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Raines, Rather, Jordan... Why the right-of-center bloggers are more successful (by Jonah Goldberg)
National Review Online ^ | February 14, 2005, 9:40 a.m. | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 02/14/2005 3:43:21 PM PST by Vision Thing

I've been doing this for a long time now. By "this" I of course mean eating while I type.

But I also mean this Internet thing. This column in fact pre-dates NRO itself and NRO is now considered one of those ancient landmarks of the Internet, like some old city that has been razed and rebuilt so many times nobody remembers why certain streets have the names they do. I remember when the first blogs started to appear and I was not particularly bullish on their chances for success. Of course, I was wrong about a great deal and right about only a little and I changed my opinion on them a long time ago. I still don't think they will ever "replace" Big Media and they will never be money-making — as in capable of generating livable income — for anything but the top .0001 percent of bloggers. But other than that, they really are a much bigger deal than I originally imagined.

Exhibit A, of course, is the resignation of Eason Jordan from CNN. For a week the bloggers chased Jordan the way Brad Davis chased "Rifki" in Midnight Express.

Jordan's head will hang alongside Howell Raines's, the editor of the New York frick'n Times and four top executives at CBS News. The blogosphere can also take credit for Dan Rather's demotion to "fry guy" at the CBS cafeteria. That is a big deal.

But what I find particularly interesting is that these — and other accomplishments — were achieved by generally conservative or non-left-wing bloggers. What makes that remarkable is that the lefty bloggers are every bit as good at this game as the right-wing ones are. I may not like some of them, but it would be silly to claim that they aren't good at what they do and even sillier to suggest that they aren't as hungry as the conservatives. The notion that the Daily Kos wouldn't chase down similar prey if given the opportunity just doesn't pass the smell test. Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum are just as tenacious about finding damning quotes, contradictions, and old gems on Nexis-Lexis as anybody on the right. There have to be other factors involved.

The most obvious one is that the Right's hunting preserve is teeming with big game. Until Jordan quit on Friday, the lefty bloggers were dancing around the victory fire chanting in triumph over bagging this Jeff Gannon guy from Talon News. I'm extending this metaphor too far, I'm sure, but their celebration makes me wonder how so many brave warriors can eat their fill off the carcass of a chipmunk. I confess that at first I thought this sounded like a real story. But it's turned out to be more than a little sad. While I don't necessarily think Gannon should have been credentialed, even with a day pass, at the end of the day this is one of the ho-hummiest media "scandals" to come down the pike in a while. If the guy hadn't changed his name and registered on gay porn sites, this would have been one of the dullest hullabaloos of all time. And besides, let he who has never registered with a gay military porn site under a different name cast the first stone. Actually, someone will have to explain to me why conservative opinion journalists can be literally outed out of the White House press room while liberal ones get lifetime achievement awards from the National Press Club.

Of course, the lefty bloggers are determined to make Gannon into a huge story. But no matter how many times the great hunters say "Did you see the size of that chipmunk!" and no matter how much parsley you garnish the plate with, it's still a chipmunk.

What's more interesting is what this whole episode says about the nature of the establishment media itself. We keep hearing that the blogosphere is the new "alternative media." This raises the question: alternative to what? For the right-wing bloggers, they are the same sort of alternative that NRO has been for near a decade now and that National Review has been for 50. Conservatives still see ourselves as the out-party when it comes to the media establishment. Sure, we appear on op-ed pages and as talking heads, but almost always in the spirit of "the other view." This tokenism rarely extends to the executive suites or to the editorial offices.

When we see the media establishment we see a vast confluence of ideas and institutions built up around a whole host of assumptions about the role of government, race, foreign policy, economics, sexuality, etc. Left-wingers, on the web and elsewhere, don't see the same thing. Their criticisms invariably have to do with "disappointment" that the press is being intimidated by the forces of reaction and warmongering. "What liberal media?" they ask. I'm speaking in enormous generalizations of course, but they believe the establishment media's failure has been a lack of resolve in standing up to the right.

This has enormous consequences for how the Internet plays out for the Right and Left. The Left must either focus entirely on the conservative media or it must move even further to the left so it can get out of its clinch with the mainstream media. You can't punch the New York Times if you're hugging it. So far it's done both. David Brock — nipple tucked away for a rainy day — and his gang spend all their time expressing shock that conservatives are conservative and trying to prove we're all liars or some such. It was this strategy that led to the bagging of Jeff Gannon. Meanwhile, the Daily Kos and its lesser imitators are moving what we call liberalism to the left. They're doing this mostly by pulling the Democratic party to the left. Michael Barone points out that this is good news for Bush.

