I went to the LA Times Festival of Books today. I go every year, mainly for the books, but also because they always have a dizzying array of speakers and panel discussions. In just two sessions, I was treated to Maureen Dowd, Eric Alterman, John Dean, Ken Auletta, Geoffrey Stone, and Arianna Huffington.
I also got to listen to Hugh Hewitt, in a panel about media (which included Auletta, Stone and Huffington). You'll remember him (but you'll regret it) as the writer of "Blog," which is subtitled "Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World," but which should have an asterisk stating "Note: I will only focus on the right-leaning side of the blogosphere." Hewitt was definitely not in his element today, at a book festival populated mainly by Westside lefties.
I think most of the people there didn't even know who he was. Because he started out with some generally bland comments about how the Internet is changing everything, and the crowd generally agreed. When he let loose with "George Bush won a significant victory in November" and "the LA Times is nothing but a left-wing scandal sheet" and "Fox News serves the center-right coalition in this country," the crowd jumped all over him.
Of course, you expect that kind of talk from a hard-right conservative radio host and blogger. This next statement was what struck me the most.
Hewitt was trying to be evenhanded, playing the wishy-washy game of "I even have liberals on my talk show" and throwing out random bits of praise to progressives. He said, in response to a question about the blogosphere, "The number one site on the Internet for political blogs is called the Daily Kos. It's very sticky, there's a lot of content, and a lot of good writers." He then went on to praise Instapundit and Powerline in the same breath. But here's the thing: he mispronounced Kos. He pronounced it "Cause" instead of the correct "Kowse".
Now, this may be a little thing if it were a member of the Corporate Media making this mistake. But when you have the author of "Blog," the self-professed go-to guy in the media for all things blog, mispronounce the name of the biggest site in the genre, I think that's telling. Telling in the sense that it's part of a pattern. Hewitt continually discounts the left blogosphere in his book. While he doesn't chart the course of any one blog, most of his examples of stories driven by the blogosphere are driven by the Right.
Now he can't even be bothered to get the right pronunciation of "Kos," when he's supposed to be the pre-eminent source on blogs in America. How embarrassing. Talk about a guy who doesn't care to check his sources. He went out there talking about blogs and sounded like Judy Woodruff stammering her way through an Inside Politics segment about which she knows nothing.
Tell me, am I making too much out of this? I really don't think so.
p.s. As a side note, Huffington gave some details about her blog, which is set to launch soon. It will run the gamut ideologically, featuring commentary not only from the left but from people like Michael Medved (!). There will be 250 different writers on the site, one as young as 11.
Sounds interesting, if nothing else.