Bloghetto: official vs. independent weblogs
: Jonathan Chait of The New Republic complains on his Dean-o-phobe blog that the Dean campaign is creating a comfy online island in its weblogs:
One of the most disturbing things about Dean and his hard-core supporters is that they give the impression that they know nothing at all of why President Bush is successful, and therefore what it takes to beat him. Read the pro-Dean blogs, and the you come away with the view that Bush is strong because he’s ruthless and has lots of money, and therefore if the Democrats are also ruthless and raise lots of money, they can beat him. This ignorance is compounded by the fact that many Deanies seem to exist in a isolated cultural milieu in which everybody is secular, socially liberal, and antiwar. They can’t fathom why those things might hurt Dean in a general election because they don’t ever talk to or read anybody who thinks differently. Dean’s Internet networking–which has had lots of positive effects on American politics–has probably intensified this cloistering, by creating intellectual ghettos on the web where true believers can interact, undisturbed by those who don’t share their faith.
Gene over at Harry’s Place agrees:
Well, yes, which is one reason to avoid those cyber-ghettos. And it’s one reason I appreciate the wide range of opinions reflected in the posts and comments at Harry’s Place. I’m pleased that– no matter what you believe– you can’t get away with intellectual laziness here. Many ideological web sites are devoted largely to carricaturing the opposing side; it’s hard to do that here because someone from the opposing side will usually call you on it.
: Official weblogs, by the very fact that they are annointed as as official, must give the party line (see my earlier post on the essentially and necessarily one-way and propagandistic nature of an official weblog). You go to the official blog to find out what is official. They try to influence down.
Independent weblogs, on the other hand, have more freedom to discuss and argue. You go to them to see what the people say. They try to influence across and up. Their independence is their value.
: UPDATE: Dave Winer went to see Dean last night. His post isn’t up because of a rabid bot going after his server. But the post is up on his RSS feed. A quote:
There were 150 people in the room, mostly it was about lies, bedtime stories, telling people what they want to hear. No minds activated. Some good lines, a glimmer that minds may have played a role in the Dean campaign at one time, but not today. Now they’re trying to get elected, and I believe in doing so are guaranteeing that they won’t. If you’re looking for an airbrushed guy, Clark is much stronger. I don’t know why people care how much money Dean has raised, that’s just going to buy commercials. I’d love to see one of the pols use their money to solve some problems now, win or lose. Put some teeth behind We Love The Internet and The Internet Loves Us.