Marginal Footnotes

‘Insistent and Meaningless’
June 28, 2006, 3:26 pm
Filed under: Media, Politics, Uncategorized

Alexander Cockburn on Liberal Blogs and Bloggers:

In political terms the blogosphere is like white noise, insistent and meaningless, like the wash of Pacific surf I can hear most days. But MoveOn.Org and Daily Kos have been hailed as the emergent form of modern politics, the target of excited articles in the New York Review of Books.

Beyond raising money swiftly handed over to the gratified veterans of the election industry both MoveOn and Daily Kos have had zero political effect, except as a demobilizing force.

The effect on writers is horrifying. Talented people feel they have produce 400 words of commentary every day and you can see the lethal consequences on their minds and style, both of which turn rapidly to slush. They glance at the New York Times and rush to their laptops to rewrite what they just read. Hawsers to reality soon fray and they float off , drifting zeppelins of inanity.

Eventually certainly the honeymoon will end. Certainly people can only stomach the self-righteous, largely unsupported banter that qualifies as commentary on both sides of the blogging aisle. The blog world is just too angry, too reactionary, to be sustainable. There’s no humor. It’s undialectical; fascist (but in a bad way). No doubt experts (TPM, Arms Control Wonk, etc.) who happen also to be bloggers will continue to provide useful and interesting information which is structurally difficult for ‘traditional media’ to pursue, and thank goodness for that. But the current formulation of a bunch of misspelling pseudo-elites, terminally inconsolable and existentially demagogic, who prevail for reasons unknown, cannot and must not go on. 

So is there momentum for a shift? Are blogs and bloggers becoming too big for their own niche? Who knows. Here you have Cockburn, no friend of the right, lamenting the nature of predominant liberal discourse as it exists on the web, and he makes a good case. He makes a good case, too, for the dangerous repercussions it has for writers in traditional media. Christine Rosen just published an hilariously damning piece about Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit. John Dickerson recently speculated about the inevitable ‘traditional media’ turn on the blogs with which it is currently infatuated.

Anyway, where is the evidence to support the efficacy of the emergent virtual grassroots movement, nominally run by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga? We’ll see how it goes in November. It didn’t go so well in 2004. How long can a movement claim to be nascent before it starts producing results?    


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