Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

May 2, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

BOYCOTTING FOX NEWS....Democratic politicians are starting to pop up on Fox News in droves and the netroots isn't happy about it:

The nation's top Democrats are suddenly rushing to appear on the Fox News Channel, which they once had shunned as enemy territory as the nemesis of liberal bloggers.

The detente with Fox has provoked a backlash from progressive bloggers, who contend the party's leaders are turning their backs on the base — and lending credibility and legitimacy to the network liberals love to hate — in a quest for a few swing votes.

....Markos Moulitsas, founder of the leading liberal site Daily Kos, told Politico's Michael Calderone: "Democrats are being idiotic by going on that network."

....The Democratic leaders' new openness to Fox reflects the liberal left's diminishing power, at least at this point in the political cycle. Once feared by the Democratic candidates, these activists are now viewed at least in part as an impediment to winning the broad swatch of support needed to clinch the nomination.

Two things. First, I never really understood the Fox boycott. Objecting to Fox hosting a Democratic debate is one thing: it really doesn't make sense to have a Democratic event hosted by an obvious arm of the Republican Party. But not even giving interviews? That doesn't do anything to spoil Fox's credibility. It just reduces Democrats' exposure and makes them look like they're afraid to confront their opponents.

But it's that line about the "liberal left's diminishing power" that really intrigues me. I think it's wrong. It conflates "liberal left" with "netroots," and the real lesson of the 2008 primaries is to raise some serious doubts about the power of the blogosphere in particular and the netroots more generally. On the Republican side, I'd venture that John McCain was the least favorite of the major candidates by a pretty fair margin. But he won anyway. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton was the least favorite of the majors but she's one of the last two standing. And although Barack Obama is a netroots darling now, it's worth remembering that his initial foray on Daily Kos didn't endear him to the blogosphere in the beginning. His message of bipartisan reconciliation was about the farthest thing imaginable from the "fighting Dem" spirit of the blogosphere and he took plenty of hits for it. He's only popular now by default: virtually the entire netroots loathes Hillary Clinton, which means Obama is the only choice they have left.

If the respective left and right blogospheres had any real say in things, would we be looking at a McCain vs. Obama contest in November? Or McCain vs. Hillary? We would not. It would be Giuliani vs. Edwards, or maybe Romney vs. Dodd. The blogosphere is good at raising modest sums of money, and it likewise plays a modest role at the congressional level, but its influence on the national stage appears to be pretty close to nil. That was true in 2004, when Kerry won the Democratic nomination, and it appears to still be true four years later.

Kevin Drum 1:21 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (61)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

FWIW, I have been watching Hillary on O'Reilly. I think that she is doing a pretty incredible job, getting maybe 40% of the conversation - which is an amazing statistic given that his interruptus gene works overdrive.

Regarding the blogosphere - JMHO but this seems to be the faction that is driving the biggest wedge into the "split" (imaginary) of the democratic party.

All just my personal opinions. Feel free to disagree.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 2, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

The blogosphere has great utility as a media watchdog. That is it's major strength.

Posted by: louie on May 2, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

If the blogostan had its way, it would be Feingold against any Rethuglican. He is by far the favorite of the lefty blogosphere. He just chose not to run this time.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on May 2, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

He's only popular in the blogosphere now by default: virtually the entire netroots loathes Hillary Clinton, which means Obama is the only choice they have left.

did you really just say that? did you really just imply that Obama's support is primarily driven by anti-Hillary sentiment ?

that just makes no sense at all.

Posted by: cleek on May 2, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't know the blogosphere was owned by any particular political view point.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 2, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

What would it have said about FOX's credibility as a news source if we had elected Obama president and he had never made an appearance on FOX?

