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What Now For The Blogs?

Big Tent Democrat's picture

[Thanks to Big Tent Democrat for agreeing to guest post. --lambert]

It surprises many people to know that I supported Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the primaries. I considered the two to be identical on the issues (except for health care, where I felt too ignorant to take a position on which of the two positions was superior) and preferred Obama because I believed him to be more electable. Weak tea for many people I imagine, but that was my view of the race.

Why does this surprise people? Because I have been extremely critical of Barack Obama since 2005 and was before, during and after the Presidential primaries. To some people, support requires blind devotion and adulation. It does not to me. But in many was, that is irrelevant. Because I am not a Democrat because Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or FDR or JFK inspire me. I am a Democrat because the Democratic Party comes closer to my personal views and values than the other viable political party, the Republican Party. I tried to express my approach in this post from December 2007:

As citizens and activists, our allegiances have to be to the issues we believe in. I am a partisan Democrat it is true. But the reason I am is because I know who we can pressure to do the right thing some of the times. Republicans aren't them. But that does not mean we accept the failings of our Democrats. There is nothing more important that we can do, as citizens, activists or bloggers than fight to pressure DEMOCRATS to do the right thing on OUR issues.

And this is true in every context I think. Be it pressing the Speaker or the Senate majority leader, or the new hope running for President. There is nothing more important we can do. Nothing. It's more important BY FAR than "fighting" for your favorite pol because your favorite pol will ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS, disappoint you.

In the middle of primary fights, citizens, activists and bloggers like to think their guy or woman is different. They are going to change the way politics works. They are going to not disappoint. In short, they are not going to be pols. That is, in a word, idiotic.

Yes, they are all pols. And they do what they do. Do not fight for pols. Fight for the issues you care about. That often means fighting for a pol of course. But remember, you are fighting for the issues. Not the pols.

Lambert invited me to discuss what the blogosphere should do now. My short answer is that it should do what it should have been doing before - fighting for the issues each particular blog believes in through the mechanisms it feels are most effective. The short answer is to do what is most effective to advance the cause of the issues you believe in. Let me give you an example of an issue I do not believe in but know that many of you do - fighting against trade agreements. I am a free trader - a supporter of NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO etc. Most of you are not. When Obama backed off of his positions on renegotiating NAFTA, I was pleased so I was not going to criticize him for it. Indeed, when he demagogued on the issue in Ohio during the primaries, I felt confident it did not express his true views. I was unconcerned and confident he would abandon those views after Ohio. And he did. I have no complaints. But a lot of you should. You should be blasting Obama on the issue.

By contrast, I thought Obama would not back off of his opposition to the FISA Capitulation bill. Now that he has, I have been criticizing him severely. You see, I am fighting for the issues I believe in. And so should you... That is my vision of what the blogosphere should be. And what it should have been throughout.

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Submitted by lambert on

So...

What happened?

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

...got squelched in favor of fandom. It wasn't just blogs either but forums and even online magazines that had comment sections. How do we maintain an even hand? A lot of blogs gave in to the authoritarian power they had to go in one direction. That's not so bad if it's a single owner blog but when it's a diverse community crushing dissent has serious consequences.

BoGardiner's picture
Submitted by BoGardiner on

And feelings.

And not qualifications or issues.

Or evidence.

The direction it took could be explained rather well by evolutionary psychologists and sociobiologists, who I expect will one day dissect it at length.

Submitted by lambert on

... is because posters there, very much including BTD, were offering something that very few other places in the blogosphere offered.

The question is, what did they offer?

And why did the rest of the blogosphere not offer it anymore?

Personally, I'd say -- borrowing the term from VastLeft -- that they weren't truthy.

I'm not sure that sociobiology is the way to explain that....

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I was a little surprised that your leading thrust is that we should hew closely to issues of personal interest.

I was expecting the topic here would be about the health of the blogosphere and the need to change, upgrade, or replace it, to get something different and better.

Maybe my expectations were just off -- is this not about PB 2.0?

