Blogofascism

by Henry on June 24, 2006

According to the New Republic, the threat to the Republic isn’t Islamofascism any more, it’s blogofascism. Lee Siegel explains:

THE ORIGINS OF BLOGOFASCISM

At the end of my post yesterday, I wrote, “The blogosphere’s fanaticism is, in many ways, the triumph of a lack of focus.” … All these abusive attempts to autocratically or dictatorially control criticism came about because I said that the blogosphere had the quality of fascism, which my dictionary defines as “any tendency toward or actual exercise of severe autocratic or dictatorial control.” … insults, personal attacks, and even threats. This truly is the stuff of thuggery and fascism. … Two other traits of fascism are its hatred of the processes of politics, and the knockabout origins of its adherents. Communism was hatched by elites. Fascism was born along the drifting paths of rootless men, often ex-soldiers who had fought in the First World War and been demobilized. They turned European politics into a madhouse of deracinated ambition. … In a 2004 article in The San Francisco Chronicle, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga told a reporter …

“I believe in government. I was in El Salvador in the late ‘70s during the civil war and I saw government as a life-and-death situation,” he said. “There was no one to root for. The government was a corrupt plutocracy and the rebels were Maoists. The concept of government is important.” …He also remembers watching footage of the Solidarity movement in Poland. He was 9, and he asked his father what that was all about. His father, a furniture salesman, said, “It’s just politics.” The future blogger said, “Tell me all about it.”

So he loves government, but hates politics. There’s something chilling about that.

This was silly enough when it was just a back-and-forth of insults and recriminations. But Siegel actually seems, unless I’m misreading him completely, to be advancing a serious thesis about the linkages between leftwing bloggers and fascism. That the netroots crowd are the equivalent of the deracinated young men of the Weimar Republic (note, by the way, the rather unpleasant snobbery of the “knockabout origins” crack), and that Kos has “chilling” autocratic tendencies. I really don’t know what to say in response to this. It’s almost magnificent in its crackpottery. The New Republic used to be a very good magazine back in the day – one of the “little magazines” that really brought literature and politics together. It hasn’t been that for a very long time now, but I still feel a little sad every time I’m reminded of what it’s become.

{ 53 comments }

1

Kieran Healy 06.24.06 at 3:48 pm

Yeah, well your grandfather was a blueshirt.

2

Steve LaBonne 06.24.06 at 3:49 pm

I look forward to the day when either the droves of subscribers heading for the exits (I’m an ex-subscriber myself) result in that rag’s extinction, or Peretz and his partners are forced to sell out to somebody with half a clue. But the brand may be too damaged for the magazine to be saved even in the latter case.

3

Rasselas 06.24.06 at 3:50 pm

I might feel less sympathy for Siegel if the past week had not shown us the monotonous, repetitive hysteria of the blogopudding. It was like being condemned to go back to living in a freshman dorm in the early 90s.

4

Seth Finkelstein 06.24.06 at 4:00 pm

Henry, I think it’s important to give the blogopolitical context here, that this seems to be part of some bad blood between TNR and Kos.

I won’t take the easy way of sneering at it, there’s real reasons. As far as I can make out, Kos is playing the TNR’ers as insider-lackeys, and the TNR’ers think Kos is all hat and no cattle.

Recently, TNR is being gleeful over the stock-touting scandal involving Kos’ partner Armstrong, and Kos is blasting back.

That sort of puts it in context …

5

Rich Puchalsky 06.24.06 at 4:11 pm

There is no context that would explain away this ridiculous missive by TNR. People don’t write this kind of thing because they had an argument with someone — or, if they do, it shows that they are a nut.

The piece is extreme, but it does exist along a continuum of scorn for Kos/Atrios among some liberals that is quite tiresome. Over and over I used to hear people saying that we needed a mass movement. Now that we are starting to have one, it’s too strident for them.

