Is beating up a sexual predator 'gay bashing'? -- Or is Salon engaging in brilliant meta-hackery? 

Liberal Alex Pareene at Salon has launched his "Hack 30" list, whacking the 30 columnists and TV folks he finds "the most predictable, dishonest and just plain stupid."

Pareene's list makes some good observations and is at times well written, but it's hard not to see Pareene showing the same faults he's attacking.

You want "predictable"? How about this formula: conservative journalist is hack because he tries to push conservatism; liberal journalist is a hack because he's not really liberal.

You want "dishonest"? How about writing this about Tucker Carlson: "proudly admitted to gay-bashing a dude (Carlson is terribly sensitive about his masculinity)," even though Carlson, at the time, explained the story this way:

Let me be clear about an incident I referred to on MSNBC last night: In the mid-1980s, while I was a high school student, a man physically grabbed me in a men's room in Washington, DC. I yelled, pulled away from him and ran out of the room. Twenty-five minutes later, a friend of mine and I returned to the men's room. The man was still there, presumably waiting to do to someone else what he had done to me. My friend and I seized the man and held him until a security guard arrived.

Several bloggers have characterized this is a sort of gay bashing. That's absurd, and an insult to anybody who has fought back against an unsolicited sexual attack. I wasn't angry with the man because he was gay. I was angry because he assaulted me.

I won't give you a "stupid" in this list, because I'm beginning to suspect Pareene is pulling a brilliant stunt. Not only is he being so clearly dishonest and hypocritical in this list, he's actually attacking folks like Carlson for their hypocrisy.

Pareene is begging us all to apply his standards to him. I suspect it will get more blatant as we go down through the 20s and the Top 10 tomorrow and Wednesday. Just when we're all fuming with rage at Pareene's complete lack of self-awareness and his arrogance in making this list -- at the end of the day Wednesday, before we all head off to Turkey bliss -- just then, when we're ready to write off this joker, he'll drop the bomb:

Hack No. 1: Alex Pareene

I feel kind of bad about spoiling the ending, but I wanted to be the first to congratulate Pareene for this gambit that would make M. Night Shyamalan proud.

Well played, Alex, you old hack!

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Timothy P. Carney

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