Objectively OK With Killing Scientists?

The other day Glenn Reynolds called on the United States to kill scientists and religious leaders in Iran. This is totally insane, not to mention being possibly more counter productive to our interests than the war we’re already fighting in Iraq.

Fortunately it’s been handled here as well as like half of lefty blogtopia. So why does someone who’s been keeping things Northwestie care about a national blogger writing from Tennessee? Well, InstaPundit has a fairly prominent position on the blogroll of probably the biggest paid media blogger in Seattle.

When I asked David Postman about this in an email, he told me:

I haven’t been reading InstaPundit as much as I used to. In fact, I haven’t been reading anything as much as I used to because I spend so much time writing my own stuff. I’ve been thinking about wiping the slate clean on the blogroll. Some sites I listed there don’t really interest me today as much as they did. I’ve also thought about trying to do a much shorter, but revolving, list of sites that would get a little more attention on my blog. Like a blog list of the week or something. Unfortunately, technically, I do not have the ability to change it myself. I need to have Times web staff do that for me. And that means none of it happens quickly.

I have not seen what you say here about Glenn Reynolds calling for genocide or killing of scientists. I will go take a look soonest.

Now the scientist thing isn’t some fluke or some ill formed thought that he later regretted (as the updates make clear). In fact he’s so OK with much worse that there’s a word for when he advocates genocide. In the case linked above, he’s for genocide against all of Islam if the war in Iraq doesn’t go well.

To my knowledge, Postman hasn’t quoted him directly, but maybe my google skillz aren’t good enough. His paper has no such qualms, though (a google search had 1040 as of tonight, but many of them are rightie guest columnists and postman’s blogroll). When you only have a limited number of sources and a limited number of inches, who to quote and why is an important consideration.

That said, obviously, Postman having a link to that site doesn’t endorse any of the specific posts, or even the general tone of the blog. He also has links to Horses’ Ass and to TPM who even without asking, I’m quite certain the authors would be opposed to attacking Iran in that or any other way. Hell, I don’t even agree with everything thehim says on this site. Postman made the same point to me in that same email:

The blogroll hasn’t changed much since the blog started except I think I added the NW portal. Other than that, it has just sat there. The sites I listed on there were site that I was reading regularly up to the time I started my own blog. Some were personal favorites, like buzzmachine, which really has been instrumental is shaping how I view blogs as journalism.

But there clearly was an attempt to balance blogs from different points on the political spectrum. That’s not just to be “fair and objective,” but because that’s how I read things. I try to read across the spectrum. That not only helps me keep up with what the widest breadth of people are thinking about politics, there are things to learn from different blogging styles as well.

Still, there are less than 20 blogs under, “Politics and government” so one would think that Postman is saying that there is a special value in these blogs on topics of politics and government. That they are a worthwhile read. It’s understandable that he wants bloggers from all across the spectrum; he isn’t partisan like most of the bloggers he links to. Still, I have to wonder how abhorrent a blog’s ideas have to be before they lose that tacit endorsement? To paraphrase August, how many kittens would InstaPundit have to kill with a hammer before he got booted from the Postman on Politics blogroll? Postman answered (I didn’t think to mention kittens in the question):

Frankly I’m not sure what it would take to get “booted” from the blogroll. This is something I’ve thought about before. I cannot, and do not profess to, police all the blogs I list, or even all the blogs I link to regularly. I do not endorse everything David Goldstein does, or how he does it, but I link to him when I think it is important. Same goes for Stefan. The Slog has been a question because there is a lot there that would not be seen on my blog or in our newspaper. But it is an important source of information and one of my consistent favorites.

FWIW, on this site, my blogroll is limited to funny blogs on various subjects and thehim’s blog. On the other blogrolls I’ve put out associated with other blogs it was other liberal bloggers dealing with Washington State and national politics, or blogs supporting Hillary Clinton. None of the links are an endorsement by me of any of their content.

Also, I would like to thank Postman for answering me the same day I wrote him despite his having real deadlines and it being Valentines’ Day. I do think Postman does a pretty good job with his blog. Also, I don’t know if this was also a sly reference to my old blog on top of InstaPundit, but if so, well played:

I don’t like the InstaPundit one-line, or worse, one-word posts with a link. Like he’ll just write “Ugh.” Or, “I knew this would happen.”

2 Responses to “Objectively OK With Killing Scientists?”

  1. Thehim says:

    As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been really impressed with Postman’s blog. And I’m linked to a few blogs whose content has occasionally been questionable (both left and right). I’m not sure I want to be constantly monitoring all those sites to make sure there’s nothing outrageous.

    But Instapundit? That’s just asking for trouble.

  2. Carl says:

    Absolutely. Still, I think there is a difference between the blogrolls at partisan sites and on objective media sites. For instance, while the SP blogroll has worse people (FW Con, among others) what they are doing is clearly trying to do is catalogue as many rightie Washington State blogs as possible. With Postman because of his position as a Seattle Times person and because of the relatively small number of links, there is more of an obligation to have quality blogs, but I don’t know how far that actually goes.

    I was thinking of calling the post Postman or Seattle Times approved talking about killing scientists. But thinking about it, even before I got the answers back, clearly it wasn’t approved.