Those of us reading the liberal blogs, or listening to Air America Radio, are well familiar with the fantastical tale of
Jeff Gannon Jim Guckert, the fake reporter who managed to get credentialed by the security-conscious White House press office, under an assumed name. But most Americans have heard nary a peep about this scandal.
The Oregonian — whose own news pages have not mentioned this story once — uses “Gannon” as a springboard to editorialize today on a curious paradox… that the right-wing blogs seem to have so much more influence over the so-called liberal press, than us “lefties.”
Those inclined to accept right-wing mythology about the “left-wing mainstream media” should consider for a moment the sensational story of fake White House reporter “Jeff Gannon.”
Never heard of him? That’s not surprising. Mainstream news outlets have scarcely touched it. Yet it’s been raging for weeks on left-leaning Web sites, which so far have been unable to elevate the story beyond the blogosphere.
Bloggers on the right, by comparison, have enjoyed spectacular success getting the supposedly leftist media to heed and advance their journalistic agenda. This creates a fertile new issue for industry researchers: Why is it that Internet bloggers on the left, compared with those on the right, have so much less demonstrable influence on mainstream journalism?
Hmmm… great question, Oregonian Editorial Board. Perhaps you could ask, gee, I don’t know… your own news editors?
I was all set to exercise my talmudic tendencies on the Oregonian editorial, when I noticed that the recently re-mottoed Columbian Watch had already made most of my points: “GannonGuckert the editorial.” But I would particularly like to echo the following comment:
I’m also a little uncomfortable with the idea that “left-wing” bloggers are somehow not as effective as “right-wing” bloggers. If you call lying, race baiting and dissembling effective, then yeah, the righties are pretty good at it. They’ve had a lot of practice at it in the last 25 years, and they have a fully functioning infrastructure to support it. It’s a lot easier to march in lockstep when your facts are manufactured in faux think tanks and distributed across the landscape in easily digestible form.
As long as the right-wing bloggers continue to get free promotion on conservative talk radio (and the BIAW keeps mailing out Ukrainian-themed post cards advertising their websites,) the righties will continue to hold a circulation advantage over bloggers like me. I cannot tell you how gratifying it has been to watch HA quickly grow into Washington’s most widely read liberal blog; and you should all be proud of yourselves for contributing to comment threads that arguably host the most passionate, informed and productive political debates of any blog in the state. But if we want to compete with the right, we’re going to have to do a better job of promoting ourselves within and without our community.
If blogs like HA have become an important part of your daily routine, we need your help in getting the word out. Email our links to friends, family and co-workers. Shamelessly promote us at dinner parties and bar mitzvahs, or to complete strangers at the bus stop. Go to your other favorite blogs, local or national, and harangue them to add our links to their blogrolls.
Many, many journalists stop by HA on a daily basis… but not all. When you catch a reporter or editorialist mindlessly repeating a scrap of right-wing rhetoric, drop them an email citing a refutation found on one of your favorite blogs. The MSM needs to know that blogs like HA are not just a great place for alternative analysis and opinion (and the occasional swear word,) but also for cold, hard facts.
Blogging is an experiment in open source journalism that will go dangerously awry if it is ends up being dominated by one side of the political spectrum. The other guys have an infrastructure advantage: the right-wing echo chamber that has been meticulously constructed over the past several decades. If we’re going to match their volume — in both senses of the word — we’re going to have to rely on community… and hard work.