Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bubble v. Bubble

So who the hell are the Washington pundits to attack bloggers for groupthink?  That’s supposedly their big problem with us bloggers; that we’re going to develop into bubble-people who refuse to acknowledge any dissenting opinions.  And yet…that’s where these people live 24-7.  Forget about being swayed by what they read on the internet; this is their lives.  Whether they’re reading the papers, watching their Sunday political shows, chatting at work, or getting sloshed at cocktail parties; they’re getting the same damn message from the same damn people all the time.  Where is their respite?  When do they burst the bubble?  They apparently don’t even read our emails!  And even when they debate with their GOP counterparts, it’s always the same GOP groupthink.  And even that stuff is specifically designed to dupe these dopes into thinking that Republicans are reasonable centrists who only say crazy stuff to fool the crazies; which partly appeals to them because they like the idea of elites fooling the crazies.  So where the hell do they get off with this stuff?

And sure, maybe we do live in a bubble.  I don’t think so, but maybe we do.  But even then, we’re talking about a much bigger bubble than anything the Washington pundits ever see.  The two or three thousand Colbert emails that Richard Cohen recently ignored is far bigger than the number of folks that Cohen ever talks to.  And while most blog-readers only read a few handful or so of blogs on a regular basis; we often also read the comments of far more.  Folks who have a different set of blogs that they regularly read.  And so while we may be victims of our own echo chamber, those echoes sure take a lot longer to bounce around; unlike guys like Cohen, who’s stuck debating with the few people who would actually want to converse with him.  Hell, is it even hard to believe that the only people who talk to guys like Richard Cohen and Joe Klein are paid GOP operatives who are intentionally trying to influence them?  Doesn’t that make too much sense?

And this isn’t even a recent complaint.  Anyone who’s read All the President’s Men knows that Nixon consistently complained of the Beltway pundits and considered them insulated against what regular Americans believe.  And now we’re told by guys like Cohen that this is a good thing.  Somehow, this isn’t a bad bubble.  Somehow, they’ve got a better idea of how America should be than Americans themselves.  And they probably imagine that there is a much bigger segment of America that agrees with them, if only they had more ready access to communicating that agreement.  They apparently learn so much more at their cocktail parties than anything they’d read from an email from me.  (For the record, I’ve sent Cohen two polite emails, which were probably never read).  

And the ultimate irony is that the attack against the liberal blogger bubble is yet more wisdom from their own bubble.  Something that they all pass around like a security blanket, to assure themselves that it really is ok to ignore us.  After all, we’re just taking orders from our blogger masters, like Atrios and Kos.  But the pundits, they’re free-thinkers.  And if all their ideas sound like minor variations on the same song; that’s not groupthink.  They all just happen to be right.

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