Democrats & Liberals Archives

Blogging for Access

After Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, of DailyKOS, convened many bloggers to a YearlyKOS convention in Las Vegas, the establishment journalists, essayists, columnists, pundits and assorted media gurus, that is, those that get paid for bloviating, began their attack on bloggers. They were especially vehement in trashing Markos.

Yes, he is the top blogger, but he does not represent the hundreds of thousands of political bloggers on the Internet, who until now had no voice, but now are expressing themselves in a way that is attracting the attention of political leaders. In other words, ordinary people are gaining political access.

Newspaper journalists claim bloggers act as journalists. Not so. Pundits claim that bloggers are not smart enough to express political opinions. Not so. Establishment Democrats rail against the so-called netroots, calling them naive. Not so. Establishment Republicans think that the rank and file will always support them, as they have pretty well up to recently. Not so.

Probably the worst comment I heard about bloggers comes from Lee Siegel (no relation to me) of The New Republic:

"It's a bizarre phenomenon, the blogosphere. It radiates democracy's dream of full participation but practices democracy's nightmare of populist crudity, character-assassination, and emotional stupefaction. It's hard fascism with a Microsoft face."

"Crudity, character-assassination, and emotional stupefaction?" True - of some bloggers. Just as true of some establishment media stars. What would he call it when establishment figures do it? Soft fascism?

The guy is driven by jealousy and resentment. This is obvious when he claims that most commentary of bloggers

"... requires no special training or skills, and ... attempts to parlay street-fighting skills into fame and riches."

"Parlay street-fighting skills into fame and riches?" Many bloggers don't care about fame and fortune. This is not what you can say about many establishment media types.

Powerful media elite feel threatened by bloggers on the Internet. As a result they get emotional. And everybody knows you can't think straight when you are filled with emotion. The blogosphere has been called the liberal answer to talk radio. No, the blogosphere is not liberal. It is not conservative. It is not susceptible to the usual populist messages either.

The blogosphere is filled with ordinary people, who are tired of being lectured to by the political elites, who do not seem to have a clue as to what they, the bloggers, want. These are citizens who are trying to express themselves, thereby sending a message to those in power. That's it.

Bloggers are not journalists. They must rely on good journalists to obtain facts. Once in possession of the facts, they can express themselves as easily as any establishment pundit.

Will bloggers modify politics? You bet. In a big way. Instead of establishment Democrats taking positions that must be followed by the netroots, netroots ideas will push up to the leaders. The same will eventually happen to the Republicans, even though they love hierarchy. Many more citizens will become Independents. Ordinary citizens will have a greater political voice than ever.

KOS has been criticized as building a power center. He claims this is not so and I believe him. The main reason DailyKOS is so popular is that any person can use its facilities to post a message - it's called a diary - that will be read by visitors to the site. This means that a man who is unemployed and does not have his own computer, can go to a library, turn on the Internet, click onto DailyKOS, and then write an article that will be published and possibly read by a prominent political leader. It does not cost him a dime.

Though we have had a democracy since 1796, the little guy never had much sway. Powerful people chose candidates in both parties for a long time. Then came the primaries, which were more democratic. However, in the last analysis, leaders of the parties had the major say in the choice of candidates. Now, people who have never had a voice, have a voice.

In a word, citizens blog to gain political access.

Posted by Paul Siegel at June 26, 2006 6:03 PM
Comments
Comment #161994

Paul

For once, I agree with you (no,this is the second time,I think). However, I much prefer the Watchblog method of presenting differing viewpoints. My view is same ideaology bogs become incestous after a while, no divergent discourse, so to speak.

Good post.

Posted by: Sicilian Eagle at June 26, 2006 7:06 PM
Comment #162000

Good topic, good post!

Blogging certainly has changed the political landscape. No matter what news broadcast you listen to these days, some mention of “the blogs” is made with regard to any breaking story.

Bloggers are making their voices heard, and those voices are being listened to. I love it. Spread the power - rebuild our political system from the ground up. It’s been needed for a long time.

Posted by: myles at June 26, 2006 7:31 PM
Comment #162008

The media hates blogs because you and me can cuss and discuss the issues and exchange information. This threatens their power to form the public’s opinions with their bias opinions. This is totally unacceptable to them.

Posted by: Ron Brown at June 26, 2006 8:09 PM
Comment #162012

I agree it is an assanine point about “fame and riches”.

One thing that gets me about media treatment of this is how on CNN they have the British lass who calls everything a “blawwg”, whether it is or it isn’t. There are political sites and there are Weblogs. Weblogs are just one venue of net political forum. And usually if not always giving a place to respond to anothers rantings or rationale. Can we at some point be free of people labelling every site online with a political essayist as a “blog”?

Can we ever be free from the blawwg and just be essayists or writers who invite feedback?

Posted by: Novenge at June 26, 2006 8:15 PM
Comment #162014

SE:

Never been to the Kos, eh? Its not a Conservative Website so you can post anything you want and not get banned.

You really should stop equating the two.

