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“This is exactly how an ideologically-oriented newsgathering operation / noise machine / echo chamber should work.”

Posted by: on Mar 2, 2009 | No Comments

Manuel Castells argues in The Power of Identity that since democracy is now mediated through electronic media, to gain a groundswell of the vote, parties veer toward the political center. In the absence of sharp policy differences, scandal becomes the mode of differentiation.

We’ve seen our share of scandal in the last several electoral cycles, and certainly in the last one, in which thinly-sourced charges of racism, sexism, and even false pregnancy were leveled. Writing for The Next Right, Patrick Ruffini argues that Republicans have fallen behind in the muckraking as left-leaning bloggers work on “taking out” rising Republican stars before they can aspire to national office. And lest we misunderstand him, he sets us straight:

In case you’re expecting me to bemoan this as the birth of left-wing hack journalism, that’s where I part company. This is exactly how an ideologically-oriented newsgathering operation / noise machine / echo chamber should work. The real threat here is not what all of you were booing in Tucker Carlson’s speech at CPAC. The New York Times is merely marketing refined gasoline at the pump. The place where it’s being drilled, refined, and transported is in the blogosphere, where the likes of Daily Kos and TPM [Talking Points Memo] tease out initial leads that are too hot for the NYT.

The joke here is that the right is supposed to have an apparatus that does exactly what TPM does on the left.

The problem with legitimizing scandal as a tactic for decapitating political parties, of course, is that it discourages normal, well-adjusted personalities from running for national office.

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