You can argue about whether this was possible or not, but it would have been a helluva comment on the uselessness of FOX if it had happened. Plus it would have "emboldened" even more candidates to ignore this network the way it deserves to be ignored. There's no doubt about it. The Democratic candidates caved. Does that demonstrate more courage than sticking to their guns that FOX isn't a real news network? I think it sucks that I'm stuck with a party that's mostly afraid of appearing afraid.

"What's the matter, crybaby? Are you afraid to __________________? You'd do it if you weren't afraid. Nyaaah, nyaaah, nyaaah. Prove you're not afraid. Do what we say."

Posted by: cowalker on May 2, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

It's pretty silly for a Dem candidate to refuse to appear on Fox news show. Like it or not, the channel is widely seen. Is anyone leaning toward Hillary or Obama going to change their mind because she/he appeared on O'Reilly? Doubtful.

And what kind of pinheadedness is it to revile a candidate for "going after a few swing votes?" Jesus H. Christ, that's what politicians do, the good ones and the bad ones. They try and get people to vote for them. Grow up, kiddies.

Posted by: thersites on May 2, 2008 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

After the 2004 election, Wesley Clark was a regular on Fox and he got a lot of guff for it. Of course since he actually seems to have a better handle on responding to the likes of O'Reilly he didn't come across like a doofus like most Democrats do when the go on Fox.

I loathe Fox and make it a point to never watch, but I never felt ignoring it was an altogether good idea. There are some people (speaking of my mother) who only get their news from Fox and if occasionally someone who doesn't tow the Fox/GOP party line gets a few seconds of sanity in then that would be a good thing. Of course since Fox always tries to stack the deck in their favor and generally produces a bad product I hate to "reward" that.

Posted by: ET on May 2, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Not appearing in interviews on FOX won't soil FOX's credibility in and of itself. However, if every single left of center politician, analyst, pundit, etc. refused to appear AND explained their reason by stating, "FOX is nothing more than a propaganda organ for the conservatives in the Republican Party. I'll be happy to appear on any station that actually provides NEWS and informs the public. But I will not participate in this sham of a cable station as it is destroying our nation."

But no, let's just play nice and be moderate. That's worked SO well for the past 30 years...

Posted by: danno on May 2, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

"Like it or not, the channel is widely seen."

By anyone that could possibly be convinced?

In any case, it really isn't that widely seen. And depriving it of access could drive its numbers even lower. See, for example, what happened to CBS News after George H. W. Bush refused to ever cooperate with them again after the 1988 Rather interview.

I think the usual argument is that Fox isn't a News Channel; it's a propaganda channel. And for the same reason that, say, Ronald Reagan would not have consented to be interviewed by Pravda, Democratic politicians and pundits should not appear on Fox.

Personally, I lean toward a continued boycott, but I'm willing to listen to other points of view.

Posted by: PaulB on May 2, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

First, I never really understood the Fox boycott. Objecting to Fox hosting a Democratic debate is one thing: it really doesn't make sense to have a Democratic event hosted by an obvious arm of the Republican Party. But not even giving interviews? That doesn't do anything to spoil Fox's credibility. It just reduces Democrats' exposure and makes them look like they're afraid to confront their opponents.

This makes no sense. If, as you acknowledge, Fox is an arm of the GOP, why would any Democrat give them an interview? Should Democrats grant interview requests to the communication people from Republican campaigns? Fox is simply not a legitimate news organization. Treating them as if they were is silly. If you want to reach their viewers (88% of whom voted for Bush in 2004), buy ad time.

And BTW, it's not just Fox. There's no particular reason to keep acting as if Chris Matthews is a journalist either.

Posted by: Aaron S. Veenstra on May 2, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Kos is a twat

Posted by: talesoftwokitties on May 2, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Leading dems appear on Fox....this leds the network credibility....this might help ratings and advertising revenue.

This is not good. To borrow a line from Grover Norquist, we should starve Fox of revenue and drown it in a bath tub.

Fox has no credibility. Lending it some should come at a high price.

"And what kind of pinheadedness is it to revile a candidate for "going after a few swing votes?"

