At The New Republic, Michael Crowley has a snarky piece (registration required) about the efforts of the bloggers to keep the liberal local paper, the Argus Leader, honest during the recent Thune v. Daschle race. Apparently, the lords of the main stream media are still not happy having to hear from us folks in our pajamas (hey I am dressed now, I really am).
Anyway, Crowley pretends that the major player in the effort was the now-outed male prostitute Jeff Gannon. I don't know, I was paying as much attention to the race as the next guy, and while I was certainly aware of the gritty efforts of the Thune v. Daschle blog, I had never before heard of Gannon before the scandal broke around him last month. But I guess putting him at the forefront of everything that was done tends to discredit everyone else.
Anyway, the high crimes of which "Gannon and the bloggers" (hey, sounds like a sixties rock group) are accused appear to be mostly pointing out stories that the Argus Leader wasn't covering. That sounds pretty harmless, doesn't it? Wrong, according to TNR this is EVIL. "Gannon and the bloggers hammered away, flogging negative stories about Daschle and demanding to know why the local media wasn't picking them up." Wow, "hammering" and "flogging" and "demanding", all without leaving the living room, pretty cool.
Crowley writes that the forces of darkness "hounded Daschle with a story about how the senator declared his Georgetown ‘mansion' his primary residence in order to win a minor tax deduction in Washington, D.C.," as if the good people of South Dakota don't have a right to know where their senator is living or whether he officially resides in the same state as they do. And don't you love Crowley's use of scare quotes around the word "mansion" as if, maybe, it isn't? The property was listed at 2.85 million, with "four generous floors overlooking private manicured grounds, terraces, and a lovely heated pool" which maybe is small beer to a guy like Crowley (I wonder what they pay over at TNR).
Anyway, the evil bloggers are also accused of somehow forcing the Argus Leader into "running an extra story on the lobbying activities of Daschle's wife, Linda". Oh my Heavens, an "extra story", will the madness never end.
Look Mr. Crowley. Bloggers don't have the power to "hound" or "flog" or otherwise force anyone to do anything. All we can do is try to convince people. If we aren't persuasive, the media will rightly ignore us. And if some bloggers shamed the Argus Leader into doing its job and acting for once like a real newspaper, I submit that this is a good thing.