December 6, 2007

A frightening mix of bodily fluids.

Former Bush communications adviser Dan Bartlett talks about blogs:
What about the blogs?

We had to set up a whole new apparatus to deal with the challenges they pose. Are they real journalists? ...

... If one of those journalists-turned-bloggers, Chris Cillizza, e-mails you to say he needs an interview, and at the same time one of the Post’s print reporters—say, Dan Balz—e-mails you and says he needs an interview, and you can do only one . . .

Balz.

Because the print edition of the Post has more of an impact?

Because Balz is on multiple platforms. He’s booked more easily on television. He’s read by more people. He influences people a bit more. Now, the question might not be as much Chris versus Dan as maybe, “Is it Dan Balz or one of the guys at [the conservative blog] Power Line?”

Yeah, or what if [conservative blogger] Hugh Hewitt called?

That’s when you start going, “Hmm . . .” Because they do reach people who are influential.

Well, they reach the president’s base.

That’s what I mean by influential. I mean, talk about a direct IV into the vein of your support. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on.
Please don't regurgitate into the IV.

31 comments:

jeff said...

When did Barlett go over to the other side? He had to know he just stabbed all conservative bloggers in the back with that one. Wish he had given examples.

Clang!Honk!Tweet! said...

That is the finest title ever for a blog post.

It is also the best one-line description of the blogosphere.

Verso said...

Ann,
This reminds me of your well- and frequently-voiced concern that the Hillary campaign would be able to "wrangle" the bloggers to their own advantage.

As you said February 7, 2007:: "Preserve your independence and don't let yourself get manipulated, even by some blogger wrangler..."

You also said: "In that post of mine that Marcotte savaged, I really was trying to hurt this emerging profession of blogger wrangler. I want bloggers to keep their distance from candidates and not succumb to flattery and seduction. Oh, the candidate actually cares about me, wants to talk to me. It's fine to take advantage of some access, but don't come back like a sucker and blog about how nice the candidate was to you."

Of course, you were talking about bloggers working for candidates, but that seems to me a slim difference -- and actually a smaller concern -- than bloggers being a mouthpiece for the US Government.

Please note: These quotes should be considered in their full context. People should read the original post, here:

When a blogger goes to work for a presidential candidate.

AJ Lynch said...

Well Hewitt is a good example of how a blogger can go bad....Hewitt penned a book about one of the candidates for Cripes sake and now he shills nonstop for the guy.

IMHO of course - that makes Hewitt and his blog very suspect anymore.

Btw- I still think Hewitt is a brilliant interviewer and darn good radio host.

B said...

jeff,

Why the worry?

That same phrase, It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on, if you were to change "blogs" to CNN and CBS, could have been uttered by any of President Clinotn's Press Ssecretarys.

Heck, the exact same statement can be uttered today by Mark Penn, Communications Counselor for Hillary Clinton, but you have to add "and the New York Times".

JohnAnnArbor said...

talk about a direct IV into the vein of your support.

So, what would the analogy be for not fighting runaway earmarks and spending, for instance? Injecting a bubble into the IV line?

Invisible Man said...

Nothing to see here!

Great projection verson and b. It always goes back to the Clintons. You now have first hand knowledge of the symbiotic nature of right-wing blogosphere and the White House/Republican party and you move straight to the Clinton's. Hewitt, Powerline and the like are nothing but tools for the Republican message of the day and that's not the story. I'm sure that we can expect more sentiment similar to jeff's that Bartlett is now some crypto-liberal but the facts remain.

AJ Lynch said...

I second B's comment - the Dems have had a reliable stenographer in the MSM for many years and the Dems have many bloggers in their pockets too.

Hell one blogger (suburban guerilla)in Philly area demanded health benefits for bloggers when she attended the Kos convention this past summer.

Verso said...

Invisible Man said:

Hewitt, Powerline and the like are nothing but tools for the Republican message of the day and that's not the story.

Well said. I agree completely. And they are knowing tools, too: Happily used, wiling to lie, all in service of movement conservatism and the ongoing Republican War against American values.

I'm sorry if my post wasn't clear: I wasn't defending the rightwingosphere. I was trying to point out that Ann has often expressed concern that liberal bloggers might lose their independence and be used by the Democrats.