1.) This assumes there are any swing voters watching Fox for news content.
2.) How few is few? Maybe Hillary should speak at a couple of Klan Klavens, too, eh? Or join that other klown who spoke at a Nazi gathering.
3.) One is reminded of her pilgramage to Scaife...another example of craveness that was a slap in the face of her more lefty supporters.

Posted by: bobbyp on May 2, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Although there may be some benefit to a rare interview on Fox (if handled well), generally the Fox viewer is not worth reaching. Fox need Dem politicians much more than Dem politicians need Fox. The Fox viewing audience is literally dieing. Young people are identifying as Democrats. Fox needs these interviews to stay relevant.

One could argue that had MSNBC stayed neutral between HRC and Obama that Fox could have been rendered irrelevant. They didn't and Fox got some new life by default.

Posted by: rk on May 2, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

"To borrow a line from Grover Norquist, we should starve Fox of revenue and drown it in a bath tub."

I totally agree. Fox is the "talk radio" of TV news, and will use everything in its power to discredit Democrats. Everything.

Just wait until this Fall, and watch them use the soundbites of those Democrats (who are dumb enough to appear on that sorry excuse for a network) against them.

Posted by: Ranger Jay on May 2, 2008 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

This makes no sense. If, as you acknowledge, Fox is an arm of the GOP, why would any Democrat give them an interview? Should Democrats grant interview requests to the communication people from Republican campaigns? Fox is simply not a legitimate news organization.

I agree with much of what Aaron says here, but while Fox does indeed function as an arm of the GOP, that certainly doesn't mean that the entire audience is dyed in the wool retrograde conservatives. Its low information, middle American voters as much as anything else, and it's reasonable to wonder how much it helps Democrats to make themselves invisible to these people.

That said, I'm of two minds on the issue, because Fox is going to frame it the way they're going to frame it -- no matter what Clinton or Biden or Pelosi or Obama or whomever has to say.

Posted by: junebug on May 2, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Welcome to the suckosphere.

Posted by: antiphone on May 2, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

diminishing power

Being taken for granted by any political party results in diminshing power. However, Mr. Drum makes a good point. Activists able to opine on the internet have little power to influence the selection of candidates for mainstream political parties. Although Political Animals spend a great
deal of time, energy and even money on the political process through the internets, they are not able to diminish the power of mass media to mold public opinion.

Posted by: Brojo on May 2, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

If Fox was just a conservative TV version of Air America, I'd agree with you Kevin. The problem is they pretend to be just an unbiased news channel. It never occurred to me until recently, but actual viewers really do believe the "fair and balanced" line and only think Fox avoids the normal trappings of the "liberal media".

That is why Fox must be boycotted.

Posted by: Mark on May 2, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you for saying that. MoveOn, Kos etc. have taken on characteristics similar to Republicans. They have become somewhat arrogant. So much so that I don't even go there anymore. They have shown such political immaturity and non-support that issues are irrelevant to them. Too bad! Especially when the Democratic Party could really use their help instead of their tantrums.

Posted by: fillphil on May 2, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

...an obvious arm of the Republican Party...

This is the kind of dumb remark that makes many lefties sound silly and paranoid.

Call me the next time Fox News uses forged docs to support a story they know is fraudulent to smear a sitting President during his bid for reelection.

Posted by: Brian on May 2, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

I hate Fox as much as the next person, but there is a point where boycotting them is not effective -- when the number of Democratic voters gained by the boycott outweighs the number of Fox-viewing voters lost due to alienation or lack of exposure. We have the general election around the corner and, more importantly, a critical open primary in IN on Tuesday. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and now's a good a time as any.

In addition, I think the boycott on debates hosted by Fox News really took the wind out of Fox's sails. If that hadn't happened, I think the interviews with both Obama and Clinton would have been much rougher.