6

Rich Puchalsky 06.24.06 at 4:15 pm

Hit submit too soon. At any rate, I find this kind of sentiment highly annoying. Most liberals support unions, right? Well, have they ever seen a successful union campaign? They aren’t polite. Nor are they brimming with “ideas”. And yes, they seem to emphasize solidarity highly. What a surprise.

7

Seth Finkelstein 06.24.06 at 4:20 pm

Rich, regarding mass movement, from your mouth to Siegel’s ear: “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.”

But for the context, it’s necessary to read

Jason Zengerle’s posts
, “Lastly, let me address the issue of Kos’s anger. His response to my original posts is basically a long and blustery attack against TNR. His restatement that he is not a consultant still does not answer the serious questions that have been raised about his relationship with Armstrong and whether there is some arrangement by which politicians who hire Armstrong as a consultant then receive Kos’s support. And yet, because I continue to ask these questions, Kos contends that “TNR’s defection to the Right is now complete.”"

8

formerTnrSubscriber 06.24.06 at 4:34 pm

TNR’s willingness to publish that Siegel hit-piece.

Wow.

That’s a self-inflicted wound from which it will never recover

9

schwa 06.24.06 at 4:41 pm

I think there’s a distinction you’re not making. TNR‘s basic problem isn’t that the whole magazine is tripe but that it’s owned by a very stupid, dull person, and he frequently publishes very stupid, dull journalism. But at the same time there are still some astonishingly good people writing for the magazine.

Really, you can divide TNR writers into three categories:

* wrong and stupid (Peretz, Siegel, Wieselter)
* obnoxious and sometimes wrong, but not stupidly so (Chait, Beinart, Foer, etc.)
* frequently right and always worth reading even when they aren’t (Lizza, Crowley, James Wood, Noam Scheiber and Jon Cohn before they disappeared down whatever rabbit-holes they disappeared down)

The third category is the one which keeps me shelling out the thirty dollars or whatever it is for an annual e-sub. The second category I resign myself to by reminding myself that it’s that same obnoxiousness which makes them both useful and informative when it’s turned on Bush. The first category I just ignore.

10

nick s 06.24.06 at 4:47 pm

Blog derangement syndrome in effect.

Look, if blogs do offer a challenge to the so-called MSM, it’s to the op-ed page and to the little political weeklies in the US: the ‘journals of opinion’. Too many of them survive on the bankroll of their proprietors. No wonder they see DKos as a threat. Thing is, if he were to be abducted by aliens tomorrow, the site would chug along. If Marty Peretz were to be taken into the mother ship? Not so much.

As for the autocratic tendencies of DKos: well, I look at the site see an exercise in cat-herding.

And yet, because I continue to ask these questions, Kos contends that “TNR’s defection to the Right is now complete.””

In terms of tactics, sure. The Brooks op-ed in tomorrow’s Times has all the hallmarks of a co-ordinated hit piece. Which, given Zengerle’s weirdly-sourced allegations, is a bit of pot-calling-kettle.

The ‘first they ignore you’ line is overused, but it does feel like certain groups have moved from laughing at blogs to fighting them.

11

schwa 06.24.06 at 4:51 pm

I should add: Siegel excluded himself from the category of pundits to be taken seriously almost as soon as he started his blog, with this fantastic triumph of masturbatory self-regard. Which was a shame, as I would have liked to get behind his campaign to get people to pay less attention to the random puddles of drool that Malcolm Gladwell occasionally deposits on the pages of the New Yorker and the shelves of Barnes & Noble.

12

imag 06.24.06 at 5:00 pm

Questions:

1. I don’t know Lee Siegel. Has he lost his mind? There’s no way that he could be like this all of the time and still have a career.

2. Speaking of insane, has Siegel noticed that he has just posted an anti-blog screed on an actual blog? Or does he not care?

3. Have Reynolds, Hewitt, or any of the rest of the blogs-will-replace-kumquats crowd commented on this yet? Are they angry at the MSM for dissing their medium yet again, or do they see this as an expose of the Far Left?

