Are Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh to blame for left-wing vulgarity from the likes of blogger Amanda "%$@#" Marcotte, late of John Edwards presidential campaign blog? That's the argument from Time senior writer and columnist Joe Klein, now writing at Time's Swampland blog.
"As a newcomer to this blogging business, I've been interested in the Edwards dust-up. As readers know, I've been critical of the tone of the left-wing blogosphere in the past. But I think that Yglesias raises an important point here and anyone reading the comments section of any Swampland post knows that troglyditic right-wing cavedwellers fester there, in a vomitously vile manner, too.
"And I'd add this: Radio. I was driving into Springfield, Ill last night for the Obama festivities and caught the ever-vile Sean Hannity 'interviewing' the even-more-vile Dick Morris about Hillary. Just disgraceful...and they were mild compared to the crap I've heard from Rush and others over the years.
Klein's February 10 post didn't blame the left for its own nasty behavior, portraying the inflammatory lashing out of lefty bloggers as some kind of battered-child syndrome caused by years of abuse from Big Daddy Limbaugh:
"It's obvious that the current level of vitriol on the left is a reaction to nearly twenty years of sewage emanating from Rush et al. It's also a product of the times: There's a whole generation of people who believe that serious political discourse consists of Pat Buchanan and Eleanor Clift screaming at each other. The intemperance on the left has three other sources (1) justifiable fury over the Bush administration (2) justifiable fury over the way the media treated Clinton and, to a certain extent, Bush and (3) ideologues of any sort tend to be obnoxious."
Clay Waters is director of Times Watch, where he keeps track of the liberal bias of the New York Times.