The Politics of Blogger Prestige

As always, speaking for me only.

Via Yglesias, Eric Alterman describes in stark terms what the MSM punditry dislikes about blogs:

Back in the pre-Internet days of yore, political punditry was the best job in journalism and one of the best anywhere. You could spout off on anything you wanted, and almost nobody would call you on it, much less find a place to publish and prove you wrong. . . . The advent of the Internet--particularly the blogosphere--has changed all that. Now, not only are the things pundits say and write preserved for posterity; there are legions of folks who track pundit pronouncements, fact-check their statements and compare them with previous utterances on the same and similar topics. . . .

All true, and brilliantly stated. But I worry about the same type of process happening with the blogs. Most Left bloggers are indeed quite good. Some, like Digby and Glenn Greenwald, are consistently brilliant. But no one should be immune from questioning and disagreement. I hope we can avoid the logrolling nature that became, and still is, the MSM punditry.


I have always been someone who engages commenters. I like to think it is because I have always thought of myself as just one more commenter. Perhaps it is because I do not like to be disagreed with.

Whatever the reason, this cultivates a culture of give and take, challenge and response, that is healthy and bracing. Maybe I am worried about nothing, but I do hope we can engage each other, disagree with each other, point out deficiencies in each others' arguments. Otherwise, will we be acting out a miniversion of Animal Farm?

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.
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    BTD, you have my vote of confidence. (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by cal11 voter on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 10:07:08 PM EST
    Keep engaging your readers and commenters.  It is the exchange of ideas that makes it interesting and fun.

    I thnk so (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 10:12:05 PM EST
    I hope so too.

    Also (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 10:21:51 PM EST
    It's a great way to differentiate yourself from all the conspicuously comment-free rightwing sites, or even worse, the (permanently disabled ) "registration only" sites like LGF and HotAir and their predictable Stalinist circle-jerks.

    I have learned so much (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 10:34:35 PM EST
    from the many blogs I read and from the participation of the individual people who each bring their own wealth of knowledge.  I wonder if American voters have ever had such an opportunity to be as informed as we have at this moment?  In spite of a few bumps and bruises here and there I wouldn't trade what blogs have given me for anything except the end of the Iraq War, but that's it.

    For me half the joy is realizing how much I don't (5.00 / 8) (#5)
    by conchita on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 10:42:42 PM EST
    know.  I come here because IANAL and I learn from those who are.  I also come because I do not find regurgitated mainstream media talking points or an endless chorus of yesses.  Most arguments are well-developed and backed up with sources when appropriate.  And while some push the envelope, there is substance behind it.  I don't feel that TL is awash in cynicism or tinfoil.  I appreciate that the perspectives I read educated and grounded in principle.

    At times I wonder why some commenters spend as much time here as they do when their perspectives are, shall we say, contrary, but at times they help to illuminate a point being made and remind me of how others think.  

    And, of course, it's also nice not being labeled a purity troll. ;-)  

    I like tinfoil, though (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by magster on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:00:16 PM EST
    More tinfoil please.

    I do tinfoil (none / 0) (#36)
    by TexDem on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:58:03 PM EST
    I usually qualify or declare before I do. But sometimes tinfoil's become reality.

    Haven't you proved (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by andgarden on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 10:44:29 PM EST
    the same type of process happening with the blogs
    ins't happening at all?

    No (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 10:46:46 PM EST
    I think I have been proving the opposite.

    I'm talking about fact that you can sit (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by andgarden on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 10:49:52 PM EST
    and criticize Stoller et al, and they tend to respond.

    Of course, your megaphone over at orange was taken away--twice.


    Stoller responds (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:00:45 PM EST
    Not really.

    And now he says he will not read me. Broke my heart.

    As for daily kos, well, it is what it is now. I don't fit there anymore.


    Can't tell if you're serious (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by andgarden on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:07:37 PM EST
    about "broke my heart." But we'll let him figure that out.

    It isn't entirely clear to me what's happening with DK. It almost seems to be dying at its high point. There's still lots to love, but it just isn't quite right.

    Anyway, you've got your niche here, and it seems to be working out pretty well.


    Heh (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:13:26 PM EST
    Not serious at all.

    I'll continue to hold his feet to the fire. For example his BS post praising OBama whose plan now is, get this, he'll work hard to find 67 votes to overirde Bush' veto.

