Monday, October 12, 2009

The thing about blogs and the White House criticism of them is that it's not just blogs who are objecting to the President

Blogs are a convenient straw man. The same criticisms have come from progressive magazines and progressive websites that are attached to magazines as well as from pure web based media that can't really be called blogs like Salon. You can add to that Pacifica radio stations and programs on it like Democracy Now! But without even making that allowance it's sort of hard to believe that the Obama administration would go after blogs like this considering that bloggers and their influence were one of the main forces that got Obama elected. Even if they weren't actually stumping for him the blogosphere created the anti-Bush sentiment that set the stage for the Obama campaign's success. It was the blogosphere, more than progressive magazines unfortunately, that opened up mass appeal for the kinds of things Obama campaigned on. Established progressive magazines may have fed into it with columns cross posted to blogs, but large communities like Daily Kos and Atrios provided the momentum. I say this as a matter of fact, not because I have much sympathy for either of those sites, which are more moderate than either I am or that politics in this country should be.

Glenn Greenwald, a blogger who became a professional journalist for Salon.com has Really Great Column about the whole thing.

Highlights:

"Just this weekend, a "top gay Democrat close to Obama" was granted anonymity by Politico to dismiss administration critics on gay issues as "naive." Just six weeks ago, an equally cowardly "senior White House adviser" hiding behind anonymity told told The Washington Post that the only people who cared about the public option in health care were "the left of the left" -- those same fringe, irrational extremists. In June, an anonymous "friend of John Brennan's" told Jane Mayer in The New Yorker that the people who prevented Brennan's nomination as CIA Director (because of his support for some of the most radical Bush Terrorism policies) were nothing more than "a few Cheeto-eating people in the basement working in their underwear who write blogs." Last year, "Democrats on the Hill" anonymously dismissed opposition to telecom immunity and warrantless eavesdropping as nothing more than a fringe issue being exploited by Chris Dodd for his presidential campaign, and then anonymously warned Dodd to abandon his left-wing obstructionism if he wanted to resume good standing in the Democratic caucus. Can anyone miss the pattern?

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[bullet point]Pretty words and inspiring pageantry from the President, accompanied by endless inaction or contradictory policies;

[bullet point] Hordes of people who believe in their heart of hearts that the administration is led by such a nice, just and likable man that it couldn't possibly be guilty of anything worse than a little benign political calculation (just as the evangelical, Texas-swaggering Bush did for Red State loyalists, the urbane, charming and highly intelligent Obama possesses all the cultural markers of a good and decent person for Blue State loyalists, and thus simply can't be capable of anything malicious or destructive -- there's a reason Bill Maher tried to remind liberals: "He's your president, not your boyfriend"); "

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