Shorter Colby Hall: “Even is Cillizza is mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre pundits and people and hacks. They are entitled to a little representation and six figure salaries, aren’t they, and a little chance?”
His expertise is not, in fact, on policy. It is instead in trying to analyze, and yes, often guess, how different news developments may play politically. His insights may sometimes be banal, but we live in a time where the banal observation still needs mentioning.
Why does Cillizza receive what seems like such an unfair portion of Twitter hate? Look no further than another Internet punchline, the band Nickelback, as a progenitor to the phenomenon. Nickelback is the easy and very lazy go-to punchline for bad music. Are they really the worst band in the world? No. It just became funny to say so, despite their millions in record sales. Yes, Chris Cillizza, with his monstrous web traffic, is the Nickelback of Internet contributors. Damnation with faint praise? Maybe, but the point is that Cillizza has not earned the unfair amount of mockery he receives. (Though, to be honest? Nickelback has.)
You have to like the “criticizing people on the internets is bad unless it’s someone I also don’t like” punchline — the premise is so dumb he can’t even sustain it for a whole paragraph. Anyway, this is egregiously unfair to Nickelback, who whatever their sins have no public record of, say, asserting that Clarice Starling and Eliot Ness were real FBI agents, let alone spending the election that gave Donald Trump using his prominent public forum not only to rub his thighs raw about inane trivia concerning his opponent but frequently botching the facts while doing so. The criticism of Cillizza is substantive and based on real facts and values; it’s not like arbitrarily picking on one band to stand in for the worst in the world. It comes from people who take journalism seriously and object when it’s done very badly by people in prominent positions. The ridiculous idea that people on Twitter can “bully” a well-compensated pundit is obviously designed to elide what the criticism actually is.