I think it may be a sign of even better news for conservatives. Looking from a broad, historical perspective all of this seems to be of a piece with the gradual movement of America to the right. Raines, Rather, and Jordan were victims of a new era — they were old growth that couldn't handle the new climate. Fox News is new growth. So is NRO. And so are all of these blogs, on the left and the right. But the evolutionary strategies are markedly different. The Left seems to want to be where conservatives have been for most of the last 50 years: shooting from the outside in; questioning fundamental arrangements and assumptions about the role of government; griping about media coverage; standing athwart history, yelling stop. Meanwhile, conservatives have had enough of that. We're slowly, inexorably, moving in on, or replacing, the ossified institutions of the old regime. It will be a long, long struggle and I still think liberals have the commanding heights. But the good news is that for the first time in our lifetimes, the liberals look like they want to switch places.


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events; Political Humor/Cartoons; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: blog; easonjordan; goldberg; howellraines; howellrainess; jonahgoldberg; rathergate; unquidnuncedsteyn

1 posted on 02/14/2005 3:43:21 PM PST by Vision Thing
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To: Vision Thing
Great column.

And besides, let he who has never registered with a gay military porn site under a different name cast the first stone.

Dang right we have! I bet everybody here has done that! Time to kick the closet door down! Kick the platform shoes away, sweep the tutus and the lingerie aside, FReepers, are you with me?

.

.

[Sound of crickets chirping and a lonely prairie wind...] .

OK, well, never mind...

2 posted on 02/14/2005 3:52:03 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Vision Thing
"And besides, let he who has never registered with a gay military porn site under a different name cast the first stone."

Well, I guess we've all been there...

3 posted on 02/14/2005 3:52:16 PM PST by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: All
 


 
Power of the BlogoSphere:
Serfing the Web --I missed it when it was broadcast, but Trey Jackson has video of Jeff Jarvis’ appearance on CNN’s Reliable Sources with Washington Post journalist Howard Kurtz: Jeff Jarvis - ‘The Story is not over’. It’s edited to show only the sections with Jeff and he makes very good points, especially in his answer to the absurd “Blogs=McCarthyism” charge, raised by Kurtz. Here’s Jeff’s post at buzzmachine about the show: Serfs at the news cathedral’s gates.
 Now that everyone has access to a press -- the internet -- anyone you talk to could be a Wolf Blitzer in sheep's clothing.
Welcome to the age of transparency.
 
The O'Malley Affair- NCPAC, MD4Bush, Ehrlich, & more
 
 The Talons of Intimidation- Jeff Gannon's saga
 
 Eason's Fables-- the sordid Jordan Story
 
 Terror Teacher, Take Two- the vile Ward Churchill Saga
 


 

4 posted on 02/14/2005 3:52:39 PM PST by backhoe (-30-)
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To: Vision Thing

I generally like Jonah, but unfortunately he punts on giving any real answer to the question in his title - why are the right wing blogs more successful?

Doesn't it seem a little odd to leave out the potential answers that A) our positions are better able to withstand criticism by virtue of consistency, B) our grievances have more meat to them, C) we aren't nearly as hypocritical as the Lefties (see the gay-bashing of Gannon and virtually every other conservative as just one example), and D) we generally apply the same standards for behavior to our own that we do to the other side, something they never do?

In other words, maybe we're kickin' ass not just cause we're Right, but also cause we're right. And they're wrong. Our arguments are stronger and our grievances actually have substance. It seems odd for the winner in a competition to ignore those possibilities, but Republicans do seem to be good at it.

Qwinn


5 posted on 02/14/2005 3:55:20 PM PST by Qwinn
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To: Vision Thing; Richard Poe; kristinn; reformjoy

.

...And now we know why we Freepers are an Oval Office-coveting HILLARY's Target No. 1.


See RICHARD POE's disturbing Book of CLARITY titled...


