Friday, April 2, 2010

Blog Wars, Nothin' But Blog Wars...

Avedon  expresses about as compactly as possible the elements of the latest Blog Wars between the Greenwald/Hamsher faction, which has established a PAC, and the dKos faction, which seems determined to use innuendo to cast aspersions on any liberal blogger who either (a) earns part of his or her living from the blog, (b) gets paid anything at all for work done in behalf of "the cause," or (most significantly) criticizes Obama in any way. The whole business is regrettable, and is certain to reduce the total effectiveness of both the Democratic and the Progressive blogosphere in the political arena. It seems that does not matter to some people.

Mine has never been more than a tiny individual blog, nor have I sought anything grander; in theory, I don't have a doggerel in this race. But I have a stake in political outcomes and inevitably in the means employed to bring them about. I cannot help having feelings about it when the suggestion is made that people either contribute their usually paid skills for free or sacrifice time in which they otherwise could be doing paid work to work pro bono instead for progressive causes, or else be accused of not being dedicated to "the cause." Avedon names writers and artists as targets of this (usually but not always well-intended) expectation; to that short list I would add IT professionals and sometimes musicians (there are doubtless others I have inadvertently omitted). If you're not on that list, you may be amazed at what people will ask you to do for free, and how indistinguishable it is from what you do for a living. In my experience, most people who ask are not on the list themselves... why am I not surprised.

Let's face it: blogging will not save the world, or even the nation. If you want to save our collapsing political system, you have really only two choices:
  • Phone-bank, block-walk and (if appropriate and possible) contribute money to individual candidates you think might help. It's all very labor-intensive, but I did my share of it before my feet went south, and it's the only thing an ordinary American can do that has an actual effect on outcomes. The effectiveness of shoe leather is only marginally greater than that of spitting in the wind, but people do notice who's at their front door or on their phone... and they truly do not give a damn what you post on your individual blog.
  • Support someone like Hamsher and Greenwald (through their Accountability Now PAC) to do some of your homework for you. The results of doing this are even dicier than of helping individual candidates yourself, but it gives some sense (rightly or wrongly) of extending one's reach nationally in a way that few of us can manage on our own. 
Here ends the sermon for the day. I suppose it is futile to ask the big players to put away their light sabers, but I hope that in this blog war, as in all that have gone before it, something resembling sanity prevails before the combatants (yes, particularly the dKos crowd) look around and see nothing but spited faces and cut-off noses.


  1. I hate to say it, but the dKos crowd pissed me off big time in its sell out to Obama care,Although Greenwald and Jane got very big time, they still, adhere to the old progressive meme, and for my money are among the only real liberal voices left. KOS has become another corp kissing Demo.

  2. mandt, I don't have any personal grievance with dKos. I am, however, aggravated by how many of them seem actively to target large progressive sites that criticize Obama's policy blunders (Hamsher and Greenwald, e.g.) with ad hominem attacks in their comment threads. That was bad enough. Then a few of them, some of them authors of well-known sites apart from dKos, began to "investigate" Hamsher's and Greenwald's PAC, Accountability Now, no difficult task since it may be the world's most financially transparent org. These "investigations" reach no conclusions... there are none to reach... but have been published anyway, intended apparently as cheap-shot hit-pieces. This kind of thing is very unhealthy for the entire left-of-center blogosphere, both Democratic and progressive blogs, and it needs to stop.

  3. "This kind of thing is very unhealthy for the entire left-of-center blogosphere" So right Steve, it makes me sad, angry and tired.



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