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The year in takedowns

The year’s best takedowns, journalistic or otherwise. Put yours in the comments.  10.  Glenn Greenwald on Jeffrey Rosen’s profile of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in The New Republic: "[Rosen’s] smear of Sonia Sotomayor’s intellect and character — based almost exclusively on anonymous, gossiping ‘sources’ — is such a model of shoddy, irresponsible, and (ironically enough) intellectually ...

The year’s best takedowns, journalistic or otherwise. Put yours in the comments. 

10.  Glenn Greenwald on Jeffrey Rosen’s profile of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in The New Republic: "[Rosen’s] smear of Sonia Sotomayor’s intellect and character — based almost exclusively on anonymous, gossiping ‘sources’ — is such a model of shoddy, irresponsible, and (ironically enough) intellectually shallow ‘journalism’ that it ought to be studied carefully."

9. Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic on airport security (from 2008, but timely): "I was wearing under my shirt a spectacular, only-in-America device called a ‘Beerbelly’…. which fit comfortably over my beer belly [and] contained two cans’ worth of Bud Light at the time of the inspection. It went undetected. The eight-ounce bottle of water in my carry-on bag, however, was seized by the federal government."  

8. Stephen Holmes on Chris Caldwell for The American Prospect: "If Caldwell and his fellow doomsayers are to be believed, Muslims have now done what they failed to do at the gates of Vienna in 1683. They have breached Europe’s defenses and created ‘beachheads’ behind enemy lines….Some may object that this way of seeing Europe’s immigration problem is inflammatory, but the more serious problem is that it makes no sense."

7. David Rieff on Daniel Jonah Goldhagen for the National Interest: "It is hard to believe that the erstwhile-Harvard political scientist turned full-time moralist, pro-Israel polemicist and amateur historian Daniel Jonah Goldhagen could have a more devoted admirer than, well, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen."

6. Barney Frank at a town hall meeting, responding to a protester who said he supported a "Nazi policy": "On what planet do you spend most of your time?…Trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it."

5. Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone on Goldman Sachs: "The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."

4. Jacob Heilbrunn on Ban Ki-moon in Foreign Policy: "As secretary-general, Ban’s soporific effect has never left him. One U.N. watcher told me that Ban is like the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no one around to witness its crash-if you don’t hear him, does he really exist?"

3. Rory Stewart in the London Review of Books on Afghanistan counterinsurgency jargon: "After seven years of refinement, the policy seems so buoyed by illusions, caulked in ambiguous language and encrusted with moral claims, analogies and political theories that it can seem futile to present an alternative."

2. Betsy Kolbert in The New Yorker on Superfreakonomics: "To be skeptical of climate models and credulous about things like carbon-eating trees and cloudmaking machinery and hoses that shoot sulfur into the sky is to replace a faith in science with a belief in science fiction. This is the turn that SuperFreakonomics takes, even as its authors repeatedly extol their hard-headedness."

1. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the failure to capture Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora: "Removing the al Qaeda leader from the battlefield eight years ago would not have eliminated the worldwide extremist threat. But the failure to finish the job represents a lost opportunity that forever altered the course of the conflict in Afghanistan."

0. A bonus, for this noughty, horrible, wretched, bloody decade: The Awl and Paul Krugman on this noughty, horrible, wretched, bloody decade.

 

Honorable mentions:

Chris Hayes in the Barnes and Noble Review on Ralph Nader’s novel

Conor Clarke on Sarah Palin on cap and trade for the Daily Dish

Jon Stewart with Betsy McCaughey

Jon Stewart with Jim Cramer

Ezra Klein on the Republican budget proposal

Matt Yglesias on Greg Mankiw

U.S. President Barack Obama to CNN’s Ed Henry  

The New York Times editorial board on Lou Dobbs

Stephen Walt on the myth of al Qaeda safe havens for Foreign Policy

Weston Kosova and Pat Wingert on Oprah Winfrey for Newsweek

Maureen Tkacik on CNBC for the Columbia Journalism Review

David Rothkopf on the Commerce Department for Foreign Policy

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