Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Barone of US News & World Report: Seeing the Blogosphere Clearly

US News & World Report has always been a favorite source of mine because they come closest to the ideal of unbiased, objective journalism. They also keep a great stable of perceptive columnists. Writing in the February 21st issue, Michael Barone shows a keen understanding of the conflict between blogs and the mainstream media, and isn't afraid to call a spade a spade:
The focus of hatred in the right blogosphere is not Kerry or the Democrats but what these bloggers call Mainstream Media, or MSM. They argue, correctly in my view, that the New York Times, CBS News, and others distorted the news in an attempt to defeat Bush in 2004.
Barone has also accurately characterized the left/right lobes of the blogosphere:
So what hath the blogosphere wrought? The left blogosphere has moved the Democrats off to the left, and the right blogosphere has undermined the credibility of the Republicans' adversaries in Old Media. Both changes help Bush and the Republicans.
The column seems to have been written before the Eason Jordan scandal, which would further amplify Barone's points. He almost touches on the real cause of the dichotomy of methods and results of the left and right bloggers. That root cause is found in the fact that the MSM have been tilted so far to the left for so long, that rightwing blogging immediately found a natural enemy (biased MSM journalists) while the leftist bloggers can only repeat the liberal messages already coming from the MSM.

This forced, hothouse evolution has resulted in a surfeit of skilled, motivated, and tenacious conservative bloggers, all with chips on their shoulders after decades of slanted reporting by the MSM. The leftists, by contrast, have devolved into so many chattering monkeys, flinging feces at passersby and puzzled by their own lack of impact.