13

Ian Whitchurch 06.24.06 at 5:00 pm

Kos all hat and no cattle ?

Daily Kos delivered Ben Chandler television money in the last week of the campaign.

Eighty grand, when it was needed most in the last two weeks.

Maybe Kos delivered a hundred K for Herseth, maybe he didnt. But we’re talking well into five zeroes.

Two very critical elections, that broke the momentum of the GOP. So, whats TNR done politically lately, anyway ?

Ian Whitchurch, who used to read TNR when Robert Reich wrote for them

14

Cheryl Morgan 06.24.06 at 5:01 pm

I thought mention of the Nazis was supposed to halt discussion, not start it.

Having said that, while the TNR piece is clearly ridiculous, the blogosphere does at times remind me a lot of a school playground, or of sports talk radio. Occasionally it gets like a village mob turning on a “witch”. I’m sure sociologists are studying these things. And it doesn’t surprise me that some people see them as evidence of political conspiracies.

15

schwa 06.24.06 at 5:11 pm

“critical elections that broke the momentum of the GOP”? Are you kidding me? It’s pretty impressive that within nine months they went on to gain seats in the House and Senate and re-elect Bush, with their momentum broken like that. (Not to mention knocking off Daschle in the exact same electorate in which Herseth won.)

So if you buy an ad on Kos and stroke his ego a little, he can channel large amounts of money to you in a short amount of time. Is this impressive? Yes. But it also means that the great people-powered community experiment or whatever is little more than an EMILY’s List for bloggers. The Chandler and Herseth special elections were victories political and moral, but to suggest they were motors of a larger trend when they clearly weren’t is asinine.

16

Adam Kotsko 06.24.06 at 5:31 pm

Not being familiar with the author, I assumed that the piece quoted was satirical. In fact, when read that way, it’s pretty hilarious.

As for whether we’re living in the Weimar Republic — I seem to remember the Weimar Republic being a whole lot cooler than what we’re currently living through. When reading about the cultural life of the Weimar period, I’m always inclined to be jealous, until I remember the way it ended.

17

previously pre 06.24.06 at 6:00 pm

Over and over I used to hear people saying that we needed a mass movement. Now that we are starting to have one, it’s too strident for them.

Well, what we truly need, is a mass movement that supports the issues I support, in the order of priority in which I support them, with intensity of support approximating my own. Then we’d be set.

18

Michael Dietz 06.24.06 at 6:31 pm

Over and over I used to hear people saying that we needed a mass movement. Now that we are starting to have one, it’s too strident for them.

Actually, what we really need is a mass movement that’s managed to enlist, you know, the masses. The membership/readership of dKos/Eschaton doesn’t come within a couple of orders of magnitude of a mass.

Nor will it ever, unless some miracle occurs by which a great number of those blog citizens become dedicated political organizers. (Something MoveOn may be attempting in its own domain, but that Markos shows absolutely no interest in.) Blog-based political engagement isn’t the start of a movement, it’s a fad for the would-be chattering classes; the dKos thing is just another Internet bubble waiting for the blessed break.

19

Rich Puchalsky 06.24.06 at 6:33 pm

No, Seth, there is no context that makes Siegel’s essay reasonable.

The only interest that I can see in it is that it shows in extreme form some attitudes that are widely spread. Look at “democracy’s nightmare of populist crudity, character-assassination, and emotional stupefaction.” Once again, when a union organizer rallies people by badmouthing “the bosses”, it’s crude, populist, emotionally simple, and character assassination. But so what? That’s not democracy’s nightmare — that’s the upper classes’ nightmare. Siegel has blown a fuse over the same class anxiety that underlies a good deal of the dismissal of the large liberal blogs. It’s not the purpose of politics to be interesting or reasonable.

20

blah 06.24.06 at 6:35 pm

If this fellow really believes that name-calling and insults are the stuff of fascism, then he must reach the inescapable conclusion that the U.S. and the blogosphore are thoroughly fascist from root to branch.

