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The new media revolution

By Jeff Emanuel

Jun 12, 2006

Let me begin by making an admission: I am a blogger. I write here, for Townhall’s conservative web log, as well as for the Georgia political blog Peach Pundit; I even got my start in political writing via the University of Georgia College Republicans blog. Blogging is an extremely efficient way to rapidly disseminate information; in my view, the blogosphere is to other media what 24-hour news was to the old, twice-a-day network version—faster, more accessible, and more efficient.

A writer for the Peach Pundit recently raised some interesting questions about the format and the practice of blogs, including staying power and ability to influence the outcome of elections. Naturally, conversation largely focused on the liberal blog Daily Kos, which is one of the most-viewed sites on the web. The Kos was founded by Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, a far-left activist and consultant who has been extremely vocal about his desire to not only reshape the Democratic Party but to revolutionize media as a whole. As Peach Pundit’s Buzz Brockway put it, Kos and his followers, called the “Kos Kids,” have “set out to make his dream a reality by raising money and volunteering for candidates, and holding an annual Yearly Kos convention,” which will take place in Las Vegas in June.

This conversation led to two key questions:

1) Is the Daily Kos model (and are blogs in general) the way of the future or just a flash in the pan?

2) Just how much influence, if any, do Moulitsas and his “Kos Kids” have within the Democrat Party?

Here's my take:

The Daily Kos model, and blogs in general, are not just a flash in the pan. The Kos has been among the most-viewed websites for several years now, and his exposure appears to be growing rather than receding. He's penned an article in the American Prospect and been the subject of a piece in Campaigns & Elections as well as other publications. As long as Air America is up and running (perhaps not long), Moulitsas will have a voice over the airwaves as well.

The bad news is that Kos has just about the most-viewed blog on the planet. The good news—and it is very good—is that conservatives have not been afraid to follow suit and have jumped on the opportunities offered by this medium. With the exception of Daily Kos, nearly all of the top blogs in the nation—Michelle Malkin, Instapundit, Townhall, Little Green Footballs, Club for Growth, and others—are conservative. More and more Republicans in Congress are even being convinced of the merits of the blogosphere, the result of a Capitol Hill blogging revolution currently being engineered by new-media enthusiasts like David All, communications director for Representative Jack Kingston, R-GA. Blogs offer an extremely quick and efficient way to get information out to large numbers of people and will become more and more utilized in the future—not less.

As to the second question, Kos and his Kids (perhaps unfortunately) have little or no influence over the day-to-day activities of the Democratic Party. They stand firmly against any principles which lie to the right of pure socialism; thus, they cannot support any candidate who could ever have a chance of winning an important election. Just how far left is Kos? Refer to his comments about his "indifference" to contractors being killed in Iraq, and other fringe statements.

Kos has managed to worm his way into almost-mainstream politics, currently appearing in a TV spot for Senator Joseph Lieberman’s primary opponent. Candidates like John Kerry have had to approach Markos while conducting the requisite pandering to the far left in hopes of gaining nomination to national office as well. However, virtually none of Kos's anti-American, anti-capitalist, and pro-communist ideals can ever be put into practice here, regardless of how long and how loudly he rails against the status quo. Even his threats last year of "blowing up the DNC and starting over"—in response to its “selling out” on subjects like the Iraq war, which he shelved "temporarily" in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina—didn't cause much consternation among those whom he was claiming to target.

The bottom line is, as long as there are resources and outlets like Kos and Democratic Underground available to the far left—and there will always be a need for Democratic politicians to pander to them during the primary—there will be followers. However, when compared to the number of supporters necessary to win a national election, the entire following of Kos and his ilk is almost insignificant in number. And "smart" Democratic politicians (an oxymoron?) will immediately not just walk, but RUN toward the center of the political spectrum after securing a nomination. Two faced? Yes. Politics as usual? Absolutely. However, should Kos and other far-left bloggers ever begin to increase their influence in the Democratic Party, it can only be good for conservatives as the 250,000,000 Americans who are not fringe-left liberals will desert these politicians and their party, leaving the Right in a position of even more leadership, solidarity and strength.

Jeff Emanuel, a highly decorated military veteran, is a senior at the University of Georgia where he is the Public Relations Director for the UGA College Republicans.

Copyright © 2006

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