Monday, April 04, 2005


Ghost blogging?

(Assisted by and cross-posted at the Liberal Avenger. Written - as is this entire blog - by Auguste. You'll see why I make this disclaimer soon enough.)

We're coming up on the ten-month anniversary of in its current form, and as of the time of this writing she's posted 1975 times, from this one (number 4, for some unexplained reason) to this one. For those of you playing at home, that's an average of 6.6 posts a day. That's a lot of posts. But this isn't a "see what I do for you" post - for one thing, I'm not exactly keeping up: I've only been averaging about 2 a day.

Of course, Malkin does this for a living. But the weird thing is, she keeps it up no matter what. For example, on September 8th, the day she was on her way to speak at Berkeley, she posted four times, including one in-depth post about Eric Muller. She then posted a wrap-up of the talk and a review of her schedule at two am pacific time, before posting again at 9:30 the next morning.

More recently, on Friday night, Malkin posted this at 7:28 pm, updating it afterwards when it turned out her first source was probably mistaken. The same night, she gave a talk in Washington, D.C.

Malkin once explained her prolificacy thus:
From the e-mailbox:
Is that really you posting at ungodly hours of the night?
Actually, ungodly hours of the morning. Yup, it's me. No gold-plated interns here at Malkin Central. Just me and my keyboard and my incurable insomnia. does a blogger good.
I don't think it's that simple.

Michelle's husband, Jesse Malkin, first met Michelle when they were students at Oberlin College. From Goldsea's not-exactly-flattering profile:
Jesse Malkin's first assignment for his new Filipino American reporter was collaborating on an article denouncing Oberlin's affirmative action program. Fellow students found the article offensive and showed their displeasure to Malkin & Company.
Jesse earned his PhD in economic policy analysis from the Rand Graduate School, with most of his study related to the economics of health care. Goldsea:
His PhD thesis was The Postpartum Mandate: Estimated Costs and Benefits. That subject would be reprised in a paper Malkin later co-authored as a RAND consultant with three others titled Postpartum Length of Stay and Newborn Health: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis. Essentially, it finds medical benefit in extended hospital stays for women who had given birth. Another of his co-authored papers is titled How Much Does Global Warming Matter? and subtitled, “What the world's population needs most are more lavatories and better sewage systems.”
Interestingly enough, the one area in which Michelle seems to straddle the line between liberal and conservative is health care. Here she admits that her health-care costs have risen dramatically, and here she actually uses the words "agree with Krugman" - that our health-care system is broken, particularly for the self-employed.
After my husband quit his job earlier this year (to become a full-time stay-at-home dad), we had a choice. We could either buy health insurance from his former employer through a program called COBRA at a cost of more than $1,000 per month(!) or we could go it alone in Maryland's individual market. Given our financial circumstances, that "choice" wasn't much of a choice at all. We had to go on our own.
Very admirable of Jesse to become a stay-at-home dad. But was that the only reason he quit?

James Capozzola from the Rittenhouse Review had a run-in with Jesse in November of 2003, in which Jesse defended his wife against something Jim wrote.
Michelle has nothing against immigrants per se and would be the first to acknowledge that many immigrants make positive contributions to our country. She does, however, think that immigration should occur in a controlled, legal manner--and is particularly concerned that people who enter this country not be known terrorists or criminals. She also believes that tolerance of high levels of illegal immigration depresses wages among poorly-skilled workers and is unfair to those who wait in line to come here legally.
Jesse, apparently, did this without Michelle's knowledge.

What is this adding up to? Well, let's add one more piece of evidence: The royal we. Here:
You remember the West Seattle High School anti-war
student assembly we blogged about last week.
No, we're not turning into Wonkette, but our friend
Spokane Spokesman-Review columnist Dave Oliviera has
an exclusive blog post...
Don't miss this hatchet job on our friends at
powerline by Jim Boyd...
Once is a typo, twice is a figure of speech, three times - plus all the other evidence - makes me ready to state my conclusions for the records:

Malkin not only has a "gold-plated intern", it's her husband. Or to put it another way, Jesse Malkin has a great deal of influence on Michelle's writing, even to the point of posting on her blog, probably on a regular basis. I think it's very possible that the books were cowritten as well; In Defense of Internment was written over a period of sixteen months, the last six (or so) of which Jesse was at home.

Don't misunderstand; Michelle is clearly very capable - she wouldn't be able to handle the media as well as she does if she weren't - and certainly is responsible for much of what is written in her name. But it seems clear that her husband is more deeply involved in her career than expected.

This is important because, for me, it calls into question Malkin's motivation. If her husband is a partner in punditry, where do Michelle's opinions end and Jesse's begin? And, in today's personality-driven politics, would even right-wingers be as willing to swallow this kind of thing from a white male PhD as from a photogenic minority woman?