What’s happening online now is potentially dangerous: HRC has gotten dreadful press, not fair, “gotcha,” and so on — there’s a portion of the blogosphere that has ignored that and there’s a portion that has encouraged that.
It’s dangerous because the media criticism has to be consistent and relentless, and we can’t very well say, “You can’t go after our candidates … except this one.” I get nervous about pushback regarding disingenuous coverage – our response needs to be, “You can’t treat Democrats this way.” When people in the left blogosphere are quoting an anonymous Matt Drudge source, it makes me nervous.
It makes me nervous as well. A growing portion of the progressive blogosphere went from advocating issues and holding politicians and the media accountable to advocating candidates at all costs. Specifically, the advocacy of Obama at Hillary’s expense is particularly troubling.
I find the slow descent to progressive irrelevancy on a couple of issues worthy of deeper discussion. First is the protection of the franchise. The idea that rules can be written to deliberately disenfranchise voters, and that politicians are “sleeping well at night” after disenfranchising voters should be something progressives shout about. A former friend of mine (good ol’ Unity Pony Obama has broken up more of my friendships than even Bush did!) used to be a big advocate of paper trails and protecting the vote. On the disenfranchisement of FL and MI because of “rules” (funny, using non secure e-voting machines can be considered “rules” as well)? Silence. An Obama win by adhering to fundamentally unjust rules is more important than principles of democacy. Sad. And dangerous.
The other issue is the legitimization of media manipulation. When the media was giving George W. Bush a free ride and cheer leading the nation to war in Iraq the progressive blogosphere was rightly up in arms. But, as Boehlert says above, part of the progressive blogosphere has encouraged the manipulation of the facts in regard to press coverage of Hillary Clinton. There has been a willful acceptance and active participation in the sexist attacks and character assassination of Hillary Clinton, as the Drudge picture fiasco so clearly demonstrates. The progressive blogosphere’s participation in the manipulation is probably best characterized by Matt Yglesia’s claim that us Hillary folk need to be told by “credible party leaders” how to vote and participate in the electoral process.
Sadly, I think that the current progressive blogosphere, and the progressive media as a whole (The Nation, Air America, etc.) has given itself a lethal blow that it may never recover from. What I’m seeing more and more is the cheering of the coverage by Lou Dobbs, Joe Scarborough and even Fox News because they are more “fair” than even progressive blogs and progressive media. This self-inflicted wound, if not addressed and discussed seriously has implications beyond either Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It’s people planning to leave the Democratic Party. It’s people revolting against progressive media. It’s people who no longer want to be part of the “progressive movement” any longer.