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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

OpEdNews Pulls Critical Piece on Tasering Attack

by Michael A. Leon

Rob Kall runs OpEdNews.com and does not care for criticism of his fellow liberals and progressives.

In reaction to my piece (posted and then taken down) criticizing the lack of response by Josh Marshall (Talking Points Memo) who pooh poohed the tasering of U. Fla. student Andrew Meyer for asking impolitic questions of Sen. John Kerry, Kall wrote me a nasty e-mail just now.

[Update: Josh Marshall allows that Meyer is a “… young journalist whose brief career has been devoted writing things to make people really angry … so we shouldn't be surprised that he provoked an extreme response. No way did he deserve to be Tasered, and in fact I'd like to see Tasers banned in most circumstances.”]

That’s some explanation by Marshall’s for his brief apologetics (and previous lack of challenge) for the police assault! [Meyer asked Sen. Kerry several excellent and pointed questions and went on for, gasp, over three minutes before his mic was shut off, and he was dragged away and tasered as Kerry let the assault go unchallenged.]

Anyway, OpEd’s Kall writes of my critical piece on Marshall that “you don't go calling allies (like Marshall) names” and “Do you think you can attack and call names to a fellow progressive who generally does great work and still be considered a trusted author? Hello?”

Actually, yes, disagreement is very good thing, Rob, and fellow progressives, even the mighty Senator Kerry and the great Josh Marshall, should be called to account their perceived political shortcomings or lack of action in the body politic.

For example, I recently finished a long exchange with Xoff at Uppity Wisconsin, and have more respect for Xoff now than I did before the exchange. Xoff took off on a respected member of the Democratic state assembly, the lone Latino whom I really respect. Though I profoundly disagree with Xoff on the issue, I also recognize that he is a brilliant, intellectually honest writer, and is well within his rights to take off on whomever he wishes.

This ethic eludes Kall.

No, Kall is of the rightwing mindset that you never criticize people on your team—a lurid conception of the world of letters and political commentary.

Let’s face it, if the First Amendment were put to a vote, it would go down miserably.

I don't know Andrew Meyer's politics or his past writings; I'm not interested.

I do beleive that in a democracy we ought to stick up for each other's rights, ask questions of our legislators and seek redress when so inclined.

Sounding like a scolding assistance principal, Kall writes, “Now, I have to apologize to Josh Marshall. I want to. And I'm demoting you to member-- for a week-- if you are cool and understand that you violated trust on this one.”

I told Kall to fuck off.

Here’s his e-mail:

Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2007 11:04:23 -0400
From: "Robert Kall"
To: "Michael Leon" Subject:
Re: AS by Michael Leon: Josh Marshall Fronts for Cops and John Kerry

How about "piss on your trusted author status?

Do you think you can attack and call names to a fellow progressive who generally does great work and still be considered a trusted author? Hello?

It's one thing to send off an email or respond in a forum to someone with a nasty remark. But don't you DARE do it under the masthead of OpEdNews.

I've long advised friends and colleagues to sit on an email for 24 hours before posting it, if it has been written in anger.

Now, I have to apologize to Josh Marshall. I want to. And I'm demoting you to member-- for a week-- if you are cool and understand that you violated trust on this one.

On your blog, you write whatever you want. But when you publish as a trusted author, you don't go calling allies names.

Piss on Josh Marshall? Come on. I sure hope you see that this was poor judgment. If you had objectively discussed your feelings about Marshall's approach to the story, I would have had no complaint.

I don't like to do this, but feel it is part of the process I need to go through, including letting Josh Marshall know about it. I will not mention your name, if he missed it.

It looks like it hasn't shown up on google news and that you DO have it on your blog. I think you're making a mistake. Strong progressive media people are too few and far between. Josh Marshall does a great job overall.

Yesterday I headlined an article that raised the questionable background of the tasered guy, in the article that included Harry Potter in the title. I think our story was more measured and covered the range of issues.

Look, I don't like doing this or sending this to you. But in three years or five, if you are still at this, you may find yourself facing Josh Marshall, or even wanting a job or something from him and he may remember you as the asshole (in his mind, at the least) who wrote ...

I think you ought to plug this into the hold for 24 hours queue, then dump it. I've deleted the article, maybe the third out of 40,000+ that we've published in the past 28 months.
Sincerely,
rob kall


Happy to making history, Rob!
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University of Florida Police Department’s number is (352) 392-1111

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