Outraged or Just on the Other Side?
One possible explanation for this is that, rather than having simply been partisan hacks fomenting faux outrage at the Bush Administration, they’re intellectually honest ideologues who are genuinely motivated by principle and actually outraged when their government violates said principles.
Having come of political age during the dying days of the Carter administration and then twelve years of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, I was a strong believer in the existence of Liberal Media Bias. Then came the Clinton administration. Suddenly, those liberal pinkoes in the press, like Sam Donaldson, were giving Clinton a hard time. After a few years of that, I had to conclude that maybe — just maybe — most of the elite press were actually trying to hold politician’s feet to the fire rather than simply carrying water for the Democrats.
To be sure, I still think the elite media outlets are overwhelmingly comprised of liberals with sympathies for the Democratic Party and that they bring certain biases to the table and filter the news accordingly. But that’s a different thing than being overt hacks.
Similarly, the blogosphere came of age during the George W. Bush years. The medium as we know it started gaining steam after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and really took off during the early days of the Iraq War from 2003-2004.
We naturally judge the more heated partisans of the other side poorly, presuming that they’re either venal or crazy. The more animated blogs were easily dismissed as either suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome or as Rovian Robots carrying out marching orders from BushCo.
Probably, that was true in many instances. But we’ll see over the next few months and years which bloggers are intellectually honest. Are they praising Obama, or at least excusing him, for conduct that they thought Bush should have gone to jail for engaging in? Alternatively, are they excoriating Obama for things they praised or excused Bush for? We’ll soon see.
Photo by Flickr user cdresz under Creative Commons license.