Saturday, March 17, 2007

Leftopia flexes its political muscle

It's nice to see a story about left wing bloggers that isn't a hit piece. Terry McDermott at the LAT delivers a remarkably snark-free story about Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo and notes that the power of Leftopia to influence the news cycle is growing. It appears he's one of the few journalists who aren't threatened by the "new media."

Most bloggers, in fact, are not journalists and do little if any reporting. But most bloggers don't claim to be journalists. They're bloggers. The incivility charge is true too. Many bloggers use bad language, but so occasionally does the New Yorker, and no one accuses it of lacking manners.

"I'm familiar with the critique," Marshall said. "I don't feel it has a great deal to do with us, what we are doing. There's a ton of stuff out there, and a lot of it is screechy and angry and undisciplined. I don't have a problem with it, but it's not stuff I'm particularly interested in reading.

"It's totally in the tradition of political pamphleteering. … Individually, I think some of it isn't necessarily that pretty, but I think the whole thing altogether is a great thing."

Neither side in the blog-MSM debate seems to have great appreciation for what the other brings to the party. Simply put, while mainstream media does the heavy lifting of careful, day-to-day and occasional in-depth reporting, bloggers have revivified political commentary, mainly through their exuberance.

He goes on to note TPM's success and credits it for breaking open the current Purgegate scandal and for its influence in the defeat of the administration's Social Security "reform" scam. It's a good read and I came away thinking about how much Blogtopia has changed in the last four years that I've living in it.

The right may have their "army of Davids" but the left has finally found its voice and is mustering an "army of Goliaths." Most real journalists may mock us all, but together we've changed the face of the news and neither politics, nor the MSM, will ever be the same again.

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