I thought I posted this before, but I could not find it, and I could not find the corresponding link in the Wikipedia page, where I'm certain I found it before - so here it goes again.
Atrios is basically like Chomsky - just not quite as radical. For a lot of what Atrios writes, you'd swear he'd just finished reading Chomsky, himself - and agreed with everything he'd read.
So, why would Atrios call Chomsky 'an idiot' when Atrios admitted several months later that he hadn't 'really read' Chomsky?
Well, the superficial payoff is large for anyone cowardly enough to take it. By dismissing as 'crazy' or 'a fraud' or 'an idiot' anyone who deviates from the Dem vs Rethug party line, you automatically get to include yourself into the 'cool kids club' - the 'serious people' group - the people that Atrios himself is always mocking. This is, of course, ironic, but that's life. Being admitted to this club keeps the blog money rolling in.
Chomsky, of course, is the most clear-headed thinker on U.S. crimes at home and abroad, and he does not toe the party line at all - so both sides dismiss him with extreme prejudice. To be taken seriously in Dem or Rethug blogistan, you have to rip Chomsky. You have to dimiss him. You have to call him a crazy old man. You have to call him an extremist and anti-Semite and America-hater and all the usual. Once you do that, you're in the cool kids club. It's that simple.
Here is Atrios' post from May 12, 2002 - about a
year and a half year after 9/11/01:
Crow Blog takes issue with my assertion that everyone ignores Chomsky, arguing he's been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, Post, and Fox News.
Well, I pulled out the old Lex-Nex on this one -- the USA Today piece was a hit-column against him. The NYT is a pretty negative article discussing the fact that his book his sold about 100K copies. The Washington Post does do a broad feature on him, admittedly. And that's about it.
I don't object to people criticizing Chomsky, it's the EMPHASIS that matters His influence over his loyal fan base isn't going to be impacted one bit, and for the rest of the country he's mostly off the radar.
In any case, Chomsky's problem is not that he's anti-War -- this "war" is getting sillier by the minute - the problem is that he's an idiot.
For those of you one the Right - go ahead, pick on Chomsky if you get your jollies out of it, but don't be like Andy Sullivan and claim he speaks for any more than the fringest of the fringe.
For those of you on the Left - hey, if he truly pops up on the radar screen go ahead, knock him down. But, don't play Andy's game and feel that you have to constantly disassociate yourself from him.
[Update - I almost forgot about Fox News. No transcript, but something tells me it wasn't a fawning endorsement...]
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The timing is important because Dem bloggers were feeling a lot of heat for being 'anti-American' and all sorts of other stuff. I thought Atrios was better than to just throw Chomsky under a bus like this, but everyone has their limits. It was a coward move - one that Atrios should be very sorry for.
It'll be interesting if he ever admits his mistake or not, and apologize to Chomsky.
I care because I want to live in a more just world, and it's not acceptable to have people with generally good reputations going around throwing leading activists under the bus with ad hominem attacks. I'd rather bloggers like Atrios be a little less cowardly and think for themselves.
It's 2008, now. Is it possible that Atrios still thinks Chomsky is an idiot? And if so, does that mean most of the rest of the world is an idiot? Because most of the rest of the world takes him very seriously. People like Amy Goodman. People like Bill Moyers. Are they idiots, too? Or just severely misguided? Whichever is the case, if we are to believe Atrios' critique of Chomsky as 'an idiot', then there are a lot of people who are either idiots or severely misguided.
Is it possible that Atrios still has not read a single Chomsky book? Even an article? I hear he publishes a lot. I hear a lot of it is online. Just asking...