(Keywords: politics, media, internet, why democracy works for blogs)
Adam Nagourney writes about Yearly Kos - a convention of bloggers - in a New York Times article, Gathering Highlights Power of the Blog, "If any more proof were needed of the rising influence of bloggers — at least for the Democratic Party — it could be found here on Friday on the Las Vegas Strip, where the old and new worlds of American politics engaged in a slightly awkward if mostly entertaining clash of a meeting.
"There were the bloggers — nearly a thousand of them, many of them familiar names by now — emerging from the shadows of their computers for a three-day blur of workshops, panels and speeches about politics, the power of the Internet and the shortcomings of the Washington media. And right behind them was a parade of prospective Democratic presidential candidates and party leaders, their presence a tribute to just how much the often rowdy voices of the Web have been absorbed into the very political process they frequently disdain, much to the amazement, and perhaps discomfort, of some of the bloggers themselves. "
Blogs have become for the left, what talk radio has been for the right - a tool to get the message out. If you compare the two media, it's easy to see why.
The right looks to authority, so the top down information chain works best for them. They tune into Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity and their authority figures tell them what to believe. This is similar to ministers of propaganda in a dictatorship. In unguarded moments, they'll even admit it. "I'll probably say it three more times," George W. Bush told a Greece, New York audience, in a speech about Social Security reform, "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." Of course, you can also get others to repeat the same thing over and over, which is why rightwing talk radio programs all talk about the same things on any given day - Limbaugh, who claims to have 'talent on loan from God', uses all that god-given talent to pull the talking points from the Republican National Committee off the fax every morning.
Blogs, on the other hand, are much better suited to the attitudes of the left. Lefties are democrats, in the sense that they believe in democracy in all things. Where the right values authority, the left values consensus. Instead of a lot of voices saying the same thing, liberals want to hear a lot of opinions, so they can make informed decisions on their own. Republicans like to say theirs is the 'party of ideas'. That's not exactly true, they're the party who all believe in the same ideas. Progressives are the idea people; they've got a lot of them and they debate about which one is the best idea.
And politicians are getting hip to this. Russ Feingold has a diary page on Daily Kos and a column at The Huffington Post. In fact, The Huffington Post features many writers from the left - from Al Franken to Feingold, from Paul Reiser to Norman Mailer.
Nagourney again: "They may think of themselves as rebels, separate from mainstream politics and media. But by the end of a day on which the convention halls were shoulder to shoulder with bloggers, Democratic operatives, candidates and Washington reporters, it seemed that bloggers were well on the way to becoming — dare we say it? — part of the American political establishment."
Journalist Amy Goodman, of Democray Now!, once said, "We must build a trickle-up media that reflects the true character of this country and its people. A democratic media serving a democratic society."
I think we are.