But Hey, the Hors D'Oeuvres Were Great

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Anyone who's ever covered a fringe political meeting—Communists, Libertarians, Chicago Republicans—knows how an event can turn from the subject at hand to bitter grudge-settling about the conspiracy against the group. You're supposed to be discussing logistics for the latest signature drive, and a couple jerks end up hijacking the meeting for rants about how the Trib doesn't take them seriously. I saw some of this at last night's Pajamas Media panel at the National Press Club. For starters, why a Pajamas Media event at the National Press Club, where the words of the MSM prophets are written on the bathroom walls? Why not a podcast? Or a triumphant party in some citizen journalist's living room?

Forget that. Assume that the concept of a PJ Media panel inside a swanky journo citadel is a sound one. The ensuing discussion still managed to deteriorate into predictable sniping and moaning that had nothing to do with the ostensible topic—partisanship. After Michael Barone, Tom Bevans, Mark Blumenthal and Jane Hall offered some quick takes on how the country was divided and how voters identified themselves, Cliff May, Paul "Powerline" Mirengoff, and Claudia Rosett went off on a tangent and discussed how the partisan MainStream Media was losing readers to the blogs because it was so very partisan, and so very mainstream, and they'd better watch out because bloggers are going to leave them choking on their bloggy dust trails. And this set the tone for the rest of the discussion, which turned to how quickly the liberal media and liberal professoriat could be upset by the soaring power of blogs/citizen media.

It's possible I was bored by this because I've bemoaned, previously in Reason, the red-team-blue-team balkinization of blogs. More likely, I was bored because this was boring. The power of blogs to challenge liberal coverage of politics or war zones has been pretty well established, and not all of the evolution on that front has been empowering—unless you think it's empowering that bloggers are bypassing the MSM to flack for political campaigns. Meanwhile, bloggers like the Porkbusters crew and Radley Balko have been using blogs to expose corruption in Congress and free a man from death row, respectively. They've done so without much whining about the mainstream media holding them down. (Note: Porkbusters' roster includes some bloggers in attendance at the PJM event.)

NEXT: Don't Blame Canada

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  1. The guy from Powerline – Powerline – was complaining about partisanship in the “Two sides to every story, even if one of them is crap” mainstream media?

    So, did you throw anything at him?

  2. Help, I need a list of some non-partisan trustworthy blogs. Most people seem to read blogs that echo what they already beleive. Of course I read hit & run so I do they same thing, but at least the readers here engage in snarky pissing matches. Those are fun and occasionly enlightening, especially in those surreal moments when I find myself agreeing with John or joe (much love to you guys, our loyal opposition).

  3. Mr. Weigel, in spite of what Jack Balkin would have you believe, the correct spelling is “balkanization,” not “balkinization.”

  4. And let’s not forget the responsorial psalm of today’s services. When they say “The New York Times,” we are to respond “Fucking New York Times” shaking our heads.

  5. discussed how the partisan MainStream Media was losing readers to the blogs because it was so very partisan, and so very mainstream, and they’d better watch out because bloggers are going to leave them choking on their bloggy dust trails

    Channeling Tim Robbins in Team America?

  6. Andrew Sullivan is the best shit on the web, no lies.

  7. “Andrew sullivan is the best shit on the web, no lies.”
    Herrick does Andrew have your balls? Is that why you wrote that?
    I won’t ask where Andrew has your balls, I don’t want to know.

  8. You might argue that we are biased toward a progressive view, but it is misleading to suggest that we “hack for political campaigns”.

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