A good day for political bloggers. In Oliver Kamm’s Guardian column instead of justifying slaughter in Iraq and the genocidal policies of the IMF he turned his myopic sight on the desperately important question of the quality of political blogs.
Brilliantly crap stuff it is too. I shall critique it and in the process prove both us right – that blogs are parasitic on the traditional media (good material just can’t be turned down).
Kamm gets indignant that blogging "is a democratic medium, allowing anyone to participate in political debate without an intermediary, at little or no cost. But it is a direct and not deliberative form of democracy. You need no competence to join in." This would go completely against everything that establishment politics seeks to deny. From the Guardian to The Monday Club the message pumped out is "leave it to the experts…we were born, bred and educated to do this". Blogging circumvents the old boys networks and factional politics that would have Kamm, Paxman, Blair and Cameron where they are today. That’s why they hate it. The intermediaries that Kamm refers to are the gatekeepers and whips who control the paradigm, make sure that the argument, Right or Left, stays within the parameters that protect the status quo.
"A self-selecting group of the politically motivated who have time on their hands." Who’s Kamm referring to here? MP’s, journalists, broadcasters, CEO’s. That sentence would neatly sum them up, but no, he aims this jibe at me and you, the bloke(ess) at home or work with a PC and about 25 minutes to bash something out before doing the washing-up, looking at a flickering PC screen in a badly lit office, or whatever other mundane, soul-destroying tasks occupy our day.
"Blogs are providers not of news but of comment. …they are purely parasitic on the stories and opinions that traditional media provide. If, say, Polly Toynbee or Nick Cohen did not exist, a significant part of the blogosphere (a grimly pretentious neologism) would have no purpose and nothing to react to." This is firstly a bit rich for a fella writing, for cash, in the comments pages of the newspaper. So what if we provide comment, so do you, you fraud.
The next bit I took personally because on this sparse blog I’ve managed to respond to both of those fake-lefties Cohen and Toynbee. But of course bloggers respond to the opinions of columnists on mainstream media platforms. That’s one of the blogosphere’s purposes, as a form of rebuttal. Does he want all response to go via the letters editors. Toynbee and Cohen generate so much blog-space because they write such utter tosh that needs to be corrected, and we can’t expect that editors who share the same class and cultural interests to do that for us. Blinking obvious I’d have thought and something that any half-decent media intermediary might have pointed out to Kamm-chops.
To hold bloggers responsible for the poisoning of democracy is utterly ludicrous when the traditional media becomes ever more unquestioning of the official version of events and a reliable source for misinformation. It is left to the bloggers to expose to gaps and inconsistencies in their stories - the red mercury plot, the Fay Turney fiasco, inconsistencies of 9/11 and 7/7, hypocrisy of the Jade Goody racism hysteria etc. etc. etc.
And to make it worse….where does Kamm post most of his drivel? On an effing BLOG!