Though in some ways -- especially on voting records -- I don't have any problem with people suggesting similarities between the final two Dem candidates for president in '08, the notion that all pols suck equally is IMHO dangerously reductive.

"Everything is everything" and issues-only focus become carte blanche for not caring about dimensions like dishonesty, hypocrisy, truthiness, unfair play, and low-quality media coverage and prevailing wisdoms.

Your record during this campaign speaks for itself -- you've called bullshit on many such matters IIRC, not confining yourself to an issues-only view.

To me, again my apologies if I'm mistaking the topic you're intending to address here, PB 2.0 is about recognizing that and how truthiness and groupthink destroyed the integrity of the citizen journalism movement that was so valuable in documenting and helping fight against Bush's sins.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

it is the structure of PB1.0 that allows for truthiness and groupthink to dominate rather easily (the whole clusterf!@#k unfolded over a matter of weeks).

So, in addition to substance, PB2.0 will have to deal with structure as well. The hub model (a la DK) needs to be reconsidered as it lent itself so fast to the evil twins of truthiness and groupthink + lynch mob mentality, and a great ability to spread the most ridiculous rumors.

Submitted by lambert on

... It's almost as if slower propagation might have its virtues. Like slow food.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

is that it cannot last long... people run out of steam before long. I think we can see the exhaustion in Pb1.0 already... hence the quick discouragement at the first signs of BO's sellouts.

That's another thing we might want to emphasize... we can fight for issues over the long term with new evidence, new elements, new arguments.

Truth Partisan's picture
Submitted by Truth Partisan on

Although BTD may applaud the professional approach, in part what happened was that Obama's campaign hired bloggers and used volunteers to post pro-Obama pieces and anti-other-candidate comments in many places.

Hey BTD, good to see you. Love your work.

Submitted by lambert on

I think what you say is quite plausible, but that's not the same as saying you've given evidence for it.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

BoGardiner's picture
Submitted by BoGardiner on

A friend of mine who's awaiting his account approval on Corrente is trying to follow this discussion at his home, but he's seeing a version of the site that's hours old. So only subscribers can read Corrente in real time?

Submitted by lambert on

Pages are cached so that in very high traffic periods the server doesn't have to build each page for each user.

I reset the cache to refresh much more often -- that's why your friend is seeing old pages; they were cached. Tell them to refresh their browser every 5 minutes or so.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I am more an more convinced that blogosphere is ill suited to electoral politics and much better on messaging and issues. Atrios remains one of the best bloggers precisely because he sticks to push back on media madness and stays away from primaries.

Open Left remained sane during the whole pie fight because it is chiefly about issues.

FireDogLake has done fastastic work on FISA precisely because it plays to blogosphere's strengths, as a rapid response to disinformation and to mobilize citizens in a quickly shifting situation.

Except for local bloggers, most candidate blogging winds up being my candidate and better than yours nayh nayh.

Submitted by lambert on

The "ill suited to electoral politics" argument is good, but I don't see why it's true.

Yes, on Atrios, and the real fiasco of the "War Room" video only happened after he came out in favor of one candidate (although he had been visibly tilting before).

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

... though for now you'll have to make do with us!

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Caro's picture
Submitted by Caro on

I believe that we need to work harder to build on what has proven itself to be the truly reality-based community, the community of blogs that didn't fall for the Obama shtick, whether they said they'd be voting for him, as you did, Armando, or not.

But to become a real force, we can't continue to all be separate and doing our own thing without supporting each other. We could drive traffic to each others' sites and raise (that is, lower) our Technorati scores by linking to each other more. A LOT more. And we could do a much better job of promoting ourselves as a group, with the help of the professionals among us.

Why aren't we doing that?

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

Submitted by lambert on

... thinking of ourselves as a network, and acting that way. Ad hoc linking won't do it, I don't think.

Although I grant this begs the question of who gets to join the network. Anyone who isn't FITH is a pretty good litmus test, but is it good enough?

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

BoGardiner's picture
Submitted by BoGardiner on

"[TalkLeft was] offering something that very few other places in the blogosphere offered...

And why did the rest of the blogosphere not offer it anymore?...

