The progressive blogosphere

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

In the ongoing media battle between left and right, there's a bit of a dust-up happening over a panel discussion about blogging hosted by the Brookings Institution and another panel planned by the National Press Club - both of which are systematically excluding any and all bloggers from the left side of the aisle.

Obviously, that's stupid. While it might seem silly to argue over invitations to panel discussions, the National Press Club serves an important role in defining what's 'mainstream' in the eyes of the media. If their members (who are national-level journalists) see the conservative blogosphere as the sole representatives of online commentary, then coverage will be slanted.

Fortunately, here in Oregon, blogging is seen as something that progressives are engaged in - in part because of the great commentary happening in our local progressive blogosphere.

I've signed the open letter at The Agonist asking the National Press Club to reconsider. Here's an excerpt:

We, the undersigned bloggers, are very concerned about how liberal political bloggers are being systematically under-represented and belittled in the mainstream media, academic settings and media forums. By being intentionally excluded away from these venues, we are effectively pushed out of the discourse of opinion-leaders. The result is that the conventional wisdom about blogging, politics and journalism, as it concerns liberal blogs, becomes a feedback loop framed by the Conservatives and their media allies.

Indeed, just a few weeks ago, The Brookings Institution hosted a panel that originally included no liberal political bloggers and yet while including numerous conservative political operatives in the event. We registered our protest and the Brookings Institution's response was simply to invite a few liberal political bloggers to attend, yet not sit on the panel, as we had originally insisted upon.

Today, however, we are faced with an entirely new situation that is more insult than misrepresentation. The discredited conservative media operative Jeff Gannon, neƩ Guckert, has been invited to sit on a panel at the prestigious National Press Club to talk about the scandal surrounding his access to the White House and more generally, the similarities and differences between bloggers and journalists. Guckert's token liberal counterpart will be a gossip blogger and sex comedy blogger. While we have nothing but the greatest respect for Mr. Graff and Ms. Cox we believe that neither represents bloggers who write about hard-nosed politics. And as for Mr. Guckert, he isn't a blogger, he's barely a journalist, and not a single political blogger involved with the Gannon/Guckert scandal, or otherwise, has been invited to sit on the panel to counter Mr. Guckert's arguments.

In any case, the authors of the open letter suggest contacting the folks at the National Press Club at [email protected].

Meanwhile, use the comments here to tell us: what Oregon blogs do you read? If you write one, introduce yourself to BlueOregon...

  • CoxFan (unverified)

    Don't you be dissin' Wonkette. Sometimes the best political commentary is humor. And she's extremely popular, which is key in blogging.

  • James Douglas (unverified)

    I don't like Wonkette very much. I'd rather have Atrios, Kos, John Aravosis, or somebody else who goes beyond the humor. Comedy isn't everything. Sometimes you just have to get serious.

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    And, the various Brookings Institution contacts can be reached at

    This blue link

  • Sid Anderson (unverified)

    Introducing myself.

    New Frames Think Global. Blog Local. --

    As to Wonkette and her political humor, I'd rather read The Onion, although it's not a blog.

  • Sid Anderson (unverified)

    Oh, I forgot to mention all the Oregon blogs I read: Portland Communique, Preemptive Karma, Chuck Currie, Kazablog, Jack Bog's blog, Rogue Pundit, nag.PDXnag, among others.

    We need to have an Oregon progressive blog convention ;-)

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    Nobody's dissing the Wonkette here. She writes good stuff. From the letter...

    While we have nothing but the greatest respect for Mr. Graff and Ms. Cox we believe that neither represents bloggers who write about hard-nosed politics.

  • Sid Anderson (unverified)


    Exactly. I've seen so many panel discussions about journalism and blogging on C-span and Wonkette is always on there, which is fine, but have some real politicos from the blogosphere represented.

    The other problem I've seen with the media, is that when they discuss the blogosphere they usually bring up Rather-gate and Eason Jordan. About a month ago on the News Hour they had a story and discussion on bloggers and their impact on journalism. Kos got a brief mention, but it was all about the right wing sphere of the blogs. I couldn't believe it!

    I sent the New Hour an e-mail complaining about the coverage because it was so slanted. Who knows if it made a difference.

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    It seems pretty apparent from the comments made by print, cable, and broadcast "journalists", that very few of them have even a vague concept of the internet as an information gathering resource. When they do attempt to discuss blogs, they are absolutely unable to distinguish between blogs, listserves, and astroturf websites set up to disseminate propaganda.

    Then, of course, there's the simmering anger at the presumption that "the public" might not buy into their vision of what constitutes relevant news........

  • Balta (unverified)

    The problem with inviting Wonkette is that she's actually about the worst of the left-leaning bloggers that NPC could have invited.

    Wonkette had absolutely nothing to do with the breaking of the story itself. Wonkette on her blog also did a fair amount of downplaying of the story. I for one would not expect her to be nearly as fluent in the case as any of a number of other bloggers who could have been called.

    John Avarosis of Americablog would have been the ideal call and everyone in their right mind knows it. If Guckert himself was going to be there, then booking his main challenger is the logical way to balance him.

    Atrios, Kos, World O'Crap, Media Matters, and a few other places did heavy work exposing that guy. They would also have been better candidates. Wonkette did none of the work exposing him, and didn't really bounce on the story. (Ditto Yglesias)

  • Sid Anderson (unverified)

    And Wonkette probably got everything she had from Americablog.

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    I hate to do this, but you're all missing the other obvious reason why they always include Wonkette.

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    Dear God. The "butt" talk just can't seem to die around here today.

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    At least in this case, it's relevant. I defy anyone to argue that Cox's looks aren't clearly one of the reasons she gets put on these panels all the time.

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    Oh, I agree with you that good looks (a nice butt?) help--not only in journalism, but in giving you a better life.

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    Loved the question at the end of the link Leslie. As an ugly biker who is forced by the state to wear a helmet, I can rise above the sterotype of the white male oppressor and claim membership in two oppressed minority groups.

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    Having someone with a great butt on a panel wouldn't seem to be a good venue to showcase their "talents," considering only the chair behind the dais gets to enjoy it. :)

    For a comprehensive view of the Northwest's premier progressive sites, you can't go without mentioning the NW Portal, of which BlueOregon (and AlsoAlso, my space of the 'Net) are proud front-page members. I am partial to Horse's Ass in Seattle and Preemptive Karma here in Portland; the three of us have been working hard keeping the facts in the forefront on the WA Goobernor's race.

    To list the rest of them would be a bit silly; I read them all from time to time. What's the address?

    It would be great if most of us on the Portal responded en masse to the NPC. Thanks for keeping up with this, Kari.

  • Lisa (unverified)

    There is a new weblog in Oregon that was started to counter a local right wing tabloid. The tabloid is called the Depoe Bay Beacon. The editor, Rick Beasley, has been trashing environmentalists and any progressive thinking citizens, since he came to Depoe Bay about 10 years ago. He is a Lars Larson wannabe. He now has a majority in our city council in his pocket. I feel that there could be a good story on what can happen when newspapers are willing to make false statements to attack others for political gain. See Just another Cock and Bull Story

    Please check out the Depoe Bay Weblog for articles on our local government's shenanigans.

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