Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Book note: I'm nearly finished reading Hugh Hewitt's latest book with the extremely unwieldy title of "If it's not close they can't cheat: Crushing the Democrats in every election and why your life depends on it."
Overall the book is pretty good. You can read it in easy-to-digest bites and, despite the title it's pretty independent and Reagan-Democrat friendly.
There is, however one part that I'd like to take issue with. In discussing the impact that the blogosphere has had on national issues, Hewitt singles out two events: The Jayson Blair scandal and the subsequent dismissal of the New York Times' top two newsroom leaders; and the praise of Sen. Strom Thurmond's presidential candidacy that caused Senate majority leader Trent Lott to step down from his leadership position.
For the latter incident, Hewitt gives credit to National Review's "The Corner" blog for Lott's ultimate downfall (Pg. 174). While the loss of support for Lott among those on the right was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, Hewitt's failure to mention lefty-blogger Joshua Micah Marshall is a rather egregious omission. Marshall was the one who first publicized Lott's comments and kept on badgering until the print and broadcast media took notice.
Hewitt's giving credit to National Review for the Lott incident is like giving the mainstream media credit for breaking the "60 Minutes" forged memos case. Yes, outlets like The Washington Post and ABC News played a big part in finally getting CBS News anchor Dan Rather to fess up to his sins, but it was blogs like Powerline and Little Green Footballs that really did the initial groundwork.
Hewitt's failure to give proper credit where it's due is disappointing, especially after many on the blogosphere's right have correctly assailed the Sunday New York Times Magazine's liberal blog puff piece for doing roughly the same thing.
Hewitt joined in the righteous gang tackle of the Times this weekend:
Rarely has an institution gone to such great lengths to confirm its own bias and validate its increasing irrelevance as the New York Times does this morning in the almost unbelievably unbalanced New York Times Magazine piece on the blogosphere. The responses at Allah, LittleGreenFootballs, and Ace of Spades are fine jumping off points for a scorecard on the article's absurdities, and Betsy'sPage is keeping track of the responses from the center-right of the blogosphere.
I am with Glenn in being neither surprised nor upset, but not for his reasons. This piece is what the lawyers call "an admission against interest" combined with an undeniable expression of liberal bias in MSM. The admission is that the blogosphere matters a lot. The expression of bias is the incredible series of whopping omissions in the coverage. This is MSM's attempt --and there will be many more-- to "credential" some of their favorites in the blogosphere, thus elevating them and hopefully their readership. How can you be surprised that the way left Times profiles way left bloggers for their way left audience to hopefully bookmark and consult as a sort of internet annex to the still dominant New York Times?
Hewitt would stand on much stronger ground if he had given Marshall his due credit in his book. To criticize the Times for ignoring the right side of the blogosphere while Hewitt himself went out of his way to ignore the left in his book is disappointing.
Overall Hewitt's book is well-written and helpful for those wanting to participate in the political process and woo independents and Reagan Democrats to the GOP side. The aforementioned omission is by no means a fatal flaw. Check it out.