Personally, I’d say — borrowing the term from VastLeft — that they weren’t truthy."

What do you see as the origin of truthiness, Lambert?

See, to me, truthiness is only a symptom of the problems, not the source problems themselves.

Submitted by brucedixon on

that tells you the so-called blogosphere, or more broadly the intertubes themselves or any other new technologies are some kind of singular engines of democracy and human enlightenment, or make anything necessarily different just because they exist. The intertubes are just another technological toolkit.

In our case, the marketeers have grabbed it, and are off and running to make sure they can track every interaction and datamine everything so they can rig every moment of our waking lives to making them money. Same with the cops, for their reasons.

The telecoms are always looking for ways to pursue their historic business model of cherry picking and redlining, making broadband scarcer and slower for most people than it needs to be (that's why the US is seventh or twentieth in broadband penetration, and waaaaay behind the rest of the developed world in broadband speed) and unavailable except at premium prices to many in inner cities, small towns and rural areas.

Your mistake is that you bought into "the internet changes everything". It doesn't, never has and never could. Technologies do not determine the course of history. Not the invention of the broom, or moveable type or the slave ship or any of that. All were important, mind you, but none were the actual engines of history. Give up the notion that the existence of the interubes "changes everything" and has within itself the stuff to make us all better, and take two aspirin, and you'll feel better. I promise.

It's just another set of tools, and just another battleground, like all the others, in which we have to fight for the commons, and for our own interests against the ruling greedheads.

Bruce Dixon
www.blackagendareport.com

Submitted by lambert on

Not me. It changed some things.

What I'm interested in is exactly what happened to the commons. The media critique was part of the commons, and it got pissed away by PB 1.0 (though YMMV on the individual blogger, clearly there was a major systemic collapse). Why? And what to do next?

Oh, as far as the commons: One could look at the assault on net neutrality as the equivalent of the enclosure movements in England in the 18th C. Is that what you had in mind?

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

...by individuals. If we're to have a commons and an individual owner of a community site (like Kos) there has to be a commitment to allow diversity, criticism, and dissent within the bounds of the progressive or democratic spectrum.

Submitted by lambert on

"Get your own blog" is all very well when things are starting out, but when the power curve has done its work, and there are a very few at the top and a long, long tail, things change. Not a moral judgement, just how things always are....

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... to think the internets or the blogospheres are a panacea.

They were, however, a useful place for refining and influencing opinion in the face of the full-scale media meltdown. In this campaign, once-valuable sites turned into hell-holes, and they spread truthiness on the left that was fully comparable in dishonesty as that which the right has spewed and consumed lo these many years.

I don't think you had to be a total dupe to find it a little surprising how (near-) fully, rapidly, and terribly that happened.

Submitted by brucedixon on

but there is a notion pretty widespread in this society that technology drives societal change. It's almost an unspoken assumption, though an incorrect one, You don't have to be a fool to be fooled on that score. If nobody here admits to believing that, well so much the better.

Then there is no question as to "what went wrong" at all.

What the internet has been for a little while is a kind of battleground, like lambert says, in which we are forced to fight to establish a piece of the commons.

The smart marketers, whose job it is to get people to consume things not necessarily in their own interest, the guys who sell us SUVs with commercials of people driving underwater and up the sides of buildings, these guys have run the presidential campaigns for decades now. Those marketing firms have grown to include internet marketing teams --- Fox owns MySpace, remember, and we got what we got--- another product sold to us on false pretenses, and many of ordinary folks turned into viral marketing drones, meatbots, zombies doing the bidding of their handlers closing the sale, using our own personal email lists to raise money for Obama. Obama meatbots disseminate the message, howl in unison at deviations therefrom, and put little thermometers on their MySpace pages to track how many of their contacts have donated.

It's not any kind of catastrophic failure if you expected, as you say, that the new medium changes nothing by itself. But if you think history is a battleground betwseen social forces in part over the fate of the commons, then it all makes a kind of sense. Slick marketers are slick. That's why it's a trillion dollar industry, and they used the internet and their study of manipulative psychology to sell a candidate under false pretenses the same way they sell everything else. How could we expect them to do anything else?

