Monday, March 29, 2010


On RedState, Dan McLaughlin explains "How Left-Wing Blogs Seek To Destroy Us Rather Than Debate Us":
[T]he left side of the blogosphere sees it as its role not to debate conservative bloggers and pundits, but to destroy us and preclude us from being heard. Nobody on our side of the aisle should be under any illusion about the depths of personal enmity harbored towards us by the left blogs, nor the fact that they will spare no effort to go after us personally. . .

Partly it was the Left’s increasing bitterness after their thumping in the 2002 elections exposed the fiction of their view that Bush’s victory in 2000 was an illegitimate aberration. Partly it was the increasing partisan temperature that came with the Iraq War. Partly it was the nature of the Online Left as people: dissatisfied with the existing order of society, often childless and thus with more time on their hands and fewer checks on perpetual immaturity, apt to treat the personal as political and the political as personal, and frequently irreligious and tending to put politics in the place where others put religion. . .

But most likely the largest cause of all was money and the lust for power. With its party leadership discredited and its official organs subject to campaign finance laws that don’t regulate blogs, the Left began pouring serious money and man-hours into the blogosphere after the 2002 elections. Billionaire George Soros (also a chief funder of think tanks like John Podesta’s Center for American Progress, founded in 2003) was the most prominent of these donors/investors, but hardly the only one; Arianna Huffington was another. Left-wing interest groups like SEIU and other unions mustered advertising dollars for major left-blogs, effectively putting them on retainer. That gave the blogs the tools to do activism, polling, fundraising, investigative muckracking, and simply to generate a lot of ways to go after people and waste their time. . .

The professionalization of the Online Left created a sense of entitlement -- left-bloggers tended not only to crusade for their policy goals, but to work for a personal seat at the table for themselves and their colleagues, becoming an interest group of their own and thus even more personally invested in the accretion of power to their own side. . .

What disappeared along the way was any semblance of a sense that left-wingers should debate the Right, or even accept as legitimate the existence of conservative bloggers and pundits as participants in public debate.
I concur with McLaughlin's observation of the death of debate on the blogosphere, but not necessarily the reasoning. To some extent, his piece comes off as sour grapes--no one bought me. We conservatives believe in markets, and if progressives have excelled at harnessing the Internet, kudos to them.

That doesn't mean we should match the left's incivility. But it does mean that we must move past our apparently naive notion that bloggers would deliver the dialog. And even if they could, little would change: as William F. Buckley said, "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views." Regardless of how right-of-center ideas are conveyed.

We should communicate with the electorate, not commenters on DailyKos. That means more campaign volunteering, op-eds, maybe even running for office. Because, contrary to McLaughlin's implication, there's no shame in seeking a seat at the table.

This isn't necessarily a signal for shutting this or any blog. But it is an admission that if posting becomes less personally rewarding, retirement won't be far behind.

(via Linkest)


Bob in Los Angeles said...

Although I read here every day, there is no money in factual, non-inflammatory blogging.

Unfortunately, the MSM dominates hoi-polloi opinion and their modus operandi is for ad-hominem attacks, and keeping score. Remember how so much of the health care reporting was 'will Obama get a win'? It is about keeping score, not about speaking truth.

Unfortunately, to get to truth, we will have to call a spade a spade. Unless he is a person of color, of course.

OBloodyHell said...

"Is blogging a waste of time?"

I don't think so. It performs a serious function that the LeftMedia have abandoned, which is the exposure of The Left's lies and distortions and the expression of The Right's position on a wide range of matters which otherwise might be ignored.

It allows for an aggregation of points of view which are often tied to a particular professional knowledgeset -- Carl can give you the opinion of events he sees with the PoV of a DC attorney, Dr. Sanity and Neo-Neocon provide that of mental health professionals, Warren at Coyoteblog provides that of an Arizona businessman, Fausta looks to the south regarding events in South and Central America, Chicago-Boyz and Carpe Diem the view of economists...

So, too, can you get politically related specialist information, such as the aforementioned Carpe Diem (economics), Greenie Watch (AGW), and the like.

These latter do cover politics to a lesser extent, but with an eye towards a specific specialty area, as opposed to the former, which have some connection to their blog owner's knowledge but aren't needfully limited to that specific topic. One gains from the former the view through the owner's glasses but the binoculars can be pointed anywhere.

I believe blogging is an important outlet, particularly at this time -- the media have been taken over by a specific political stripe who would not hesitate -- and haven't -- to suppress views they do not agree with, and to ridicule any they cannot successfully suppress.

MaxedOutMama said...

I don't think blogging is a waste of time.

Just because a blog that discusses issues doesn't have a wide audience doesn't mean it doesn't have influence.

I'm with Bob above. The blogs I enjoy are the ones that really look at issues. They are probably a replacement for the great journalists of yore.

Remember, the American revolution and the birth of this country was the work of a very small minority of the population. Because we are generally information-deprived. there is real hunger for information. And information propagates and diffuses throughout a society.

One of the strengths of the Republican party has been that the media generally favored the liberal side of things. This forced the party to occasionally generate real ideas, debate them, and communicate them. It kept them in touch with the electorate in a way that power in DC did not.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Great line by Buckley, eh?

Carl said...

Buckley's great line points to the problem. Whatever service it performs, blogging takes an extrodinary amount of time, at the expense of my work and girlfriend. In the absense of actual influence, I can't keep going forever. Especially where, as here, the verification word is "rotter" (I'm not making this up).