July 12, 2006

Attack Dogs, Right And Left

Some interesting thoughts generated from a post by Glenn Greenwald, who criticized right-wing bloggers for their lack of ethics. One commenter said:
Please select who will be on the ballot in less than 4 months to run America:

1. George Bush
2. Ann Coulter
3. Right-wing bloggers
4. Republican Congressmen

Please select who center and left bloggers and press have wasted time attacking in the the run-up to the election, which is less than 4 months away:

1. George Bush
2. Ann Coulter
3. Right-wing bloggers
4. Republican Congressmen

Did you pass?
Good point. Greenwald's response:
Why do you think the Right spends so much time talking about Michael Moore and ridiculing Barbara Streisand or focusing on Deb Frisch? One of the ways -- one of the most effective ways -- to highlight the flaws of a political movement is to demonize their representatives and try to attribute the characteristics of the extremists to the movement itself. Another tactic is to discredit the spokespeople and pundits for that movement.

You may think that the best strategy is to sit around and talk about Denny Hastert's voting record and whether John Warner is a good Chairman of the Armed Services Committee - since, as you reason, "hey, they're the ones on the ballot, so we should only talk about them" - but that strikes me as an extremely simplistic and unproductive way to convey the real poltical struggles going on in our country.

The biggest favor you could do for Republicans is to ignore the Ann Coulters and James Dobsons and the hate-mongering pundits which comprise the backbone of their party.
My two cents worth:
Here is an interesting example.

A security contractor in Iraq recently plagiarized comments from a favourite wingnut blog, Iraq The Model. The Wall Street Journal then posted a summary of this contractor's brief in The Washington Wire. Thus have wingnut opinions and lies all-too-often creeped out into the MSM as "facts" and memes which, ironically, the wingnuts then cite as proof of their own assertions.

In this case, however, the incident was picked up (though not pursued) by someone at Democratic Underground. Two and a half hours later, the WSJ updated their story with a clarification. Links here for anyone interested (latest news: WSJ is now waiting for the contractor to investigate themselves).

BTW, that ITM blog was oft cited as an excellent source of positive news on Iraq by none other than Paul Wolfowitz, who arranged for the ITM authors to meet Bush in the White House.
Of course, the ITM entry in question was not your usual "good news" propaganda from a few years back, but the example is still valid as it represents a process of news dissemination that has been widely exploited. When that un-named neo-con said "we will create our own realities" he wasn't kidding! ASIDE: This is also interesting, although off-topic:
atrios may be a "superblog," but he certainly does not speak for the left. Just more of the ALL BLOG, NO ACTION crowd.

An ironic mirror of the 101st keyboarders that he is so quick to put-down.
I like reading Atrios for his humour, occasional rants and good URLs, but there are some big topics (e.g. Haditha) he just skirts around. Maybe he just ASSUMES all his readers know and abhor such atrocities, but it would be nice if there were a little less focus on the blogosphere per se. And his regular commenters are just as focussed on themselves as - say - their counterparts at ITM. On the other hand, as he often points out, it's his blog!


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