Friday, June 16, 2006

Rove Attacks Progressive Bloggers as Mobilizers of "Hate and Anger"

From News Unfiltered:
"Rove answered the attacks from the left-wing blogosphere: "The Internet for the Left of the Democratic Party has served as a way to mobilize hate and anger -- hate and anger, first and foremost, at this President and Conservatives, but then also at people within their own party whom they consider to be less than completely loyal to this very narrow, very out-of-the-mainstream, very far Left-wing ideology that they tend to represent."
Paul Bass:
"Karl Rove's strategy of taking your own weakness and turning it into your opponent's weakness instead, through relentless misrepresentation of facts. Rove's strategy first appeared in the 2004 presidential election. Democrat John Kerry was a war hero. George Bush was a National Guard dodger. Through a front group, the Bush team, fueled by corporate campaign contributions, unleashed a torrent of commercials and other attacks portraying Kerry as the war shirker, through a disinformation campaign about the "Swift Boat" episode."
This is S.O.P. for Rove: the quintessential trafficker of hate and anger is trying to turn the tables on those who fight him - in this case progressive bloggers.

There's a larger context here: In the wake of YearlyKos, there are renewed questions about the scope of blog power, something I tried to tackle a few months ago in my 'Triangle' essays.

The media and political establishment's efforts to marginalize the netroots have not been fruitless and I've argued that the Ann Coulter episode is the traditional media's attempt to prove that blogs are powerless. Coulter is a proxy in a war between two power bases:
"What we're dealing with here is a dangerous inflection point in American politics. When this kind of opprobrium is peddled by major media outlets, it's high time that the Democratic establishment and the larger progressive community understand that this is a make-or-break showdown with the media.

There have been dozens of battles in the war between the blogs and the establishment media, from the Deborah Howell fiasco to Chris Matthews to Joe Klein to Tim Russert and more. Sites and blogs like Media Matters, dKos, Atrios, Crooks and Liars, FDL, Digby, Think Progress, TPM, and others are the netroots' front line in this increasingly bitter fight. This latest Coulter incident should be a wake-up call to the larger progressive community and to the Democratic leadership. Parading Coulter on national television is a statement from the establishment media that we don't matter, that our 'pressure' is meaningless, that our voices are worthless.

What's the proper course of action in response to this challenge? For the netroots, it's to keep growing and organizing, to hammer away at those in the media who enable the sliming of 9/11 widows, to respond to such media transgressions with ferocity of wit and will, and to badger elected Democrats and progressive leaders about the media problem.

For those on the left who still have blinders on, the response is to get a clue about what's happening."
I'm less sanguine than some of my fellow netroots activists about our capacity to shape the political landscape. I've focused on the media problem because I think that our power to influence the national debate is still a function of our ability to pressure the media and political establishment. The Coulter fiasco tells me we have a distance to go...


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