AFTER attacking George W. Bush's hypocritical steel tariffs, I got a lot of angry mail from Bush supporters. After attacking Michael Moore's general, all-pervading hypocrisy, I got a lot of angry mail from Moore supporters.
Emails from either camp exhibited distinct differences. First, here are some notes from Bush defenders:
From Jim King:
"While it may be true that in the short-run tariffs may alienate allies, and temporarily hurt the economy, if we as a country fail to see the warning signs and continue our mass consumerism and export of wealth, we will indeed fall. We may have to tighten our belts for awhile, but our country's great economy of the past century was not based on consumerism but on our industrial strength and ability to export our wealth of resources to the rest of the world.
"George Bush sees this (I believe) and he is taking hard steps in the right direction to correct a dying economy so that future generations of Americans will benefit. They may not be popular in the short-term but time will prove him correct. Study your history."
From Tim Dwyer:
"I work in the steel industry. Specifically I work at a forging company. We buy steel from the mills that you refer to in your article. We will pay more for some steel due to the tariffs. Although I don't necessarily think that a tariff is the right approach, I contend that something must be done to protect the steel industry.
"The primary responsibility of a government is to provide for national security. In WWII, our greatest advantage was our ability to quickly rebuild the Pacific Fleet. The steel industry proved to be essential for this. While this might not be relevant to someone living in Australia, as a former United States Marine, it is imperative to me."
And from Leonid Strakovsky:
"You, like many of your kind, just plain don't get it. Unions are bad, I agree. But, it's not the union members that Bush protects. There are industries that are strategic to country existence given that we live in a hostile world. China and Russia use prisoners to work in places like steel making and mines. Whatever you do, you can't compete.
"And if you worry so much about our friends being alienated, how about Japan that practically bars any rise imports, European countries have 400% tax on petroleum, Russia placed a one time tax $6 per barrel on export oil AFTER American companies invested in it's oil exploration. You can go on and on and find these examples."
The emails aren't happy, but do they contain actual arguments. The personal attacks (in all emails received, not just the above) were minimal.
Now take a look at these missives, sent by fans of Michael Moore:
From Peter McNeill:
"Hmmm, sounds like you must be one of those journalists who get a kick out of sucking up to the republican administration, hoping the prez will give you a nickname.
"And learned your 'trade' (and you really have traded away a lot) at the Rush Limbaugh school of information management."
From Forrest Baker:
"So let me guess, W. Bush put you up to this?"
From Brandon Young:
"Mr. Blair why would you take the time to point out that this guy is no different than 99% of all media or celebrities. You are included of course, for everything you say about him you have done the same. I am not defending him but take a look in the mirror pal. I could sit here and give you an endless stream of examples but why waste the time when you already know the truth."
From Rene Carrasquillo:
"Makes me wonder if the purpose of your article is out of anger or of the fact that his book is number one. Does it bother you that his book is number one to the point that you must write this pointless stupid, inaffective article? Rather than waisting time on ridiculing one who speaks truth, why not write an article on how the media has been bought out, and forced to become so called ‘Patriots’? So you can tare apart those who threaten the credibility of the political system. That is the article alot of US have been waiting for. We know it would take some time, but it will come up sooner or later. Face it. The people of this country are slowly, and slowly pulling away from current media corps for reliable news, and looking for the truth somewhere else, and we know that Michael Moore is not the one to blame for that. Have a nice day."
From Nick Murray:
"Regarding Tim Blair's article 'Sometimes Moore is Less', is this all I have to do to be called a reporter? Must've been some really fine Journalism School where Mr. Blair learned to write incisive pieces like this. Really couldn't find the news in the article, but I'll take another look at it and try to find what I'm missing."
And from Suresh Nair:
"How much did FOX pay you for this TIMMY boy ?"
No arguments. No attempt to debate. Just insults, and dumb paranoia.