Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 2, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE NETROOTS CONT'D....Last night I was mulling over Jon Chait's piece about the netroots in TNR, trying to figure out why it rubbed me the wrong way even though I agree with an awful lot of what he said. In the end, I think the answer turns out to have almost nothing to do with substance and almost everything to do with tone.

Here's what I mean. In the last third of his piece, Chait makes an obvious point: netroots bloggers are advocates. Their goal isn't to tell both sides of the story or to engage in dispassionate inquiry. Contrarianism isn't seen as a virtue for its own sake. They have a point of view, and their goal is to marshal the best arguments they can come up with to advocate for that point of view. Political calculation is part of the game.

This is unremarkable. In fact, it's so unremarkable that Chait could have simply said this in a paragraph or two and then moved on. It's not as if anyone would argue the point. But instead of doing that, he spins this idea out to nearly 3,000 words using language that seems deliberately designed to be as loaded as possible:

Like any political community, the netroots have developed distinctive linguistic tics that hold special meaning to adherents, and these reveal something about the way the movement thinks....establishing the truth about an idea matters less than phrasing the idea in the most politically effective way....intellectual honesty is deeply alien to the netroots....the netroots critique is [] that the conception of fairness itself is folly....slight whiff of anti-intellectualism in some quarters of the netroots....The netroots consider the notion of pursuing truth for its own sake nonsensical....There is a term for this sort of political discourse: propaganda....the netroots take part in a great deal of demagoguery, name-calling, and dishonesty.

Now, there's no reason Chait should pull his punches just because he's writing about the blogosphere. And God knows bloggers are just about the touchiest people on the planet when somebody throws some criticism their way. But writers generally choose their words and their tone with some care, and the tone here is not merely a clinical description of how advocacy works. Rather, it seems deliberately designed to make netroots bloggers out as unusually dishonest, hackish, and wild-eyed, even though they're doing the same thing that millions of advocates before them have been doing for thousands of years.

And that's what rubbed me the wrong way.

UPDATE: Armando has a pretty good summary of the blogospheric reaction to Chait's piece here. I agree with nearly all of his comments.

Kevin Drum 1:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (57)

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Comments

Kevin, have you seen the comments on your own blog? Yikes.

Posted by: chris on May 2, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

These sweeping generalizations by Chait may be good for myth making, but they do very little to illuminate the popularity of 'citzen advocacy' for issues dear to the heart of a given blogger. I still tend to see bloggers as pamphleteers, and to the extent that they get involved in political matters, it seems that the reality based community is MORE interested in getting at the facts than the fascist ideologues who closed their accounts with reality when they joined their kooky cults.

Posted by: c4logic on May 2, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Rather, it seems deliberately designed to make netroots bloggers out as unusually dishonest, hackish, and wild-eyed,

Then what would you call someone who never explains both sides of the an issue, but only gives one side but not the other? Believes the only value of an argument is score political points instead of its intellectual honesty? Who sneers at intellectuals trying to be fair and honest unlike the netroots who would never do that? Who cares more about memes and framing the debate than facts? This IS propaganda. This is no different than what Pravda did under Soviet Russia and that is what Chait and the rest of us are attacking.

Posted by: Al on May 2, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Just trying to dismiss. That's all. Here are reasons to ignore left wing bloggers for those who are inclined to ignore left wing bloggers. Any non-approved right wing source must be discredited. People want to be assured that there is no good to come from reading left wing blogs. That its nothing but unamerican dangerous thinking that needs to be shunned. This is their assurance. I bet reading an article like this gives the same relaxing feeling to a 'conservative' that the first cigarette in the morning gives to a smoker.

Posted by: jg on May 2, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Then what would you call someone who never explains both sides of the an issue, but only gives one side but not the other? Believes the only value of an argument is score political points instead of its intellectual honesty? Who sneers at intellectuals trying to be fair and honest unlike [Al] who would never do that? Who cares more about memes and framing the debate than facts?

We all know what to call that person--"Al".

Posted by: haha on May 2, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Al: Then what would you call someone who never explains both sides of the an issue, but only gives one side but not the other? Believes the only value of an argument is score political points instead of its intellectual honesty? Who sneers at intellectuals trying to be fair and honest unlike the netroots who would never do that? Who cares more about memes and framing the debate than facts?

