Slam, Maglalang Maglalang Maglalang, Shotgun Get Down!*


Over the weekend, Radley Balko started a thread to answer this question: "Of all the shrill wingnuts on both ends of the linear political spectrum, which ones do you think actually believe their own bullshit?" He used Michelle Malkin as a test case, as she made the transition to Reason-style libertarian to quasi-authoritarian conservative in a fairly rapid fashion. Today Howard Kurtz profiles Malkin, but he spends precious little time explaining her conversion to hard right punditry.

After seven years as an editorial writer for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Seattle Times, Michelle Malkin moved to Washington in 1999 to work for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. She launched her blog,, in 2004. Last month it drew 388,000 visitors, and it's complemented by a syndicated column that appears in 150 papers.

Her newspaper experience was crucial because "you see what a lot of crackpots and cranks are out there," says Mark Cunningham, the New York Post opinion editor, who has known Malkin for years. "She learned a long time ago to deal with sticks and stones. People read her, even if they're infuriated by her."

From 1999 to 2004, whoosh, just like that. I'm actually curious to know what changed Malkin's outlook between those years. I had assumed 9/11 "mugged" her, but her columns from before 9/11 showcase pretty ordinary social conservatism. Replace concern about news networks aiding the enemy with concern about celebrities adopting kids and you've got a typical pre-war on terror Malkin column. It's be nice for Kurtz to ask why Malkin swung right, but she doesn't seem to be as much of a "recovering libertarian" as I'd assumed.

UPDATE: Jesse Walker e-mailed to point out that Kurtz mucked up his dates: "Malkin did her fellowship at CEI in 1995, not 1999. She described herself as a libertarian when she subsequently joined the Seattle Times staff, and she voted for Harry Browne in 1996."

*Headline explanation here.

NEXT: More on the Castillo Shooting

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  1. In 5 years, there will be a reasonable person on a popular blog out there asking exactly what made you swing so far left. Continue throwing those stones there, DW, continue throwing those stones.

  2. That’s very insightful, Jesus Complex.

    Because writing nice things about Jim Webb is pretty much the equivalent of calling for the prosecution of Congressmen and newspaper writers under treason statutes.

  3. Throwing stones? Whoever heard of such a thing in the world of political commentary….

  4. oh, to be as insightful as the mighty joe. that would be a blessing.

  5. one more thing there, lovey. comparing one of the least left things DW has done to one of the most right thing MM has done passes for insight these days?

    in the name of me, I know you can do better than that.

  6. She is not deserving of all the attention Reason is giving her.

  7. Actually, since Malkinn wrote a book applauding the internment of Japanese-Americans, and spent about a year arguing her cause, the ho-hum accusations of treason she spews out don’t even stand our as particularly right-wing for her.

  8. atta boy. there’s the insight I’m looking for. you keep that up, and I’ll keep a nice place up here waiting for you when it is time.

  9. If having pull your punches at nutbag conservative pundits is wrong…I don’t want to be right.

    Just because you don’t consider yourself a leftist does NOT mean that you have to defend these loonies.

    She may have been more libertarian back in the day, but those days are, uh, over. There was more money to be made elsewhere.

  10. 4:1 is an unacceptable ratio for comments to ideas.


  11. judging from your past, you must think around 16:1 is better.

  12. So, nothing about Malkin’s internment fantasies disproving the one idea you were able to come up with – that her call for treason trials is here most right-wing action?


    At all?

  13. Jesus Complex, what a sanctimonious pantload you are. What’s your beef here exactly, anyway? Are you carrying water for Malkin, little crucifee?

  14. joe – i’m not sticking up for MM. I’m warning DW that whatever made MM go off the deep end toward the right, may be making him go off the deep end toward the left. I didn’t say he was there yet. I implied it was a possibility in the future.

    I am actually trying to help the lad.

    oh, Satan Complex – piss off, troll.

  15. Can we forget M.M. and focus on M.I.A. please? She’s way too cool

  16. “I am actually trying to help the lad.”

    Oh how magnanimous of you Jesus. And considering all of the other worthwhile projects you must have on the docket.

    How ’bout this, I’ll skulk off to my troll cave and let the adults talk if you do the same.

  17. David, is it really that hard to figure out? Who makes more money: a) thoughtful libertarian that believes gov’t should stay out of everyone’s business, or b) screaming harpy that tries to make internment fashionable again?

    Right-wing fanaticism always puts butts in the seats.

