Finally caught a break in the schedule to continue this series. It will go on for at least one more entry, after which I intend to do some housekeeping around the blog and start putting in links to websites, YouTube channels, and Twitter feeds. Before I get into today’s honorees (or otherwise as the case may be) I’d like to restate that these are primarily individuals, reporters, and commenters whom I have found to be particularly influential or interesting, or otherwise made their way into my own viewing or reading somehow in a noteworthy manner. I know of and give due respect to many others, including folks like Matt Drudge who was instrumental in founding what we call the alternative online media today, and Michelle Malkin who founded the primary site I hang around on (Twitchy.com). I just don’t know their work as well as I know the people I am profiling and commenting on, not that I am in any way opposed to being introduced to new voices.
So on with today’s list:
Steve Green and Scott Ott: I put these two gentlemen in together because they kind of came as a package with Bill Whittle in Bill’s new digs over at (shockingly enough) BillWhittle.com, after their stint at PJTV ended. I want to be clear from the outset that I do not want to dislike either of these men, I am sure their styles and perspectives appeal to plenty of folks, and of course as friends of Bill Whittle (whom I have praised effusively before) that says plenty about them. That said, I sampled their solo work at PJTV and never found it to my liking. Now that Bill Whittle has stopped putting out Afterburner and Firewalls are extremely rare, the only place I can see Bill in any sort of structured format is with these two on their Right Angle series, so I end up getting a regular dose of them whether I like it or not. I have nothing really against Steve Green (also known as the Vodkapundit), he has his moments, but I’m sorry to say I can’t really think of one off the top of my head. He just lacks that kind of rhetorical grab that Bill has and comes off very frequently as background noise. Truly sorry. As for Scott Ott, however…Scott was an unrepentant NeverTrumper who stated outright that nothing Donald Trump could do or say could redeem him in Scott’s eyes, and he was evangelical about it, trying to drag Bill (and nearly dragging Steve) over to the “vote Evan McMullin” camp that we now know was an establishment-propped spoiler. And while he never seemed disappointed about the election results he does remain a zombie NeverTrumper, overly critical and all too eager to swallow and regurgitate the dinosaur media line for someone I like to consider intelligent. I know they’re Bill’s friends, but honestly he was always better off without them, and he’ll never get a dime of my support as long as Scott Ott’s on the show. Hate to say it, but he broke ranks on the last march of the battle of the century and hasn’t even had the decency to say he was wrong to do it.
Tucker Carlson: I’m not so much familiar with his work at the Daily Caller as I am with his show on Fox News. Like lots of people I greatly enjoy watching excerpts from his program where he lets idiot leftists of every stripe go on and spool out their ludicrous talking points and made-up stories, then proceeds to dismantle them with that signature “what in the name of all that is holy is wrong with you” expression on his face. Seriously, this is the kind of public humiliation and bare-knuckle brawling that conservative media has been missing for decades now and it’s more than merely refreshing to watch Tucker annihilate these morons. He treats them with more respect than they deserve but when the train leaves the station Tucker makes short work of these fools and it’s beautiful.
Alfonzo Rachel: On the whole I really like Zo. Being an outspoken black Christian conservative, you might well expect he has a very interesting perspective, and you’d be oh so right. Zo’s message is usually well seasoned with humor and a not insignificant dose of “y’all can’t be serious” as he tears into Democratic and leftist hypocrisy, especially where racial issues are concerned. Seems he takes it kind of personally that the Democrats expect him to be on their plantation just because of his skin color, you know? He also strongly emphasizes his faith in his videos and presentations, which on the whole is great to hear. That said, I don’t think it really works to use “Bible thumping” as your main argument as often as Zo does–it’s not that I disagree, but rather that those arguments in my view tend to make people stop listening and dismiss whatever you might say past that point, because in the minds of even more moderate leftists, accepting religion of any kind (except Islam of course) means putting blinders on and checking your reason at the door. This isn’t true, but it gives them a blank check to just blow you off as a religious nut. Personally, I think it’s much more effective to sell people on the objective facts (since I believe God’s truths reveal themselves in nature and the physical world) and follow up with “hey, you know that’s Biblical too.” In other words, I’d rather lead in with solid conservative ideas and use them to sell Christianity than try to leverage Christianity to sell conservatism. But this is an honest divergence of techniques and hey, Zo has his own show and thousands of followers and regularly appears on Fox News, whereas I have about a dozen people who have ever stopped by this site and two followers (one of which is me). I did rip Zo for his take on the Milo Yiannopoulos debacle and I stand by what I said, he seemed a little too eager to judge Milo, but I can forgive a good man a mistake now and then.
Scott Adams: If you’re thinking “as in Dilbert?”, you’re right, that’s him. I picked up on Scott Adams’ blog fairly late in the presidential campaign and while he’s not a conservative per se (seems to lean much more libertarian than anything), he was one of the few predicting a Trump win fairly consistently because he claims that he understands persuasion, and I think he’s correct. He had and still has a very fascinating perspective on the power of persuasion and how to make it happen, how to “de-hypnotize” people by identifying the reality they think they’re seeing and showing them bits of truth that break into that reality to show them the way things actually are. He is very relativistic about it, seeming to believe that everyone is watching “their own movie” as he puts it, but something about the messages he puts out and the tone he takes makes me think he’s trying to hide or minimize his own leanings, likely in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience and not get shut out reflexively by intolerant snowflakes. Also, “Dilbert” is one of my very favorite comics (Wally is my hero).
