Disrespecting Hitch

New York Press columnist Matt Taibbi goes after Christopher Hitchens’ instant-classic smackdown of “Fahrenheit 9/11”- except he doesn’t really, because Taibbi’s piece doesn’t really address what Hitchens wrote it all.
Instead, he rips Hitch for “hypocrisy,” because he called Moore cowardly. which has to be wrong, because you see, all journalists are cowardly, especially those who accept their paychecks from corporations- and since Hitchens wrote the piece for Slate, which is owned by Microsoft, he’s somehow compromised.
Say what? First of all, has Taibbi ever seen Slate before? If his thesis is that Hitchens was somehow pressured by conservative Microsoft overlords, he’ll have a tough time explaining away the rest of Slate’s political content, nearly all of which is anti-Bush. And while I don’t disagree with Taibbi’s point that many journalists are cowardly, Hitchens, clearly, is not- he’s reported from war zones all over the world, something I certainly can’t say for Matt.
But just when we expect Taibbi to defend Moore and his film, we get this:

“Michael Moore may be an ass, and impossible to like as a public figure, and a little loose with the facts, and greedy, and a shameless panderer. But he wouldn’t be necessary if even one percent of the rest of us had any balls at all.”

Taibbi can be good- he’s done some funny work for NYP, and I count myself a big fan of his “Sports Crime Blotter” comedy column in sister paper New York Sports Express. But too often his political writing falls into either self-righteous pontificating or Maureen Dowd-style imaginery dialogue. I would’ve liked to have seen a legitimate rebuttal to the Hitchens rant, but this sure isn’t it.

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