Two days ago, I was unceremoniously removed from the roster of David Horowitz’s NewsRealBlog.com. The reason, which wasn’t exactly surprising to friends or colleagues, was that I wasn’t enough of a “team player” — that is: that I brought down as much wrath on conservatives as I did on liberals. That didn’t fit with the blog’s mission. Horowitz is not interested in posts that take Ann Coulter to task over the war in Afghanistan, for instance.
Two days ago, I submitted to NewsRealBlog a lengthier version of a blurb about Coulter’s newfound opposition to the war written for FrumForum. My rationale for the piece was simply that Horowitz — and by extension his team and blog — is among the more ardent supporters of the war effort, and that it would be a timely piece that fit our niche. The site’s editor took a look at it and told me that he’d have to personally run it by David Horowitz, since the blog is allied with Ann.
I received an e-mail a couple of hours later: “Sorry…we’re going to have to pass on your Coulter piece…[Y]ou finally did it with [David Horowitz]. He doesn’t want you blogging for us anymore.”
The tone of the piece — which was the same tone in which I wrote all of my other pieces — was the problem. In a tongue-in-cheek jab at Ann’s style, I headlined the piece by asking if she was committing treason. Apparently jokes like this are a no-no. “You don’t do that,” I was told by an editor. “She’s a friend of the Freedom Center.” But, I protested, everyone knows what her techniques are. She calls left-wingers traitors all the time for opposing our military efforts. It’s very obviously tongue-in-cheek. “It doesn’t matter. When a friend is wrong, you have to be gentler.” I pointed out that it was awfully strange to talk of speaking gently with Ann Coulter, but the editor wasn’t having it.
This was my second major ‘offense’ with Horowitz. He was also outraged that I believe that state-sanctioned psychiatrists shouldn’t be allowed to lock up free citizens in mental institutions. That argument appeared in an overnight piece — approved by the editor — that blasted the Supreme Court’s decision to allow state governments to put sex offenders in mental hospitals as punishment even after their full prison terms were served — in other words: when they became free citizens. The piece was yanked and blasted as apology for pedophilia as soon as Horowitz awoke to it the next day. “He’s a grandparent,” the editor explained. Apparently believing that completing a prison term without incident obligates the state to allow you back into society is “apologizing for pedophilia.”
I should point out that this decision was nothing personal. Horowitz and I simply have divergent approaches to politics. He and the Freedom Center see politics as essentially a sports match — that when someone on “our side” is performing poorly, we ought to give them a nice pep speech rather than a lashing. I simply do not take that approach. The primacy of ideas is foremost in my mind. Bad ideas are just as dangerous — perhaps moreso — if they’re propagated by members of the party nominally opposed to them. When Dennis Kucinich or Katha Pollitt criticizes the war effort, that’s neither here nor there. We expect this. We turn the heat up in response, of course, but still: we anticipate it. But when Ann Coulter throws in the towel with regard to Afghanistan, that portends trouble: she has given a green light to conservative activists to abandon the war effort. The only people who can keep conservatives on the right path are conservatives. We certainly can’t expect the left to do it for us.