What's going to become of political bloggers, especially the progressive ones, now that we have another right wing Fifth Columnist in the White House?
Enough time has gone by since the end of the Bush junta so we can look at the lengthening history of political blogging and appraise it with some accurate hindsight. And it can be persuasively argued, as it was during those dark years of tightly controlled anarchy that was the Bush administration, that W essentially midwifed the liberal blogger movement and political blogging as a whole.
Blogging began right after the turn of the 21st century when guys like Duncan Black (Atrios) got their feet wet at places such as Eschaton. But political blogging really got into full swing after Bush's so-called re-election in 2004. The following year saw many of us jumping into the pool. In 2005 alone, Arianna Huffington, d r i f t g l a s s, Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake and yours truly joined the fray. So what's happened to us since then?
Well, obviously, I'm still in the game, as is d r i f t g l a s s. But Jane Hamsher's Firedoglake has since morphed into Shadowproof. Arianna, as we all know, sold the HuffPo to AOL for over $300 million, which was obviously her aim all along. But others have cashed out, just not as lucratively as Huffington. Jerome Armstrong, the co-founder of Daily Kos, left that site years ago for greener pastures. Ana Marie Cox, the founder of Wonkette, is now the senior political correspondent for the once-cool and hip MTV. Many other elite bloggers sold out and went mainstream just as the mainstream media, after years of decrying bloggers (as they would Wikipedia) as wild-eyed conspiracy theorists, finally decided to get into the blogging game.
And, of course, Glenn Greenwald met Ed Snowden and it was love at first disclosure. Many have gotten TV gigs, publishing contracts or, as in the case of Cox, gigs with the mainstream media. In other words, the elite sold out, as they inevitably do. What started out as one man operations gradually went all Earth, Wind and Fire and invited guest bloggers for front page exposure (never yours truly). And when that happens, uniformity of message, focus and consistency suffers. Others drove away their readers by selling ad space to corporate sponsors. Some of us had died off, retired or kept plugging away only to be ignored.
In a supremely ironic turn of events, political bloggers who'd once stolen the thunder of a lazy and incompetent mainstream media, is in turn seeing its thunder stolen by that same stenography pool. Because, why read the Rude Pundit and his nasty Brand X blog when you can get the "real" thing with Keith Olbermann or Peter Daou or Kurt Eichenwald and their permanent blind spots toward Hillary Clinton's innumerable evils?
So, where does that leave the rest of us? And are we poised to make a comeback as we gird ourselves for what will surely be a ruinous and bizarre 4-8 years under Trump?
It can't be said bloggers fared too well under Obama. After a year or two of fairly good traffic, my hits began to steadily decline until it consisted mainly of people surfing in once doing random searches, a Google bot and an insane right wing stalker from Farr West, Utah. Other bloggers had complained about declining viewership. Crooks and Liars, which saw a peak in traffic in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (500,000 hits a day) had shrunk to a fraction of that. Just as right wing militias, gun sales and KKK memberships skyrocketed under Obama, the opposite had happened with political bloggers.
It was as if we all collectively thought, "Well, one of our own is back in the White House, so we can clock out."
Well, no. Obama was never one of us, Never was, isn't now, never will be. In case you have other thoughts, I refer you back to Robert Gibbs' withering dismissal of liberals and "the professional left" or, just the month after, Obama spitting venom at the very people who put him in power from behind the gates of the Connecticut mansion of a guy named Rich Richman.
And it seems those of us who'd steadily criticized Obama and his actions suffered the fallout in the form of falling readership. It doesn't matter how right or prescient or eloquent we were- People who'd fought tooth and nail to elect and reelect Obama did not appreciate seeing their hard work being criticized.
But now Obama's got one foot out the door and it's time to clock back in, guys.
Because an umber buffoon is about to replace him behind the Resolute Desk and he's obviously building a Fifth Column to destroy this government, to turn it into yet another corporation and, as with four times before, Trump will bankrupt it.
The mainstream media, in its quest for market share, to appease shareholders and corporate ownership who don't want the best news to get out and access to bullshit had stolen our torch and stumbled while carrying it. It's reviled by the right for being too intrusive and curious into their shadowy doings and it's reviled by the left for not doing its job correctly and for being incurious. They have stolen our thunder, the very concept of blogging, and they have ruined it. If you don't believe me, go back into the archives of Paul Krugman's NY Times blog, "Conscience of a Liberal" and read his pathetically whiny pro-Hillary, anti-Sanders screeds. Go to Peter Daou's shit-stained perch and read his even more vicious pro-Clinton jeremiads. Yeah, these assholes fucked our shit up.
Well, it's time we took back this medium and take them to school. Again.
Because Trump will make W look like Adlai Stevenson, FDR and JFK rolled into one. And the last people who should be documenting and spinning his atrocities are the lazy, arrogant, overpaid pricks who helped put him in power.