Posted by: Aaron Couts on May 2, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Drum: But not even giving interviews?...It just reduces Democrats' exposure and makes them look like they're afraid to confront their opponents.

Wrong. There's always been Dems willing to go on Fox - anyone remember The Big Dog versus Junior Wallace, or Chris Dodd on O'Reilly, for example? We get two big Dem names in one week, and now it's supposed to be a flood.

The blogosphere is good at raising modest sums of money, and it likewise plays a modest role at the congressional level..

Kinda true, but kind of an underestimate. Remember the Lamont-Lieberman race? Ron Paul's fundraising numbers?

..its influence on the national stage appears to be pretty close to nil.

If you mean, "working the levers of power in this country", then yes, the left blogosphere doesn't have much pull. If you mean, "able to influence decisionmaking", then you are pretty much wrong, Kev.

Posted by: grape_crush on May 2, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

The point about FOX is that it should be your last choice. They are your enemy and they will make it very difficult for you to reach any reachables in their audience.
But if you do go on you have to be prepared and you have to be ready for the attacks and have some zippy answers and most of all you have to PROTECT YOUR BRAND: the Democratic Party. Don't ever get caught out dissing your brand. It's fatal. You have to fight the iron triangle: Media-Congress-RightWingIdeaFactory. The minute a Dem equivocates on his party he has destroyed his own credibility and all future democratic party members credibility. So go on FOX if you must but don't cave in to their attacks, ever.

Posted by: Northern Observer on May 2, 2008 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

I meant to say "does not outweigh" rather than "outweighs."

Posted by: Aaron Couts on May 2, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Call me the next time Fox News uses forged docs to support a story they know is fraudulent to smear a sitting President during his bid for reelection.

This is the kind of dumb remark that makes me glad that I refuse to have discussions with conservatives.

What documents were forged? Where's your proof? And the story was far from fraudulent. But don't let the facts get in the way of your delusion. You conservatives never do...

Call me next time you decide to make a valid point.

Posted by: danno on May 2, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Call me the next time Fox News uses forged docs to support a story they know is fraudulent to smear a sitting President during his bid for reelection.

might want to get a second line. i suspect you'll be getting a lot of calls, if a Dem wins.

Posted by: cleek on May 2, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

But... but... we ARE important! Really, really important!

What's a realistic estimate of the size of the netroots?

In my opinion, the chief benefit of there being a netroots is that it's a place to obtain information- and a place to fact-check that information.

We end up being ahead of the news by varying amounts. But it's still up to the media to decide what goes in the headline, not up to us.

If there is an "us" here anyway. Any sense of general agreement among the netroots seems to be largely wishful thinking.

In my opinion, the perception of declining influence is just that- a perception. I actually think that the power (such as it is) of the netroots is growing, simply because more people are learning how to read the net for reliable information.

But what they choose to do with that information- well, that's a good question.

Posted by: Cougarhutch on May 2, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Cougarhutch on May 2, 2008 at 3:02 PM:

In my opinion, the chief benefit of there being a netroots is that it's a place to obtain information- and a place to fact-check that information.

Include the ability to put together a community/social network that can be motivated, and you're pretty much spot on.

Posted by: grape_crush on May 2, 2008 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Include the ability to put together a community/social network that can be motivated, and you're pretty much spot on.

Well, MoveOn for example. But it isn't that every member of MoveOn supports everything that MoveOn as an organization "stands for". It's more that some percentage of them agree about some things, and some percentage agree about other things, and those who consider themselves part of the organization don't disown the things that other members may be more passionate about.

I think it's a very nebulous (and interesting) form of community. Lot's of "dark matter".

Posted by: Cougarhutch on May 2, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think the criticism of Hillary and Barack for breaking the (recently-established, never adamantly followed) ban is overdone. I see what Hillary and Barack did more as justified exceptions with little practical effect for changing Fox's bad habits than as destructive defiance of the ban. The ban itself may or may not be a good idea, but it's probably not going to change Fox's programming by itself, and surely Hillary or Obama not sticking to it once or even a couple of times isn't going to effect things much one way or the other.