21

Rich Puchalsky 06.24.06 at 6:40 pm

“Actually, what we really need is a mass movement that’s managed to enlist, you know, the masses.”

Daily Kos supposedly gets half a million hits per day. That’s as close to a mass movement as anything Internet-based is going to get, with current levels of connectivity.

As for the people who read these blogs not being interested in organizing, that’s BS. At most, it’s the perfect being the enemy of the good.

22

alex 06.24.06 at 6:51 pm

Seems like this discussion is a close parallel of the “Gitmo is a gulag” discussion – except the sides are reversed. In the gulag discussion, one side claims that its ridiculous to even mention the two in one sentence, while the other side enumerates the aspects of a gulag that can found at gitmo. Similarly, in this case, we have one side which thinks its ridiculous to connect left-wing blogs and fascism; and another side (Siegel) which enumerates the similarities between the two. Siegel is quite specific about which aspect of fascism he sees in the left-wing blogosphere: a dictatorial tendency to demand rigid ideological adherence. In both cases, to say that some similarities exist is typically interpreted by some as a stronger statement, i.e. that Gitmo is as bad as the Soviet Gulag, or that the netroots crowd is equivalent to the deracinated young men of the Weimar republic. This, though, is an obvious misinterpretation.

It goes without saying that the similarities between Gitmo and gulag are strong, and pretty obvious, whereas the similarity between the left-wing blogosphere and fascist movements is ambiguous. Nevertheless, I don’t think the argument can be dismissed in the manner done here.

23

Michael Dietz 06.24.06 at 6:58 pm

Daily Kos supposedly gets half a million hits per day. That’s as close to a mass movement as anything Internet-based is going to get, with current levels of connectivity.

Well, yeah, that’s my point, isn’t it, Rich? Given the structure of the site, which encourages several clicks per session, I’m being generous when I estimate that half a million hits translates into maybe 50K unique visitors. Let’s go hog-wild and decide that 100,000 people are committed dKos readers. Let’s give Atrios another (entirely non-overlapping) 100K. We’re up to 200,000 people. Put all of them together, they won’t match the population that marched against the Iraq occupation (to Markos’ emphatic disdain) last fall in D.C.

Now how many of those (generously estimated) 200,000 people do you think are presently doing, or for that matter might ever be brought to do, real political organizing? (And how many are just politics junkies with computers and a little spare time who are glad to have somewhere to vent their frustrations?) “Real” meaning, moving actual people through encounters in actual space, a requirement of political work for which no amount of online donation, ad click-throughs, or comment posting can ever substitute.

Boil it down, and what you’ve got with dKos is a pretty good direct-mail operation, with an online twist. A decent pool of small money donors, and a megaphone that under the right circumstances can make a decent noise. It’s not nothing, but it’s so laughably less than the kind of populations that were committed to unionization, or to civil rights, that I’m almost embarrassed even to make the comparison. Mass movement? Get real.

24

nick s 06.24.06 at 7:16 pm

Siegel is quite specific about which aspect of fascism he sees in the left-wing blogosphere: a dictatorial tendency to demand rigid ideological adherence.

And that’s why he’s full o’shit. If there’s any party line at DKos, it’s ‘get Democrats elected’. The support for Herseth was mentioned: she’s cast several votes which pissed off the regulars. Same with Melissa Bean, who benefitted from Kos-directed funding.

The argument can be dismissed because it’s prima facie dumb. He made a deliberately inflammatory argument on bullshit premises. In the internet world, that’s commonly known as ‘trolling’. And trolls are best ignored.

25

Adam Kotsko 06.24.06 at 7:32 pm

I think it’s amazing that the Democrats can simultaneously demand rigid ideological orthodoxy and be an ineffectual grab-bag of people who are united primarily by not being Republicans — I can’t think of a reliable orthodoxy among Democrats on any topic.

