The Liberal Blogosphere, Greenwald, And MSM Attention
Glenn Greenwald is wondering why the liberal blogosphere gets a lot of negative attention from the MSM while the right-wing blogosphere is largely ignored. He points to “a long list” (8 examples) compiled by Media Matters that allegedly is indicative of the “violence-inciting rhetoric and hate-mongering which has become a staple of the right-wing blogosphere.”
I’m not going to go through Greenwald’s entire argument point-by-point because, honestly, it won’t matter. I’m never going to convince him that what offends him doesn’t. That being said, I didn’t follow all of the links Greenwald provides to support his argument, however, the ones that I did were hardly offensive to my sensibilities. For example, Greenwald writes, “What sentiments motivate publication by Michelle Malkin of some of the most disturbing and hateful propaganda posters which can be imagined?” Follow the links. In my mind, anti-New York Times photo-shops hardly raise to the level of “some of the most disturbing and hateful propaganda posters which can be imagined.” I think that category is reserved for terrorist snuff videos such as the one where Nick Berg’s head is removed from his body. But that’s my opinion.
The other point I’d like to make about Greenwald’s post is his reference to John Dean’s new book which, as I understand it, basically argues that modern conservatives blindly follow President Bush because–according to some study Dean sites in the book–conservatives have more authoritarian personalities and, thus, are more inclined to be lemmings that follow powerful leader.
John Dean’s superb new book, Conservatives Without Conscience (which has been #1 on Amazon for most of the week), analyzes the transformation of American “conservatism” from a political ideology based on the imperatives of limiting government power into a movement predominated by authoritarian impulses and personalities — a transformation I have also written about extensively. On his book tour, Dean — who spent his life as such a mainstream Republican that he worked in the highest levels of the Nixon White House — has been observing that his political views have really not changed over the past 30 years, but he now finds himself accused by pro-Bush conservatives of standing on the “left” side of the political spectrum.
That is because the political spectrum itself has shifted radically, and the movement which now most loudly describes itself as “conservative” bears little resemblance to the political movement of which Dean, for his entire life, considered himself a part. As its leading bloggers vividly illustrate, pro-Bush “conservatism” is a highly authoritarian movement which seeks to vest unlimited and unrestrained power in their Leader, views garden-variety political dissent as blasphemy and treason, and glorifies violence as a justifiable tool to achieve their glorious political ends. The standard language and argumentation of these pro-Bush bloggers reflect those attributes on a daily basis, which is why it is long past time for some journalistic examinations of what is being said and done by pro-Bush blogs.
Yes, it’s a highly authoritarian movement–except in the case of port management, Supreme Court nominations, and immigration reform. Give. Me. A. Break. The notion that the right-wing blogosphere blindly follows President Bush is laughable. In fact, the right-wing blogosphere has initiated a number of the President’s most difficult political battles.
So, getting back to Greenwald’s question of why the liberal blogosphere gets more negative attention from the MSM, I would say it’s because people in the MSM probably believe that it warrants it. I don’t think for a moment that anyone in the MSM is trying to protect Glenn Reynolds or Michelle Malkin. If either wrote something that rose to the level of Kos’ “screw them” comment, it would probably be all over the MSM much like Coulter’s 9/11 widow comments. The liberal blogosphere’s reputation is also not helped by the utter lack of attention paid to Islamic extremism. For a recent example, here’s what Kos wrote today on the situation in the Middle East. It’s not exactly inspired.
UPDATE (James Joyner): I would note, too, that there’s something of an apples vs. oranges comparison going on here. As Chris Bowers and others on the Left have persuasively argued, the Leftosphere is much more communitarian than the Rightosphere. There simply isn’t a Righty blog that has the level of influence on the Republican Party that Daily Kos has on the Democratic Party. There isn’t an InstaPundit Annual Convention attended by the party bigwigs, George W. Bush doesn’t guest post at Michelle Malkin’s, and so forth.
The closest thing the Right has to Kos is RedState which, indeed, was founded with the goal of counterbalancing DKos. While it is indeed a highly successful enterprise, it’s not only nowhere near as powerful as its inspiration but not even among the most read Righty blogs.