For recent blog-posts on this, check out my page.

Posted by: Swan on May 2, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

I think even though it superficially looks like a substantive issue, this story is really just another cheap lever for the mainstream media to pull to turn Dems against each other, and to turn our base against our candidates.

Posted by: Swan on May 2, 2008 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Chris Dodd was a netroots favorite? Did I miss something?

And I'd just like to point out that if the blogosphere is a "media watchdog," exactly what blogosphere revelation or watchdog operation has been more important than the NY Times story about TV generals?

Posted by: AMP on May 2, 2008 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

so why does O'Lielly attack the bloggers with his nonsense?

Posted by: Jet on May 2, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Call me the next time Fox News uses forged docs to support a story they know is fraudulent to smear a sitting President during his bid for reelection.

Could be you got us there. While virtually every story on Fox is either fraudulent or an irrelevant distraction, I don't think they ever bother to support their malarkey with documentation.

WRT Faux News, I think you need a double-pronged approach: boycott, and when we get control of the FCC, push through a la carte cable pricing and then start a campaign for all Democrats and independents to eliminate it from their dials. There's no excuse for large numbers of Democrats to be forced to send money to Rupert Murdoch if they want cable.

Posted by: jimBOB on May 2, 2008 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Chris Dodd was a netroots favorite? Did I miss something?"

Briefly, he was, since he took a stand against telephone amnesty in the FISA renewal bill, filibustering it and causing Harry Reid to have to pull it for a time. Ultimately, he failed, but for a month there, he was one of the few Democratic politicians willing to take that stand and put his money where his mouth was. His numbers briefly spiked as a result, putting him in the upper tier on DailyKos, at least.

Posted by: PaulB on May 2, 2008 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

"virtually the entire netroots loathes Hillary Clinton"

Yes, and it's unpleasant, boorish, unintellectual, illiberal, and just downright creepy, and I wish you all would just stop it!

Posted by: Jim G on May 2, 2008 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

virtually the entire netroots loathes Hillary Clinton

Yes, and this is why I will vote Republican for the first time in over 40 years, if Obama is the nominee. Also, I will vote for every Republican down ticket, too. Something else I have never done.

Posted by: emmarose on May 2, 2008 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Call me the next time Fox News uses forged docs to support a story they know is fraudulent to smear a sitting President during his bid for reelection.

They have certainly spread stories they knew were fraudulent to smear Dem candidates for President. Why should (a) the means of the smear, and (b) whether the candidate they smear is the incumbent, matter?

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on May 2, 2008 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

the real lesson of the 2008 primaries is to raise some serious doubts about the power of the blogosphere in particular and the netroots more generally. On the Republican side, I'd venture that John McCain was the least favorite of the major candidates by a pretty fair margin. But he won anyway.

No, that would have been Rudy Giuliani, who lost, and lost early and badly, despite is onetime aura of invincibility.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton was the least favorite of the majors but she's one of the last two standing.

It's not like the lefty netroots were particularly organized or unified coming into this primary season. Last summer and fall, bloggers like Stoller and Bowers were screeching that Edwards refused to say he wouldn't get the last U.S. soldier out of Iraq by 2013, so he was just as bad as Hillary.

By the time anything approaching a critical mass of bloggers started realizing that Edwards was the voice of the Democratic wing of the Democratic party, it was far too late in the game for the netroots to really make a difference.

None of this says the netroots would have been influential in the nominating process if there'd been a candidate that everyone agreed on early, but this cycle was NOT a good test of their ability to make a difference.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on May 2, 2008 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

> It just reduces Democrats' exposure
> and makes them look like they're
> afraid to confront their opponents.

When Republicans consistently punish their opponents it makes them look strong. So Democrats counter this strategy by groveling in front of their opponents on terms least favorable to them. This has proven to be a very effective strategy too.

