i'm not sure whether many of you folks (if any) pay much attention to the progressive netroots movement. whether you read dailykos
or talking points memo
. suffice it to say, i devour about 20 political related blogs daily.
some would wonder when i find time to do my job. or sleep. that's a question i'll save for another day.
but last night i went to this event at "the tank
." it's a little performance space just south of canal street. See a list of attendees here
. in terms of blogging celebrity, it was a pretty star-studded event.
it was a panel discussion and a q&a afterwards. I have a problem with panels taking questions from the audience because, inevitably, you have some wackos out there who love to hear themselves talk and don't have anything really meaningful to say, but what they say takes forever and must be orated in very loud voices with lots of arm and hand movements. i have a hard time taking people like that seriously. i realize that just as new york is a great place for intellectuals, it's also a haven for wacky ones. (remind me to tell the story about the john "torture memo" yoo debate with the constitutional law professor at my law school. it was complete madness.)
the discussion last night, however, was mostly interesting. if you don't know anything about the "marcotte affair" read here
the issue is whether campaigns can ever effectively hire established bloggers. for those who've worked on campaigns, you know that the only mouthpiece for that campaign is the director of communications, those kings of spin trained by years of PR experience. i.e. not bloggers.
no politician will ever have a staff made up of people who agree with them on every point of every issue. the problem is that when staffers don't agree, they don't go out and write about it publicly. so where do bloggers fit in? one of the panelists said that he didn't always agree with his politician, and where their opinions didn't match, he stayed silent on the issue. i don't agree with that policy.
during the discussion it was established that the netroots community needs to put the first foot forward in getting people used to the fact that no blogger's ideals will perfectly parallel those of their politician. i think that if a politician hires an established blogger they're hiring that person for 1.) their writing skills 2.) their opinions 3.) their reader base. i don't see why a blogger can't work for a politician and still go home and post that they happen to not agree on that issue. i think that by hiring a blogger, you take the risk that sometimes they'll vocally disagree with you. you want an opinionated person, you get one, you respect their opinions, and encourage that kind of discussion amongst the campaign and the general public. a blogger would never work for someone whose views they didn't mostly feel like they could align with. though there will always be some ripples along the way, the majority of the time a politician will get inspired posts that support their policies.
and what about disclaimers? in capital letters before each post "THESE VIEWS ARE THE VIEWS OF THE WRITER, AND NOT NECESSARILY OF POLITICIAN X.' hell, it works for newspapers and television stations. they use them all the time when they're hiring controversial writers or controversial people to host talk shows.