Monday, December 04, 2006

HaHa! Gotcha!

Danny Glover has written a much-discussed article about bloggers. The gist of the piece is this:

THE Netroots." "People Power." "Crashing the Gate." The lingo of liberal Web bloggers bespeaks contempt for the political establishment. The same disdain is apparent among many bloggers on the right, who argued passionately for a change in the slate of House Republican leaders — and who wallowed in woe-is-the-party pity when the establishment ignored them.

You might think that with the kind of rhetoric bloggers regularly muster against politicians, they would never work for them. But you would be wrong.

Over the past few years, bloggers have won millions of fans by speaking truth to power — even the powers in their own parties — and presenting a fresh, outsider perspective. They are the pamphleteers of the 21st century, revolutionary "citizen journalists" motivated by personal idealism and an unwavering confidence that they can reform American politics.

But this year, candidates across the country found plenty of outsiders ready and willing to move inside their campaigns. Candidates hired some bloggers to blog and paid others consulting fees for Internet strategy advice or more traditional campaign tasks like opposition research.

If you read the whole article, you also find a graphic which shows several bloggers who have accepted assignments from politicians, together with the amounts (usually fairly low) that these bloggers have been paid. The list isn't quite correct in its implications, by the way. Jesse, for instance, handed Pandagon over before he took a political job. But the point of the piece is probably not in giving precise information on those bloggers who may have somehow failed to be the angry citizens hammering at the gates and actually got through the gates. The point is to lament the idea that those hammering at the gates actually want to get in. Now I find this weird: If I hammer at your door it doesn't mean that I'm trying to scare you into running out through the back to leave the house empty; it means that I want to be let in.

What Glover is really saying in this piece is that bloggers can be corrupted with money, and that this makes them no better than the political establishment. You can't be a righteous idealist with a heavy purse of gold pieces, I guess, although nobody has let me try that combination out yet. But then you can't be a righteous idealist without food and housing and clothes, either, and money buys those things.

It's weird how suddenly all the thousands of liberal bloggers become a short list of a few names, too. Well, it's not weird at all. It's the way the establishment tries to define blogs: by looking for the traditional leaders in a hierarchical system and by trying to either destroy or co-opt those "leaders".

None of this has anything to do with blogs like this one. I'm not trying to break into the political corridors of power, and I'm not going to work for any politician. Which means that I just wrote about something totally irrelevant, I guess.