I’m an Elitist:Is that a slam?

A little more than a week ago, a Petoskey resident by the name of Ron Bjorkman submitted a letter to the editor that contained many of the tired rants of a frustrated conservative who just can’t seem to see people that don’t look like him have political parity. His letter was so unremarkable that I chose to ignore it on this blog and in my weekly column. But a friend of mine was not so restrained. She sent me her proposed response to Bjorkman’s tripe and I published it anonymously on this blog. You can read her response and why I published it anonymously here.

A woman by the name of Clare Zitka decided to take umbrage at some of the things I have written her and posted the following comments on the Petoskey News-Review’s Facebook page. As you know, I am determined to address all critics, regardless (or maybe in spite of) the quality of their critiques. Here’s her response:

Serious? How can you recommend your site as being reasoned? I find nothing that Ron wrote as being offensive, unreasonable, nor homophobic. It appears to me that you are practicing verbal bullying to promote your ideology. Do you feel that your propaganda or misinformation is superior to others? I took particular pleasure from your acusation that critics of yours use hyperbole to make their points and then you falsely criticize conservatives for causing a government shut down which almost caused a world depression. Really? The economic indicators showed that there was little, if any, economic devastation to the overall US economy caused by the shutdown. Actually, during the shutdown, there were 204,000 jobs created (less than is needed for a healthy economy),but was 100,000 more jobs than expected. No it is hard to believe that directing folks to your site “The Grumblings” is directing them to anything that resembles a reasonable response when the subtitle is “where fair and balanced comes to die”. Do you have a vendetta against Fox News?

So I took a look at her post and saw a number of logical flaws which I addressed as follows:

Well Clare, that you find nothing offensive in Mr. Bjorkman’s statement says a lot more about you than it does about me…but I don’t expect you to agree. As for your comments about the shutdown, it would be helpful if your retort to me had anything to do with the claim I made. There isn’t a credible economist anywhere that didn’t have dire warnings regarding a default. I don’t recall making any claims about jobs created, but if you want to attack something I DIDN’T say, I guess that’s your choice. As for Fox News and their silly slogan, you will find that the purpose of my blog is to demand reason and evidence before we say we know something. Fox does the opposite and so I suppose you might be led to believe I have a vendetta against them. I really don’t; I don’t think they matter much in adding to what we know, but I realize a lot of people watch them, and some of those people apparently don’t do it for the comedy. As for bullying, I will have to accept that you know what it is, though from your use here, that can certainly be up for question. Carry on!

And because Clare didn’t really like my response she fired back. Rather than post my response on Facebook, I thought I’d take a closer look at her comments here. I will then post a link on the PNR site in case Clare has more to say. Through all of this, please note that I will back down from something I said if it can be shown that I was mistaken. Most of the time I will be diplomatic but once the attacks get personal, I feel no obligation to withhold my honesty. So here is Clare’s retort. I’ve broken it up into sections so that I can respond to each of her points in an orderly fashion.

Mark I apologize for extending my comment beyond your immediate response and addressed your tactics in other responses and articles you have made. I can understand your confusion. No you didn’t say anything about jobs created – I did.

You’ll have to go back to her original letter to see the reference about jobs. Note that she is claiming that I was in error in saying that the impending default due to Tea Party shenanigans was going to have catastrophic effects around the globe. Her evidence that I was wrong was that there were actually jobs created during the impending crisis. So by me pointing out that I wasn’t talking about jobs seems legitimate. In her latest response, however, she seems to be backing away from that (although her original text is really not hard to follow.)

I made that referrence to support the fact that you were using (I feel bad that I have to explain this to you) a hyperboyle to criticize those that you accused of using hyperboyles.

So she was making a “referrence” (sic) to me using “hyperboyle” (sic) in response to other peoples’ “hyperboyles” (sic) She really shouldn’t feel bad trying to explain it. More time on spelling would have helped, but I get her point. She made a mistake in her first criticism and, now she is lying to cover it up. Her original words are pretty clear; her second set less so, but as I said in my first response, it’s pretty hard for me to defend myself against something I didn’t say. It gets better.

