Friday, August 04, 2006

Beware of the Next Narrative

The Democratic blogs have been getting loads of attention lately from the mainstream media (some grudging, some mocking), but the main theme is somewhat paradoxical; Why are the lefty blogs getting all this attention (from the MSM?) when none of the candidates they've backed (here they cite Dean and and a few others) have gone on to win?

The MSM is sensing the way in which the blogosphere has changed organizing for and empowered the center-left (much more so than for the right, for which talk radio is probably the best analogy), but they don't really want to understand it because it's just one more sign that people are decreasingly interested in what they (the MSM) have to say.

However, if Joe Lieberman gets beat by Ned Lamont in next week's primary, expect the lazy traditional media establishment to heap the lion's share of credit/blame on the Democratic blogosphere, even though Lamont's rise has been largely a grassroots Connecticut phenomenon. Why? It's the sexy story: bloodthirsty virtual guerrillas take down the Republicans' favorite Democrat, a kind-hearted old gentlemen with the courage to stand up for his principles.

I'm not saying that Kos, Atrios, TPM, etc., won't have played an important part in the defeat of Lieberman, should it come to pass, but just making the point that the MSM filter is such an effective way of preferentially channeling information to the citizens that we should all be welcoming it's downfall. Given the perhaps unfortunate fact that comity and bipartsanship have now been all but extinguished, I'm pleased to see us heading towards a much more European model of media bias (of which FOX is a great example), where each paper, channel, station, and now website or virtual community, wears its politics on its sleeve.


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