Sunday, April 16, 2006

Reaction to the Post’s Coverage of the Outraged Left Blogosphere

It comes as no surprise that having a blogger featured in a front page story at the Washington Post resulted in a lot of talk in the blogosphere.

Liberal bloggers frequently commented, as I did, on the article’s dwelling on the idea of the angry left. Whiskey Bar notes that the dangerous angry people are those on the right who go around “blowing up federal buildings with truck bombs and threatening to kill judges.”

The reactions on the right were actually more interesting to read. More that one blog both questioned how those “angry left wing bloggers” can hope to ever convince anyone they are right while also linking to people like Michelle Malkin. Linking to Michelle Malkin is as good as a forfeit in the battle for credibility. Besides, while I agree many liberal bloggers do have an angry tone, I suspect that most of these do not envision the use of their blog to change the views of the world. Instead they use it for an outlet for their frustration and a means to talk with similarly minded people–a far safer outlet for frustrations than blowing up federal buildings with truck bombs and threatening to kill judges. Even their anger, and hostility towards those with opposing viewpoints, is typically mild compared to many conservative bloggers as well as most conservatives on talk radio.

There even are examples of liberal bloggers who mistakingly believe that angry rants and vulgar language are the best way to spread their beliefs, but it is senseless generalize the actions of some bloggers, left or right, to everyone with similar political views. Not being a life-long Democrat, I might think more in terms of influencing Republican and independent voters than some of the “angrier” bloggers on the left. After all, seeing how the two parties have changed in the past decade, I believe that most Republican voters, unless they support the agenda of the religious right, or personally benefit from corporate welfare, will find that their goals are better represented by Democrats than the current Republicans.

Some conservatives believe that the angriest of the liberal blogs are setting the tone for the Democratic Party. I’ve even seen comments on conservative blogs expressing worry about the influence of the liberal blogosphere, realizing that sooner or later Democrats will win control of the government and fearing a ruling party in the image of the angry left blogosphere. What they forget is that the parties differ in their relationship to the blogoshpere. The Republican Party is dominated by extremists who share the views of the most angry and paranoid (despite now being in control) elements of the right blogoshere. In contrast, the liberal blogosphere has a much wider range of viewpoints than is represented on the right, and the more angry and extreme bloggers have minimal influence on the course of the Democratic Party. John Kerry might have an ocassional post at Daily Kos, but this does mean he is being pulled to the angry extremes. In contrast, it is hoped that his explanations of his views will help more liberal bloggers understand, and reduce the gap between the Democratic Party and liberal blogosphere.


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