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Gentleman Jockeys Win the Derby

A look at the credentials of the amatuer journalists whom the grown-ups at the Wall Street Journal so disdain.

11:00 PM, Feb 16, 2005 • By HUGH HEWITT
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So you can see why a reader might trust the judgment of these three writers on the seriousness of Jordan's slanders over that of, say, the Journal's editorial team

Now, what about the Power Line gents? They are civilians, and in the Journal's view they are also presumably amateurs when it comes to journalism. Are they qualified to opine? Well, let's go straight to the résumés:

John Hinderaker is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School. For the past 30 years, Hinderaker has had a broad-based commercial litigation practice. A veteran of close to 100 jury trials, he has appeared in courts in fifteen states. Hinderaker has been recognized by Minnesota's Journal of Law and Politics as one of the state's "Super Litigators" and was recently named by that publication as one of the top 40 commercial litigators in Minnesota.

Hinderaker has represented clients in such diverse areas of litigation as construction, antitrust, unfair competition, Lanham Act, trade secrets, product liability, professional liability, insurance and surety law, and the First Amendment. He also is experienced in class action litigation.

Scott Johnson is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Minnesota Law School. He clerked for Judges Myron Bright and Richard Arnold of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit for two years, joined Faegre and Benson in 1981, became a partner in 1987, then left to join the publicly held regional bank holding company TCF Financial Corporation in 1997, where he works as senior vice president and member of the legal department. He is also an adjunct professor of law at the University of St. Thomas Law School in Minneapolis.

Paul Mirengoff is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Stanford Law School, where he served on the Stanford Law Review. He is a partner at Akin Gump in Washington, D.C. He concentrates in employment law and has litigated scores of federal employment cases involving all forms of alleged discrimination.

Prior to joining Akin Gump, Mirengoff practiced in the D.C. office of Hunton & Williams. Before that, he was a lawyer with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission working in the Office of the General Counsel.

All three are fellows of the Claremont Institute and contributing writers to THE DAILY STANDARD.

Surely the editorial writers at the Wall Street Journal have many credits to their records, but for them to suggest these men are "amateurs" who contrast poorly with the "grown-ups" is ludicrous.

Credentials, of course, have little to do with facts--either they are facts or they aren't. And one man's opinion, no matter who signs his paycheck, should be judged by the same standards of logic and persuasiveness as all others, regardless of the letterhead on which it arrives.

The Jordan affair revealed a lot of things about old media, including the revelation that guild membership can trump shared values. But I don't think I am alone in concluding that Vermont Royster and Robert Bartley would have been shocked at an elitist dismissal of main street voices, even if those voices aren't being paid to speak out.

Hugh Hewitt is the host of a nationally syndicated radio show, and author most recently of Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That is Changing Your World. His daily blog can be found at