I’ve allowed a few conservative blogs to be featured on my blogroll. They get put under a special section, however, so as to distance myself from them. For instance, there are things The Right Atheist will say that don’t jibe with my views, so he gets put under that section, even if I do thoroughly enjoy his posts about language. Nate’s blog is under the same constrictions here. I’m not much for anecdotal sexism, but he does say a few things that make sense. The same has long been my view on Michael Hartwell’s blog, Young, Hip & Conservative. He has very anti-labor views that serve to help the rich at the expense of the poor, but he manages to put forth an intelligent argument from time to time. Unfortunately, YH&C no longer represents anything with which I wish to be associated.
I’ve been able to excuse Hartwell’s tendency to construct his sentences poorly. He’s a journalist, after all (even if he lies and says he’s somehow in the industry of science). There isn’t anything wrong with that profession, and I actually really hate it when people disparage those in the related major of English – to understand literature well is to understand the world well – but let’s be honest: 21st century journalism is written at a junior high level. It isn’t supposed to be quality prose. So while Hartwell’s writing ability is a little less than what I expect, I still don’t really expect much. However, I do think it is reasonable for me to expect a certain level of professionalism. Specifically, any good journalist ought to do his homework. You know, delve into the details of an issue, get his facts straight, etc. Hartwell has a history of not doing this. Just take a look at this:
I sometimes stop myself from accidentally calling people stupid when they express stupid ideas. This isn’t just out of respect – it’s entirely self-serving. In 2006 I wrote an editorial in my college newspaper defending Intelligent Design as an alternative explanation to evolution, and calling on biologists to give it a fair shot instead of dismissing it out of hand.
I got a few replies from the biology department which said that yes, these claims have indeed been addressed – back in the 19th century. By 2007 I was no longer an Intelligent Design proponent and rejoined the evolution camp.
Did my complete reversal on that subject mean I went from being stupid to smart within a year? I certainly hope not. Most of my other positions went unchanged, and I retained a lot of knowledge in other subjects.
Hartwell uses a personal example of a mistake he made which, of course, does not in and of itself make him stupid. He’s almost proud of the learning experience, in fact. It was certainly needed, but I’m not so sure touting one’s former ignorance is the way to go – at least not for a journalist. He may not have been stupid in 2006 by virtue of his awful editorial, but he was a bad journalist for not doing his homework.
Fast forward 6 years and it seems little has changed. I’m not going to go about quoting excerpts from that link for the simple reason that there is too much to quote, but the gist is this: Michael Hartwell continuously makes claims which are erroneous and/or not fact-checked; he consistently loses track of discussions; he refuses to address the primary points being made by others in response to the issues he raises; he is a tone troll; he refuses to make any novel arguments, instead relying on red herrings and irrelevant quotes. In short, he fails at everything that is necessary to being a good journalist with an opinion-based blog. Had I known he was this wildly irresponsible with how he approaches his career, I never would have asked him to write for my publication. It is here that I am disavowing anything and everything I have ever cited by Michael Hartwell which has relied on outside sources for factual information. (Things which are quintessentially opinion remain acknowledged if and where cited.)
Young, Hip, & Conservative is off the blogroll at For the Sake of Science.