The late Pulitzer Prize-winner Roger Ebert, who died Thursday at 70, was a renowned and beloved movie critic. He was also a frequent political commentator, whose liberal views weren't always well-received.
Ebert become an outspoken tweeter in recent years once he lost his voice and much of his jaw after battling thyroid and salivary gland cancer. His passing came 14 years after that of his on-screen film reviewing partner, Gene Siskel.
In 2010 Ebert emerged an unlikely but vocal critic of the emerging tea party movement. He began tossing brickbats at Sarah Palin and other right-wing politicians in between rendering verdicts on the latest movies, The Los Angeles Times reported at the time.
"Over the last few weeks, Ebert has used his busy Twitter page to give the tea party belittling nicknames, predict it will quickly fade and opine that 'a loud movement is not the same as a mass movement.'"
Journalism purists questioned whether the Chicago Sun-Times columnist should be offering opinions on anything outside of movies. "The 67-year-old reviewer finds himself at the center of the debate over whether and how mainstream journalists - who have typically labored in silos of specialization and avoided anything that called into question a pose of objectivity should mix it up in the woolly world of social media," according to The Los Angeles Times.
Not surprisingly Ebert's foray into political commentary drew criticism. The venerable conservative publication Human Events even named him the worst offender among "The Eight Most Irritating Liberal Celebrities". Ahead of Robert Redford, Al Gore, Matt Damon and even Michael Moore.
"How is it possible for a man to be smart enough to analyze movies rather brilliantly, but be so utterly ridiculous when it comes to analyzing conservatives?" Human Events wrote. "You know what's annoying? A bozo with too much time on his hands who constantly posts hackneyed jokes and comments slamming people who believe in a competing ideology."
Politix, and via The Los Angeles Times and Human Events.