    This is what passes for serious discussion on getting out of Iraq now? Obama is a fraud. Pure and simple.

    Edwards kicked his ass 6 ways to Sunday.

    You need to read what he said.

    He knows what needs to be done. But he needs to say yes to Reid Feingold and stop messing around.

    Not because Reid Feingold will pass but because it will set the marker - NO funding after March 31, 2008.

    I am heartily sick to death of Barack Obama and so called progressives who seem not to give two craps about actually ending the war.


    I think I understand where that's coming from (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by andgarden on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:30:24 PM EST
    People want to feel good about the home team. Anyway, I stand by what I said earlier: I do still really like Obama; I don't like this story that he's taking advice from Tom Daschle, though. He'd do much better to get an angry lecture from Harry Reid.

    I won't retread what I think abougt Edwards, but I will say that if the primary were held today, I'd probably vote Richardson, or write in Ed Rendell.


    Well (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:41:43 PM EST
    President Bush has promised to veto that funding, calculating that he can use the bully pulpit to intimidate Congress and get them to back down.

    But this is not the time for political calculation, this is the time for political courage. This is not a game of chicken. This is not about making friends or keeping Joe Lieberman happy. This is about life and death--this about war. We are done letting George Bush manipulate the rhetoric of patriotism, only to use our troops as political pawns. If Bush vetoes funding for the troops, he's the only one standing in the way of the resources they need. Nobody else.

    Congress must stand firm. They must not write George Bush another blank check without a timeline for withdrawal--period. If Bush vetoes the funding bill, Congress should send another funding bill to him with a binding plan to bring the troops home. And if he vetoes it again, they should do it again.

    The American people are overwhelmingly in favor of ending this war. If our side stands firm, if we show courage now, we can finally bring our troops back home and bring this war to an end.

    Thank you.

    I'll be honest (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:42:41 PM EST
    After that, if Edwards can endorse Reid-Feingold, I am ready to endorse him.

    That's the best stuff I have heard yet from anybody.


    If Gore doesn't come out (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by conchita on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:51:35 PM EST
    I am probably headed that way too.  Although I am more impressed by Richardson than I expected.  It is too early for me to say with any real certainty.

    Understood (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by andgarden on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:53:30 PM EST
    But my instinct is still to ponder how he might have voted on this.

    I'm hot and cold about Edwards. Everything he says sounds right--his closing statement at the end of the VP debate in 2004 damn near had me in tears--but I just don't think much of his time in the Senate. It's like he's been able to push all of my buttons--good and bad.

    If he's our nominee, or somehow inspires Congress next week to do the right thing, I'll get behind him, tail between legs.


    On Edwards kicking butt (5.00 / 4) (#30)
    by TexDem on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:48:27 PM EST
    I believe he cut his teeth taking on the big boys of Corporate America in the courtroom. Communicating with people/juries is what he does. Telling stories, that's what a good lawyer and a good salesman have in common, the narrative they weave for their audience/client/jury.

    Last time out he didn't listen to his instincts. I think he learned that lesson. His and Elizabeth's voices are all he needs to listen to at this time. Screw the so-called experts who have done nothing for Dems in over twenty-five years.


    I don't get the sense there is any cohesion (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by conchita on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:14:51 PM EST
    or driving force.  It feels to me like there are still people with heart there, but their voices seem to get lost somehow.  I almost get the sense that people have given up or are just glad to be lead by the beltway.

    It used to be fun (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by andgarden on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:24:51 PM EST
    And now it's like trying to wade through a zoo housed in a very nice library that has personnel issues.

    I am sorry to say but dkos (none / 0) (#14)
    by conchita on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:11:44 PM EST
    seems to have become a chorus of yesses.  It surprises me that more people have not found there way here, but I expect it will happen with time.  If there was someone at TL like meteor blades, mataliandy or adam seigel who posted on environmental/energy issues, it might draw others like me who are also enmeshed in those topics.  I don't know that building readership is an objective or concern, just thinking outloud.

    Talk Left (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:15:07 PM EST
    is not me.

    I am privileged to post here thanks to the wonderful Jeralyn.

    She gives me a platform to write what I want to write about.

