Friday, March 24, 2006

What Now?

So Ben Domenech has resigned and Jim Brady doesn't have to fire him, after all. Move on, ladies and gentlemen, nothing to see here now. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming at the Washington Post, which means finding another wingnut but one who doesn't plagiarize, to match routine (nonliberal) reporting. This is balance.

And what is the story the media and the blogosphere are following now? To me it looks like a war story. Just check out these quotes:

And just as this was about to be posted, word comes that Domenech has indeed resigned from The The liberal blogosphere will now have its scalp and the MSM has yet one more black eye that it didn't need.

"The liberal blogosphere will now have its scalp". Ok. The Red State blog which Domenech part-founded agrees with the idea that this is a war:

Redstate is not deterred. We are emboldened. We stand together, bound by ideology and a desire to advance the conservative movement. The movement is bigger than me, you, or Redstate.

And Atrios appears to agree, too:

The Redstaters have to be pissed, as they don't just see themselves as a blog, but as the nexus of the conservative political movement online.

Then there are the opinions of Jeff Goldstein:

What is most distateful about this episode from the perspective of the blogosphere, on the other hand, is the palpable glee with which many on the left set out after Ben and are now luxuriating in his resignation. And, of course, they have taught the WaPo the lesson they wished to teach it: that rightwing commentary will be scrutinized in direct inverse to the acceptance they give to the obvious biases of leftwing media figures.

And of Michelle Malkin:

Michelle Malkin, a prominent conservative blogger, wrote before the resignation that Domenech had edited one of her books and she had been cheering for him. "But now the determined moonbat hordes have exposed multiple instances of what clearly appear to me to be blatant lifting of entire, unique passages by Ben from other writers." That, Malkin said, is "unacceptable . . . And, painfully, Domenech's detractors, are right. He should own up to it and step down. Then, the Left should cease its sick gloating and leave him and his family alone."

"Sick gloating", "palpable glee", and elsewhere "Schadenfreude". Stuff we shrieking denizens of the extreme left are engaging in right now. All bad, though perhaps not as bad as lying and stealing.

The new story is about a war. A war between the two blogospheres and also a war between the traditional media and the lefty blogs. Surprisingly enough, there seems to be no war between the wingnut blogs and the media, surprisingly, because that is the old myth we have all absorbed for years. Perhaps the media has already been taken over by the wingnuts and all that remains is to wipe the cybernet clean of those shrieking hordes of the left. Who in the rest of this world might be called moderates or even independents, by the way. And yes, I was insulted by Domenech's virgin blog using the term "shrieking denizens" about people like me.

The war storyline is an unfortunate one. It allows the reframing of serious questions about the roles of the media to remain unanswered. It lets everything be twisted into "us-against-them" anecdotes, and it is a real hindrance to substantive political discussions. All you need to do now is to label someone as a moonbat or a wingnut and then there will be no discussion. And yes, I know I've done that myself all the time.

It may be impossible for humans to frame the situation in any other ways. The war storyline releases all sorts of primitive emotions: the evil ones, the good ones, the righteous message, the stinking lies, the good community, the satanic community, and so on. A couple of decades of right-wing hammering on the nails that are our reputations and our human worth on the liberal side of this society have also had their impact. Yes, we are gleeful right now, and yes, we have raised our uncouth voices to scream and ridicule the conservatives. But this response didn't come out of nowhere. Ask our good avuncular friend, Rush Limbaugh. Or our dear auntie, Ann Coulter.

No, we have been well trained by the very people who now decry our hostility and our horde-like tendencies of going for the lowest common denomination. They should be proud of the impact they have had on political debate in this country.

I started this post with a vague idea of handing out an olive leaf or a pigeon or some such thing. Seems I'm still too angry to do that.