26

trey 06.24.06 at 7:43 pm

It’s worth nothing that David Brooks is going to speak about this topic a bit in Sunday’s NY Times. It’s behind the TimeSelect wall, but I’m sure creative Technorati users will be able to find a copy.

27

Ron F 06.24.06 at 7:46 pm

Zuniga on his time in El Salvador, writes -

There was no one to root for. The government was a corrupt plutocracy and the rebels were Maoists.

Those rebels, the FMLN, assuredly were NOT Maoists. Perhaps he was thinking of the rebels in Peru, who were.

And “corrupt plutocracy” doesn’t quite capture the viciousness of a government found by the UN Commission enquiry into the violence of the civil war to have committed 85% of the abuses, assissted by their paramilitaries and death squads, with the remainder by the marxist FMLN.

28

Walt 06.24.06 at 10:17 pm

I believe one or two people have mentioned this before, but that’s one big yummy mass of nuttiness. The fact that TNR takes it as such a threat is evidence that Markos has arrived.

29

P O'Neill 06.24.06 at 10:40 pm

Meanwhile, over on TNR’s World Cup blog, in what was hopefully a one-time contribution, there was a different identification of fascists:

With the U.S. out of the tournament, many of us may not quite know which flag to wrap ourselves in for the duration of the Cup. (I only know it won’t be the flag of the air fiddling, cry baby, possibly fascist, greasy-maned Italians.)

30

Cryptic Ned 06.24.06 at 11:17 pm

You’re right, the only Italian star known to be a fascist isn’t on the World Cup roster this year.

31

Dabodius 06.25.06 at 12:58 am

Siegel’s dictionary defines “fascism” as “any tendency toward or actual exercise of severe autocratic or dictatorial control.”
So where’s the control? Do Markos’s minions pour castor oil down the throats of TNR staff or pull out their teeth, as Mussolini’s Blackshirts did to their political victimes? Does Siegel think he’ll be hanged naked like Dietrich Bonhoefer, or just beaten bloody? Is Daily KOS about to promulgate decrees stripping us of our civil rights, or burn books?
No control, coercion, force — no fascism. I liked Dimitrov’s definition better: “the open terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary section of the imperialist bourgeoisie,” or something close; I’m not sure I remember who exactly was doing the terrorizing and exercise of dictatorship, but it surely wasn’t Kossacks posting messages for people to read or not. That may be a latter-day version of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution’s “Big character poster,” but until Siegel is made to wear a dunce cap (which, given the charge he is making, might fit nicely) and attend rallies where he is denounced, roughed up, and sent down to the countryside to be re-educated by the peasant masses, he will have to sport some other feather in his cap than “victim of fascism.”

32

abb1 06.25.06 at 2:02 am

“I believe in government. I was in El Salvador in the late ‘70s during the civil war and I saw government as a life-and-death situation,” he said. “There was no one to root for. The government was a corrupt plutocracy and the rebels were Maoists. The concept of government is important.”

This is indeed a full quote from the sf chronicle, and this is indeed a weird quote for a guy supposedly on the left. There is no doubt that the rebels were the guys to root for.

It doesn’t make him a fascist, of course; but I suppose a fascist could’ve said something like this.

33

bad Jim 06.25.06 at 2:04 am

It gets worse. David Brooks, chief Bobo at the New York Times, emits this:

The Keyboard Kingpin, aka Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, sits at his computer, fires up his Web site, Daily Kos, and commands his followers, who come across like squadrons of rabid lambs, to unleash their venom on those who stand in the way. And in this way the Kingpin has made himself a mighty force in his own mind, and every knee shall bow.

And we, like sheep, shall safely graze.

Baaah. Baah. Bah, humbug.

34

staffrider 06.25.06 at 2:18 am

abb1 – what are you smoking?

What is so strange that someone who lived through a civil war between a corrupt government and unpleasant rebels should actually come to believe rather passionately in good government? Unless you think that the left is all about believing in corrupt government just because its government? Weird.