    But Talk Left is not going to be that type of site even though J wonderfully tolerates that type of blogging by me.


    I am thankful that she does and also (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by conchita on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:23:01 PM EST
    for her posts as well.  I read all three of you, but she has been particularly good the past few days - her Gitmo post and the heads up about the women over fifty article at Huff Post (not there yet, but it's good to hear that it's not all over after the big 5-0).

    However, I have a feeling that many more from dkos will be looking for another home, like dkmich the other night.


    Well (none / 0) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:29:17 PM EST
    The more the merrier.

    OT / Point of interest (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by TexDem on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:54:38 PM EST
    Is there a way to get the time stamp set to EDT instead of EST it's confusing sometimes to this ADHD brain of mine.

    I'll try (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:58:45 PM EST
    Bothers me too frankly.

    Damn good service 'round here (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by TexDem on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 12:02:50 AM EST
    'preciate it.

    Mine is set to Mountain Daylight (none / 0) (#40)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 12:52:09 AM EST
    so I think you can set your own time in your preferences.  Then again, I'm not sure, so if it's a  site issue, I'll ask Colin to fix it.

    To Jeralyn from us (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by TexDem on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:29:42 PM EST

    To BTD
    I'm sure she doesn't mind the increased traffic, helps pay the bills.


    DKos still merits reading, though (5.00 / 4) (#21)
    by magster on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:26:49 PM EST
    Kos is so big, and there are so many smart people posting over there, that you get about four or five must reads, at least, every day. Plus, because of the size, it is a great resource for "action alerts" or to megaphone an issue.  

    But I agree that the chorus of yesses get old.


    That's why you see more and more (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by TexDem on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:35:30 PM EST
    cross-posting. The establish a rep on dkos and start expanding to other sites. In the earlier days they started their own blogs, now they're writing books.

    She;s brave to put up with me (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:40:04 PM EST
    I imagine some of the Left blogs don't enjoy my bite.

    Give her credit.


    Hey. Admit it, we're all brave to put up with you. (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by mentaldebris on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 01:40:03 AM EST
    Heh. ;)

    Thanks, Jeralyn.


    Heh (none / 0) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 07:10:55 AM EST
    I agree (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by conchita on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:37:36 PM EST
    about the must reads and I appreciate that McJoan and BarbinMD continue to speak up.  The megaphone aspect is the reason I was disappointed BTD left, but I also understand why he did.

    Well you fit here just fine (none / 0) (#47)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 11:41:59 AM EST
    and with so many lawyers around I get to learn new words.  It's silly that Stoller says he won't read you anymore.  I read everybody, even people I disagree with because at some point I usually find that I do agree with them on something.  Take breathing for example, I think we would all agree that breathing is a good idea and all need to do it....eating too, maybe three times a day, sleeping when it gets dark outside is nice also.

    Oink! (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by magster on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 10:58:14 PM EST
    I like that you and Jeralyn hang out in the comment section. You are always up for a good argument or running with tangents.

    Oink! (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:03:37 PM EST

    "Too much information (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:12:20 PM EST
    Runnin through my brain."

    The Police

    But it has distanced me from many around me who have not yet become aware. It is...difficult.

    Che's Lounge (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by conchita on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:48:54 PM EST
    I gave you a 5 for this comment, but realize I can't just leave it at that.  I too know the distancing effect.  I'm trying hard to bridge the distance by sharing the info, but sometimes it's a tough sell to get past the eyes glazed over from watching television each night.  All too often I realize that  the person I'm talking to doesn't want to think about the people who thousands of miles away are struggling to survive.  They just want to watch their shows and put gas in their cars and not think about where it is from, who is profiting, and who is dying.  And on that note, I am off for the night.

    BTD, thanks to you and to Jeralyn and TalkLeft.


    BTD (5.00 / 5) (#35)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:56:07 PM EST
    Just want you to know that it is people like you that give me some hope for the Democratic Party.

    With all of the corporate domination of the media, the internet, as we all here well know, is our saving grace. In these unpredictable times, public discourse is more important than ever. Just as blind racist nationalism (at the proletariat level), fostered by the MSM, is our most dangerous enemy. It destroys us from within. Stopping the war frenzy is THE paramount issue today.