Rush? Hannity? Hume? Coulter? Bush? Cheney? Snow? The list goes on and on.

Posted by: anandine on May 2, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Talkingpointsmemo.com is proof that the net can add to the net total of truth, as well as simply be partisanship.

Their muckraking files are classic.

Posted by: Valuethinker on May 2, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

'Rather, it seems deliberately designed to make netroots bloggers out as unusually dishonest, hackish, and wild-eyed,

Then what would you call someone who never explains both sides of the an issue, but only gives one side but not the other? Believes the only value of an argument is score political points instead of its intellectual honesty? Who sneers at intellectuals trying to be fair and honest unlike the netroots who would never do that? Who cares more about memes and framing the debate than facts? This IS propaganda. This is no different than what Pravda did under Soviet Russia and that is what Chait and the rest of us are attacking.'

Posted by: Al

Then why do you only attack the left? You do realize that both sides do this right?

Posted by: jg on May 2, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

jg,

Al never engages in any debate. He just dumps a lited bag of dog turds on Kevin's pourch and then high-tails it out.

So it's a waste of time to ask him to defend any of his posts.

For the record I think Chiat's comments apply to the entire spectrum of Fox News commentators and right-wing talk radio for the last two decades.

Funny that Chiat never noticed that, or if he did, never bothered to comment on it.

Good thing he's a "liberal" commentator.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on May 2, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

His comments were addressed to a largely right wing audience. My guess is he wasn't trying to trash the netroots as to tell his readers "they are successful because are just like us." Of course, we are not just like them. I have never known a left leaning blogger (used in the most general way) who didn't worship the sound of his on voice. The folks on the right don't mind reading without commenting. Before you jump me, I include myself in my observation. We all like to talk. Just look at the commenters here at political animal. We all have to say something. If we didn't Kevin would be scratching his hair wondering where we went. Now go over to Redstate.com and look at the number of comments posted per topic.

If you want to know the fundamental difference between the right and left side of the blogosphere. We are like cats. They are like dogs. We are all individuals. They are a pack.

There is a pretty sweeping observation, but I bet one that resonates with this audience.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 2, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you still read TNR?! What the heck for? They've got nuthin' and they've had it for a long time ...

Posted by: LarryK on May 2, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think your real problem with Chait is that what he says in your excerpts is mostly false.

Because the right-wing noise machine and the MSM are conservative or predominantly report what conservatives say, the netroots fill a real gap in reporting and opinion journalism. They point out what the other side of the story is. This is not intellectually dishonest. In most cases, it is more honest than the other media since it includes both the conservative spin and additional facts that so often show the error in that spin.

Take Josh Marshall, for example. What's been "intellectually dishonest" about his following of the firing of the US Attorneys, the handing by the DOJ of political cases and so on? Nothing. It's been important, however, since without it, you would never have found out about this stuff, much less had it evaluated and put together with the accounts of the Republican corruption that Josh had followed earlier. Such work performs an important function, filling a vacuum that has existed in our political discourse for too long.

Posted by: David in NY on May 2, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

And I think Dr. Morpheus has nailed a really important point:

For the record I think Chait's comments apply to the entire spectrum of Fox News commentators and right-wing talk radio for the last two decades.

Funny that Chait never noticed that, or if he did, never bothered to comment on it.

Where were Chait and his ilk over the last 15 to 20 years when the scurrilous and fact-deprived conservatives in talk-radio were in ascendancy? Was anyone complaining about them being "intellectually dishonest" or engaging in "propaganda," which they manifestly were? Of course not, even though they (including all the national and the local right-wing talkers) have wielded enormous power.

Posted by: David in NY on May 2, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Then what would you call someone who never explains both sides of the an issue, but only gives one side but not the other?"

I'd call him Al.

Posted by: Kenji on May 2, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Chait's article never mentioned the truth - notice that. He talks about the Mean ol' uncivil leftist bloggers, but never asks how they've done on uncovering the truth, compared to the likes of Chait. Of course, that couldn't be due to the abysmal failures of the likes of Chait for the past decade or two, could it now?

As for nasty reactions, look at Joe Klein in Swampland, when the peasants dared to talk back. Even on matters of flat-out fact, he took criticism as a crime.