Posted by: Aldous at June 26, 2006 8:22 PM
Comment #162016

Actually Dem sites do banning too as I’ve discovered. It’s not just sites like FreeRepublic.com. Try posting on truthdig, or being right of center on Democratic underground—in fairness we do it too. I’ve always loved the invitation to abuse and womp-shit a republican’s views, they don’t or can’t hold their argument. So maybe it should have a whole different label, an “echochamber-blawwg”.

Posted by: Novenge at June 26, 2006 8:32 PM
Comment #162023

Every site bans. Its when EVERY contradicting viewpoint that’s banned that you have a problem.

I swear the WingNuts don’t even bother to read posts anymore. They just ban automatically.

Remember the time when McCain said on Meet The Press he had no confidence on Rumsfeld? The McCainites started defending him and the ENTIRE lot of them got banned overnight!!! It was incredible. There was one poster who literally never finished his reply to an argument he was winning. His Post appeared only 80% complete!!!!

Posted by: Aldous at June 26, 2006 9:02 PM
Comment #162034

I’m new to this and find it very interesting, thought provoking, educating, and almost addicting. But how is it changing the political system.

Posted by: mark at June 26, 2006 9:18 PM
Comment #162058

Well, I don’t think anyone can say that Watchblog dicriminates. I’ve seen folks argue that, but it’s fairly obvious what’s truly inflammatory and what’s opinion or discussion/argument.

I’ve presented some pretty radical ideas/beliefs and I’ve never had anyone say that I can’t say that. I’ve been presented with arguments and even had it suggested that I might be out of touch with reality. I’ve suggested the same to others.

For me this is “the great equalizer”! I live in Kansas where Democrats are outweighed 8 to 2 and I’m having a hard time finding those 2! My disability has left me too weak to engage someone “head on” in an argument here in redneck country.

I like being able to have my opinion heard. Just because my illness limits my abilities I still deserve to voice my opinion. This blog provides that ability. Seizures have recently even limited that, but this is a freedom we should all have.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at June 26, 2006 10:10 PM
Comment #162061

Mark, because we are delusional and we think it does. No actually I really don’t have an answer on that. There’s the fundraising for the parties but they have always done that. Maybe in 2008 it will get to the point of pandering to us? Perhaps it is through our influence on the media who wouldn’t give a rat’s hind end whether we fell off the earth? Maybe it is in that we can organize through it and different readerships?

I do not know—that is a good, surprisingly good, question.

It does consolidate anti-war and pro-war parties and that is politics—I have no definitive answer, Anyone?

Posted by: Novenge at June 26, 2006 10:16 PM
Comment #162071

“But how is it changing the political system.

Posted by: mark at June 26, 2006 09:18 PM”

I’m not aware of anyone wanting to change the “system” if we regard the system as Democracy. We hopefully share some beliefs and find strengths or weaknesses in other’s arguments.

If nothing else it’s sometimes educational. I’ve educated a few people. They now know I’m one of those nuts that believes Bush & Co. really are seeking a “domionist theocracy”. So I taught them that I’m a nut case.

OTOH participation here has caused me to look into a lot of things, such as other party platforms. Basically I learn and hopefully others might occasionally learn from me.

BTW, learning does not equal reaching agreement.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at June 26, 2006 10:32 PM
Comment #162075

Mark,
I am pretty new here, too.
I suppose that the blog format will begin to have significant impact if and when we start coming up with creative solutions rather than going over the current arguements. (The old pro-active as opposed to re-active, I guess.)
Moveon.org has the liberal community organized for fundraising and some activities, but is not too strong on mining new ideas.
In the meantime, this format does allow isolated people to find their political kin. And we can get out some of our frustrations on the drive-by trolls.

Posted by: dana at June 26, 2006 10:43 PM
Comment #162081

While I may not agree with Kos’ politics, I must admire him and Mike Krempasky for what they have done with blogging and getting people involved in the political process.

The wider the political process is, the better we are all served.

Posted by: Matt Johnston at June 26, 2006 10:49 PM
Comment #162101

Kansas,

I agree too on the grounds that Watchblog is a fantastic place to argue and I cannot resist a smart fight no matter how childish it gets. Perhaps it’s a compulsion to split hairs endlessly.

BTW we need more Republicans—Rahdigly isn’t showing up enough, Sanger could throw-down like a trooper with ‘roid rage, Ciggy the greenhawk I have no idea where the hell he went (man what a scrapper from back in the day), Hard Hat and a few others I like but we need a bigger influx of mean hardline Republicans. Very few sites offer this really. It’s either left or right and that’s it and if you go to the right on those sites the arguments don’t even make sense half the time.

Posted by: Novenge at June 26, 2006 11:32 PM
Comment #162112

Novenge,

I don’t post here to do battle. Sometimes it happens. I could always go to the red side or the middle if that’s what I wanted.

The biggest reason I come here is to read the messages from fellow Democrats that differ in opinion from me. The differences within our party concern me more than those outside the party.

