Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Sometimes I feel like I live in this rarefied world that defies explanation to outsiders. There just is no good way to explain the blogosphere to people who don't know about it. It's like punk rock in the 70's -- either you're in or your out, either you get it or you don't, and there's a whole lot of unclaimed territory in the middle. (And I assume, like punk rock, twenty years hence many more people will be claiming they were in on it than there actually were.)
Anyway, I watch the news every day and I see tangible results from the activism that goes on here -- be it politicians pleading their case on Kos, the war against Social Security piratization or massive email campaigns that have given Democrats the backbone to resist the appointments of Gonzales, Rice and now Bolton -- and people who don't participate in it just don't comprehend the power or the momentum of this "thing" that exists as a virtually phantom force in the political landscape.
But when I do make the effort to try and explain it, the first thing I point to is Media Matters. It's hard for me to believe that they have only existed for a year, but today is their first birthday. They have had five million visitors viewing 30 million pages in that time, and they provide and absolutely invaluable service. Before they existed there was no central warehousing point to expose the outright lies of the right-wing noise machine and disseminate the information, and the Limbaughs of the world felt perfectly free to make it up as they went along. Now when Big Pharma says torture in Abu Ghraib is like a "frat party," somebody is there to hold him to account -- in fact, Media Matters collected 40,000 signatures to get Rush thrown off the Armed Forces Radio after that. I can't think of a more important public service in the national dialog today.
And I know the mouth breathers are all feeling the heat. Mr. Yell-o-vision was complaining the other day that he has to actually listen to what a producer is saying in his ear piece so he can call his guests on the carpet when they lie, otherwise groups like Media Matters will be all over his ass. They led in the Jeff Gannon story, forced Novakula into retracting his lies, and regularly embarrass Horowitz, Malkin, Coulter, Hannity and the rest of the bloodless brood by exposing their ignorance and their arrogance. O'Leilly calls them "the most vile, despicable human beings in the country." Big Pharma calls them "the middle-finger appendage of the Democratic Party." That's some high praise indeed.
David Brock has done an amazing job in the past year. Cheers to him and everyone who supports Media Matters. I made a donation this morning and urge everyone who can to do so to, either with cash, volunteering time or sending in tips when you see anything outrageous on the air or in print that goes unchecked.