NYT Finds CNN Hatemonger Is Really a Big Softie

There’s a certain the-monster-isn’t-so-bad genre of journalism–profiling some character known for vicious misanthropy, usually a right-wing media personality, only to assure readers that once you get to know them, you realize that they don’t actually mean all the nasty things they say. (The Time cover story on Ann Coulter discussed here is perhaps the classic example.)

Today the New York Times (5/12/10) offers us an intimate look at Eric Erickson under the headline “CNN Pundit Draws Ire From All Sides.” Erickson is the blogger best known for his assertion that Supreme Court Justice David Souter was a “goat-fucking child molester.” (See FAIR Action Alert, 3/16/10, for more examples of Erickson’s wit.) But Times reporter Shaila Dewan presents him as a softie: “Over coffee, Mr. Erickson, 34, hardly comes across as a screamer. He is more preoccupied with finding a babysitter for his two small children because his wife, Christy, is sick.”

Dewan does refer to a couple of Erickson’s screeds, but dismisses them with this: “What critics have not noted is that Mr. Erickson, the editor of the influential conservative blog RedState, is as hard on many Republicans and conservatives as he is on Democrats.”

Two things to note: “Exhorting Tea Party followers (he considers himself one) to move beyond protests and get involved in the nitty-gritty of precinct-level politics” is not actually an example of Erickson being hard on Republicans or conservatives, although the Times presents it as one.

And critics were not upset about Erickson’s mindless hatred because it was only aimed at Democrats; Souter, after all, is a Republican. It’s the mindless hatred itself that’s the problem.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.