Four years ago, liberal journalist Garance Franke-Ruta (now at the Washington Post) wrote at The American Prospect that "right-wing blogs openly shill, fund raise, plot, and organize massive activist campaigns on behalf of partisan institutions and constituencies", and "instead of taking these bloggers for the political activists they are, all too often the established press has accepted their claims of being a new form of journalism. This will have to change -- or it will prove serious journalism's undoing."
Ironically, her description of the Rightosphere is now pretty much an operating formula for the Leftosphere. Two recent posts encapsulate that dynamic. At Daily Kos, diarist msblucow wrote of her eagerness to get marching orders...
Tuesday night I was on a conference call with Organizing For America, what the Obama campaign structure has morphed into since the campaign. I, along with thousands of other former Obama campaign volunteers, expected to get our marching orders, told who we should telephone, e-mail, visit, blog about - whatever it took to get the best possible stimulus legislation out of Congress.
Open Left's Chris Bowers also hoisted the team flag and asked how he should wave it.
I really want to help pass the stimulus package at its current size, but I honestly don't know how to do that right now. It is very frustrating when you want to help, but you don't even know if that help is wanted, or exactly how you could help even if it was wanted. If President Obama would let us know which side he was on--the center-right Senate coalition's or the Democratic congressional leadership's--and urged people to take specific actions to help that side, everything would be a lot clearer.
Now, let me be clear: there's nothing really wrong with advocating, fundraising, plotting and organizing to pursue political, even partisan, goals. But I don't think it's ever been as overt on the Right as it has been on the Left. Heck, I did new media outreach for the Senate Republicans, and I can tell you we never had the benefit of this kind of organized, energetic "tell us what to do" atitude from the Rightosphere. As far as I've been able to tell, neither House Republicans nor the Bush White House did, either.
For the most part, this is because the Right has been growing more and more alienated from its base, and especially from the more fiscally conservative/libertarian Rightosphere. Meanwhile, the agendas of the Leftroots and the Democratic Party have increasingly aligned as the Democrats gradually re-gained political momentum.
But it's an interesting dynamic, and we will see more and more of this sort of organized blogging advocacy and message coordination in future policy fights. Perhaps somebody with the Washington Post might cover that.