Posted by: Barry on May 2, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Al" bleated:

"Then what would you call someone who never explains both sides of the an issue, but only gives one side but not the other?"

Instapundit. Heh.

Posted by: Trollhattan on May 2, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

So naturally Chait supplied examples from major bloggers that support all of those attacks, right?

Posted by: PaulB on May 2, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Then what would you call someone who never explains both sides of the an issue, but only gives one side but not the other?

Glenn Reynolds.

This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions (h/t Atrios)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 2, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I should check new comments before I hit post. Trollhattan got there first.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 2, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Kevin, have you seen the comments on your own blog? Yikes."

And your problem with the comments here is what, exactly?

In any case, like all too many, you're falsely equating bloggers with blog commenters. The two are quite distinct. Inevitably, when someone like Chait goes after the "netroots," they always end up mentioning individual e-mails and blog commenters, since that's the only way they can make their case about how wild-eyed we are.

Posted by: PaulB on May 2, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

I do not think an honest journalist can lambast bloggers and their commenters for their advocacy and write for a political magazine that hides behind its false journalistic integrity in order to advocate for its realpolitik issues and be an apologist for Israeli crimes.

Chait was one of those ultra-establishment writers for The Atlantic. He needs to destroy both The Atlantic and The New Republic for their lies and advocacy, which have done far more to lower political discourse in America, before he turns his attention to the blogosphere.

Perhaps Chait can intern for Ken Silverstein over at Harper's and learn about real journalism.

Posted by: Brojo on May 2, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I originally posted this as a "fuck you" to Lie-berman and Boehn-head. But I'm glad to add Chait to the list of those I full-on intend to offend.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 2, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Chait doesn't mention that a blogger did a better job on the USA scandal than his MSM buddies did?

Now that's intellectual dishonesty.

Posted by: skeg on May 2, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

So naturally Chait supplied examples from major bloggers that support all of those attacks, right?

What PaulB said. I'd like to see Chait cite an example of a netroots blogger for whom -- let's see -- "intellectual honesty is deeply alien" to the extent of Powerline, Instapundit and Althouse, to name only three.

Also, my hat is off to those who cited Instahack and Al him/her/itself back at Al's question.

Posted by: Gregory on May 2, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

This is unremarkable. In fact, it's so unremarkable that Chait could have simply said this in a paragraph or two and then moved on. It's not as if anyone would argue the point. But instead of doing that, he spins this idea out to nearly 3,000 words using language that seems deliberately designed to be as loaded as possible:

Gee, maybe that's because Chait is an advocate, and a reactionary?

Really - there's nothing going on here, in the netroots, that can't be explained as anything other than a reaction to the Corporate dominated newsmedia of the past 20 years.

Oh yay - the other side gets a voice now.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on May 2, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

I find Chait's piece on the "netroots" to be quite interesting and especially for what it lacks. And for a variety of reasons, so permit me to elaborate.

As the primary writer for the "cactus juice commentaries" located on our web site, Chicano Veterans Organization, Mr. Chait conveniently neglects, dismisses, and ignores our voice on the Internet. Of course, this is to be expected. And whether we are defined as "propagandists" or "advocates", the "ideas" are what counts for the Long Term.

Take, for example, some consequential and "unassailable" facts are indeed important. We advocated for a Declaration of War in the run-up to the Republicans' War for a Manifest Destiny Exported as the premise for our national foreign policy. As such, we advocated for "raising the bar" and yet, we got the weasel clause found in the War Powers Act.

Another example is that we have long advocated for a single-payer systemic for universal health care and that it be "rolled-into" the VA Health Care and Hospital Mechanism. And to wit, Phillip Longman's recently released book and titled, "Best Care Anywhere: Why VA Health Care Is Better Than Yours" make our argument successfully and does so quite easily. Thus, we are making progress for the Long Term.

And for many years, we have advocated for a Military Draft, or more precisely, an "academic-military" draft, and this notional is slowly spreading across the blogosphere. We calculate that it will take another five years before our 'idea' reaches its "tipping point."

And much to the consternation of the national media, Dr. Josh Marshall is to be highly commended for taking the time and expense to project the U.S Attorneys or "purgegate" to new levels in public discourse. As America's "racial and ethnics" we have had to contend with this historical bigotry and racism and perpetuated by the Republican Dip Sticks in order for them to win elections. This behavior from the Right should not continue.

