Could you imagine feeling bad if Rush Limbaugh denounced you for being too liberal? Probably not. In fact, you’d probably take it as a compliment and find that it enhanced your credentials in the liberal blogosphere. Or when Bill O’Reilly announced his upcoming enemies list, who amongst us didn’t want to be on it? I know I did.
But what if Ralph Nader referred to you by name as a sell-out who hurts liberalism? Or if Michael Moore included you in one of his films as a Republican-enabler? Or if Atrios made you Wanker of the Day. That’d be total sucksville. Because for as much as the Limbaugh stuff would reinforce what you like to think of yourself, an attack from a liberal would have the exact opposite effect.
And I think that’s one strong answer for Digby’s question regarding why the media hates the liberal blogosphere more than the conservative blogosphere or talk radio; both of which have been attacking the media longer and more fiercely than we have. Because the media likes that conservatives make them feel like liberal activists. To them, that’s a compliment. They know the accusations are baseless, and it must be nice to be accused of activism when you’re stuck living a zombie existence that lacks purpose.
But the attacks from the left are a personal affront. Because for as much as these people agree with conservatives, they know that being liberal is cooler. And that they used to be liberal when they were younger, and don’t like to think of themselves as sell-outs. Because nobody likes to think of themselves as being sell-outs; least of all people who really are sell-outs.
And so I think that explains why they attack us so much. It’s not the money or the foul language, as Digby suggests; though those are factors. And it’s not that they’re conservative, not by any meaningful use of that word, anyway. It’s that they think they’re on our team and deserve a free pass; and so our attacks have bite. They’ve become so enthralled with the idea that they’re considered liberal activists that it offends them to hear otherwise.
Sure, it’s doubtful that they put themselves into the liberal category, but they certainly don’t think of themselves as Republican tools. And so they enjoy to hear the rough and tumble talk of Limbaugh and Imus against them, just as much as they loath to hear the truth from our side.
Zombies are like that. They live in these sterile little bubbles that protect them from the real world, and then suddenly a comment from Atrios can send a thousand shotgun blasts to their heads. And they’re just astounded. This isn’t the life they requested. They want to hear jokes about their liberal activism. They want to be told fictions about their hidden agenda, that they can shake their heads at and laugh. But for god’s sake, don’t tell them what’s really going on. Don’t tell them that they’re tools being used by people they consider to be friends. That’s too much. You’ve gone too far.
If you’ve ever been in an argument with someone who considers you too conservative, just imagine how these fools must feel when thousands of liberals tell them that every day. And they’ve got nothing to offer in return. Even when they cite the rightwing insult-compliments they keep hearing, it only makes us laugh harder. And so I think this all comes down to the fact that Limbaugh’s fantasy attacks are invigorating to these media zombies, and it’s all fun and games until somebody starts hurling truths at you. That’s when people get hurt.