Tony Messenger is a top notch reporter at the Post-Dispatch. He has tenaciously covered scandals on both sides of the political isle, hounding former Governor Matt Blunt when he flaunted the sunshine law and later reporting extensively on the E. Coli scandal for Governor Jay Nixon. And since Messenger has a professional code of ethics where he applies the same standards to both political parties, it is of course inevitable that he will be accused of being a Marxist with a liberal bias by right-wing activists who think that Fox News's ideological ranting is the model for what all news should be.
However, awesomely, Messenger recently pushed back against one of these accusations and left a right-wing blogger completely unable to articulate the basis for his personal attack on Messenger. The incident started when Jim Durbin (a right-wing blogger who likes to stalk, slander, and conspiracy theorize) said the following:
Messenger, to his great credit, called on Durbin to back up this implication:Durbin, who didn't have any facts to back up his charges, instead responded with meaningless generalities:
Messenger wasn't having it though, and called upon Durbin to provide some actual specific criticisms:
So finally, forced to actually provide evidence for his claims that Messenger was liberally biased, Durbin had to back down:
But like all right-wingers, Durbin, despite not being capable of producing any evidence whatsover to support his claims, still was convinced that he couldn't have been imagining it:
Get that? Durbin says, "maybe it's the topic, or the new sources," as in, "maybe you're being mislead by liberally biased sources even if you personally aren't biased." But of course the reality is that neither the topics, nor the sources, nor Messenger are biased. Durbin just won't accept any reporter who doesn't carry water for the Missouri Republican Party. Even as Durbin is forced to acknowledge that he can't provide any support for his claims that Messenger is biased, he still secretly believes that he's right. Sadly, political evaluations are all too often like this (and not only on the political Right): people have a gut feeling first, and search for any evidence they can find to support that feeling. Sometimes, as Durbin illustrates time and time again, they'll cling to the feeling even when they can't find any evidence whatsoever.