Bruce Dixon
www.blackagendareport.com

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

If you had the slightest grasp on reality, it was (if unpopular in mainstream circles between 9/11/01 and Hurricane Katrina) pretty easy to be a whole lot more insightful than Bush and his proponents.

Choosing among centrist Democrats required somewhat more finesse, and the weaknesses of once always-right bloggers suddenly were there for all to see, if only they would, which generally they wouldn't.

BoGardiner's picture
Submitted by BoGardiner on

The network idea sounds a good one. I'm assuming the advantages would be a clear mission statement, objectives, code of conduct, etc, that a blogsite would be expected to adhere to? Is that the idea?

Also, how important is the Technorati score?

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

I had been saying that for months before I got thrown off the Cheeto. The place was crawling with operatives like nits on a baboon. I emailed Markos about it and he told me I was being paranoid. So either he was incredibly naive or he was in on it. I choose the latter. Not only that but the site itself became like one gigantic focus group where opposition research could be carried out.

The longer I live, the more I come to realize that there are some people who will not succumb to BS. I don't know what makes these people different but I *did* notice that as time went on, the quality of the writing at DKos became poorer as did reasoning skills. It happened rather rapidly but maybe it was there before during the Dean era when I wasn't blogging there. I don't know if it is youth or just an influx of the kind of people who would have become Hare Krishnas 20 years ago.

And maybe that is a reality that we have to come to grips with. Bloggers are smart, but maybe not as smart as we thought. They are still human and their emotions are no less malleable than a freepers. It just takes a different set of trigger words and social dynamics.

Come together at The Confluence

Submitted by lambert on

I think for many of us, being thrown off Kos by the OFB was a formative experience. What I noticed:

1. Coordinated messaging, down almost to shift changes.

2. No depth of argumentation -- at most two exchanges, and then it was "you're a racist" (or whatever) and they were off

3. Focus on conversion narratives.

Now, if I were doing journalism, I'd say that was suggestive, but not evidential. I'd really want a link or a cite, and for all the rumors, I haven't seen any such.

OTOH, I'm also running a site, so if I'm doing "intel" in defense of the site, I'd say "Dots connected!" and take action...

I do think that defending PB 2.0 against such assaults is important and if we were writing a requirements statement that would be part of it.

This is quite different from BTD's "write what you believe" stance, which is a baseless, necessary, but not sufficient.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

Wasn't Bill Moyers involved in the creation of the corporation for public broadcasting? There must be a history of the insspiration, charter, standards, means of funding, etc. Why not recreate that but modernize it?

Come together at The Confluence

Submitted by lambert on

PB 2.0 as a legal entity.....

My metaphor as been the NFL, in that large market teams partially support small market teams, for the good of the league. I do think we need to get away from the site/traffic model.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

The “ill suited to electoral politics” argument is good, but I don’t see why it’s true.

I can't articulate it, but I think it has to do with the fact that you can't see who you are talking to. It is easy to forget there is a person on the other side of the screen.

In local politics if you are active you get used to the idea that this years opponent is next years ally. So there is less bridge burning. Sometimes that can be bad. That is how Lieberman won, because too many people were used to him and had been through many campaigns with him. Most of the time it is good.

Obama's inexperience showed in the scorched earth primary. It was sickening the way he successfully projected on the Clinton the very tactics he was using. Now he is paying the price. Now many Democrats, in some cases people who have been active for decades, don't want anything to do with him.

That is part of the reason I don't think blogs are great for electoral politics, the lend themselves to scorched earth tactics far too easily.

Submitted by lambert on

Because surely, when you start connected dots, people who really, really need to be scorched, like insurance executives, are part of the problem....

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by brucedixon on

Campaigns are time-limited exercises in which the shot callers generally direct the drones to either convince somebody with an exchange or two, or tell 'em have a nice day and move on to someone else you maybe can convince.

It's about racking up the numbers. In a campaign, the way it's run, you generally don't trust drones to do the convincing. Just the closing and counting.

