When Bill Hutchinson wrote his anti-Christie diatribe in the New York Daily News on Wednesday, attacking the New Jersey governor for slamming the need for minimum wage increases, the author resorted to what can only be a pathetic attempt for attention and clicks. In reporting the story about Christie, he wrote "His own bank account is well-padded — as is his rear end" and "[He's] a guy who knows his way around a kitchen table." In defending him, one tweeter wrote that the "unseemly crack is giving the gov a bum rap."

It's been a week for ratcheted-up snarkiness. We can only take solace in the fact that the perps don't understand that cavalierly poking fun of perceived character defects says more about the author's desperate need for attention.


When Monica Lewinsky took to Twitter with her first tweet, #HereWeGo, a CNN opinion writer called her "shameless" and pitied "poor Hillary Clinton" as the true victim. The Twitterverse wasn't as kind. ABC News compiled the worst of the worst:

"@MonicaLewinsky your mouth ruined a country." "@MonicaLewinsky I have a cigar with your name on it ... " And this tweet – a baseless attempt at cleverness - was disguised as advice: "You'll get some abuse on here, but you'll just have to suck it up I'm afraid."

No one escapes trolling by Internet idiots. Especially not journalists. Fox News' Neil Cavuto devoted three minutes at the end of his program Wednesday, telling critics of Ron Klain, the newly appointed Ebola czar, to "shut up." He opined that Klain doesn't need a medical degree to coordinate public health efforts. Pit bulls on the right crudely denounced him for defending an Obamaite.

And I might as well throw myself into the mix. When on CNN, I criticized a New York Post cover photo of a man clinging to life seconds before a subway train killed him. A social media sicko called for my killing.

When did we become so mean? What is it that attracts snark artists to malign others' opinions instead of debating them on the merits? Maybe it's the need to show that they're relevant or funny? (They're not.) Or as psychiatrists say, narcissists like this thrive on the spotlight; their need to be noticed almost always links back to a troubled childhood where parents checked out or vamoosed it at an early age. "Love thy neighbor as thyself" apparently never made it into their studies.

The second-rate writing and thoughtlessness of others' feelings is what's driving Lewinsky to speak out. At a conference, she cited cyberbullying of Tyler Clementi, a student who killed himself after someone posted a video of him kissing another boy, as the reason for her appearance on the public stage after decades of silence.

In 2006, MarketWatch media columnist, Jon Friedman, wrote a three-part series on the rise of snarky journalism. He attributed the birth of the movement to Kurt Andersen, who co-founded Spy magazine 30 years ago with Graydon Carter, now Vanity Fair's editor. Andersen said that if he is indeed the Godfather of Snark, then "Maureen is the Godmother." That, of course, would be fiery New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. Friedman bestowed the modern-day badge of honor to the gossip website Gawker. Founder Jessica Coen, who at the time was 25, told him, "The meanest thing we can do is ignore someone."

If that's true, then Christie, Lewinsky and Cavuto should count themselves lucky and bow to the snark-infested Web for helping them make a living. Isn't success the greatest revenge? Lewinsky's second tweet may be on the right track: #gratitude #overwhelmed #thankyou.

Ashburn is an award-winning Washington-based reporter and TV analyst covering media and politics.