Mark Steyn: I’m familiar with Mark as a fill-in for Rush Limbaugh on his radio show. A British transplant with a great sense of humor and a penchant for dismantling envirofascism, Steyn is one of the guys who helped debunk the whole “97%” myth and showed Michael Mann’s famed “hockey stick” charts were nothing but fairy tales. Mann sued him for it. Honestly not sure if that’s even still going on. Steyn’s brilliance and humor are not limited to savaging environmental wackos–he’s had some terrific rants regarding Islamic extremism and great running jokes about being an “undocumented sinister foreign guest host” and the like. If I’m listening on a day when Rush is off, Steyn’s the man I hope is in his place.
Andrew Klavan: Ahh Andrew. I honestly consider Klavan’s work, his “Revolting Truth” series in particular, to be right up there with Bill Whittle’s. I have to credit Andrew and Bill in large part with assisting my adult re-awakening into the political world and ending my long dark period somewhere between the passage of Barrycare and the re-election of some guy whose name escapes me because he just isn’t worth remembering and whatever, he’s gone now. Klavan’s dry and sharp wit grabbed and held my attention and his presentations combined abject brilliance with subjects that you just didn’t talk about–one of his best lines ever is “feminists are dreadful, and they lie all the time,” and I can’t read it without hearing him delivering it in his best Ted Koppel straight-man voice. Well that was then, and then there was now. I have been critical of Klavan lately on this blog and elsewhere for a lot of reasons. Late in the presidential campaign, Klavan was among those who flew the white flag early, resigned themselves to a Hillary Clinton presidency, and while he didn’t go NeverTrump, he certainly didn’t try to help The Don out either. I can concede he was just being pessimistic, fine, but the jokes about how Trump was a buffoon and a bully I’m not so willing to just overlook. Since the election, while Klavan has been happy with most if not all of what Trump has accomplished, there’s still a persisting not-getting-it-ness as he still jokes about him being a bombast and a bully and lacking the temperament and tone a president needs and blah blah blah, still ripping him over silly stuff that the dinosaur media likes to make a big deal out of. I get it, Klavan’s a snark comic at heart and he’s gotta snark. I just thought of him as more than that for a while and I guess I expected too much. He’s gone on to podcasting almost exclusively and while he has the greatest theme song ever (which I’ll link at the end of this post) I am sorry to say I have gotten tired of the backhanded remarks and also the simplistic piety. I’m not saying I’ve given up on Klavan completely, but I don’t know when I’ll drop by again, and I’m more likely to fire up his greatest hits than I am to go check out his new stuff.
Sargon of Akkad: When I first checked this guy out I would not have pictured myself putting him on a list like this. Sargon is an atheist and a self-proclaimed liberal, but I have to give credit where it’s due, he may well be the last honest liberal left. He’s British so he doesn’t confine his commentary to American politics, but if anything he rips the British Labour party even harder than he hits the American Democrats–and he predicts that the Democrats are headed for irrelevance and third-party status much as Labour has. Sargon’s major point of focus is on social justice warriors and their assault on classical liberal foundational principles like free speech. He was heavily involved in GamerGate and in his fantastic “This Week In Stupid” series he routinely features everything from Black Lives Matter to Antifa to the DNC and Labour leadership and skewers them with blunt, matter-of-fact logic and reason. Every now and then he feels compelled to make a sidebar statement about how he can’t believe he is defending people like Neil Gorsuch and would like to criticize the things about Donald Trump he doesn’t like but with all the nonsense the left puts on he just doesn’t have time. Sargon has been supportive of Trump, supportive of Milo Yiannopoulos, very much behind GamerGate, very vocally critical of Twitter and YouTube’s attempts to censor free speech (taken his pranks in response a bit too far at times but he’s been accused of far worse than he’s ever actually done), he’s even laughed off leftist hysteria about Alex Jones by referring to him as a “humble peddler of vitamin supplements” while he mocked Cenk Uygur and the dimwitted Young Turks for feeling “threatened” by the man. Once in a while he feels compelled to rip Fox News and to be honest that’s the one area in which I have to take issue with Sargon, as well as really the only area where I think he’s got some major blinders on. I keep my fingers crossed with every video that Sargon will finally come to the realization that leftists and classical liberals like him really have nothing at all in common, he’s just a half-step away to begin with. Seriously, it’s a little sad when I can put more faith and stock in what a self-proclaimed progressive atheist has to say than what men like Scott Ott and Andrew Klavan are presenting, but I’ll gladly take my allies where I find them.
Should just be one more entry in this series, at least for now. I’ll close with the theme song for Klavan’s podcast (warning: you cannot unsee or unhear this, proceed at your own risk).