35

otto 06.25.06 at 2:24 am

“The fact that TNR takes it as such a threat is evidence that Markos has arrived.”

That’s correct. I’d say this is part of a wider if part submerged struggle in the Democratic party of which the most visible case is the Lieberman primary. TNR is indeed Joe Lieberman weekly, as the bloggers call it, not least in its recent part ownership by republicans, its efforts to shut down criticism of Israel (hence its smearing of Juan Cole), and its general right-wing Democrat approach.

Almost unbelievably, recent data suggest that the bloggers may be close to being able to take Lieberman down. In that they have many allies, including Howard Dean’s brother’s grass-roots organisation (which is really Howard Dean’s organisation), DfA. The last presidential primary is being re-run again and again and Dean etc doing better and better with time (Kerry is irrelevant of course, having no social base or resources)).

So Peretz’s constant sneering at Dean and now TNR’s lashing out at Kos really do have a lot to do with trends in politics that threaten to undermine the influence of TNR and TNR-types in the party as a whole. It’s a sign of hope, as far as I am concerned.

36

abb1 06.25.06 at 3:59 am

…I suppose a fascist could’ve said something like this.

Yes, and this is the main problem with these partisan Democrats: they’ll do everything to distance themselves from the hard left; they’ll sound like fascists if necessary.

The Republicans don’t do this, the Republicans will never distance themselves from any right-wing group, any right-wing junta anywhere on earth, including Islamic fundamentalists, the Taliban; they’ll call them “freedom fighters”, they’ll call them “a moral equivalent of the founding fathers” and they’ll keep a straight face saying it and they’ll believe it themselves.

This way the Republicans get all the vote from the middle of the mushy center and down to the KKK and Neonazis. And all the Democrats get is a half of the the mushy center.

37

Kenny Easwaran 06.25.06 at 4:17 am

Not having looked at the article except for this quote, I assumed that it was meant to apply as much to Glenn Reynolds as to Kos.

38

aaron 06.25.06 at 4:24 am

I think it’s obvious that Markos loves politics and hates everything else.

39

aaron 06.25.06 at 4:26 am

Or, more likely, doesn’t care about anything else.

40

aaron 06.25.06 at 4:27 am

(except, I imagine, his family.)

41

Jeffrey Kramer 06.25.06 at 7:49 am

…the blogosphere had the quality of fascism, which my dictionary defines as “any tendency toward or actual exercise of severe autocratic or dictatorial control” … insults, personal attacks, and even threats.

Siegel is confused; it wasn’t Mussolini and Hitler who came to power through a combination of violence and sarcasm, it was the Piranha Brothers.

42

Shawn 06.25.06 at 8:50 am

If KOS is representative of any leftist mass movement in the US then “strident” is not the word. Stupid is. Yup, what the US needs now is a left wing mass movement, just like the ones that worked so well in Russia, China and Cambodia.

43

fred lapides 06.25.06 at 9:23 am

Get old and you will know this:
1. we all see things not as they are but as we are
2. most people read only that stuff that agrees with their positions to begin with and thus reinforce believes rather than rethink them.
3. if you dislike what you read, skip it asap and move along…commenting on it never convinces those who belive or reject what it is you comment upon.
4. most of what is read is not the origianl source of anything and is but talmucic (so to speak) commentary.
5. ignore everything I have just posted.

44

Rich Puchalsky 06.25.06 at 9:44 am

“There is no doubt that the rebels were the guys to root for.”

Good lecture, abb1. It’s like the guy upthread who gets all huffy that the rebels committed only 15% of the atrocities.

I’m glad that Kos is helping to remake a left where people don’t expect you to root for those commiting only 15% of the atrocities.

