chortled. Then I forgot about it — until today, that is, when her vicious hatchet job on a “half-naked” twenty-year-old “skank” brought it to mind.

Mind you: there’s nothing wrong with trips to the beach during college, or all-you-can-drink wristbands, or bikinis.

Just with hypocrisy.

Apologists believe the whole thing was presented as a joke. That would be Nick Denton’s and Ken Layne’s legal defense, no doubt, for maliciously neglecting to pay me the courtesy of verifying the photo with me before illogically accusing me of “hypocrisy,” linking to unhinged UNC professor Eric Muller’s post falsely asserting as fact that it was me, and now disingenuously playing it all off as a parody.

Gawker Media may never acknowledge their errors and apologize, but Professor Muller, who did, probably no longer thinks his post was so funny. Some apologists for Gawker Media believe no harm was done since eeeeeeh-veryone knew the photos were fake. Yeah? Go look at Jossip, which initially ran the Wonkette item as true hours after I answered the smear on this blog (although the amended Jossip post states its item ran “like four minutes” after I responded to Wonkette on my blog, Bloglines shows that Jossip posted its item nearly seven hours after my post went up). Countless more took their cue from the Wonkette headline calling me an “ignorant slut” and the Gawker headline “Michelle Malkin gone wild”–no question mark, no qualifiers. I won’t post all the abusive e-mails from readers of those sites who took their posts as straight, not parody.

There is a time to be tolerant and there is a time to draw lines. If you don’t draw those lines, bullies will be emboldened. The smug Gawker smear machine is all about pushing those boundaries with the expectation that no one will push back. They project their own cynicism, recklessness with facts, intellectual laziness, and bad faith on everyone else.

But outside of Manhattan and Los Angeles, not all of us think blogging is a for-profit enterprise founded solely to tear people down with gossip, rumor-mongering, and damaging lies disguised as “satire.” Funny how some of the loudest voices decrying the lack of civility in the blogosphere are the biggest promoters of the bottom-feeders and debasers at Gawker Media.

That is not what my blogs are about. That is not what I am about.

Since mm.com came into existence, I’ve been attacked regularly as a whore and a c**t and a puppet and a dupe and a sellout, etc. etc. etc. It comes with the territory–particularly when you happen to be a woman, a minority, and a conservative. The extensive arguments and blog posts and columns and books I’ve written are reduced to bumper-sticker putdowns by critics and their fellow travelers who couldn’t be bothered to actually read what I’ve written day in and day out for the last two years on the blog and the past 14 years in my books and columns. I poked fun at this pathology in my last book. I think what drives a lot of the haters crazy is that despite their ceaseless sniping, they can’t shut me up.

So, I’ll be back here the next day and the next cheerfully doing what I do. And the haters will be back in their pigpens doing what they do.

The wonderful thing about the Internet is that there is room for both. The wonderful thing about this country is that you are free to choose.

See you in the morning. Thanks for your continued readership!

***

Funny comments over at Tim Blair’s.

Chris Muir smiles.

A reader sends a WSJ profile of Gawker Media smear machine founder Nick Denton:

Names to Know
A WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE NEWS ROUNDUP
December 29, 2004 11:02 a.m.

Online Journal editors have highlighted 15 people to watch in 2005 — men and women who are set to shape the course of business, politics and world affairs in the next year…

Nick Denton, online publisher

The 2004 election may have made stars out of once-obscure online commentators, and larger sites have dabbled in blogs as well. Mr. Denton is looking to prove that blogging can be a business, building a small but growing galaxy of publications. Mr. Denton, publisher of the Wonkette political gossip blog and others, has become the poster boy for blog start-ups, snagging big-name advertisers with help from his highly targeted audiences. Altogether, his eight blogs, which include Gawker (Manhattan gossip) and Gizmodo (gadgets), pull in a total of more than 29 million page views monthly. Mr. Denton’s next challenge will be to sustain Wonkette in the absence of election news while forging ahead at his other blogs and perhaps founding a new “it” site. Mr. Denton has also tried to assume a leading role, recently supporting calls for blog ethics standards and launching a service, called Kinja, to make it easier for readers to keep up with their favorite blogs.

He supports “calls for blog ethics standards?”

Now that’s funny.

***
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Malkin Derangement Syndrome
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