Saturday, April 15, 2006

Idiocy at the WaPo

So, the Washington Post's horrible, hit-piece article on Maryscott O'Connor, My Left Wing, and by extension the entire liberal blogosphere, is the most widely discussed and most talked about issue on in the community of liberal bloggers since some scantily clad women threw pies at each other on behalf of TBS.

While a few have welcomed and accepted the harsh and cartoonish portrayal in the article as positive press, by far the most common reaction to the article has been to proclaim that it was, well, bullshit, and that the example of Maryscott O'Connor (MSOC) portrayed in the article didn't even adequately HER, much less the far less caustic liberal blogosphere. The best examples of such a reaction are this beautiful piece by fellow Kossack wmtriallawyer, this intelligent response by fellow Kossack BarbinMD, and this disarming welcome by fellow Kossack MissInformation.

But I think all of these responses--while valuable--miss the larger point. The biggest point to be gleaned from all this that is that the Washington Post is scared--and in its fear has made a gigantic tactical error. They may have caught us unawares and fired the opening salvo of a battle, knocking us off our feet temporarily, but they've already lost significant ground. And they can't fight us further without losing even more ground.

First they ignore you...Then they laugh at you...Then they fight you... Then you WIN.
-- Mahatma Ghandi

Trust me: they're laughing. The mean-spirited language in the article, and the entirely negative choice of photograph, are meant to do one thing: depict the liberal blogosphere as an out-of-control, empty headed, out of touch, mindless echo chamber of mass hysteria that would embarrass the denizens of Free Republic. And it did remarkably well in this attempt. It accomplished its job remarkably effectively, and Maryscott herself had her hospitality horribly abused by the reporter who smeared her.

But why would the WaPo do this? The answer is simple: competition. The newspaper business is dying, and the newspapers know it. More and more people are getting their news online. And more and more people--on the left and the right--distrust the bland corporate filter that the traditional media covers all the news with. Both sides know that they are being lied to--but especially, obviously, the denizens of the reality-based community, who don't have Fox News or the Washington Times and are almost entirely voiceless in the traditional media--and are seeking alternative sources of information.

The newspapers are scared to death of the blogosphere--and the liberal blogosphere above all. So they're trying to marginalize us and depict us as unhinged. Well, MSOC took the bait that she has so marvelously resisted in her appearances on Fox News, and they succeeded.

But they also failed. The article was the height of idiocy.

After all, how many of the WaPo's regular readers even KNEW about the Daily Kos--much less My Left Wing--before they read the article? The ones who were inclined to believe that partisan blogs are crap will have been reinforced in that belief. But thousands of others will follow the link to the site--and to the Daily Kos, the Booman Tribune, and the other blogs mentioned.

And, in the Neo's immortal words at the end of the Matrix, "we're going to show these people what You [the Traditional Media] don't want them to see. We're going to show them a world without rules, without boundaries, and without You. And where we go from there is up to You."

Because they are going to see some of the superb, rational, and outstanding writing, reporting, and editorial content on our blogs. They are going to see some anger, yes, but they are also going to see some truly quality content. And most importantly, they're going to see stories covered that the Traditional Media refuses to cover in any depth.

And they're going to be hooked.

They're going to be hooked because--for perhaps the first time--instead of ignoring us, they've started laughing at us.

Well, we've got their attention. STEP TWO IS COMPLETE. And we're attracting converts like never before.

Now, get ready for the fight...because while this was one of the traditional media's first major salvos, it certainly won't be the last.



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