History tells me that we will be in power again. What we need to consider is that “we’ will then represent “all” of the people of the United States.

No matter which party is in power they need to realize and recognize the needs of everyone. This BS in Iraq is a perfect example. It’s done nothing but increase hostility towards the USA.

I personally think it’s all part of a plan to create the dominion dreamed of by the Religious Right. So, I’m a little nut-so!

Right now these damn myoclonic seizures are effecting my voice so bad it’s hard to reply even with “Dragon Naturally Speaking” so don’t think I’m being a wuss.

I just need to wait for this to pass. And no sympathy is desired. Whoever might feel sorry for me would be better off saving their sympathy for the working poor that the GOP keeps ignoring.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at June 27, 2006 12:16 AM
Comment #162126

Kansas: Sorry but you have my sympathy.Not for you health but because you live in Kansas. 8 to 2. I am on the North Cal coast.Here the dog catcher is a Democrat. We have two state legisltive races in the area in which the Reps have no candidates.

Posted by: BillS at June 27, 2006 1:04 AM
Comment #162139

—KansasDem- A little off topic, You may or may not have ever been a Ham operator, way back then we used to discuss all kinds of topics with people round the world. I always enjoyed learning from mostly, cranky old guys. I did learn patients an tolerance of others, especially when it came to politics. In some respects you remind me of those people with pent up knowledge, waiting for a listening ear. I do hope you continue with your posts of wisdom. I enjoy reading them.

Posted by: DAVID at June 27, 2006 2:30 AM
Comment #162141

-BillS- I found a good link for you an other dems, if you are interested, it’s listed on the bottom of page The War On Memory. I would type it here but I forgot the dam thing(:

Posted by: DAVID at June 27, 2006 2:39 AM
Comment #162194

Did you hear that? They called us crude, ordinary, overemotional, naive streetfighters. I AM SO..GOING TO FIRE MY SPEECH WRITER.

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel a perverse joy at having gained the attention and contempt of the media? What I’ve read here in the past two months has well covered the sprectum of “Trash Tabloid” to “Doctoral Thesis”, and what I find the most refreshing, is that it is relatively unrehearsed. It often has the feeliing of the barfight, ending with the obligatory stumble off in song. After reading a days worth of opinions one tends to need a good shower and a sleep.

Arguments, anyone? (LOL)

Posted by: DOC at June 27, 2006 10:20 AM
Comment #162232


DOC, Here here

I had a blog going for a while last year at Blogspot although tiresome to keep up. I would post my utter inflamatory rant and let the games begin pretty much. I think I thoroughly pissed off every demographic possible, once I got haloscan that is. I can’t say I was quite on the same level as journalists but I got ire and angst and questions of my own morality if not my sanity. So I can’t say that Blawgs are really a point of competition for the news media, they really aren’t.

There are new facts that come down the line that news agencies hold back on or dismiss for bigger leads that can get highlighted in bloggins or in some cases over-highlighted. Perhaps that’s what the media’s sentiment is in part due to, we don’t follow the herd in terms of where they are all clusterf#cked, we Clusterf#ck ourselves someplace else. Then again sometimes not only is it binge but molehill too on those topics and if I hear another post on Plame holy jeezus I’m gonna’ lose it. Did anyone catch the Kos-thing on Cspan with Wilson? God what a dull briefing—reiterating the already known. Or even weirder the kind of people who write blogs showing their faces at the conference. Most of which I could imagine writing their articles with no shirts on while dropping Funion crumbs into the keyboard. Also firedoglake.com’s author was there. She is so boring you almost need Clockwork Orange type eye-opening devices to continue reading her analysis on anything. Kos is not one ofthe great sites anyway, it’s just a regular stop in the liberal surfers loop-de-loop, that’s all.

Plus as a sidenote I’ve always hated the word blawwgger I prefer irreverent firebrand or something equally narcisistic.

Posted by: Novenge at June 27, 2006 11:48 AM
Comment #162242

Aldous please.

The big problem with DKos is the pack mentality that those people have. Armando practically determined who was a “good enough” progressive all by himself. The diaries have a troll meters that auto bans and removes posts that are voted as troll posts. There are so many calls for banning and censorship there it is ridiculous. I don’t visit the Freeps for the same reasons. Echo chambers…..

My criticism of blogging is definitely centered around the pack mentality and creating idea bubbles. To a lessor extent the same thing happens here, with someone from the left, right or center posting a blog then the usual suspects either defending or attacking the position. At least here there is some cross breading, although I doubt Eric or Paul will be swapping columns anytime soon.

Posted by: George in SC at June 27, 2006 12:24 PM
Comment #173974

DKos has been ban-happy the past year, with a select group of troll-thought-police circling to hide and autoban anybody with a different pov. it’s kind of creepy and fascinating to see these sad people act as if they represent any kind of democracy.

they’ve become the worst sort of smug intolerants that will eventually drive people away from the site and make it easy for the right to paint dems in the worst light. did that rhyme?

Posted by: christian at August 8, 2006 3:32 AM
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