Clouded

Clouded

Clouded

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
April 21 2005 6:41 PM

Clouded

Bloggers pound Time's John Cloud for a sympathetic Ann Coulter profile; they also debate a lawsuit by the NEA against the Department of Education and react to France's announcement that it will support China against Taiwan.

Clouded: Liberal bloggers are skewering Time's John Cloud for his profile of conservative diva Ann Coulter. On Monday, MediaMatters' conservative-turned-liberal David Brock, who has compiled an extensive list of what he considers Cloud's omissions, threw down the gauntlet: "Coulter is wrong very, very often, and Cloud's suggestion to the contrary is simply bizarre." The next day, MSNBC's star blogger Eric Alterman got the punches rolling: "Time's cover story/whitewash of Ann Coulter ... will make it impossible for serious people to accept what the magazine reports at face value ever again. It is as if Time had contracted a journalistic venereal disease from Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly and is now seeking to lower itself to their level in pursuit of their ideologically-obsessed audiences."

In an interview with Brian Montopoli of Columbia Journalism Review's CJRDaily, Cloud responded: "I think Eric Alterman and Ann Coulter engage in the same kind of debate. They don't often make actual arguments. Instead, they throw names around. … This is the way politics is engaged in debate now." Alterman struck back vehemently, asserting that his intellectual credentials are superior to Coulter's and blasting her more outrageous statements: "She has referred to the president of the United States and his wife as 'pond scum,' among many other things.  She has called … Gloria Steinem a 'deeply ridiculous figure' who 'had to sleep' with a rich liberal to fund Ms. Magazine." At least Coulter and Alterman agree on one thing: Both are unhappy with Cloud, who says in a letter to Alterman that Coulter, during an appearance on Fox News, "implied that I am an unfair reporter and said she had 'learned [her] lesson' after talking to me. At least I'm getting it from both sides."

Advertisement

"True, Cloud never quite got around to giving her the full-blown Playboy treatment. ('Turn ons include tearing the wings off flies and sniffing Matt Drudge's dirty underpants. Turn offs: the Bill of Rights; Victory in Europe Day.') But it was close," writesWhiskey Bar's Billmon.

While many right-wingers have stayed above the fray, Conservative Angst gushes, "I highly suggest reading Time's article on Ann Coulter. She is a hottie, and she's soooooooo right!"

School suit: Eight school districts and the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers' union, have sued the Department of Education for "violating a passage in the law that says states cannot be forced to spend their own money to meet federal requirements" imposed by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Conservative Mike Reed of Corpus Christi Bay News tries to simplify it for the NEA: "Simply refuse to accept Federal money, and you don't have to comply with Federal mandate." A Republic, Madam, If You Can Keep It's Steven Donohue, a former Democrat who dislikes President Bush's education act, believes the government should pay for testing but asks, "Are the schools actually complaining that 'getting children up to grade level in reading and math, and ensuring teachers are highly qualified' is some sort of odious federal burden with which they are forced to comply? Well, if there are actual consequences to failing children year after year without added effort, we're going to need a lot more free money!"

Advertisement

Pointing out that former Education Secretary Rod Paige once called the NEA a "terrorist organization," a doctoral student on She Falters To Rise claims, "I'm proud of the NEA for finally taking a stand against this whole 'No Child Left Behind' fiasco. NCLB is killing our teachers, impeding our children's education, and draining funds from already exhausted supplies." And ThinkProgress, the blog of self-described "nonpartisan thinktank" American Progress Institute, points out, "While the Bush administration meekly repeats the claim it has raised funding for education, a study completed in March by the Center on Education Policy found 'only 11 states felt NCLB allocations were adequate for them to provide technical assistance to all schools identified for improvement.' "

Read more about the NEA's lawsuit.

France loves China: Righty bloggers are excoriating France's announcement that it would support China in an offensive against Taiwan. "France does a considerable amount of business with China and would like to sell arms to China," notes lawyer Gary Butler of RightPundit. "France is being perfectly consistent and principled: It will take whatever position its paying customers tell it to take." Bloggledygook's Daniel Berczik asserts, "This would actually be more troubling if the French people were not leaning toward rejecting the EU constitution. An enlarged and cohesive EU, dominated by France, would upset traditional balances of power even further and cause the US all sorts of headaches. But if the constitution fails, France will be back in its box and the Administration is more likely to see French-Chinese relations as tolerably intolerable."

Read more about France's stance on Taiwan.

Have a question, comment, or suggestion for Today's Blogs? E-mail todaysblogs@slate.com.