Since there was not noticable economic results from the shutdown all those credible economists you cite need to go sharpen their pencils.

It wasn’t the shutdown that I said was going to cause a global catastrophe, it was the impending default. So again, Clare has it wrong. Since nothing was really “noticable” (sic) in regards to something that didn’t happen, I don’t think I’ll be asking anyone to sharpen any pencils.

As for your continued criticism of Fox that’s your choice, but are you just as critical of say MSNBC or CNN? How do you feel about the New York Times saying that the president misspoke when he said if you like your insurance you can keep it (about 40 times) when it was documented that he knew you couldn’t (he lied). No Mark you didn’t say anything about the president lying I did to make the point that you may be biased.

This is the typical response from Fox News apologists who seem to acknowledge that Fox is unreliable, but since other news sources also are (in their opinion) then it’s OK. They always say “What about CNN?” or “What about MSNBC?” If you’ve read my stuff you know that I am critical of most of the major TV news people because they have turned news reporting into entertainment. I single out Fox for their commitment to fabricating news to fit their political agenda. I have carefully documented several of these instances and if anyone believes Fox is a credible source, they are being incredibly naïve. I really don’t think the Fox people believe they are credible…but since it’s all about the ratings, what’s the big deal?

But more importantly these questions about CNN and MSNBC are completely irrelevant to any criticism of Fox. It’s like the kid on the playground getting caught doing something wrong.

Teacher: “Johnny did you punch Jimmy?”

Johnny: “Jimmy stole a cookie last Christmas!”

The Fox News apologists don’t ever defend the veracity of what’s on their channel, they just deflect the discussion to other news channels.

As for her comments about the New York Times and President Obama, etc., again she is attacking me for not doing something. Well, Clare, I haven’t analyzed the ICC trials from the DRC, the failed wheat crop in Australia, the bridge collapse in Tajikistan, President Obama’s choice of hairstyle, the plight of Brazilian Tunnel Mole, or any number of other critical issues. But since you raised it, I assume ALL news sources reported the President’s claim that if you like your current insurance you can keep it. If it was ONLY the New York Times that did it, that would be quite a black eye for every other news source. Turn on Fox News for five minutes, Clare. They have the President’s claim on a continuous loop in the corner of the screen.

Dealing with the President’s claim is beyond the scope of this article, but I promise to look into it when I have some time. If you have read any of my stuff over the past couple of weeks, you know I have been critical of the ACA roll out. There’s plenty of blame to go around.

I may not know what bullying is,. What I was considering as bullying to be, after reading much of your work, is an attempt to censor any criticism by others of your ideology or distortions of history by making fun of, intimidating, or in general trying to exhibit an elitist attitude to gain what you feel is superiority by your pithy wit. I do find what you write to be rather humorous much the way you find the reporting on Fox News – I just find your writing as highly predictable much like talking points as opposed to original thoughts

Well Clare finally gets something right. She doesn’t know what bullying is if she considers what I do in my articles to be bullying. Notice the word “censor” she uses. Dealing patiently line by line of the criticism that comes my way is not censoring. If people are made to look foolish for the foolish things they say, I guess that’s the price that must be paid.

Intimidating? How so, Clare? By asking people to support their claims? Frightening, I know!

I’ve been waiting for the “elitist” jab to come. People like Clare have been convinced that intelligence is a negative thing. Please note that this is EXACTLY part of the Fox News modus operandi. If you can’t beat someone with the facts or logic, attack the person as being too smart. I don’t claim to be smarter than Clare (or anyone for that matter.) But I am always willing to back up my claims with data and logic. When people like Clare can’t compete on that level, suddenly I’m just “elitist.” Sigh.