And yet, when it comes to War and Peace, Atrios conveniently makes the point that we have been making for years as well, that some of America's well-known propagandists and advocates "got it wrong" when it mattered most. And you can jugde for yourself on this list below:

-Peter Beinart
-Kenneth Pollock
-George Tenet
-Francis Fukuyama
-William Kristol
-Rich Lowery
-George Will
-Tom Friedman
-Christopher Hitchens
-Micheal Ledeen

But at the end of the day, votes count and we manage to mobilize the overwhelming majority of Chicano military veterans (3.3 million) and if we add in our spouses, sons and daughter, friends and neighbors, our tally will round out to approximately more than 5 million votes on Election Day. In contrast, those persons disagreeing with us and our "ideas" will be relegated to the political back bench where they rightfully belong. And that's our political reality. Needless to say, but I will, President Bush has never, since his inauguration seven years ago, set foot on a Rez, and that too is our reality here in the Sonoran Desert.

Now, getting back to Chait. I am sure Mr. Chait paid his taxes on April the Fifteenth, and yet, he will not know that the fifteenth was our self-proclaimed National Chicano Military Vets Day. Further, Mr. Chait will not know that we are advocating for either Chief Joseph or Chief Seattle's portraiture be placed on the twenty dollar bill. And if Mr. Chait were a historian, he would surely know the whyfor of our political logic. And if not, we won't hold that against him.

Respectfully Submitted.

Jaango

Posted by: Jaango on May 2, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if Jonathan Chait can truly appreciate the rich irony of seeing his denouncement of the bologosphere's "intellectual [dis]honesty" published in The New Republic, a magazine which spent the better part of the period 2002-04 functioning as an obsequious and unapologetic cheerleader for the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on May 2, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Chait - I don't find propaganda all that interesting.

Which is why I would never read TNR (his employer).

Seriously, TNR's obsession is foreign policy hawkery: the Middle East, Muslims, Arabs, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, etc. Does anybody think TNR is anything CLOSE to an honest observer on these topics?

Posted by: luci on May 2, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Good Morning, Donald.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 2, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Chait is wrong about his serious compatriots being interested in 'truth' while the DFH lefty bloggers are interested in obtaining practical objectives regardless of 'truth.'

When bogoid pundits talk like this, the only things I can imagine that they are referring to are stuff like their goofy thought experiments about ticking clocks and torture that come out of 2rd rate '24' scripts. If 'truth' is wasting one's time doing thought experiments in worlds where the sea is boling hot, pigs have wings, and the square circle exists, then these nincompated pedagogues can keep their weird notiion of 'truth'. I will stick to truth in this real world right here, which seems smoehow more relevant for debates on social and government policies.

Posted by: anon on May 2, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with David in NY. As a science person and academic, i got turned on to liberal bloggers (around seven years ago) because they did not do what Chait said. They acknowledged both sides of the argument but then explained why the liberal position was better. For example, social security, the liberal blogs i read like TPM, atrios, and Drum pointed out the plusses and minuses of each approach but used reasonable thinking and assumptions (at least to a liberal like myself) why personal accounts were not worth it. I never felt uniformed about the other side but I had great insight from folks who spent time learning the issues why one approach was better. it was easy to check out their thinking and assumptions and make an informed decision. Just what a sciency person and thinker would like.

Posted by: Bill Hicks on May 2, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Is Armando now blogging as Big Tent Democrat? How long has that been going on? I never got the memo on that.

Posted by: desmoinesdem on May 2, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

I'd write this to Mr. Chait myself but TNR comments are closed unless you're a subscriber!

The netroots don't think or march in lockstep. They don't. They don't think carefully or think through what they're saying, often times - they're of-the-moment, imprecise, messy, if you like.. So what? It's a free country. How about celebrating diversity of opinion and being more generous about it - overwhelming support for some issues doesn't translate to everyone being in lockstep.

