REQUIEM FOR A BUNCH OF DIPSHITS

Posted in Rants on April 8th, 2009 by Ed

An excerpt from a recent piece by Jason Zengerle at TNR:

As journalists, we obviously have to cover things we don't necessarily enjoy covering (and even things we initially enjoy covering may become tedious after a while; just talk to any sports reporter who no longer appreciates his front-row seat at the Final Four). But with the advent of Fox News and conservative blogs, the definition of "coverage" has kind of mutated. It's no longer just about talking to sources or covering events; it's about consuming media, too. And now, it's almost as if you have to watch Glenn Beck and read Michelle Malkin–or you're not doing your job. And, honestly, I can't think of anything more soul-crushing than watching Beck and reading Malkin on a daily basis. So I'm not really sure what's to be done.

While my new "job" at Instaputz does not compare to being a real journalist, I certainly feel his pain. Mocking the hell out of Glenn Reynolds required one big change in my life – namely that I had to start reading Instapundit every day. I will try to make the next point without melodrama or unnecessarily florid language: people, Instapundit sucks. It's just really, really bad. Reading it every day feels like punishment, the monotonous repayment of a karmic debt from an earlier incarnation – and judging by the sheer unpleasantness of this task, I must have been a child porn magnate in a previous life. Right-wing blogs and Fox News used to feel like larks, a good way to get shits, giggles, and something to blog about the next day. But small doses are one thing. Becoming a regular reader is quite the other.

Glenn Reynolds' writing talents produce three kinds of posts in varying quantities on any given day:

  • 1. A link, a cut-and-pasted quote from said link, and one of the following as Glenn's Original Contribution: "Read the whole thing." "Heh." or "Indeed." You too can be a Famous Blogger, kids.
  • 2. At least one link to a story he clearly did not read before linking. He looks at headlines. If one of the seven words in a headline appeals to him ("Tea Party", "Socialism", etc) he links it.
  • 3. Four or five daily posts about the grassroots astroturfed Tea Party Teabagging "movement" he and Michelle Malkin are working 24-7 to create. More on the Putz-Malkin combo in a moment.

    In short, reading Glenn Reynolds on a daily basis is a relatively new experience for me and I am shocked at the repetitiveness, banality, and lack of anything approaching insight. The casual consumer of right-wing blogging only notices how stupid most of it is; only by becoming a regular reader are the other levels on which it sucks revealed. You know that most of what ends up on Instapundit is stupid and/or fabricated. Now I know that it's also uninteresting, unenlightening, uncreative, unoriginal, and overwhelmingly preoccupied with "cross-promotion" of the latest harebrained scheme from the Pajamas Media "Empire." This brings me to the main course.

    Last week the bold Pajamas Media experiment – you remember, the one that was going to reshape the entire mainstream media – came one step closer to cranking up the Joy Division and slashing its wrists. The PJM Blogger Network, which paid a subsidy to various right-wing blogs shit factories to keep all that quality product coming, is no more. This venture depended on PJM's ability to sell ads and make a profit while doling out cash to its "Network." And of course there were no profits and very few businesses who cared to advertise to America's shut-ins, compulsive masturbators, and Federal courthouse bombers-in-training.

    PJM claims that the network has been taken out behind the chemical sheds and shot in order to focus (*cough*) on their unconscionably asinine Pajamas TV project. This amalgam of repetitive, basement-quality videos seems to be the result of a brainstorming session in which the PJM folks decided they weren't losing money fast enough. Why they believed that anyone would pay to subscribe to this dreck (I hope you like interviews with Joe the Plumber!) when there is so much guy-ranting-into-camera content available online at no cost is beyond me. They seem to have felt that the quality of their product would convince people to pay…you know, for just $9.99 you can get the thrice-weekly interviews between Glenn Reynolds and Michelle Malkin before any of your friends! I've seen worse business plans, but they required phrases like "New Coke" or "Edsel" to compete with this trainwreck.

    While the internet is bursting with conservative critiques of PJM's business model and lefty gloating about its spectacular half-gainer into an empty pool, I wish to eulogize its passing with the simplest but most accurate explanation for its impending demise: it's fucking terrible. Glenn Reynolds is the least interesting thing on the internet since the coffee pot webcam. The blogger network was just a circle-jerk of people with writing skills ranging from mediocre to terrible repeating the same idiotic talking points over and over; like a VHS tape, each successive copy degraded the quality a little more. PJTV sets a new standard for inanity that is unlikely to be challenged let alone surpassed in my lifetime. The fundamental problem in establishing a right-wing "alternative" media is not a systemic bias. It is the inescapable fact that they have absolutely nothing interesting to say and are woefully inarticulate in saying it.

    Roger Simon's business plan seems to be based on Japanese WWII kamikaze tactics. Getting people to pay for online content – for frickin' blogging and YouTube-quality videos – is an uphill battle with miniscule odds of success. Those odds effectively become zero when the product one sells is complete shit. The fact that this is a "big story" in the blogging world while most of you probably have never heard of Pajamas Media is a testament to how completely they failed to back up their 2004-era boasting about bringing the media to its knees. Many excuses will be made and explanations offered when the entire enterprise finally implodes (place your bets in the PJTV Death Pool!) but most will be spurious. The simplest explanation happens to be the best in this case: Roger Simon apparently had to spend a lot of money, both his own and that of his investors, to learn the lesson that people will not pay for boring, unoriginal shit from high school-caliber writers or amateurish videos starring a Who's Who of the wingnut D-list.

    Stop the presses.

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