Thursday, August 31, 2006

Silencing The Blogosphere: Down The Slippery Slope

From USA Today comes this essay by Bruce Kluger.

(Hat Tip:

If ever America needed a wake-up call about the mythology of blogging, we got it this month.

On Aug. 8, Connecticut businessman Ned Lamont defeated U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary, a triumph widely credited to the rah-rah racket produced by pro-Lamont armies stationed along the Internet.

Indeed, the bloggers had scored big. They had helped vault a local politician to national prominence and cemented the Iraq war as Issue No. 1 in the congressional elections. Not a bad day.............. August 2006 clearly demonstrates, bloggers can just as easily get it wrong. That's worth remembering.

The whole thing reminds me of child-rearing. As the parent of any toddler can tell you, the younger the child, the louder the screams for attention — and quite often, the degree of the crisis is in reverse proportion to the decibels of the bellows.

To that end, it's important to remember that the blogosphere is still in its infancy, and like any kid, it needs to be watched very carefully.

You can read the rest if you want, just follow the link. But all you need to read are these two passages and you know instantly, where this guy is headed. If we are in tune with reality, we can sense, hear, feel, and see Mr. Kluger's disdain for the blogosphere. We know that he must feel some sense of apprehension, at the very least. But I seriously suspect, this is nothing more than a case of jealousy, envy, and maybe some good old-fashioned sour grapes.

But before I launch into my diatribe, let me say he is right about one thing. He is spot on with his assessment of the Lamont victory. Nominating Lamont over Lieberman was not a good thing.

But he is dead wrong on a host of others. The chiefest of those other things being the right of free expression by ordinary citizens that would otherwise not have a voice, should not be portrayed as some crazy experiment, nor should he paint all bloggers with the same broad brush.

You see, Mr. Kluger fails to understand one important point here. The blogosphere did not get Ned Lamont elected. People did.

Bloggers that align themselves with one blog in particular,
the Daily Kos, may have made a big difference and tipped the boat greatly towards Lamont. But Political Yen/Yang didn't. And I highly suspect that the vast majority of visitors to PYY (those that have blogs) did not either.

In fact, I bet if we took a poll of every blogmeister that has a blog blogrolled on the PYY blogroll, none of them have played any part in the clothesline move put on Lieberman. I believe, the vast majority of them are just as disappointed that this primary election went the way that it did, as Mr. Kluger. Not only that, I bet the vast majority of the entire blogosphere did not take part in the derailment of a former Vice-Presidential nominee, and a man that has stood with the President on the Iraq War.

But because some bloggers got together and went grass roots amd denied him his party's nod, we must all face the stern criticism of a bitter MSM writer, as if we are all an out of control entity that is hell-bent on subverting his specific cause.

Let me say this, I am not now, nor will I likely EVER be a fan of the Kos blog. You see how often I link to him, I visit his site about the same amount of times, as that.

I do not like his politics, I do not like debating much of anything with him or the people that he attracts. And it's not that he is liberal. I have a couple of liberal sites blogrolled and would love to blogroll more, if I could only find those that are decent and civil, in their discourse. I just do not want the kind of confrontational debate that he and his followers like. I want it more reasoned and more civil.

But make no mistake whatsoever, I stand for his right to blog whatever he wants. I stand for his right to free speech. I will defend his rights with every shred of perserverance I can possibly muster, as I will all blogs. This is a freedom of speech issue that should not be blown off, because the MSM would love nothing more than to have no blogs to compete with, at all.

So, mark this down on your calendar or just store it to memory. Today, I can honestly say, that on this one issue, I am with Kos. It may never happen again. In fact, I would be most surprised if it ever does. And you know what?

I cannot speak for every blogger, but in one sense I believe that I can. I bet there are many bloggers out there in blogosphereland, both friendly and adversarial, that feel the same way as me.

How about you?

Will you stand idly by and allow cynical MSM journalists to lead a charge against your right to free speech? Will you allow them to take us the way of China, pressuring search engines to censor sites and articles that are critical to the government? How about Iran, where they throw bloggers in jail? How about Britain? Will you put your approval on banning certain types of articles that use the word "terrorist"?

I won't. Not now, not ever.

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