8 Comments on “I’m an Elitist:Is that a slam?”

  1. clare zitka November 11, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    I appreciate you taking the time to respond and it is as predicable as all your other writings. You spend a lot of time personally attacking me and using little facts or concrete statements. I guess a summation criticism of the whole reponse you make is that you do not even know if I am a man or a woman. I would find out if the person I was refering to as a “she” was actually a she or not.

    I have no idea what you are talking about in your opening two paragraphs – I responded to your post at the Petoskey News Review page/site.

    You choosing not to understand what I said doesn’t make what I said a lie or an attempt to cover anything up. You say, “It wasn’t the shutdown that I said was going to cause a global catastrophe, it was the impending default.” what you said was, “The dangerous brinkmanship played over the debt ceiling nearly brought us a massive worldwide depression.” Anyway you want to interpret it you have no evidence of a worldwide depression thus you were exagerating and thus hyperbole., Oh yeah thanks for the spell check that gives your arguement so much more weight.

    Mark I am not a Fox news apologist I do believe, unlike you, that they are more reliable than the other news sources I mentioned. The point was, and you missed it, was that the NYT said the president simply misspoke – something only the NYT has come out and been that ridiculous.

    And finally Mark denigrating others because you think you are smarter ( I think when you spend your life riduiculing others you think you are smarter and probably comes from a deprived childhood), better, or whatever other adjective you would like to use to pad your ego does make you an elitist and yes it is a slam, but you have tough skin and I’m sure you can take it. The humor in all this is that you are exactly what you criticize everyone else for being – you attack, belittle. whines and cries when someone calls you out for it. As for your data and logic I found very little in your writings.

    I see you like using certain styles repetively – the playground schtick and the slightly of a point by listing all the absurd unrelated things you haven’t looked at. Your writing reminds me of Al Franken – and no that’s not a compliment.

    • clare zitka November 11, 2013 at 10:58 pm #

      Oh yeah you need to study up on Article 1 section 8.18 of the Constitution too.

    • Mark Pontoni November 12, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      Clare, (man/woman/whatever)

      I’m going to post your reply against my better judgment. You clearly have contempt for those who think things through, and I get it. You’re not alone. That you consider Fox News a worthy source says a lot (and none of it good.) And when you thank me for correcting your spelling, you should probably not make another spelling error in so doing. It does matter. Those that dismiss a demand for spelling and grammar do it because they are unwilling to be disciplined in their own writing. That follows. You could do a lot worse in trying to insult me than by comparing me to Franken. He’s an important voice in our Congress. Good luck with working on that online psychology degree or whatever possessed you to try to know something about how I was raised. Silly, silly, silly. Carry on!


      • clare zitka November 13, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

        No Mark I do not have contempt for those who think things through. I do have a tinge of contempt for those that can only express their opinions by demeaning others with a constant flow of vitriol. I know there is an audience for your type of writing. I guess I could take this opportunity to thank all my teachers for their efforts in making me a polished writer – it is a shame that I foiled their attempts. Rest assured I will never be possessed to know anything about someone with the acidic and caustic personality that you have.

  2. Richard Scott,D.O. November 12, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    It is pleasing to know an elitist, even if he likes all those news programs. T.v. News is so incendiary it is not entertaining, and facts are not needed. Anyone can quote from Wikipedia without checking out it for veracity. I believe the recently rescinded and apologized for report on Bengazi by a non Fox program, but one which helped make political news shows that most news has not the interest, skills or funds to check put their reports assiduously.
    Your last post is unite humorous. Can I now call you “Cato the censer”?

  3. 城田農場 July 12, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    I almost never comment, butt i did some searching
    andd wound up here Im aan Elitist:Is that a slam? | The Grumblings.
    And I do hve a couple of questions for you if you don’t mind.

    Could iit be just me or does it look likke a few of these comments
    look like left by brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are writing oon other online social sites,
    I would like to follow anything new you have to post. Could you
    lst of all of all your community ssites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

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