(Bumped by DS
People talk about the need for the left to work together and have a unified message in the face of a unified conservative noise machine. So a google group was created called "Townhouse", and it included many bloggers and other representatives of the netroots as well as a large number of partisan journalists and grassroots groups. It allowed us to discuss policy, issues, tactics and coordinate as much as you can ever get a bunch of liberals to coordinate.
There was one big rule for this list, an important cog in the growing Vast Left Wing Conspiracy -- everything discussed was off the record.
That was obviously violated today as the New Republic betrayed, once again, that it seeks to destroy the new people-powered movement for the sake of its Lieberman-worshipping neocon owners; that it stands with the National Review and wingnutoshpere in their opposition to grassroots Democrats.
The magazine published, in its website, an email I sent to the list. There is nothing controversial about the email, but Jason Zengerle tried to spin it as evidence that there is a "smoke-filled room" and that I send "dictats" to other bloggers, controlling what they can and cannot write about. In a subsequent post, Zengerle went further, saying that I control the financial fates of much of the progressive blogosphere. My power apparently knows no bounds!
Ludicrous, all of it, but that's the new rules of the game. TNR and its enablers are feeling the heat of their own irrelevance and this is how they fight it -- by undermining the progressive movement. Zengerle has made common cause with the wingnutosphere, using the laughable "kosola" frame they created and emailing his "scoops" to them for links. This is what the once-proud New Republic has evolved into -- just another cog of the Vast RIGHT Wing Conspiracy.
If you still hold a subscription to that magazine, it really is time to call it quits. If you see it in a magazine rack, you might as well move it behind the National Review or even NewsMax, since that's who they want to be associated with these days.
But what about the merits? There are none, as frequent critics of this site like Ezra Klein and Max Sawicky have already stated. In fact, it's quite funny how they're trying to parlay the nothing they have into something, anything at all. It's the price of success, and we knew the knives would be coming out after Vegas, so we shouldn't be surprised.
But I do admit being surprised by the sheer creativity of their invented attacks, such as my supposed "pay for play" scheme. Let me be crystal clear. I deny that charge completely. I have stated the sources of my income and they do not include money from people asking me to shill for anyone or anything. Problem for these writers, is that the law doesn't protect such defamation. The truth is an absolute defense to libel cases. If they have evidence for those smears, then they have nothing to fear. But if they, say, recklessly invented all manners of illegal or unethical activities by me without bothering to see if they bore any basis in truth, then they'll have plenty to worry about.
And it's not just me, even. These smear mongers have tried to drag other people and organizations into their fantasies. Like YearlyKos. YearlyKos moved aggressively and got a whole slew of corrections and apologies in response to pieces in the NY Times and Slate, but the damage was already done. Now think about the heroic work done by the YearlyKos people -- from Gina Cooper on down to the tireless volunteers. Think of all the people who took time off from their busy lives to head down to Vegas to partake in that wonderful event. Think of all the great progressive organizations that joined in to make it happen -- People For the American Way, MoveOn, DFA, UNITE-HERE, SEIU, the Rappaports, all of the politicians who attended, and so on. All of them smeared by the Right Wing, sure, that's what they do. But joined by the New Republic? Not surprising, yet still disappointing.
It is now beyond clear that the dying New Republic is mortally wounded and cornered, desperate for relevance. It has lost half its circulation since the blogs arrived on the scene and they no longer (thank heavens!) have a monopoly on progressive punditry. We have hit their bottom line, we are hitting their patron saint hard (Joe Lieberman) and this is how they respond. By going after the entire movement.
Sad, perhaps. But this is apparently the price one pays for crashing the gate.
The (dying) New Republic:
Letters to the editor
p.s. The Agonist chimes in with some interesting TNR history.
Update: FDL and Steve Gilliard respond. But damnit, they posted their responses before I posted mine! They were supposed to wait for my signal! Sigh, controlling the blogosphere ain't what it used to be...
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