  18. jesus complex,

    harboring some kind of a chivalrous thing for lost soul brunettes?

  19. It’s a little hard to understand what it is about the post by DW that provoked the “what made you swing so far left” reaction.

    It is certainly fair to call Malkin, who has defended internment and constantly makes accusations of treason against others, “a quasi-authoritarian conservative”. I’m not sure why anyone would have a beef with that statement.

    I don’t think she’s ever been much of a libertarian, but has always been a flame-throwing social conservative.

  20. How can one have a serious discussion of Ms. Malkin without reference to the ghost blogging issue? To rephrase the above question, does she actually believe her husband’s bullshit?

  21. “Right-wing fanaticism always puts butts in the seats.”

    This statement is true, but there are a number of journalists who stay in the biz for other reasons. I know that’s hard to believe, but hackery isn’t the only path. Kapuscinsky (RIP) comes to mind: Stuck to his guns as a solid reporter, was poor for a while, wrote some amazing books, and died rich and highly respected for a lifetime of high-quality work. If putting butts in the seats was his main motivation, he hid it pretty well.

  22. Bear-baiting: despite what polite society would like to believe, it never went out of style.

    (never will, either)

  23. hesus (sic) complex: telling another troll to piss off? wow. Impressive. Lemme guess – snow day from junior college?

  24. Damn, VM beat me too it.

    So, if we take Trolly McTrollerson’s advice, what would be the least right-wing thing that Malkin has said recently? By recent, let’s say within the last 18 months.

  25. oh, Satan Complex – piss off, troll.

    I don’t care if the whole world beat me to it.
    I still have to say,
    HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

  26. For that matter, what’s the most left-wing thing that Wiegel has said? Because for all the shit he gets, he’s mostly just trying to put a most-libertarian face on Democrats, not so much actually arguing for redistribution of wealth himself. What exactly is his left wing Internment moment?

  27. I looked at the Asian music video in the Headline Explanation, and I can say with truth that it is just as comprehensible as any American music video. Nonetheless, I still feel that I have to research it a bit more.

  28. Anywhoo: I visited Maznazar a couple years ago (after my first attempt) and what I found there regarding Malkin was interesting. First, they have a two-page handout regarding her book. Second, the workers there didn’t seem to be impartial regarding said book. Third, at least one of the exhibits discussing current events reflected a distinct leftward slant.

    P.S. Making plays on her name is the first clue that what we’re dealing with is simply an AtriosLevel smear attempt.

  29. Because for all the shit he gets, he’s mostly just trying to put a most-libertarian face on Democrats, not so much actually arguing for redistribution of wealth himself. What exactly is his left wing Internment moment?

    It doesn’t matter what he said or hasn’t said to the people making the accusations about Weigel (or Wiegel or Wiegal as some like to spell it) anyone who doesn’t decry all democrats as statist, socialist Karl Marx lovers is a fucking shill for the Democrat party!!!

    And if calls out a GOPer for anything he is guilty of the sin of omission for not having pointed out XYZ that some other Donkey has done in the past, ever, about anything.

    It’s a fun game, really.

  30. I know nothing of her pre DC move in 1999 but as I noted elsewhere, the Reason Article from Michele was not socially liberal. It was not a condemnation of the drug war; it was rather a condemnation of Government Seizure of private property, a cause for which she still sides with homeowners.

    I am not saying that she is not a shrill, right-wing douche, I am just saying that I don’t think she has changed so much in the last 8 years, except perhaps to hone her vitrol to be in line with the audience who pays her bills.

  31. Um, so she could become the leader of the wingnutosphere and get interviewed by the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Howard Kurtz?

  32. The answer is rather obvious. She looked at the Ann Coulter phenomenon and said, hey, I can do that too.

  33. Yep, nuance doesn’t sell as well as the screaming fanatic shtick. Malkin no doubt makes a lot more money than does Cathy Young, James Fallows, or Jonathan Rauch.

  34. Why doesn’t someone at Reason dash off a _friendly_ e-mail and ask her about her shift in outlook. If you’re nice and polite about it, I’m guessing she’ll give you an actual answer.

    I mean if you really want to know, go to the source.

  35. “She looked at the Ann Coulter phenomenon and said, hey, I can do that too.”

    Wait a minute, you mean Malkin and Coulter are two separate women?

  36. I went to her website–she’s pretty darned nice-lookin’! What? I’m supposed to read the words, too?


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