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From a Whole Ocean Away

Sometimes the distance across the Atlantic Ocean seems much further than it is in the digital age. To read the thoughts of many europeans, you sometimes wonder what planet they live on, not which continent. Iain Duncan Smith, writing in the Guardian, understands the blogger dynamic in America like he was right in the middle of it.

[after the obligotory expaination of what a blog is...] Easongate, as it has inevitably become known, is an echo of last autumn's Rathergate scandal. Dan Rather, the anchor of CBS's evening news, was as big as TV stars come. Rather had fronted an attack on George Bush's Vietnam-era military service record - based on forged documents. The forgery was exposed when bloggers focused on a superscripted "th" after a date in one of the documents. Experts confirmed that typewriters of the period could not have produced such lettering. Rather apologised and CBS is now desperately searching for someone else in whom viewers might put their trust.

This is just one of the ways in which the internet has strengthened the American right. Last year's Bush-Cheney campaign used information technology to build the largest ever volunteer political army. Visitors to GeorgeWBush.com were invited to join email lists that offered regular information on everything from gun ownership to school prayer. The Bush campaign collected 7.5 million email addresses and amassed 1.4 million volunteers.

You would also expect this electronic revolution to be good for the Democrats, but the American left's relationship with the internet has been disastrous. The internet has sunk a knife into Bill Clinton's moderate Democratic party. Mainstream business people were Clinton's principal funders, simultaneously approving and driving his centrism. But the Democrats' new paymasters are the 600,000 computer users who, in 2004, supported Howard Dean's bid for his party's presidential nomination. Dean energised an unrepresentative group of voters with a stridently anti-war message. Electronic money powered Dean's campaign, and all of the other contenders for the Democratic crown soon pandered to his base.

The Democrats' problem has only worsened since. The dailykos.com site of a Democratic consultant gets 500,000 hits a day. That site's memorial to four American contractors murdered in Iraq was "screw them". Hatefulness also pours out of the popular websites of Michael Moore and MoveOn.org. The conservative blogosphere has dubbed the Democrats' IT base its MooreOn tendency.

That sums it up. He goes on to predict that a similar blogging revolution will happen in Britain soon, with the right getting the bulk of the benefit. (it's an interesting read) I don't know enough about British politics to say if he's right or wrong, but considering his understanding of American politics, I don't doubt him.


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Comments (8)

He's right. Being a former ... (Below threshold)

He's right. Being a former Leader of the Tory party he knows that the young voters especially must be brought 'onside' and blogs are one way. Boris Johnston MP (he of the interesting hair etc) has one which is full of his trademark craziness....so do many candidates such as Iain Dale and there are some anonymous ones from Tories as well. Here in Scotland there are many Nationalist ones which do a good job of starting discussions between Tories SNP and Liberals. Labour for some reason seem to find these blogs very anti Labour....wonder why? Could it be that they are losing the ability to spin things their way and are being brought to account?

I think one of the reasons ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I think one of the reasons the right tends to benefit so much from internet blogging is that the media often leans so far to the left, that they get sloppy on fact checking, and at times down right dishonest. The conservative blogs don't let them get by with this anymore. As much as the Rather supporters wanted to paint bloggers into some nerd sitting at his computer in his PJ's it didn't work-the bloggers were to tenacious and too smart, and they were determined to hold the MSM accountable, and they succeeded.

When the MSM leans so far to the left, there isn't that much for the liberal blogs to fact check.

Wasn't Rather's piece "base... (Below threshold)
JP2:

Wasn't Rather's piece "based" on testimony from several witnesses? (Like the guy who got him into the ANG) I mean, if the content of the entire story was true (which it was) then it must have been based on truth. Bush got help into the service and didn't fulfill his duty. He lied about both of those points.

And Just Me, if you were even 1% right, that would mean that bloggers wouldn't uncover stories on the right. As you can see, that just isn't the case. Stories from both sides have been influenced by blogs, nulling your point. I actually think more stories have been uncovered by left wing blogs, making the opposite of your point true.

Re: rather: the right-wing bloggers based a lot of their own points on bad logic. Read this for more:
http://www.cjr.org/issues/2005/1/pein-blog.asp
-JP2

Willful ignorance makes me ... (Below threshold)
BR:

Willful ignorance makes me yawn. As punishment for not having done your homework, read the January threads on Corey Pein and CJR at wizbangblog in the archives. Then catch up on CBS, Rathergate, Haileygate, etc. in the hundreds of threads since 9/8/04. Then do the Quiz at January 13, 2005 07:10 AM Rathergate: A pop quiz:
http://wizbangblog.com/archives/004784.php.

Then, if you dare show your ignorance in class again, you'll be relegated to the corner with a tinfoil hat.

If you protest your assignment, we'll all know who you really are.

I mean, if the content o... (Below threshold)

I mean, if the content of the entire story was true (which it was) then it must have been based on truth.

And if pigs could fly, we'd have to carry umbrellas even when it isn't raining.

Just me - It was not lazy... (Below threshold)
Rod Stanton:

Just me - It was not lazyness that caused Rathergate. It was bigotry. Dan started working on a TANG smear in 1998. Viacom spent tens of $millions "researching" the smear. Dan wanted to smear another Rep President. His problem was even thought he picked a man dead for 22 years to be the "author" his people were not familiar with what happened 32 years ago. Nor did they research the dead man WHO DID NOT TYPE! It was hatered of America that made the story.

"Just me - It was not lazyn... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"Just me - It was not lazyness that caused Rathergate."

Where did I say it was laziness that led to rathergate?

On the subject of The Guard... (Below threshold)
BR:

On the subject of The Guardian article predicting a similar blogging revolution to happen in England - I hope so. It would be good to see a domino-effect turning back the decades of KGB propaganda poisoning Europeans against America. Their disinfo campaign during the cold war was so successful, that even today, in an earlier thread here at Wizbang, a French commenter exhibited the common European view that they know the truth, whereas Americans are naive. After so many decades of imbibing falsehoods, those Europeans who have that viewpoint don't even realize how they've been influenced from behind the curtain.

I wish I can remember where and link an article I read months ago by an ex-KGB member describing in detail how they used to start "peace" groups in Europe, organize demonstrations and influence the press against America.




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