    The greatest strenth the Democratic Party possesses is it's diversity. This diversity is of race, religion, gender and opinions. I have many problems with their foreign policy platforms and trade policies, but I see much more potential for saving human lives and improving the wealth of the world with the Dems than the soon to be former Republican party, which has now been so warped by the neocons, that I'm hoping they will be absorbed by the libertarians, moderat Dems and, unfortunately, the posse commitatus.

    I am gratified to see that you take firm stands and stick to your guns, because I believe your commentaries are a kind of wake up call to the establishment Dems from one of their own. Your credentials are clear. I appreciate your challenges to the "Party" apparatus. I wish you success and remind you that we have barely touched the tip of iceberg as far as the capability of the internet. But eventually we will all have to meet. The revolution may begin here, but I dare say it will end in the streets if this runaway train administration doesn't get stopped, and soon. If we are in the same place vis a vis Iraq in the summer of 2008, there will be he** to pay.

    Oh yes, the old-time pundits. (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by walt on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 12:48:01 AM EST
    If Jack Anderson or Carl Rowan were trying to run their nonsensical columns in this internet era, they would look more idiotic than Novak or Brooks or . . . add your favorites here: ______.

    Clowns such as Krauthammer, Klein, Geyer, etc. are headed for oblivion.  They used to thrive on half-baked gossip & silly innuendo that is now blown to foolishness within a matter of hours.  Their crap still has legs because too many people read it & don't come across the fact checks that appear on the internet.  But that is steadily changing.  Re: Libby trial, with mega- changes in all 3 corners of the media triangle: media liars & hacks on the witness stand defending their total lack of ethical standards, bloggers covering the trial & out-pacing the journalists, and reporters looking like their colleagues in the dock just making crap up!

    I wonder if there will be a tipping point at which the lame stream muddya executives decide that backing the gossip-mongers is stupid.  They've lost huge percentages of viewers & readers, but have been able to raise their ad prices and seem to remain profitable, in spite of the smaller audiences.

    That doesn't seem logical.  So at some point it will have to change.

    It also seems very unlikely that any of the media moguls have "tinfoiled" a new environment for the transfer of information.  Will there be a void in which the 35-45 percent who have web access are hip & the rest of the citizenry is . . . ?

    BTD, (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Peaches on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 08:38:40 AM EST
    As a long-time member of TL I am one person who has found your style of engaging commenters taking some getting used too.

    I very much enjoy your perspective and think your views are an important voice that should be heard among progressives. I also find your portings on Law to be very informative.

    On the negative side, what people on this thread seem to be complaining about DKOS, (I admit, I don't know much about DKOS, I discovered TL and DKOS at the same time and found TL to be much more pleasingf for my tastes) that there are to many Yesses, from my perspective, you have brought this to TL. Your Threads have a clique accompanying them where anyone who challenges you is not only immediately engaged by you, but also several posters jumping in to hogpile on. These posters give all each others comments a rating of five and the challenger a rating of 1 in almost every dispute.

    Since TL went to the new format and a ratings system for comments was established, I have observed that most of the old posters at TL don't use the rating system, but your clique and DKOS crossovers use it with a passion. In the old days, [uhmmm, a year ago ;)] under the old TL format, a poster was judged striclty by his contribution. Jimaka has been a long time contributer and a frequent challenger to everyone at TL. He has often angered many visiters as well as other longtime contributers. However, he has carved out his own niche as TL's anti-liberal (or in his term social-liberal who is for a strong defense) and posters learned to either ignore him, ridicule him, or have a little fun with him. The newer people don't quite get him and think he's fits under the blogger heading of Troll and rates all his comments one hoping he will be scared away. I'm not here to defend Jim, I'm just pointing out the differences that have come about at TL since you have arrived.

    I like your style and Love your perspective, I just cringe when the piling on starts.

    Well (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 08:49:19 AM EST
    Since there is no hiding of comments here, I am not sure what your concern is on the ratings system.

    As for Jim, most of his antagonists are longtanding TLers. So I do not agree with your point on that either.

    Finally, Stewiie, who was the "victim" of a pile on, is a MyDDer/Kossack who came here to attack me so I can't say that I have sympathy for your concern on his account.

    Jim is a big boy and seems to defend himself ably. I am not concerned about that.


