The Mainstream hears our footsteps. They are jealous of us -- of our editor-free process, of our unsullied passion, of our nimbleness and outrage. Thus their pathetic, clueless attempts at cartoon villain "We're not so different, you and I" takedowns, like this one:
New on the Web: Politics as Usual - New York Times
You might think that with the kind of rhetoric bloggers regularly muster against politicians, they would never work for them. But you would be wrong.
Over the past few years, bloggers have won millions of fans by speaking truth to power — even the powers in their own parties — and presenting a fresh, outsider perspective. They are the pamphleteers of the 21st century, revolutionary “citizen journalists” motivated by personal idealism and an unwavering confidence that they can reform American politics.
But this year, candidates across the country found plenty of outsiders ready and willing to move inside their campaigns. Candidates hired some bloggers to blog and paid others consulting fees for Internet strategy advice or more traditional campaign tasks like opposition research.
After the Virginia Democratic primary, for instance, James Webb hired two of the bloggers who had pushed to get him into the race. The Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont in Connecticut had at least four bloggers on his campaign team. Few of these bloggers shut down their “independent” sites after signing on with campaigns, and while most disclosed their campaign ties on their blogs, some — like Patrick Hynes of Ankle Biting Pundits — did so only after being criticized by fellow bloggers.
I was not granted a halo the instant I opened an account with Blogger. There are good bloggers and bad, ethical and not so much. What makes us an essential complement to (and often antidote to) the insipid, toothless product you are paid to line our birdcages with is not diminished if the same forces that have corrupted most of you have also corrupted some of us. The blogosphere matters because it is too diffuse and unruly and disorganized for it to matter if one of us tries to cook the books. The ability of any one blogger to corrupt another is vanishingly small. You are rigidly hierarchical, we are ad hoc; you are centralized, we are diffuse. You completely misunderstand the essential difference between us and you: it is the blogosphere as a whole that matters, not any individual blogger.
When Judith Miller put the New York Times into the tank in the runup to the Iraq war, the game was over -- the entire mainstream press fell into lockstep. In contrast, when Jason Leopold reported via Truthout
that Karl Rove had been indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald, the blogosphere quickly jettisoned the story's credibility.
That points to our essential strength and thus your essential weakness. The voracious iconoclasm of (at least the left half of) the blogosphere is inherent and structural. We are like an ant colony, except that we require neither queens nor drones. You can stomp on a few of us, but the larger organism is unaffected. And unless you learn to coexist with us, you can expect to ruin your picnics for years to come.
P.S. Oh, and as made clear by the accompanying "graphic
" (Wowser -- I guess we will have to stop calling you the Grey Lady now!) the one blogger you are able to point to who apparently hid his political work went on the payroll of Republican
Saint John McCain.Update
: I crossposted this @ dKos. In response to a comment from coffeeinamrica, I realzied something I think may be more significant than the original post:
The other reason the MSM is stuck on "bloggers getting paid by pols" beef is not about the conflict issue -- it is, plain and simple, about the money. In their world, money is precisely equal to power. If they can keep us stuck in believing that purity equals poverty, they think they can keep us powerless.
Smarter than I thought, but still doomed to failure.