Oh wait..

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on May 2, 2008 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, emmarose!

Plain immature or liar.

Hard to tell.

Posted by: notthere on May 2, 2008 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Back in 1999, when Bill Clinton was president and the stock market was booming and gasoline was $1.10 per gallon, a somewhat obscure governor from Texas named George W. Bush began to be touted as the Republican candidate for president. Besides a famous father, Bush’s past was murky and the media didn’t seem to be too interested in pursuing allegations of corruption, draft evasion and substance abuse by Bush. Instead, there was round-the-clock coverage of Clinton’s sex life. Bush campaigned on a promise of a less aggressive foreign policy and “compassionate conservatism”. That year, the federal government ran a multi-billion dollar surplus, the first budget surplus in thirty years. America was respected around the globe. But Fox News warned that Bill Clinton’s lack of morals was the danger and that he would take away our guns. They also made baseless allegations about the UN and black helicopters.

Fast forward nine years and it turns out Bill Clinton didn’t take anyone’s gun, there are no black helicopters except in Iraq, where they are piloted by mercenaries from a company called Blackwater and the federal government is now $9 trillion in debt with red ink as far as the eye can see. Compassionate conservatism has come to mean torturing prisoners of war, dropping cluster bombs on civilian populations, and 47 million people without access to affordable health care. We have invaded and occupied two countries and may do it again with Iran. The United States is reviled and has become an international pariah. Thousands of Americans are losing their homes due to laissez-faire regulation and unscrupulous lenders. Gasoline is $3.50 a gallon and headed higher. The stock market is in the toilet and sinking lower. And now Fox News warns us that Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his sermons are what we should fear.

Thanks to Fox News, it is very clear to me now which political party I should fear the most.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on May 2, 2008 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

With the coming of spring, the handful of regulars at my blog are making themselves more scarce than ever. So, Kevin, thanks for speaking truth to lack of power.

Posted by: S.W. Anderson on May 2, 2008 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

In as much as state-sponsored propaganda is illegal in the United States, it is not protected speech abd should be defied, confronted and disbanded. Fox is an foreign operation that stands in defiance of American principles. It should be disestablished and scattered in the winds of time. Other than taking an axe to its transmission towers, no Democrat should ever bother with it. It exists to harm, not inform. Soft Kevin. Soft. And netroots does raise a lot of money. The huge disparity in Obama's and Hillary's campaign war chest is indicative of this. Bad post, Kev.

Posted by: Sparko on May 2, 2008 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

Aside from my poor typing on the fly--it is important to remember that, despite all the immigrant bashing and jingoism on Fox, Murdoch himself is a swarthy foreigner. He is the Manchurian in search of a candidate. Fascism has a face: Fox News.

Posted by: Sparko on May 3, 2008 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

"Yes, and this is why I will vote Republican for the first time in over 40 years, if Obama is the nominee. Also, I will vote for every Republican down ticket, too. Something else I have never done."

Thank you for confirming that you're a childish and immature moron not worth our attention. Your fit of childish pique has the potential to damage this country for years, if not decades. While you scream and rant and hold your breath until you turn blue, John McCain and those Republicans you could potentially vote into office will be working against your best interests and against those of everyone you know and love.

But hey, I'm sure that you'll be congratulating yourself on how "I sure told them!" Tell me: is this the example you would hold up to your children and grandchildren? Is this a lesson you want them to learn?

Posted by: PaulB on May 3, 2008 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

Jeebuz, the rationale for boycotting Fox is more simplistic and stupid than the rationale for refusing talk to Iran, Syria, etc. The question should be how it can be done successfully, not whether it's a good idea.

Posted by: has407 on May 3, 2008 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

lefty netroots

The lefty netroots is a myth. Most blog commenters who oppose what W. Bush has done in Iraq do not oppose funding the largest military in the world. The netroots is a moderate political movement that has a fringe lefty component that is mostly shouted down in discussion. Leftist candidates are not supported by the 'lefty' netroots, who value electableness over substance and shun any candidates who represent issues contrary to already well accepted platitudes.