I also think the beef with the DLC and TNR is fundamentally about spokespersons from both organizations frequently painting the entire left as.. some combination of "angry" and "crazy" and "hates America." And the left thinking, let's start our own media and organizations (blogs, MoveOn) because the establishment liberal/left is busy being embarrassed & calling us names and standing by helpless as the right wing hijacks our government, steals an election and lies us into a costly, senseless war.

It's all about decorum and Iraq. In the DC establishment world, being wrong about decorum and right about Iraq is unacceptable. Those crazy unwashed hordes of bloggers! But you can be as wrong as wrong can be (and mendacious on top of it) about Iraq to this day, so long as you do it with the proper language and manners, and you'll still be treated with all the respect in the world.

Posted by: dar1a g on May 2, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

"They have a point of view, and their goal is to marshal the best arguments they can come up with to advocate for that point of view."

So the moral of the story is that people with a point of view can't be honest by definition. Only the Slatternly contrarian who has no belief sbout anything can tell the truth.

Bite me Chait. You're a fucking idiot.

Posted by: Disturbance on May 2, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

We are liberal because we believe in liberal ideas, and by and large, we've been proven correct.

Netroots are also smug. Not a problem. Limbaugh is also smug.

Kevin Drum is usually reasonably balanced, though pro-Democratic. Josh Marshall is more willing than KD to criticize Democrats and Democratic policy when he disagrees (c.f. pork and the possibility of graft.) Josh Marshall and George Will complement each other well, when read repeatedly over time, though Will is obviously not a blogger.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 2, 2007 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Chait's novelette is more like an extended queef resulting from high-minded intercourse with Peretz.

Posted by: freelixir on May 2, 2007 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

From today's LA Times, regarding formal vs informal journalists:

At a press conference with Chief Bratton about 9 Tuesday night at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Park View, tensions between the informal press and the formal press bubbled over.

As the chief spoke, with Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger at his side, at least 40 people surrounded him, with six or seven squatting on the ground in front to hear better. About half of the group appeared not to be official members of the press corps, but rather, protesters and self-appointed journalists affiliated with the protesters. When it came time to call out questions -- often a competitive moment among reporters from competing news agencies -- the protesters held their own.

As questioners peppered Bratton with demands for answers, some seemed more intent on expressing their own views than hearing Bratton's and there was confusion about whether those speaking were paid by an established news organization or were self-appointed.

A large man in front of the chief to his right, who had been heckling with words of skepticism throughout the event, repeatedly asked in a loud voice whether the chief planned to appoint a civilian panel to investigate the incident. He interrupted reporters. Tempers flared. Dave Clark, a well-known broadcast journalist with KCAL 9 and CBS 2, admonished him to be quiet. "We are trying to work here!" Clark said.

At one point, Bratton also asked this man to be quiet. The press conference was being held for the benefit of the official media, he said. The man responded by insisting he was a "citizen journalist," but then backed down, professing his respect for the chief.

Posted by: Brojo on May 2, 2007 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Marelr wrote: Netroots are also smug. Not a problem. Limbaugh is also smug.

But the netroots -- particularly those who opposed the war, as noted in the quote you cited -- have earned the right to be smug (granting your characterization arguendo, although granting the premise of anything you say is usually a mug's game) by being right. Limbaugh, not so much.

Josh Marshall and George Will complement each other well

That's an insult to Marshall. Will's episodes of partisan hackery are well documented. Are you attributing such dishonesty to Marshall?

and by the by, why does conservatism need to rely so much on dishonesty to sell? You should be able to provide insight on that, Marler, being an expert on the subject and all.

Tool.

Posted by: Gregory on May 2, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

I think Chiat's most reasonable point is that the netroots are not organized top down or ideologically and this makes for interesting observations when you compare their influential blogs to those on the right who tend to be more 'movement' oriented. This is perfectly reasonable. The left swarms, the right marches.

The Right does not rely on dishonesty, it relies on principles and borders around a righteous premise. When reality doesn't match, it defends a smaller perimiter.

The Left, such as it is represented by the non-movement of liberal and democratic blogswarm is not interested in coordinated attacks on the Right, just whatever inconsistencies it can find. Capitalizing on those inconsistencies doesn't make ideological sense precisely because they are bottom up and scattershot. The problem is they all add that up to 'evil' when no such evil exists.