45

abb1 06.25.06 at 10:11 am

Wikipedia:

According to the 1993 United Nations’ Truth Commission report, over 96% of the human rights violations carried out during the war were committed by the Salvadoran military or the paramilitary death squads, while 3.5% were committed by the FMLN.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Salvador

Sorry, but one can only achieve so much purity down here on earth. Also, calling a coalition of five socialist parties ‘Maoists’ (apparently none of them was Maoist) is something he could only pick up from some right-wing (can I say ‘fascist’?) propaganda rag.

46

Walt 06.25.06 at 3:42 pm

Fred: I’ve read word you said in your comment, solely to prove you wrong. Reverse psychology still works!

Otto: Good point.

47

previously pre 06.25.06 at 10:43 pm

It doesn’t make him a fascist, of course; but I suppose a fascist could’ve said something like this.

Personally, I fear them preadolescent fascists most of all. They just don’t know the harm they’re causing…

As for his sharing of his perspective, years after the fact — the way I see it is, he values working within a government system to change it, because he has seen what violent upheaval revolution does and it was not pretty. That’s in keeping with his elect-Democrats mode, and it’s not particularly fascist.

48

Tangurena 06.26.06 at 7:49 am

The “left” lacks people who advocate murdering and exterminating people on the “other side.” However, the “right” has plenty of people who advocate murder and extermination, starting with Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage. When confronted, those three pretend that they were “only joking.” I, for one, have never understood the “humor” in murdering large numbers of people.

David Neiwert, over at Orcinus has been keeping track of rightwing eliminationist rhetoric, as well as right wing hate groups.

This essay has some interesting points about why stories in the print media appear to be the same stilted stuff. And that the decline in readership of print media is structural, not cyclical. This administration has taken PR to new levels of infiltration of the media.

One of the books I’m going to to be reading soon is Lapdogs: How the press rolled over for bush. I suspect another strong reason for the decline in print media has to do with their pandering to the right wing, and why every news outlet has been turning into a mini-Fox.

49

peBird 06.26.06 at 10:26 am

Hmmmm,

Siegel – serious thesis?

Don’t think so.

50

Tyrone Slothrop 06.26.06 at 1:07 pm

[I]f blogs do offer a challenge to the so-called MSM, it’s to the op-ed page and to the little political weeklies in the US: the ‘journals of opinion’. Too many of them survive on the bankroll of their proprietors. No wonder they see DKos as a threat. Thing is, if he were to be abducted by aliens tomorrow, the site would chug along. If Marty Peretz were to be taken into the mother ship? Not so much.

Martin Peretz spent his money to buy TNR so that he could foist his ideas on everyone else. Blogs don’t threaten him in an economic sense — you could say that he is losing money, but it is probably more apt to say that he is spending a lot of money to ensure that people have to listen to him — but they do threaten his status. If anyone can publish their views on a blog, then he’ll have to find some other way to buy status.

51

Captain Slack 06.27.06 at 8:29 am

Normally, I object to using “Democrat” as an adjective on the same grounds August Pollak outlined, but otto’s reference to the “general right-wing Democrat approach” of ETLNR* may actually have constituted appropriate use of that particular linguistic atrocity.

(* Even The Liberal New Republic.)

52

tim gueguen 06.27.06 at 12:12 pm

Hmmm, if some popular American left wing blogs might be a precursor of facism, what about actual facist blogs, which do exist. What are they precursors of?

53

Jutlaw 06.29.06 at 10:46 am

Funny thing is, you people talk about an internet movement, Kos gets 500k/day.

perspective:
World of Warcraft has 6,000,000 users logging on every day (and counting). The game is two years old. which is the “movement” and which is the fad?

Kos and other bloggers are just authors. they’re not movements. they do not claim any leadership roles (and no, issuing net warnings to politicians is not leadership). they have no platform, the don’t organize marches ala MLK. they have fans, they have people who read their stuff. Kos may be a kerouac, but he’s no steinem, he’s no rand. he’s not offered any ideas that will make him memorable beyond his mortality.
when a blogger successfully runs for an office, well then, that will be a different story. I know lawyers who raise 100k for politicians at parties out on sag harbor, are they “movements”????
please.

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