A WARNING FOR PODHORETZ. John Podhoretz's attempts to use a single DailyKos diary to characterize the views of all the "Kos Kids" is illustrative of either mendacity or ignorance, but certainly one of the two. Given that he later makes a big show of being uninformed -- "I am not familiar with the posting rules and systems on Daily Kos, because I have better things to do than know them" -- I'll be charitable and assume he's just a really, really, really lazy commentator, and not a willful liar.

In keeping with the laziness theme, Podhoretz clearly found it too tiring to keep reading below the diary, where the comments dismantle the diarist for lack of balance, factual misrepresentations, and anti-Semitism. Moreover, this is a peculiar impulse blogs seem to generate in some folks, particularly media professionals. Because so many of us are used to publications with a defined editorial line and a certain amount of institutional ownership over each published story, there's a desire to use singular diaries or comments to extrapolate out the opinions of entire online communities. Doing so, however, is no more illustrative than taking a sidewalk crank and deciding all of Irvine really does believe in the slogan smeared on his poster board. Daily Kos, after all, has hundreds of thousands of readers, much like my hometown Irvine has over a hundred thousand residents. And just as all my neighbors could have public conversations without accurately reflecting my political views, various diarists can speak and comment without assuming responsibility for the community. Those having trouble grasping such an elementary fact need either study harder or find a different line of work. The Internet is important now, and learning how it functions isn't something political commentators can afford to put off because they have "better things to do."

--Ezra Klein