Daou's Triangles, Illustrated
Peter Daou,THE TRIANGLE: Limits of Blog Power:
Looking at the political landscape, one proposition seems unambiguous: blog power on both the right and left is a function of the relationship of the netroots to the media and the political establishment. Forming a triangle of blogs, media, and the political establishment is an essential step...
Summarizing my understanding of the relationship between the triangle elements:
Party benefit to Corporate Media: access to political figures for interviews and timely inside information.
Corporate Media benefit to Party: disseminate talking points that steer public opinion towards the party and their policies.
Blogger benefit to Party: research and building grassroots support for Party Policies. Also, as a proxy for more extreme opinions that Party cannot express directly.
Party benefit to Bloggers: talking points, recognition and access.
Blogger benefit to Corporate Media: research, opinion, attention that increases readership.
In a later post, Peter Daou wrote about how the Democratic/Progressive triangle is "broken", citing the specific instances of the Alito Nomination and the NSA scandal:
This, then, is the reality: progressive bloggers and online activists - positioned on the front lines of a cold civil war - face a thankless and daunting task: battle the Bush administration and its legions of online and offline apologists, battle the so-called â€œliberalâ€ media and its tireless weaving of pro-GOP narratives, battle the ineffectual Democratic leadership, and battle the demoralization and frustration that comes with a long, steep uphill struggle.
On the other hand, the Dan Rather/Bush TANG documents "scandal" is a perfect example of the functional Right-Wing Triangle.
In the heat of an election cycle, when questions about Bush's National Guard service are causing problems for the GOP, a Right-Wing "blogger" (F/Buckhead, who turns out to be a GOP operative) "discovers" through "research" that the CBS Bush TANG documents could be forgeries. Corporate media picks up the story almost immediately and pushes it relentlessly. Dan Rather is forced to retire under "public pressure" from Right Wing Bloggers, among others. The "forgery" story obliterates the Corporate Media's coverage (and therefore, public perception) of the very real issues about Bush's National Guard service.
So why does one Triangle work like greased lightning while the other is "dysfunctional"?
Theory #1: ideological alignment
Are right-wing bloggers and activists really more effective at flooding Corporate Media outlets with complaints about unfavorable coverage than progressive bloggers?
Or is it perhaps that decisionmakers, players and talk show hosts in the Corporate Media are, for the most part, ideologically aligned with the Republicans?
If this is the case, claiming that complaints from members of the Right-Wing audience forced the Corporate Media to follow the GOP spin would be extremely convenient and self serving.
This would also explain the broken Progressive Blogger/Corporate Media link. No matter how timely and fact-based the Progressive Bloggers' information is, the Corporate Media consistently refuses to give positive attention to what Progressive Bloggers have to say. Could be because they really do not like what they have to say.
While Right-Wing bloggers' views are more extreme and more crudely expressed than the Official Republican party line, they're basically the same ideology: pro-corporate, pro-imperialist, theocratic and totalitarian. And the GOP delivers, consistently, for the Right-Wing activist base in the form of legislation and appointments.
On the other hand, the Progressive Bloggers' opinions and policy reccomendations are much more distant from what Beltway Democrats are willing to take practical action on, and even from what they are willing to say in public.
The Deborah Howell incident may have started a change in the dynamic, but important as this event is, I'm skeptical that it will significantly change the structural issues. Then again, I'm a wine glass half empty type of guy. But that could be because I drink fast.
UPDATE: Daou's Triangles, Expanded