April 12, 2007

Blogger of the Year

The Week magazine announced its annual Blogger of the Year award and I won it, along with cartoonist Josh Fruhlinger of Wonkette. There must be some glitch in the universe because somehow I beat Michael Yon who also was nominated. If I were a judge I would have picked Yon over myself, but this is not a complaint, nor is it false modesty.

Many sincere thanks to the panel of judges in my category-- Glenn Reynolds, Jeff Jarvis, Nick Gillespie, and Alex Pareene.

Thanks also to my wife, family, and friends for putting up with my long absences. And thanks especially to you, my readers, for donating expense money through Pay Pal. Without you I would not be able to do this.

I'll have more dispatches from Northern Iraq shortly. Then I'm off to Kuwait and Baghdad with the United States military.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at April 12, 2007 01:12 AM

Congratulations Michael! The honor is well deserved. 4 years later, and I'm still checking your site on a daily basis. Great stuff!

Posted by: Glenn Halpern at April 12, 2007 03:58 AM

Congratulations! Your writing (and Yon's) is almost daily reading providing valuable balance to the rehashed AP a.o. articles everywhere. Thanks!

Posted by: Aram at April 12, 2007 05:33 AM

Many congratulations, Michael. This is well deserved and long may your journal continue.

Posted by: Steve M at April 12, 2007 06:24 AM

Congratulations and well deserved!

Posted by: zellmad at April 12, 2007 06:30 AM

Congratulations to you—it's well deserved!! Keep up the good work and stay safe.
One question: what do you think of the recent statement from the Turkish president about Northern Iraq and the PKK?

Posted by: sallyo at April 12, 2007 07:49 AM

Congratulations Michael, but I'm not surprised. :-)

Posted by: Renée C. at April 12, 2007 07:58 AM

Congrats, Mike. You definately earned it.

Posted by: Paul MacPhail at April 12, 2007 08:31 AM


I think there is nothing to choose between the two Michaels. Both Totten and Yon provide really first class information.

Posted by: Don Cox at April 12, 2007 09:19 AM

Well Done! I am proud of you. You've come a long way from Ramblin'Rod! :)
I'll buy you lunch when you get home.

Posted by: lindsey at April 12, 2007 09:37 AM

Thanks, Lindsey. I never thought that silly kid's TV show would be mentioned in my comments section. Yes, I have done bigger things than my first claim to fame at age 8.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 12, 2007 09:51 AM

Celebrate! Well-deserved. Be safe as your travels continue.

Posted by: Pam at April 12, 2007 09:57 AM

Just cookin' up a four cheese omelet with green onions, 'shrooms and ham. Big glassa cold milk.


Stay safe.

Posted by: OregonGuy at April 12, 2007 10:12 AM

Grats, dude. Keep up the good work, and stay safe.

Posted by: Nate at April 12, 2007 10:40 AM

I can't think of a more deserving blogger. While others link you report and that separates you from the rest.

Posted by: Dave at April 12, 2007 12:03 PM

I second your recognition of MichaelTotten.com

Blogger of the Year.

But I have always had pretty good taste.

A very clear window, wherever it is opened.= TG

Posted by: TontGuitar at April 12, 2007 01:13 PM

Mabrouk! a well deserved honour.

Posted by: Jeha at April 12, 2007 01:26 PM


If anyone deserved this honor, you did. Thanks for keepin' it real.

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at April 12, 2007 01:37 PM

Congratulations, you earned it!

Posted by: jdwill at April 12, 2007 01:42 PM


I hope you don't mind an off-topic comment, but I think this is important:

Re: the Iraq war in general

(also see this post)

Ever since the months prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, there have been a few reports in the newspapers that the Central Intelligence Agency was casting aspersions on the intelligence the White House was relying on to justify the war. The CIA has never given a position on whether the war is needed or justified or said that Bush is wrong to go to war. But doesn't it seem much more likely that the CIA is an extremely right wing organization than a left wing one? After all, even if the people working for them and at least a lot of the leadership really wanted a war for their own reasons, there are a lot of reasons for them to not want to tie their credibility to what they know is faulty information. They and their personnel, present and former, could use other means of promoting the Iraq war, and still be motivated to make the statements in the media. If the CIA got behind faulty information, they would have to make a choice between whether they would be involved in scamming the American people and the world once the military had invaded Iraq and no weapons were found- so: 1) Imagine the incredible difficulties involved in pulling off a hoax that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. Imagine all the people you would have to be able to show the weapons to- the inspectors from the UN / the international community, the American press, statesmen, etc. Then imagine the difficulties of substantiating that story to people who would examine it- the lack of witnesses to a production plant that made the weapons or to transportation operations or storage of the weapons during Hussein's regime of them. 2) If the story fell apart upon inspection or the CIA tried not to hoax it at all, imagine the loss of credibility they would suffer. The CIA, it is safe to bet, does not want to be known to the American people as a group that lies to them to send them to war. Even within the CIA there could be disagreement among people about how involved they should be in promoting the war or the neo-con agenda more broadly, so the CIA would have to worry about lying to and managing its own people after trying so hard to get them to trust their superiors in the agency, and perhaps there simply might be too many people in the agency who knew enough about what was going on in Iraq to know if someone was deceiving people to promote this war.