So Kos is seen by the right blogosphere as a strange attractor, a weird aggregation of people who share no common principles but their willingness to attack the right, by any means necessary. This is why the right considers Kos and company nutty. They are only consistent in Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by: Cobb on May 2, 2007 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

"Netroots are also smug."

Oh, garbage. It depends entirely on the individual. "Smug" is the last thing I would call Kevin, for example.

"Josh Marshall and George Will complement each other well"

Nope. Josh is a reporter who also happens to occasionally write opinion pieces. Will is simply an opinion writer. And as for accuracy and accountability? No contest -- Josh wins hands down.

Posted by: PaulB on May 2, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

If I am smug it is because I have the archives to prove I was right and they were wrong. Not only were they wrong, they were wrong in how they went about being wrong.

Smug? Fuck yes, I am. Get over it, and get smarter.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 2, 2007 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Afghans can no longer accept or understand civilian deaths from international military operations, President Hamid Karzai said Wednesday after officials said 51 villagers were killed during a U.S.-led offensive against the Taliban in western Afghanistan.

Smug? More like disgusted and ashamed, which the American press corp, with few exceptions, is unable to experience.

Posted by: Brojo on May 2, 2007 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

And God knows bloggers are just about the touchiest people on the planet when somebody throws some criticism their way. -- Kevin Drum

Is this why, Kevin, you deleted my recent posts asking why there has been such an increase in censored comments on your site? It was not profane or rude; it was not intended to be snarky. It was a legitimate question by someone who has been posting here for three years. For the first three years, no deletions that I can recall -- not even abusive nuts like Charlie and Alice. In the last three months -- dozens upon dozens of deletions -- each dismissed with a flip "if you don't like it, don;t post here? What gives? Do you have new monitors? New standards? What?

A note from one of the mods:

[1.) Charlie is the primary reason why we are here. 2.) Kevin addressed our presence in a post a few weeks ago. 3.) I deleted your earlier post because it was apropos of nothing and served no purpose other than to call attention back to the presence of the moderators. We prefer to stay off the radar screen. I address you here because it is obvious you will not be content to let it go.]

Posted by: Pat on May 2, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo: In that you carry the burden of helping start a middle east war with your vote to elect George W. Bush, you might want to take a break from the high horse.

Posted by: Pat on May 2, 2007 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Josh Marshall and George Will complement each other well."

No, but they probably are at least civil in public-- about each other's ties.

Posted by: k on May 2, 2007 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Shit, Armando probably wrote an even longer screed than Chait.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on May 2, 2007 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Another attack on MoveOn.org.

Chait writes another TNR, Broder style hate attack on those "foul mouth" lefty bloggers ALL while ignoring those “foul mouth” right-wing bloggers, the FOX (Murdock's faux) news, the Rush Limbaughs, the Ann Coulters and all the real live propaganda of this administration's seriously cooked intelligence that got the nation into a completely lied about war with Iraq.

Under Chait's rule of political play - only right-wing radicals have the "all-okay", only the Repugs are the party with a licenses to be completely radical and completely rabid. Chait would have Dems somehow believe that it's valid for Repugs to do wiretapping, torture, to creatively lie about all matter of government policy and even competely cooked up reasons for war.

Here we go again with how David Broder is somehow an "honorable" guy to complain about Harry Raid and his recent comment about how Iraq is lost BUT, indeed the Iraq is far more lost than it will ever be won.

And still Chait hatefully insist that MoveOn.org and Daily Kos is nothing more than pure defeatism for Dems everywhere - something liberals should be deeply ashamed of in the face of true propaganda coming from the right, outright lies that kill people, the Bush administration, the GOP and all their very real evils We are told by Chait that Daily Kos better somehow "shut-up" or watch what they say. Dems need to shut-up and keep right on letting the GOP just make-up whatever they will.

THIS IS WHY TNR belongs in a trash can. Why hasn't the TNR turned over a new leaf like the Canada company said they would, nevertheless TNR is STILL the same old mag (or is it still the same old rag), continuely churning out the same liberal hate rant.

Why WOULD anyone be interested in playing Chaits "liberal shame" game anymore?

It only expands and enables this danagerously criminal administration to further lie, continue to insist that liberals should not be listened too. Chait enables ugly armchair pundits like Mr. Broder to say untruth words about Harry Reid and how Reid is a "clown"

Chait enables Broder's attempt to try and shame liberals, and even dare to compare Sen. Reid's comment that the war is lost to Gonzale's lies about why he fired eight US attorneys for political reasons.