The blogosphere may be considered lefty because of the small portion of commenters who express their leftist views. Leftists are not a majority of commenters, but they, I hope and think, make rational and relevant arguments that resonate within the countless discussions that take place on the internets. I say this because the minority leftist arguments made on the internets must achieve some traction because why else are blogs considered liberal? The complaint of blogs is almost aways derisive of the more than acerbic comments commenters, plebes to mainstream elites, make. But they are a minority on the internets and in the market place of ideas.

Posted by: Brojo on May 3, 2008 at 4:00 AM | PERMALINK

The left blogosphere stumbled during the 2004 primaries and has imploded this time around.
Reality-based community, MSM critique and fighting Dems have all been replaced by candidate advocacy, horserace coverage or worst of all "scandal" driven gamesmanship. TPM, Kos, MyDD, and most other 'A-list' blogs have picked a side and gone in the tank for the candidate. Many leftoblogs are mere appendages to the respective campaigns at this point. Linking approvingly to a rant by Sullivan or some other righty is bad, spreading a false MSM story is worse, feeding Drudge a story is about as low as a leftyblog can sink.

Posted by: driver8 on May 3, 2008 at 5:50 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm, so Kos doesn't think Hillary should go on Fox, huh? MSNBC has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Obama, Inc, as the Daily Kos itself, so he'd probably prefer that Hillary didn't get to appear anywhere. As far as I'm concerned, she has just as many enemies among the other networks and the progressive blogs as she does on Fox so she should go where she pleases.

Posted by: Vicki Williams on May 3, 2008 at 5:55 AM | PERMALINK

But Kevin, what does appearing on Fox News do?

Does it actually win over anyone?

Anyone?

Remember, the majority of people don't vote. They also don't watch Fox News.

Posted by: Crissa on May 3, 2008 at 6:28 AM | PERMALINK

One of the little noted aspects of Fox's current rise in popularity among Democratic politicians -- and what I suspect is its recovery of its reputation in the eyes of the large public -- is how it has served as a corrective to a clear bias in the rest of the MSM against Hillary and for Obama.

I rather believe that Fox, having been on the ropes due to its advocacy of a now acutely unpopular Republican agenda, seized on an opportunity to make a legitimate claim to being "fair and balanced" on the issue of the Democratic nomination process. Virtually every non-partisan in the public could see how much the media was in the tank for Obama -- that's obviously what made the famous SNL resonate so well. Obama's exposure due to his radical left associates offered up a perfect opportunity for Fox -- suited both to its overall philosophy, and to its immediate goal of creating "balance" in the reporting on the Democratic campaign.

And certainly Hillary's campaign noticed that Fox was about the only network remaining where Hillary might receive fair coverage. Moreover, some of its audience surely consisted of the conservative Democrats that has come to define her base. For Hillary, going on Fox became a no-brainer, politically. (Hillary's ability to win over conservative Democrats, and be perceived as a near hero by them, is one of the truly impressive and remarkable transformations of a reputation in American politics, in my view.)

And then, with Hillary's success using Fox, and Obama's need to connect to down-scale white voters, Obama himself had to break his longstanding, and heretofore quite convenient, policy of refusing interviews on Fox.

So who's to blame for Democratic candidates going onto Fox? I should think that the obvious culprit is the rest of the MSM -- which has indulged its bias for Obama and against Hillary simply brazenly. That was all the wedge that Fox needed to make its way back to some respectability by pursuing something resembling objectivity. Nature abhors a vacuum, and journalism abhors a gaping hole in objectivity, particularly when there are large segments of the public quite interested in what should be filling that empty space.

