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.