True Democratic defeatism would be to listen to Chait belittle lefty bloggers. We get enough of that BS from Broder, so why do we need it from Chait and the TNR? It would be true defeatism to buy a TNR magazine, which would have liberals simply keep right on allowing the GOP to shame the Dems whilst allowing the GOP to keep right on lying, and right on insisting the liberals are nothing but silly idiots.

I think the Dem party has had quite enough of that BS.


Posted by: Cheryl on May 3, 2007 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

Good points Cheryl. What is TNR's reason for being? Why is it such a back stabbing rag? I think it is because its writers have a great stake in the establlished way our political system works and they have zero desire to see it changed.

Posted by: Brojo on May 3, 2007 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting followup to this, out today in the Nation:
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070521/melber

Posted by: Ben on May 3, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Wha?

No Intellectual Honesty in blogs?

Blogs seem the only place you'll find honesty. You see both what people believe, and whether or not they'll cop to their errors.

Honesty? When was the last time FOX issued a retraction of any of their mistakes?

Posted by: Crissa on May 3, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Crissa, BGRS, you got that right. Accountability is the bloggers' strong suit by far. Get it right and you can show exactly how you did it. Get it wrong and there is no shortage of commenters and other bloggers to show you exactly why you're wrong. How often do you get to see original-source documents in any print magazine or tv news show? Rarely or Never.

Also: fact-checking the msm is also one of the greatest strengths of the political bloggers. Maybe that's really what he resents; pointing out their errors must really bug the ivory-tower types.

Of course, I gave up on traditional opinionators like TNR a long time ago. The only reason I know his name is because of the political blogs that critique him.

There is no such thing as unbiased news. As Jon Stewart pointed out on his first interview with Moyers back in '03, as soon as the teevee newsreader says, "our top stories tonight are..." that news program has made an editorial decision about what THEY think is important. The blogosphere allows the readers to find the stories that are important to them. That the traditional msm is losing readers to the web says more about their own failure to accurately gauge what's important than it does about anybody's "advocacy."

It's also incredibly disinguous to blast "the blogs" as a group because there's just too much variety out there. It's like saying all magazines or all books are evil. Isn't over-generalization illogical on its face? Shall I compare "TNR" to "Boy's Life" to "Field and Stream" to "Hustler"? Seriously, how many millions of blogs are out there? How many are political commentary? From what perspective? On what issues? Serious or snarky or both? How many do original reporting? How many are just about technology, or art, literature, music, film? How many combine ALL of these? How many are just personal diaries?

Posted by: RobW on May 4, 2007 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Kevin- You're a blogger too. Why talk about bloggers in the third person? He meant you too, you know.

Posted by: RobW on May 4, 2007 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Here's my stab at what I think Chait was doing/getting at. I admit my first read was very positive on what he was doing, my second very negative and my third much more nuanced. I think he complicated a good argument (whether or not you agree with it) with animosity that got in the way of the argument. Unfortunate.

"Jonathan Chait - The Enemy Of My Enemy".

Posted by: Hiram Wurf on May 4, 2007 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

Chait strikes me as another Republilcan trying to distract attention from the calamaties that his party have brought on the U.S. and the world. By pretending that right and left blogs have similar flaws he slights the fact that they represent drastically-opposed causes.

Leftwing blogs are documenting immoral, crooked and incompetent government actions that the right defends, usually by attacking the messenger. A great deal of compassion motivates leftwing blogs, especially for the enormous suffering resulting from the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Rightwing blogs display absolutely no outrage against official lying, the carnage in Iraq, the rigging of the federal justice system, the assault on Social Security, the cronyism, the Halliburton-style graft, environmental dangers.

Why the right supports so much evil -and vehemently so- is a puzzle to me. But Chait is one of them and you can see what he's up to.

LeRoy

Posted by: LeRoy Ferguson on May 4, 2007 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Tim on May 7, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Pat's post at May 2, 2007 at 9:11 PM is the most pathetic I have ever read at Political Animal.

Posted by: Brojo on May 14, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Boldy on December 17, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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