April 05, 2006

Down and Out in Chapel Hill

It seems like some folks, such as UNC-Chapel Hill law professor Eric Muller, have too much time on their hands:

Some have maintained for a while now that a person other than Michelle Malkin is writing and posting some of the material that gets posted with her byline on her blog. She has denied it.

To my eyes, the jury has always been out on that question.

But let's look closely at the last 36 hours at

At 7:16 a.m., she posted that she was "back from vacation."

Sizeable posts followed at 8:00 a.m., 8:46 a.m., 9:31 a.m., 10:16 a.m., 10:52 a.m. (a short one), 11:25 a.m., 11:37 a.m., 12:37 p.m., 2:09 p.m. (subsequently updated), 4:06 p.m., 7:45 p.m., 8:01 p.m., 8:19 p.m., 10:36 p.m. (subsequently updated), 5:49 a.m., 6:05 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 8:25 a.m. (subsequently updated), and then 12:31 p.m.

In that last message, Malkin explains that she is in Minneapolis, where she'll be giving a speech at 12:00 noon. Controlling for the one-hour time difference between the East Coast and Minnesota, I infer that she posted this update a startling 29 minutes before her noontime speech.

One wonders: when did she drive (or get driven) to the airport, fly at least three hours (if non-stop) to Minnesota, and then drive (or get driven) to her Minneapolis destination? And is there a red-eye from the DC area to Minneapolis?

The jury may not be in, but they're knocking on the door.

The knocking at the door, Professor Muller, may be the men in white coats asking for you.

Muller is just one liberal with the apparent obsession of "getting" conservative blogger/journalist Michelle Malkin, who they claim must have a ghostwriter because of her prodigious output as a journalist and blogger.

What evidence does the law professor bring to bear?

His "evidence" is not that there are tell-tale differences in grammar, syntax, or tone in some of her posts (traditional, recognized "tells"), but simple fact that Malkin was able to put up 20 blog entries in 36 hours. That is impressive output if you are looking at the raw number of posts, but the raw number itself means nothing without considering the style and length of the blog posts in question.

If long-form bloggers such as Richard Fernandez or Ed Morrissey were posting 20 entries in 36 hours, people would have a right to be suspicious. Long form blog entries from these and similar writers are intricate, and they take substantial time to compose, because they require substantial independent research, analysis, synthesis, and of course, composition.

But Michelle Malkin is not in general, and definitely not in the examples provided, a long-form blogger.

Malkin writes in other forums for her primary income, and as a blogger, she typically aggregates news stories and blog entries that are often sent to her electronically either via email, RSS feeds, news media web sites, and presumably other sources.

The telling question in the equation is this: how much original written composition occurs in these 20 posts cited, and how much is aggregation?

If you strip out the images and quoted text in the 20 posts selected by Eric Muller, Michelle Malkin wrote a grand total of 938 words over 3 days, or just shy of 47 words a post (46.9, Eric, since you seem to obsess so much about the fine details). As the vast majority of those 47 words are straightforward descriptive writing that comes as easily as speech for journalists, this level of output is well within her capabilities, even while traveling.

20 brief short-form blog posts over three days is hardly difficult for a full-time professional writer. For that matter, it is not even all that difficult for part-time bloggers.

Liberal Duncan Black released a total of 57 short (often very short) posts over the past three days while holding down a Senior Fellowship with Media Matters. Glenn Reynolds (a law professor without too much time on his hands) managed to teach class, pay his final respects to a much beloved grandmother, and release 60 mostly short posts and 18 updates in the same amount of time. Perhaps he should investigate both of them as well?

For someone teaching law, Eric Muller presents a laughably weak case. Perhaps his obsession has cut too much into his sleep.

For his student's sake, I hope he gets the help he needs.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 5, 2006 01:32 AM | TrackBack

But of course she must have someone else there posting under her name. After all, she's a conservative female of Filipino descent. So its obvious she lacks the talent and intelligence to make so many posts.

Now, if she were a liberal female of Filipino descent, why then, any such accusation would be a bigoted, racist, sexist attack. But remember, she's conservative, and we all know because of that is that the only job she's REALLY qualified for... is the oldest profession in the world. Am I right, huh, am I right?


Yeah, that actually encompasses the entirety of the arguments on the left against Michelle Malkin. Every once in a while she'll open up her emails and show us all the vile nasty attcks she gets every single damn day. Just what is it about female or minority conservatives (or God forbid, both) that get's the left's panties in such a twist?


Posted by: Cicero at April 5, 2006 08:42 AM

Isn't Ric Muller one of the guys that took Michelle to task on her book on the japanese internment? If so, that explains alt about his "cyber-stalking" of her.

Posted by: Ron Olliff at April 5, 2006 01:03 PM

After reading this post and Michelle's, I took it on myself to examine another blog (although it is one that is one that is much less visited, less prolific, and not as well written). I posted my "findings" here.


Posted by: bRight & Early at April 5, 2006 01:38 PM

The other thing that the law professor doesn't know is the Internet and regular ol' journalism. Most journalists work on a several stories at once, so it CAN appear that a person is a prodigious writer if you happen to read on a day in which all the articles are printed. Technology makes it even more fun: Ms. Malkin could save a few dozen blog ideas to her laptop and then download them successively, making it appear that she'd been typing until her fingers broke the sound barrier. Plus, if her host is on a different timezone than she is - as my blog host is - then sometimes it posts as EST and sometimes as Chicago time, depending on where I'm blogging. :)

Posted by: Jean at April 5, 2006 01:42 PM