She was careful, it seems, in her post about Bartlett to avoid any criticism of the Republicans, or the right-wing blogs. How she feels about it is anybody's guess, but she certainly didn't warn or condemn the right-wing blogs the way she has the left-wing blogs when she thought they were being used.

jeff said...

"I'm sure that we can expect more sentiment similar to jeff's that Bartlett is now some crypto-liberal but the facts remain."

And this is what I was referring to. It doesn't matter what the facts are to people like invisible man. Since Bartlett said it, he has all the proof he needs that right wing blogs parrot the white house line. He needs no more proof or examples. It has become official FACT and now all conservative blogs have been tarred with it.

jeff said...

"Happily used, wiling to lie, all in service of movement conservatism and the ongoing Republican War against American values."

In other words, since you disagree politically with them, they are clearly happy to be used and willing to lie to destroy American values. I look forward to your next post complaining about the conservatives calling those who disagree with them non-patriotic.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Happily used, wiling to lie,

Without examples, as always. Just because you disagree doesn't make the other side evil. Why is that so hard to comprehend?

MadisonMan said...

The problem with injecting the IV of a blog that is favorable to you is that it can start a positive feedback loop if all you do is read those favorable blogs. And then you walk away from reality -- you're telling your base what they want to hear, and you're hearing from your base -- 'cause you read their blogs -- good things. No reason to deviate from the course you're on, everyone is happy!

Synova said...

Is someone who *agrees* being "used"?

I don't get this idea that the only metric for "independence" is opposition. Really. That no "journalist" is credible unless they are actively hostile. What?

Regurgitate is a moronic word to use but why is it wrong to relay information the way it was presented? Milblogs have gotten criticized for interviewing military leadership about Iraq because they, get this, ask questions about what is going on there and get answers. Huh? They get criticized because they aren't on the attack but are asking questions and letting the General or whomever tell them about what is going on there. Information passes and is distributed but because the interviewers aren't hostile it can't be trusted?

I said this after reading Naomi Wolf's piece about our lack of civic education where she incidentally mentions that the right is uncritically supportive of the administration.

Failure to be consistently hostile is not failure to criticize.

There may well be a role for journalists who take a consistently antagonistic stance, but there is also a role for journalists to simply pass on information the way someone intends to have it passed on.

The idea that a graduate of journalism school is *qualified* to be a gatekeeper for us is offensive. The idea that someone who is proving their "independence" and professional creds by insisting on their own agenda rather than what a government official feels is important is hubris. It ends up like that General in New Orleans, trying *trying* to get important information out about disaster preparedness, having to face reflexively antagonistic journalists and famously pronouncing, "You're stuck on stupid."

jeff said...

how would you explain the blogs view on illegal immigration? Spending? The tariffs on steel 4 years ago? Mier's nomination to the Supreme Court?

What was Hewitt and Powerline's stance on those issues? Lockstep with the administration?

AJ Lynch said...

Madison:

I agree with what you are aaying about "positive feedback loop" but that is what the MSM has been providing to the DEMS for years and years.

Do you think Dems ever read rightwing blogs with an open mind? Do you think the Dems find fault on a regular basis with the MSM idiotorials in the major newspapers?

JohnAnnArbor said...

What was Hewitt and Powerline's stance on those issues? Lockstep with the administration?

Of all those, I only remember Miers. Most conservative blogs collectively said "huh?" and moved to disagreeing quite strongly with Hewitt. So? Just because he disagreed doesn't mean he was doing the WH's bidding.

JohnAnnArbor said...

idiotorials

Just a typo, but a good one!

AJ Lynch said...

John:

Idiotorials was no typo.

B said...

Invisible Man,

Thanks for responding "vis", but what exactly in my post can you disagree with?

I actually believe Bartlett - there are numerous conservative blogs that tow the WH line.

My question: So what?

I simply answered jeff , who appeared worried that conservative bloggers would be discredited. Why should they be?
The New York Times (for Hillary), Time Magazine (for Obama)and numerous left wing blogs do it as well.

Yawn.

Ann Althouse said...

Verso said..."This reminds me of your well- and frequently-voiced concern that the Hillary campaign would be able to "wrangle" the bloggers to their own advantage."

