A Columnist Nips at Our Ankles

Poor Nick Coleman, the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s worst columnist, devotes his entire column in tomorrow’s newspaper to attacking us. I’d like to respond to his charges, only I can’t figure out what they are.
Coleman says we “pursu[e] a right-wing agenda cooked up in conservative think tanks funded by millionaire power brokers.” If by that he means that we’re conservatives, we plead guilty. The think tank in question appears to be the Claremont Institute, with which we have an extremely loose affiliation. And if he means to suggest that we share Claremont’s respect for the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, we can only plead guilty once again.
Beyond that, it’s hard to say what Coleman’s point is, other than the fact that he doesn’t like us, or, I guess, any other conservatives, which is hardly news. This is one of his more coherent sentences: “[L]ike talk radio, they are dominated by the right and are only interested in being a megaphone without oversight, disclosure of conflicts of interest, or professional standards.” I have no idea what Coleman means by “conflicts of interest,” and he never provides a hint. As to “professional standards,” he never cites a single instance in which we have misrepresented a source, tried to pass fake documents off as genuine, or, for that matter, even made a mistake. So, again, it’s hard to make much of a substantive response.
Coleman seems to be obsessed with our site, even though we rarely mention him. He went so far as to count the number of times we “shilled for votes” in the Wizbang Best Blog contest. (I’d explain the relevance of this to his tirade, only I don’t understand it.) It’s remarkable that even though he has obviously spent a lot of time poring over our site, he cannot identify a single substantive error that we have made.
Coleman concludes his tirade, which should be an embarrassment to his employers, by purporting to “fact check” us. In the course of his “fact check,” he says “If I had the money they think I do…” Again, I have no idea what in the world he is talking about. We have never written anything that suggests we think that Nick Coleman has a lot of money. Indeed, speaking for myself, I have never spent a single moment thinking about Coleman’s bank account. Bizarre references like this one have, however, caused me to wonder about his mental health.
Coleman concludes:

[D]oes Powerline or its mighty righty allies take money from political parties, campaigns or well-heeled benefactors who hope to affect Minnesota’s politics from behind the scenes? We don’t know, and they don’t have to say. They are not Mainstream.

I can’t speak for any “mighty righty allies,” but as far as we’re concerned, we don’t take any money from any parties, campaigns or “benefactors.” We don’t even have a tip jar. But here is what I think is curious: Coleman pretends to be a journalist. As such, doesn’t he occasionally do research in the course of writing his columns? I assume the Strib provides Coleman with a desk and a telephone. We publish our telephone numbers on this site. Coleman says “we don’t know, and they don’t have to say” whether we get money from parties or campaigns. But, Nick, you didn’t ask. If you really thought this was a burning question that needed to be investigated, why didn’t you pick up the phone and call one of us? We’d have been happy to fill you in.
I’m not surprised, however, that Coleman didn’t bother to do research to verify his slur against us. He’s done the same thing before. On December 13, Coleman was a guest host on the far-left Air America network; he unleashed a tirade against us. Among other things, he described us as paid political operatives–the same charge he makes in tomorrow’s column. We responded to it by writing:

[W]e have, in general, no objection to being paid. On the contrary. As it happens, though, we are not being paid by anyone, although we do get a little revenue through Blogads. Again, Nick Whoever’s [we later learned it was Coleman] research skills seem primitive at best.

Now, if Coleman were the responsible journalist he claims to be, don’t you think he would have done a little investigation before slandering us again? And, given that we know he scoured our site to count the exact number of times we mentioned the Wizbang contest, doesn’t it seem almost certain that he saw the above post–which was, after all, about him–and therefore knew that the charge that he makes against us tomorrow was false?
It’s been a long time since I went to law school, but I think there is a technical term for journalists who make charges that they know to be untrue.


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