But on issues you don't have the clock ticking, so many hours till the polls open. You can take the time to convince people. Also issue politics are more decentralized than a campaign with its messaging machinery. That's the difference.

Bruce Dixon
www.blackagendareport.com

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

Can speech really be free if it has a price tag associated with it? I think the answer is no. The person who holds your paycheck controls your speech.
OTOH, blogging costs money. Technology is not free and CPB style netword still needs to fund itself so that it can experiment beyond the blog to more interactive, less keyboard bound means of communication. Plus, some people are really good at this intertubez thingy and should be paid to do it full time (with bennies). The problem is, what is a good business model that will take advantage of the commons but not the advertisers?

Come together at The Confluence

Submitted by lambert on

OTOH, I'd be loathe to sign away, say, Amazon books.

If we want people to join a network, we don't want to add disincentives...

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

...and one I have no answer for. :) Subscription as Lambert suggests or minimal adverts to cover server costs. Google ads and other auto generated ads don't really make a site as beholden to advertisers as the more profitable directly sold ads but it is tempting to start running analytics and watching what posts/posters make the revenue rise. Ultimately, I think we're more reliant on site owners being benevolent dictators than any of us would like. I run a local political/community forum and I hate the fact that I'm the one in charge and I'm paying completely out of pocket with no ads -- even with no real money on the line it's still tempting to huff up and kick people out when they disrespect you and you're the owner.

Edgeoforever's picture
Submitted by Edgeoforever on

Some of the bloggers embraced the mainstream media in the hope of part of it. mediums aside, it's the typical case of corruption of idealism at work.
I have a feeling that for some of the bloggers it became a power trip to be part of the wolf pack rather than watchdogs - on the outside looking in.
As Bruce Dixon said here, we are talking of a different medium - not necessarily a different world altogether.
The so called mainstream media has done its best to be present on the internet - so the mere fact of writing on blogs is hardly edgy.
It all goes back to that old source of relevance: integrity.

Not Your Sweetie
http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/

Submitted by lambert on

The way I read Milgram, sociologists please correct, is that anybody can lose their integrity, given circumstances. It isn't like good and evil are matters of "us" and "them."

So, the issue is how to design a system that supports integrity. Some power, but not too much... Some money, but not too much.... And so on.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

Pb1.0 indeed operates with clear leaders (authority is important in Milgram's experiment)

there is a lack of accountability (which is a feature of the Internet... would you insult people that way if it were a face to face encounter?)

add to that self-righteousness of a religious fanatic nature

and a structure where a lot of people come with these 3 ingredients... it's a toxic mix.

Submitted by lambert on

... surely such a mix is not unknown in previous history. Is there a solution? At least a temporary, provisional, one?

I can see that "flattening" the readership power curve some would de-fuse authority somewhat.

But what about the lack of accountability? How can there be accountability and anonymity at the same tim e?

And as far as fanatacism... How to detect before its too late?

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

- Leaders... I think a horizontal networking structure takes care of that problems, rather than hubs with frontpagers who set the tone or refuse to restrain the pack.

- Accountability: I think, in a flexible network would come from mutual checking... we gave VL an infinite amount of !@#$ for his endorsement of BO, but we also explained why we thought he was wrong... some good discussion on leverage came out of that (+ some of us offered him irresistible rewards :-) )

And the network does not have to reward "bad behavior" whereas the hub did.

Removing the reward structure and presenting evidence of bad behavior to the people who engage in it tends to be efficient.

- the first signs are indeed the end of objectivity in viewing a potential leader as unfallible.

But constant critique, with evidence (AKA linky goodness) and good analytical tools (like those from the social sciences ;-) shameless plug) would work well too.

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

Stop thinking in French -- you'll get yourself into more trouble. ;)

Truth Partisan's picture
Submitted by Truth Partisan on

links, Lambert?

Sorry about the way the links are posted here below--there's still a new problem with my posting of embedded urls...

There are a lot of links out there about the Obama campaign's blogging approach, including on this blog and from the Obama campaign.