Yes. Absolutely. Thanks for remembering. This is a big issue of mine.

"You also said: "In that post of mine that Marcotte savaged, I really was trying to hurt this emerging profession of blogger wrangler....' Of course, you were talking about bloggers working for candidates..."

Actually, the post that she "savaged" was me mocking the bloggers for feeling flattered that Clinton wanted to do lunch with them and not realizing how they were being primed to serve as PR outlets. They weren't getting jobs, just access. I also wrote about Marcotte getting a job with Edwards, but I referred back to her attack on me which was over the Clinton blogger lunch.

"I'm sorry if my post wasn't clear: I wasn't defending the rightwingosphere. I was trying to point out that Ann has often expressed concern that liberal bloggers might lose their independence and be used by the Democrats. She was careful, it seems, in her post about Bartlett to avoid any criticism of the Republicans, or the right-wing blogs."

I think I've taken the same attitude toward both sides which is to favor independence and chide bloggers who give it up. I think I've been evenhanded. Sheesh, I even supported Marcotte, who had been vicious to me personally! What do you want? This post isn't criticizing right-wing blogs, but I'm not looking at any examples of channeling the administration's talking points. I'm criticizing Barlett because he's the one saying something that I'm reacting to. That's the raw material for this post, not something else. If there were an article showing right-wing bloggers repeating the email or whatever, I'd respond to that. I have no idea if they just pass along the memo. I know I don't do anything like that.

Trooper York said...

Q: Good to see you Mr. Bond. Things've been awfully dull 'round here. I hope we're going to see some gratuitous sex and violence in this one!
James Bond: I certainly hope so too.
(Never Say Never Again 1983)

Kirk Parker said...

"Regurgitate... regurgitate... regurgitate... regurgitate..."


Hmmm, I think I'll be withdrawing my offer to guest-vlog eating an egg salad sandwich.

Trooper York said...

Peter: Hey hey I got an idea. Lets play "I Never." You got to drink if you did the thing that the person says they never did.
Cleveland: Oh I got one, I never slept with a women with the lights on.
(They all drink.)
Joe: I'll go next, uh I never had sex with Cleveland's wife.
(Quagmire and Cleveland drink.)
Peter: alright lets see uh, I never did a chick in a Logan airport bathroom.
(Only Quagmire drinks.)
****About 33 drinks later****
Peter: God lets see what else is there um...I never gave a reach-around to a spider monkey while reciting the Pledge of Alligence.
Quagmire: Oh God.
(Quagmire takes a drink.)
Joe: I uh I never picked up an illegal alien at Home Depot to take home a choke me while I touch myself.
Quagmire: Oh come on!
(Quagmire drinks again.)
Peter: I never did the same thing except with someone from Joann Fabrics.
Quagmire: Oh God this is ridiculous. You guys suck! (Drinks more and passes out.)
(The Family Guy, 2005)

EnigmatiCore said...

Who exactly is Hugh Hewitt influential with?

His fans are already in Bush's corner.

No one else listens to him.

Preaching to a choir might be sasifyin', but it ain't exactly influencin'.

Clang!Honk!Tweet! said...

Iditorials on the human vomedy.

MadisonMan said...

Do you think the Dems find fault on a regular basis with the MSM idiotorials in the major newspapers?

If they did they'd win a lot more elections. Be careful what you wish for. (I assume, btw, that you are not including the Washington Times as a major newspaper :) )

Bilby said...

I agree with Synova that if he hadn't used that unfortunate regurgitate word there'd be nothing wrong with the statement. Somebody get the man a thesaurus.

AJ Lynch said...

Madison:

My point is the Dems could write the exact same idiotorials-in some cases they probaly have. The Dems and the MSM are in bed with each other and sing from the same hymn book.

You can deny it if you want. To bring up the Washington Times is disingenuous- it has maybe 2% of total readers in papers selling more than 100,000 copies a day.

MadisonMan said...

AJLynch, I'm not sure why you think I'm not agreeing with you.

James Wigderson said...

The interviewer should've asked Bartlett why it didn't work with Harriet Miers and the immigration issue. An interviewer from Texas missing that follow-up question should be required to go to remedial journalism school.