Anne Applebaum recently wrote a balanced SCLM piece quibbling and fudging about the ban on federal funding for stem-cell research. Apparently there are two different problems: fundamentalist monkeywrenching of federal science research funding is one of them, of course, but there are also a lot of exaggerated claims being made for stem-cell research’s possibilities. So really, it all evens out in the end. (Chris Mooney very reasonably responds to Anne’s piece here.)
She also made this penetrating remark about Ron Reagan Jr: “Ron Reagan, son of the late president, who mistakenly imagined he was being cheered merely for what he said rather than who his father was….” (This is going to be a shocker for Ron Junior. All along he’s naively thought that people loved him for himself alone, without regard for his famous dad! It’s probably a good thing that someone finally clued him in, but I feel that Anne’s tone was unduly harsh.)
So anyway, having nothing better to do, and having a mild buzz on, I wrote her a short, characteristically mild-mannered note:
“Wretched. I’m putting you on the Kristoff list of intimidated journalists who know better but write bad stuff because of gutlessness, opportunism, and the search for a phony balance. The thoughtfulness was totally fake.
Your little dig at Reagan Jr. was supremely silly. The guy has been living with his situation since 1980 at the latest.
to which she thoughtfully responded
“what a repulsive little note that was”.
Well, I guess that puts me in my place! My guess is that when she responded she was drunk too.
Yeah, I’m aware that she’s one of the relatively nice ones. So is Kristoff. I really don’t see any need to write a fair and balanced piece about stem cells, though. This seems to me to be a legit, unproblematic issue for Kerry, and there was really no reason to devote a column to undercutting him.