My favorite bloggerperson has always been Atrios at Eschaton, and he nails it today in a way I particularly like.
Bill Keller of the New York Times penned a long Mideast policy piece which tries to be weighty. Keller wrote in it:
The ultimate “or what” question about Iran is, if sanctions and threats fail, could we live with a nuclear Iran? Could we trust that like every other nuclear state Iran would be deterred from using its weapons by the certain knowledge that a counterstrike would turn Persia into a wasteland? It’s worth serious discussion, but while the idea of containment by deterrence is gaining ground in pundit-land, President Obama can’t touch it; to do so would undermine the whole effort to halt Iran’s program and, not incidentally, would be hazardous to his reelection.
To which Atrios responds:
Obviously I'm generally in favor of not starting more wars, but generally the people of the King of Pundit-Land are the stupidest (expletive deleted) people on the planet who have no idea what they're talking about on most of the issues that they think their opinions matter about. I know it's a bit glass house of me to knock people who spend their days opining, but what I'm really knocking is that suggestion that the blessing of Pundit-Land gives an idea any merit.
Exactly. And I'm telling you folks, if you take seriously the editorials you read in the paper or the gaseous emissions of television pundits, then please keep in mind that every one of those people, including the ones who are right some of the time, is paid to churn out that meaningless pabulum like what Keller is emitting. I mean, he never explains how we might be able to halt a program the Iranians don't have. And it don't mean jack what the subjects of the "King of Pundit Land" think or say, since all of them are well-compensated salivando tontos.
At least Atrios has the decency to admit he is one of the, as you put it, well paid gas bags, but offers no ideas about whom we should listen to any why. So we usually end up listening to those that come nearest our own biases. Since Atrios is both a dupe and a fool (for the obvious reasons that we completely disagree on probably every issue), I can ignore him and know I am better for it.
Duncan Black (Atrios) makes a living, but I have no idea of what magnitude. I doubt he could even tell you who's advertising at his site at any given moment.
Of course, it's always better to forego advertising if you can afford to. Atrios is relatively young, so he can't afford to. But I'm positive he's not raking in the bucks like that twit Bill Keller, whose generous salary is ultimately paid by advertisers, a fact of which he is acutely aware.
The thing is, when it's controlled by advertisers, the news becomes a sales pitch. The "liberal" NY times under Keller was among the loudest midway barkers pitching the Iraq War, one of the greatest war crime ever sold, and is now attempting to pitch us a new/old belligerent knee-jerk that's been on hold for 20 years.
Boy, ain't capitalism wonderful? Or would be, if it wasn't history.