So there is a lot of reason to be cautious against being seen as endorsing what they knew was false intelligence even if they were very strong supporters of going to war.

Granted, it’s certainly possible the CIA could have changed their minds about the war, as a lot of people have, and could now be trying to move the nation closer to withdrawal.

Posted by: Swan at April 12, 2007 01:54 PM

Can't wait to hear what the trolls say. Congratulations on some very good work!

Posted by: bob at April 12, 2007 02:56 PM

Congratulations, Michael!

You richly deserve this honor. Thank you for exposing the rich human reality that is hidden beneath the mass media's grotesquely oversimplified daily news.

Posted by: Zvi at April 12, 2007 03:02 PM

Gongradulations Michael! If you hevn't read I am your Cousin Jeff's Son. I think this is really great that you won Blogger of the year and that is an ispiration to me because I wish to be a great writer.

Posted by: Tanner at April 12, 2007 04:15 PM

I am extremely proud of you Michael and I am quite proud that I donated money to help you reach this pinnacle. Every penny was well spent and there will be more.

I hope you get more recognition from the people that matter less than bloggers: The MSM.

Best regards!!

Posted by: Anonymous at April 12, 2007 04:30 PM

Very well deserved Mike! Not only one of the most informative blogs around, but your best writing yet! Keep up the great work my friend.

Posted by: Brett at April 12, 2007 04:35 PM

hey congrats :)

Posted by: Wissam at April 12, 2007 05:59 PM

They chose a person who flips his politics after being brainwashed by the University of Oregon, looks up to Bush, supported the war on Iraq STAUNCHLY (You actually carry some guilt for all the mayhem going on in Iraq because you rallied behind it's invasion and this is the outcome - therefore making you part of the problem) AND the blogger of the year is a regular visitor to the SuicideGirls Porn/Punk website? What does your wife think of that huh? Weak dude, really weak.

Posted by: no way at April 12, 2007 06:03 PM

no way--

How's about taking your penis envy someplace else? Or go take a jaunt to the Middle East.


Posted by: Pete (Alois) at April 12, 2007 08:00 PM

Oh, don't worry about me, it's not jealousy, it's just the stupidity of it all. I've earned much more than a sad 'Blogger of the Year' Award, believe me. Secondly, I'm FROM the Middle-East - Lebanon by name - and LIVED their much of my life, and go trips very often so don't worry about that JAUNT you stressed about earlier.

I mean this guy actually has the time to ANSWER the respondants on his blog to keep it running. www.angryarab.blogspot.com - this guy hardly EVER comments back to anyone in the comments section. I;ve personally seen him do so around 5 times max. Some diss him enough to make any blogger cry, but he ignores thema dn they leave - whereas MR Totten here bans people depending on their free opinion i.e. all people who are pro-hezbollah. I mean how the fuck does that get you to become the blogger of the year. Please check out that website i just put up, it;s worth it believe me.

Posted by: no way at April 12, 2007 08:12 PM

The Angry Arab?!?

Don't waste my time. Nothing but yanking and cranking.

I think you've just outed yourself, pal.

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at April 12, 2007 08:18 PM

Congradulations handsome.
Behind every succesful man there is a strong cat.

Posted by: Gaius at April 12, 2007 08:34 PM

Well deserved, and obviously you have some jealous reader who can't help himself but to visit you even though he hates your stand and politics..interesting :-)...this means you are doing something right. Best wishes

Posted by: Frieda at April 12, 2007 09:09 PM

Congratulations. You were up against some very good competition. I'm glad you won - I hope you will get more attention AND more tips in the tip jar.

Posted by: steve miller at April 12, 2007 09:21 PM

Congratulations, Michael. Be assured your posts are essential reading for those interested in a dispassionate, yet involved reading of events in the Middle East.

Posted by: Rob at April 13, 2007 02:33 AM


I stumbled on your sight by looking at egyptian images on the internet and found your site.. I'll definitely be back. Your pictures are awesome and you're a great story teller..

Thumbs up to you!!


Posted by: steve at April 13, 2007 04:56 AM


Posted by: mantis at April 13, 2007 07:02 AM

Congratulations, Michael!

Off topic.

Are you still in Iraqi Kurdistan?
What is reaction of Kurds to recent Turkish general's recommendation to his government that it is militarily necessary to go to Northern Iraq in order to counter their domestic terrorism?
How realistic this move might be or it is just a talk?
Will it put Iraqi Kurds in danger of becoming like Iraqi Sunni and Shia?
Will it be 'end of paradise' or there is nothing to worry about?

Posted by: leo at April 13, 2007 07:58 AM

Congratulations on the well deserved recognition!

Posted by: Chris at April 13, 2007 08:53 AM

Nice work, MJT.

