Dennis Kneale vs. the Internet

By kevin 

CNBC’s Dennis Kneale has made html headlines the past month for, in large part, the battle that’s broken out between himself and that horrible bane of the print and broadcast media: “the blogosphere.” A recent NY Observer article chronicles the conflict and provides some new insights from Kneale himself.

Mr. Kneale called the “digital dickweeds” cowardly and cynical. “I say dickweed because apparently it is indeed a plant akin to pond scum,” said Mr. Kneale, “and name-calling seems to be the lingua franca of the blogosphere.” Afterward, Mr. Kneale’s producer told him that his outburst was poetry, the best thing he’d done on the show.

If it seems out of the ordinary for such an established figure to launch this kind of an assault on what can often amount to a handful of small-audience contrarians, it is. But the whole thing does seem to fit with Kneale’s self-described on-air personality:

Over the years, picking a fight with another member of the media has proven to be a reliable staple of the cable news genre. But historically, the strategy has been to “punch up” at a bigger target, not to beat down on pygmy bloggers struggling at the lower rungs of the trade. Mr. Kneale said his beef with anonymous bloggers was not some phony yelp for attention. “This is not an attempt by me to stand out,” said Mr. Kneale. “It turns out that I stand out anyway. Unfortunately, I have a high obnoxious quotient. I try and reign it in. Maybe one thing new is that at 8 o’clock at night, I don’t have to.”

To be clear, Kneale doesn’t actually hate this blog, all blogs or the internet in general, even if it is sometimes a forum for harsh criticism directed at him. As Kneale explains, he’s had harsh criticism for plenty of others, but he’s always put his name on it, a fact that makes him proud. Apparently, the trend goes all the way back to his teenage years:

As a junior in high school, Mr. Kneale wrote a brutal takedown in the student newspaper of his school’s chorus concert. The furious choral director dragged him to the principal’s office. “I wrote the mean review on the record,” said Mr. Kneale. “Not anonymously. My mom taught me, ‘Don’t say something if you can’t say it to somebody’s face,'” said Mr. Kneale.

> Previously in “the blogosphere” (aka here): Dennis Kneale to ‘Bitter Blogger Bullies:’ ‘Up Yours’