'HILLARY's Secret War: The CLINTON Conspiracy to Muzzle Internet Journalists'

http://www.Freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1314562/posts


6 posted on 02/14/2005 3:59:57 PM PST by ALOHA RONNIE ("ALOHA RONNIE" Guyer/Veteran-"WE WERE SOLDIERS" Battle of IA DRANG-1965 http://www.lzxray.com)
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To: Qwinn

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1340673/posts
Transcript of Jeff Gannon's interview with Wolf Blitzer
CNN ^ | 2/10/05


Goldberg should get his facts straight.


7 posted on 02/14/2005 4:01:42 PM PST by MEG33 (GOD BLESS OUR ARMED FORCES)
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To: Qwinn
. . . . maybe we're kickin' ass not just cause we're Right, but also cause we're right. And they're wrong. Yep. I was thinking because we promote the truth and they promote their agenda. Same thing?

az

8 posted on 02/14/2005 4:01:57 PM PST by Arizona
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To: Billthedrill
And besides, let he who has never registered with a gay military porn site under a different name cast the first stone.

Dang right we have! I bet everybody here has done that! Time to kick the closet door down! Kick the platform shoes away, sweep the tutus and the lingerie aside, FReepers, are you with me?

.

.

[Sound of crickets chirping and a lonely prairie wind...] .

OK, well, never mind...

I doubt anyone here in the Free Republic will cast that first stone.

However, with the pride that one should have in being gay (I mean, they have that Gay Pride parade every year, don't they?), you'd expect at least one or two smelly lefties to throw it.

9 posted on 02/14/2005 4:08:43 PM PST by Vision Thing
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To: ALOHA RONNIE
See RICHARD POE's disturbing Book of CLARITY titled...'HILLARY's Secret War: The CLINTON Conspiracy to Muzzle Internet Journalists'

I'm going to second that, because this thing is going to heat up.

10 posted on 02/14/2005 4:09:06 PM PST by Bahbah
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To: Qwinn
Conservatives have long been held to scrutiny. Conservatives who get caught doing stuff get nailed from both sides.

As example, take the House Bank scandal. While it was more than 3:1 Dems to Repubs, many of the Dems involved are still in office. Not a single Republican that I am aware of made it through the primaries. Conservatives generally know they will be held accountable, even by - or especially by - their allies.

11 posted on 02/14/2005 4:14:06 PM PST by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: Vision Thing

"The most obvious one is that the Right's hunting preserve is teeming with big game."

More like shooting puppies in a barrel!

The MSM has become so complacent and self assured of it's own omniscience and infallibility, that the thought that they could be wrong about something is simply not a consideration.

Rathergate is a perfect example. To this day, Rather cannot admit that he could have been wrong.

This hubris is what will be the downfall of these self made "gods" of journalism.

A personal request: could someone please make Helen Thomas the next target in the press corp? ;-)


12 posted on 02/14/2005 4:16:11 PM PST by SpinyNorman (Islamofascists are the true infidels.)
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To: Qwinn
I generally like Jonah, but unfortunately he punts on giving any real answer to the question in his title

He seems to be saying, IMO, it's because there are more lefties in the media than conservatives, which makes for a more target-rich environment for the conservative bloggers, but I believe it's more because we have right on our side.

13 posted on 02/14/2005 4:16:20 PM PST by alnick (Rice 2005: We've only just begun to see what Freedom can achieve.)
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To: lepton
As example, take the House Bank scandal. While it was more than 3:1 Dems to Repubs, many of the Dems involved are still in office. Not a single Republican that I am aware of made it through the primaries.

Are you telling me a prominent Democrat could do crack cocain and still get elected? Come on, that could never happen.

14 posted on 02/14/2005 4:24:10 PM PST by Always Right
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To: Bahbah; Jim Robinson

.

HILLARY's heating things up is precisely what Freerepublic.com Founder JIM ROBINSON predicts and is preparing for in RICHARD POE's Book Forward of 'HILLARY's Secret War'

It's Pray and Prepare time, USA.

.


15 posted on 02/14/2005 4:28:06 PM PST by ALOHA RONNIE ("ALOHA RONNIE" Guyer/Veteran-"WE WERE SOLDIERS" Battle of IA DRANG-1965 http://www.lzxray.com)
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To: ALOHA RONNIE
It's Pray and Prepare time, USA.

I have the forward to my copy of Richard Poe's book signed by THE MAN who wrote it. Braggart. Name dropper. :) You could not be more right about this. The truth is the biggest danger that there is and this is where it is found.