That's why I was considering it general knowledge.
Here's some links on the Obama campaign on their use of internet technology and their blogging team--if you want more, let me know.

Here's the on-going effort: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun...

Here's on some internet techniques the Obama campaign has used:
http://www.itwire.com/content/view/19066...

Here's on co-founder Facebook's Chris Hughes, a huge hire:
http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB1...

And then there's this: "Becky Carroll, national director of Women for Obama...said the Obama campaign's outreach to women has grown through the primary season to now number 30,000 core organizers and surrogates, who actively recruit online..."(and other activities.)
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2...

Submitted by lambert on

... so let me clarify what I'm asking for.

Any modern campaign that doesn't have an Internet outreach program would be derelict and so -- since we are all agreed that the Obama campaign has been flawless -- the Obama campaign had one. And that's what your links show (unless I missed something).

However, what many of believe -- yet for which, no evidence other than our own experiences has been produced -- is that there was a coordinated, funded online effort by the Obama campaign to use trolling tactics to purge all the major sites and most media properties of [not Obama] supporters.

Now, since Axelrod's day job is corporate Astroturfing, it would seem a very natural thing for him to use such tactics.

But so far, no evidence for this has been produced.

That's not the same thing as saying that PB 2.0 needs to be defended against such assaults; indeed, Bruce Dixon is pointing to the same idea from the angle of "marketing."

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

... signalled by "we are all agreed," an obvious untruth....

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Big Tent Democrat's picture
Submitted by Big Tent Democrat on

I was a little surprised that your leading thrust is that we should hew closely to issues of personal interest.

I was expecting the topic here would be about the health of the blogosphere and the need to change, upgrade, or replace it, to get something different and better.

VastLeft, I think I am giving you MY vision of what I think the blogosphere should be - to wit, people being true to their views and the facts.

If you can convince more people to follow your views than I, presuming we differ on an issue, more power to you. to me, the biggest problem is lack of integrity to our true value and views.

That is the reform I believe in for the blogosphere. A commitment to the truth - to what you truly believe and to what is true as fact.

Vast Left further writes:

[T]he notion that all pols suck equally is IMHO dangerously reductive.

It would indeed be dangerously reductive and I would never say that. SOME pols respond to the views that you might adhere to for any number of reasons. some will not. Indeed, as I wrote, I am a democrat because I believe only democrats will be in any responsive to my views. John McCain does not care what I think (and perhaps neither does Barack Obama) and will not alter his positions to court me. some Dems will. some Dems won't. I will support the Dems who support the positions I support. I will support other Dems when supporting them forwards issues I care about, even if they may not share my views (think control of the congress, etc.)

But I am sanguine - I know what pols are and what they care about the most - getting elected and reelected. nothing else comes close for them. And in some ways, that is their job, It is OUR job to make getting elected or reelected dependent on them catering to us.

Vast Left further writes:

“Everything is everything” and issues-only focus become carte blanche for not caring about dimensions like dishonesty, hypocrisy, truthiness, unfair play, and low-quality media coverage and prevailing wisdoms.

I disagree. Understanding the pols are not committed to the truth does not mean we should nopt be. Indeed, I say quite clearly that my commitment is always to the truth, whether I like it or not.

Finally, Vast Left writes:

To me, again my apologies if I’m mistaking the topic you’re intending to address here, PB 2.0 is about recognizing that and how truthiness and groupthink destroyed the integrity of the citizen journalism movement that was so valuable in documenting and helping fight against Bush’s sins.

I think that my post IS about that. I think my highest value is to the truth. I think one of the things I am saying that perhaps you do not accept is that the blogs were fundamentally not committed to the truth - nor where they committed to issues. this is what led to what you call "truthiness" - I call it dishonesty and so called "groupthink" - which I call collective dishonesty.

First principles - why did the blogs become "truthy" and "groupthinky"? My thesis is it was because they came to value the pol over the truth, the truth of the core value or position and the to the truth as fact. that was the central problem.

And that is what destroyed the credibility of the Left Blogs during the primaries.

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