Criticizing on the basis of sex, etc

… and I don’t mean whether or not you’re having it!

David Bernstein at The Volokh Conspiracy takes on a lefty blogger who posted a ‘critique’ of ten top right wing bloggers and notes a particularly vicious attack in that blogger’s ‘critique’ about Michelle Malkin (which you can read there in Bernstein’s post).   He writes:

It doesn’t trouble me (much) that Mithras, whoever that is, would crudely and stupidly insult Malkin. There’s one in every crowd, as they say. But when so many other folks on the left, including Brian Leiter, jump in to endorse his post, one wonders what is going on. Indeed, not a single one of the 465 Atrios readers who commented on his link to Mithras post complained about the Malkin crack; in fact, several of them praised it, and added their own prejudiced elaborations […]

Is it suddenly (or maybe not so suddenly, if I recall the attacks on figures ranging from Thomas Sowell to Condi Rice) okay to denigrate someone based on their race and sex if they happen to be conservative? And to use especially offensive language while doing so? Attacking Malkin in this way comes with especially poor grace from the left blogger community, which–dare I note–includes, as far as I’m aware, no female, nonwhite blogger nearly as prominent as Malkin.

Anyway, a whole bunch of people, including Atrios, owe Malkin an apology

Absolutely.   In fact, if you read that ‘critique’ (I won’t post the link to it here, but you can get to it via Bernstein’s post), I’d say that blogger owes apologies to everyone on that list.   If you’re going to do a serious (not intended to be humorous) critique of a fellow blogger, fine, but to do so via the ad hominem route is a credibility killer and as a result no one is going to take that kind of critique seriously – except, perhaps, the choir you’re already preaching to.

Update: Also slamming this vicious attack: Jeff Goldstein, David Schraub at The Moderate Voice (read more of David’s comments here at his own blog), Sue Bob’s Diary.

Linking up with Mudville Gazette’s open post.

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