16 posted on 02/14/2005 4:31:11 PM PST by Bahbah
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To: Qwinn
I generally like Jonah, but unfortunately he punts on giving any real answer to the question in his title - why are the right wing blogs more successful?

Actually, Michael Barone already answered it.

Left-wing bloggers are full of hatred and forcing the left further left.

Right-wing bloggers have taken aim at the MSM.

In effect, both are using the internet as a deadly weapon. One to shoot themselves. The other to shoot their enemies.

17 posted on 02/14/2005 4:39:04 PM PST by okie01 (A slavering moron and proud member of the lynch mob, cleaning the Augean stables of MSM since 1998.)
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To: Qwinn

Just so. The leftists in the MSM have gotten so arrogant and over the top with their lies, that they can be seen with the dullest eye once anyone looks at them. No doubt the right also makes an occasional mistake, but there's nothing like the kind of arrogance you see on the left.

That's the result of their having a monopoly on the media for such a very long time. When you have a monopoly, you start to get careless and take things for granted. You can do whatever you like and no one can stop you.

Until now.


18 posted on 02/14/2005 4:52:45 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Qwinn
"In other words, maybe we're kickin' ass not just cause we're Right, but also cause we're right. And they're wrong."

That goes without saying, which is why Jonah didn't. It is so friggin' obvious that centrists & lefties reading the article come to that conclusion by themselves and are therefore virtually "Hanntized".

19 posted on 02/14/2005 5:26:46 PM PST by chiller (DONE: Gore, taxes, terrorism,Kerry, Old Media. TO DO: Judges, Tort, IRS, Soc.Sec.,borders..)
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To: SpinyNorman

"A personal request: could someone please make Helen Thomas the next target in the press corp? ;-)"

Why target something that's already dead? LOL


21 posted on 02/14/2005 5:33:21 PM PST by The Loan Arranger (The modern definition of 'racist' is someone who is winning an argument with a liberal.)
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To: okie01

.

"HILLARY's Lifetime M.O. is...

...Rule-Making for others,

...Rule-Breaking for herself" =


......MICHAEL BARONE, on C-Span's 'Washington Journal'- 1999

.


22 posted on 02/14/2005 6:11:58 PM PST by ALOHA RONNIE ("ALOHA RONNIE" Guyer/Veteran-"WE WERE SOLDIERS" Battle of IA DRANG-1965 http://www.lzxray.com)
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To: SpinyNorman

.

And still...
longtime LIBERAL Los Angeles Times Media Critic DAVID SHAW keeps telling us that:


RATHER's work 'Shoddy, Slipshod' not LIBERAL..?

http://www.Freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1227809/posts

.


23 posted on 02/14/2005 6:32:25 PM PST by ALOHA RONNIE ("ALOHA RONNIE" Guyer/Veteran-"WE WERE SOLDIERS" Battle of IA DRANG-1965 http://www.lzxray.com)
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To: Vision Thing
let he who has never registered with a gay military porn site under a different name cast the first stone.

Let me be the first to state here and now that I have NEVER done this. Ever. Unequivocally. Period. I have a bag full of stones to start casting.

24 posted on 02/14/2005 6:35:48 PM PST by Hardastarboard
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To: MEG33

" Goldberg should get his facts straight."

GANNON: Well, several years ago, before I came to Washington, I had registered various domain names
for a private client. I was doing Web site development. Those sites were never hosted.
There's -- nothing ever went up on them. And the client went on to do something else.

It appears that Jonah thinks registering a domain name for a site that was never created, is the same as posting on a site.
There is no excuse for sloppy journalism , whether it comes from the right or the left.


25 posted on 02/14/2005 9:05:09 PM PST by Wild Irish Rogue
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To: ALOHA RONNIE
But Senator Hillary Clinton better be real aware of the blogosphere soon. Center-right blogs could dig so much dirt on Senator Clinton that she won't know what hit her in literal no time flat.
26 posted on 02/15/2005 7:30:08 AM PST by RayChuang88
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To: Vision Thing

bump


27 posted on 02/15/2005 2:01:58 PM PST by lowbridge
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To: Wild Irish Rogue

"There is no excuse for sloppy journalism , whether it comes from the right or the left."

Jonah, if you read this- There is no excuse for sloppy journalism-you were right and I was wrong - very wrong.
Apology offered.


28 posted on 02/15/2005 4:07:57 PM PST by Wild Irish Rogue
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