    Piling on (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Peaches on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 09:05:01 AM EST
    I missed the Stewiie deal, so I'm not sure what that was about. And, yes, you are correct, Jim is a big boy who is quite able to defend himself. His on glaring fault is that when he's insulted he ups the ante. But, I'm only pointing to differences. Things change, I'm not complaining. There is a new dynamic at TL and in many aspects the conversation has improved and you play a big part of it.

    WHen I refer to piling on, I mean in the recent case of the funding debate. You drew the lines as either you support defunding or you are not serious about ending the war. I happen to agree with you, but I want to hear from the perspective of others. When some posters would disagre or argue that defunding is impractical or would not work, you always had a valid counterargument waiting. I appreciate those discussions. However, there was also frequently contrubuters who would be rating comments by you as five and your interlocutor a 1. and when they entered the discussion they were often labeled as being for the war or accessories to murder. I think the atmosphere it creates is one that you are not trying to build and that is one where posters who may disagree with you are intimidated by confronting your arguments, so they take them elsewhere.

    But, thats only my concern. SO far, it hasn't happened to my knowledge, so I very well might be wrong.


    They can and do disagree with me (none / 0) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 09:36:54 AM EST
    right here.

    It is discussed all the time.

    I think the quieter TL is verymuch still avalaible, even in some of my legal posts. And my poosts on faith.

    The Iraq issue is bound to be raucus. Throw in Presidential politics and I think even quiet TL gets rowdy.

    BTW,I am glad we have found a way to discourse that works for both of us.


    Peaches& BTD (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Che's Lounge on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 02:30:05 PM EST
    Also a long time visitor. I ignore ratings as a default. Couldn't care less. Peaches, your post was so familiar:


    On the negative side, what people on this thread seem to be complaining about DKOS, (I admit, I don't know much about DKOS, I discovered TL and DKOS at the same time and found TL to be much more pleasingf for my tastes)

    I had the exact same experience. But the visitors at Dkos and the others are, in the long run, allies in opposing our common enemies, the corporate elites.

    Jim to me is a practice program. He has no idea how much damage he has done to the conservatives. Maybe in a roundabout way that is his goal. I'm not about to give him that much credit. Yet many of us have increased our knowledge by exposing his BS.

    IMO BTD is part of the evolution we are experiencing on how political discourse is carried out through the benefit of the internet. It's all a huge experiment, as the Founders would say. We have yet to see the final results.

    Well, Che, (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Peaches on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 03:32:53 PM EST
    I'm not a big believer in the power of the internet, or any large scale technological advances for that matter. I am a bit of a luddite. I see the internet as a necessary evil that can be used as a tool to challenge the corp-elite, but in the end most people will succumb to the worst aspects of mass control as  the Corp-elites slowly gain control over this newfound technology. When that happens, the masses will, once again, be eating out of the pal of their hands and whats left of the political discourse will not look that much different than the MSM.

    That is just my opinion, mind you. I believe that decocracy only works locally and with the minimum of outside influence from larger institutions. Of course, the internet is too large of an international instituion not to have an impact in every community accross the globe and for that reason only, I don't have faith in its power to be an ally to democratic intiatives. I could be wrong though.


    Peaches and Che, a quick word about ratings (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by conchita on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 04:57:55 PM EST
    From my perspective this is a way to let someone know that I appreciate the comment that was made.  Rather than say I agree, or add something insubstantial just for the sake of saying something, I often give a rating.  On the other hand, if a comment has been made that appears to be purposefully left to bait others.  Sometimes I ignore these comments but others use a rating which makes a small statement yet avoids "feeding the troll".  

    Conchita (none / 0) (#51)
    by Che's Lounge on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 10:11:42 PM EST
    And I appreciate your rating. It's not arrogance. I just haven't taken the time to review ratings.

    Your scenario re the internet is quite plausible. I too worry that one day this will not be here. Or at least corrupted, as you describe. That's why it is important for people who blog to go to meetings and stay in touch. Yearly kos is one great idea. I really wanted to go last year. I'm not sure how it will evolve either.

    I believe in tecnology, I just don't like the way it's applied. For example, I would love to see the US turn from major Agribusiness back to the small farmers. The laws and regulations are so one sided. Our society has allowed greedy individuals to defile our country's best traditions to make a buck. And it's not more efficient. Just more toxic.