Congrats - well deserved.

And thank you for your reporting, insight and providing the forum for discussion.


Posted by: SoCalJustice at April 13, 2007 06:07 PM

MJT finally gets his due. I'm sure there's more to come.

Posted by: Carlos at April 13, 2007 06:34 PM

Wow, Abraham...

It must grind on your bones to know that Michael got an award. I'd go on further but Michael and I were up until past midnight drinking beer at a Goth bar in Vienna and we're both a little tired and hung over. We needed an antidote to middle east intolerance like your idiocy. Viennese goth chicks drinking and kissing boys in public did the trick, even though we weren't the lucky guys.

We're home now, so we don't have to put up with your crap.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at April 13, 2007 08:49 PM

Suicide Girls? Much better to be accused of looking at Amina Munster or Sabina Kelley pictures.

Congratualtions anyway!

Posted by: Pat Patterson at April 13, 2007 09:50 PM

Congratulations Michael! Richly deserved. I seldom agree with your political opinions, but your reporting from the Middle East has always been fresh, incisive, and interesting. Your blog is a credit to the medium and a valuable source of information. Kudos.

Good luck and keep writing.

Posted by: Matt Schiavenza at April 14, 2007 12:02 AM

Michael, congratulations. Totally deserved. Totally.
You are a better writer than Michael Yon, who is also excellent, AND has embedded with the troops AND has had some fantastic pictures. His best shots are better than your best shots, so far -- but only by a little bit. (Had he won, I would understand because he's so good and his best has had better material than your best; but you're more consistently interesting.)

I've long thought, and said, you're the best writer I've been able to find to read -- since before Bush invaded. Your unlinked "Why Liberals should support Bush's war" of 2002/early 2003 has had me hooked on your writing for four years now.

Thanks, thanks, thanks for all the great memories. Including the story about the ice in the fridge in Patagonia -- makes me want to read Bruce Chatwin again. But no time. Not even for as many comments as prior years.

How's your Arabic coming? My Slovak is OK, but only stable ... blogging is more fun than homework. How about an update on your Pamphlet sales, if any? I still think you should consider a book of your posts and selected comments. (But while I might help edit it, I probably would only buy it as gift -- I've already read everything. Plus the TCS articles, plus...)
And I want more.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at April 14, 2007 03:11 PM

Congratulations, Michael! Well-deserved.

One request: can we please have a post - or, at least, a comments-section comment - on your "Ramblin'Rod" appearance?

Are there photos?

Posted by: DD at April 15, 2007 09:19 AM

DD: One request: can we please have a post - or, at least, a comments-section comment - on your "Ramblin'Rod" appearance?

Dear Lord, no. Ask Lindsey if you must...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 15, 2007 11:36 AM

Michael Yon may be Dante, but you are Cervantes, the best among the mortals. I have learned a lot from your posts about the complexity and hopefulness of these people who kill each other. You provide a great service.

Posted by: jj mollo at April 15, 2007 09:47 PM

Congratulations. My only quibble is that these days you act more like a reporter than a blogger. Whatever happened to the days when we got insights on Firefly and Oregon scenery?

Posted by: vanya at April 16, 2007 09:39 AM


Asking that on tax day may result in less kindness in response. Seriously, he is getting positive monetary feedback for being more of a reporter. Additionally, there are a lot of people counting on Michael to carry on more professionally than the corporate journalists.

If it makes you feel any better, I gave him crap in person all the last month about taking himself too seriously.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at April 16, 2007 10:21 AM


If/when I run out of material between trips to Kurdistan and Baghdad I'll write about Oregon in summer. Summer in the Northwest is a lot nicer than it is in Iraq...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 16, 2007 11:17 AM


The difference between you and the other blogs I've read seems apparent. They are using the "new media" to pontificate their opinion as something other than drool falling onto a keyboard. You are using the new media to actually bring real experiences, in real places to an audience that's hungry for real information (not the filtered, edited, slant from left or right that we get fed from Old Media, or the self aggrandizing BS that fills most of the "new media").

When I was first exposed to the Internet (before the WWW ever existed), I was drawn by the possibilities of unfettered access to information, opinion and experience. Sites like yours validate the decision that I and many other engineers, security experts and computer scientists made when choosing to work in this field.

Good thing too, I had been losing faith in the vision for awhile. ;-)

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord

Posted by: Ratatosk at April 16, 2007 11:59 AM

Now I have an official "stamp" that I should come here more often :)

Posted by: Yohay at April 16, 2007 11:51 PM

I supposed it also helps to be well acquainted with the judges.

Posted by: Graham at April 17, 2007 09:43 PM

Congrats on a well deserved award, Mr. Totten. Keep it up.

Posted by: JoseyWales at April 18, 2007 04:36 AM

Mazel Tov! Kol ha'kavod!

Oops. Can I say that?

Seriously, this is well deserved. You succeed at what others only attempt.

Posted by: Grantman at April 18, 2007 02:25 PM
Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member


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