In general, it's pretty fascinating to see how the Democratic campaigns have had the effect of turning upside down all kinds of traditional leftwing biases against both news organizations and particular pundits, with Obama partisans eagerly embracing right wing critics of Hillary, and Hillary partisans seizing on right wing critics of Obama. Lately, these critics seem so, well, sensible to those partisans -- and the truth is, sometimes that reaction is actually correct: they do manage to make sensible points.

But that would be the subject of another post.

Posted by: frankly0 on May 3, 2008 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

"Linking approvingly to a rant by Sullivan or some other righty is bad..."

Sullivan had his mouth pressed so firmly against Bush's arse for 6 years what was left of his brain died. And now he thinks he's a bigshot for making misogynistic rants against Hillary.

The nutroots.

Posted by: Neil on May 3, 2008 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

i'm not sure going on fox does any democrat any good. and going on fox, by lending them any claim to legitamacy, is bad.

From thehill.com: "An audience that decides for itself, based on “fair and balanced” coverage, ought not to reach monolithic conclusions. Yet, in our 2004 polling with Media Vote, using Nielsen diaries, we found that Fox News viewers supported George Bush over John Kerry by 88 percent to 7 percent.

No demographic segment, other than Republicans, was as united in supporting Bush. Conservatives, white evangelical Christians, gun owners, and supporters of the Iraq war all gave Bush fewer votes than did regular Fox News viewers."

Posted by: dj spellchecka on May 3, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Frankly0. Fox "corrects." Hillary is winning over cross-over Republicans, so she can lose in the general election. Good thing she went to correct the "bias." She had no name recognition, moey or influence, so she has to pander.

As I said, Fox does not inform. It harms. Legitimize them with an appearance, and they will misquoute the crap out of you, and run Coulter 24-7 ranting about your patriotism. Fox is a propaganda outlet. Fox news needs the appearance of the occasional Colmes to legitimize its myths. But a Democrat appearing there has no control of the post interview spin and denunciations.
Hillary has gone flat-out Republican in any event.
She and Lieberman will be happy together.

Posted by: Sparko on May 3, 2008 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

"which has indulged its bias for Obama and against Hillary simply brazenly"

Uh-huh ... So tell me, what color is the sky in your world? Your post was so far removed from reality that there really isn't any need for me to write anything in response.

Posted by: PaulB on May 3, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

THE INTERNET IS THE NEW THIRD PARTY AND THE BLOGOSPHERE ITS POLITBUREAU. WE are just new and young, just beginning to flex our muscles, that's all. Power comes to the ones MOST WILLING TO FIGHT for it. ( and WE have a CLEAN slate as a party, NO BAGGAGE, yet)

Posted by: Mike Meyer on May 3, 2008 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Reality-based community, MSM critique and fighting Dems have all been replaced by candidate advocacy

True, but none of the candidates the so-called lefty netroots supports are liberal or leftist. The Democrats only had one liberal candidate and the netroots did not support him because he was considered unelectable.

Posted by: Brojo on May 3, 2008 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

I have no problem with Democrats going on Faux News (I never watch it anyway), but I would suggest that they should go prepared.

1) Dramamine...for motion sickness when their heads begin to spin from all the right-wing crap thrown their way.

2) Barf Bags...so they can politely lean to the side of the desk and throw up when asked a particularly stupid question by one of the mental patients trying to pass themselves off as a journalist on Faux News.

3) A Taser...well, I'll let you use your own imagination for this one, but it would be highly amusing (and educational) to see Bill O'Leilly flopping on the studio floor after being tased, frothing at the mouth. No doubt it would boost the ratings of his show, leading to other Faux News hosts and analysts lining up to be tased to boost the ratings of other Faux News shows. Hell, I might even tune in Faux News to view some of this action. It'd be better than watching "24" (which I also have never watched).

Posted by: The Oracle on May 4, 2008 at 5:38 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary did great during her Fox News interview, I have to give it up.

Posted by: Boorring on May 4, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly