Friday, April 18, 2008

the real issue with ABC News' debate moderators

What made non-partisans uncomfortable was not the fact Obama's questioners were not lobbing him soft balls over the plate that he could knock out of the park. The candidate will have enough opportunities to pitch to himself later.

What made them unconfortable is the idea that something like the connection between terrorist-turned-teacher Bill Ayers and Barack Obama is your typical blogosphere conspiracy theory that should have been checked, or at least thoroughly patted down, at the gate of the MSM.

The problem isn't that right wingers broke into the citadel of the mass market. It's that barbarian bloggers broke into the citadel. We should be making common cause to defend it regardless of our ideologies because otherwise our national conversation will deteriorate into a cacophany.

It's somewhat like letting an Internet-only blogger into the group of syndicated pundits. It's a decision that will be rightly scrutinized regardless of whether the blogger is right wing or left wing. All men were created equal but not all punditry. Paul Wells brought me a lot of traffic when he recently linked to me in the body of one of his posts. I like to think that's because he wasn't afraid to lift my post up to the level of posts by syndicated columnists. Note that not everyone with a reaction to Wells gets their reaction out there; - Wells doesn't have comments. Which is as it should be in my opinion because I don't think it serves us to see someone like Wells goaded into leaving the citadel to engage rude Vandals in the swamps. Why? Because MOST people aren't watching out there and understandably so.

Both left wingers and right wingers will approve of the idea of sending a someone on the team they are supporting down to the minors when it's understood that you can't have too many men on the ice. People want to see the big league action and that means not everyone can play.

We are all entitled to a soapbox but some voices deserve bigger soapboxes than others. Elitist? Yes. But the secret to democracy is protecting it from the daily mob. I'm not calling for a hereditary aristocracy here but a meritocracy. Old pundits whose eloquence or perspicacity has been eclipsed by some new wit on the scene need to be shuffled off the stage. To a large extent this happens naturally on the exeunt side as the audience chooses to move on. But the entrance side generally involves a conscious decision by the proprietor of the platform (i.e. the MSM) and it is healthy to have those decisions second guessed.

No comments: