Last night on Special Edition, the “Fox News All-Stars,” used this week’s Take Back America conference as an oppurtunity to bash progressive bloggers.
Describing bloggers as “a pox,” Roll Call editor Mort Kondracke compared them to right-wing talk radio, charging that they are preventing “American problems” from being solved:
KONDRAKE: They are the leftward pressure on the Democratic Party that the right-wing talk show hosts are on the Republican party. And between the two of them they manage to polarize even further an already polarized politics, making it increasingly difficult to get any American problems solved, like health care, or the war in Iraq, or sensible terrorism policy.
NPR’s Mara Liasson also compared bloggers to the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth because “that was on the internet too.”
Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer added that conservative blogs are “more analytical and restrained” while “the more liberal blogs are a lot more pungent and profane.” Watch the entire segment:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT STOLLER, LIBERAL BLOGGER: Traditionally it’s seen as Democrats who listen to these ideas, but Republicans listen to them as well. So, by arguing, and organizing, and engaging in intellectual debate, and elevating the level of discourse, I think blogs on the left are really changing the political landscape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUME: Well, they certainly can attract candidates. And this conference, the “Take Back America” conference this week in Washington features what is called, I guess, blog boulevard, which is a comfortable place for the bloggers to sit. And there you see, you get a sense of it. There are plenty of them there, and they are influential with the Democratic Party. They attract prominent candidates, and a number of them, as you heard in Carl Cameron’s report earlier.
Some thoughts on all of this now from Mort Kondracke, editor of “Roll Call”, Mara Liasson, national correspondent for National Public Radio, and the syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, FOX News contributors all.
Well, they do turn out, and they do matter, these bloggers. I mean, the candidates turn out, and the bloggers appear to really matter, don’t they?
MORT KONDRACKE, ROLL CALL: Well, I think they do. And they are the leftward pressure on the Democratic Party that the right-wing talk show hosts are on the Republican party. And between the two of them they manage to polarize even further an already polarized politics, making it increasingly difficult to get any American problems solved, like health care, or the war in Iraq, or sensible terrorism policy.
And all of the candidates are pandering to them. I mean, the democratic candidates are pandering to them just as much as the Republicans candidates are pandering to the right. And they were doing it again today.
HUME: Which group, would you say, is more influential with in their respective party?
KONDRACKE: No, I think a pox on both their houses.
LIASSON: 4.27 Inside their own party?
HUME: Which party is most influenced by its bloggers?
LIASSON: I would say the Democratic Party is most influenced by its bloggers.
I think that the liberal blogosphere has become an important constituency group in the Democratic party, just like the labor unions, or the civil rights groups, the way that Harry Reid, the Senate Majority leader meets with them like he would any other constituency group in the Democratic party.
I think that they have, as Mort said, have been responsible for making the Democrats more partisan, more confrontational, and pushing the party to the left.
HUME: And the sources of their influence, is it their readership or is it something else?
LIASSON: I think it’s both. They have both been able to raise a lot of money.
HUME: The bloggers?
LIASSON: Yes, the bloggers and the internet —
HUME: Are you talking about the bloggers or the activists websites?
LIASSON: Well, I’m talking about both. The activist websites like Moveon.org — Moveon.org along raised $27 million in the last cycle. And Moveon.org members, there are three million of them, every cycle give about $100 million on their own to candidates, all of them, presumably, Democrats.
So they raise a lot of money, and they also create a kind of echo chamber, and they do keep stories alive that would otherwise die. And, look, we saw this on the right, the swift boat veterans, that was on the internet, too.
HUME: But they really started by purchasing ads, old-fashioned TV ads.
LIASSON: Well, Moveon.org purchases ads, too.
HUME: They sure do.
KRAUTHAMMER: Mort’s right that talk radio is conservative and the blogosphere tends to be more liberal. I’m not what that tells us other than conservatives like to talk, and liberals like to type.
But they have a disproportionate influence. It is interesting, there are conservative blogs, but I think, at least the ones I read, they are more analytical and restrained. The more liberal blogs are a lot more pungent and profane, but political. They are actually active in politics, raising the money, and mobilizing the base in a way you don’t have in the right-wing blog.
What is interesting is that this meeting, the “Take Back America” meeting, where all of the candidates have appeared, they have an annual award named after Paul Wellstone, the late liberal senator. It’s their Oscar, it is kind of the best performance by a liberal. And the man who presented it is Ned Lamont. Now who is Ned Lamont? A man who was a creation of the liberal blogs, found, recruited and financed by the blogs.
LIASSON: Or by himself.
KRAUTHAMMER: Yes. But they were the ones who went out there raising the —
HUME: He was the guy who ran against Lieberman.
LIASSON: Beat him in the primaries.
HUME: Beat him in the primaries.
KRAUTHAMMER: His job was to run against and destroy Lieberman. So what he did is he wins the primary, he loses the general election. Which tells you that the overall effect, I think, is that they will pull the Democrats left, which will in the end endanger their objective of winning general elections.
LIASSON: Well, talk radio didn’t endanger Republicans from winning.
KRAUTHAMMER: The country is more conservative than it is liberal. It’s angry with Bush, but, if you look at the ideological shift over the last 30 years, it is to the right, it’s not to the left.
KONDRACKE: Well, the fact is that there are more conservatives in America than there are liberals. The polls all indicate that —
HUME: Isn’t that why liberals refer to themselves now as something else.
KONDRACKE: But the swing group is the independents. And both the nominees, I’m afraid, are going to be so far out, that the independent are going to throw up their hands. Frankly, I would like to see Michael Bloomberg get into this.
HUME: Well, he’s acting like we knew he was going to, he’s reputed the Republican party, or at least disaffiliated himself. He is now unaffiliated as of tonight.
When we come back with the panel we’ll discuss the Energy Bill, what’s in it, what could be left out, and what are its chances. That’s next.