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"Access blogger"

Since Lord Eschaton just used the term (which I think I invented, and did propagate) I'll hoist this from comments. Mere access doth not an access blogger make! Summing up on 2010-01-31:

An access blogger is a high-traffic blogger who makes trading on "access" -- in the classic journo sense* -- to one or several Versailles factions part of their funding and business model. OpenLeft, TPM, Kos, and FDL spring to this outsider's mind.** In the best case, you get blogs acting as "meme laundries" for talking points developed by partisan operatives; that is, they use their putative independence as a way of giving credibility to what is, in fact, a manufactured discourse that "strategists" and consultants are billing to create. (This was especially evident during the 2008 primaries.) In the worst case, you get coverage that's outright dictated by funding. (HCAN's Jason Rosenbaum at FDL was, after pressure from outraged readers, disclosed, and as an HCAN employee, it's entirely natural that Rosenbaum would censor all single payer stories in the FDL silo that Hamsher provided him. However, given lack of transparency, one must assume that there are other "cognitive infiltrators" that are not disclosed.)

Now, one can argue this is the way of the world; however, back, say, in 2003, the idea was that the blogs would replace the corrupt press, not become it.

NOTE * Much as I hate to quote Hitchens, his sad decline had not begun, or was not so evident, back in the 90s.

NOTE ** I should say that not all high traffic blogs are "access blogs" -- though funders would, naturally, like to buy them all. (The Obama 527 Formerly Known As Daily Kos has, after all, the reach of a cable channel.) Bloggers from academe (Atrios) or the entertainment industry (C&L) or the professions (TalkLeft) tend to have different, non-access based, business models. IOW, not all bloggers with access (due to high traffic) are access bloggers. They're as susceptible to a corrupt zeitgeist and manufactured talking points as anyone else, but the vector of infection is different, and their immune system is more resilient, if that makes sense. For whatever reason, the econobloggers (see Silber here) seem to be far less susceptible to infection than the political bloggers. It may be that, well, they've got money. It may also be that they simply understand the stakes better.

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Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

how did I miss that one the first time through? Brilliant! It deserves max propagation in itself.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

But there are also sub-communities. Corrente, Docudharma, Antemedius, Wild Wild Left, Progressive Independence, Reclusive Leftist, in the aggregate constitute something of a community. Some of the sites are high quality but low traffic, which is a shame.

Is there a way that we can do some kind of outreach to pull more traffic to the bunch? Is there a "we" capable of anything? I think there are possibilities.

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

John Aravosis wrote more about it, including this:

Nine of us were invited, this time, including Yglesias, Atrios, Oliver Willis, Thom Hartmann, Chris Hayes, Jonathan Singer and a few other people I didn't know, including a woman named Erin from BlogHer. These get togethers started a few months ago, and basically they invite different members of the progressive media each time.

I'm kind of waiting for your turn, lambert, and vastleft's to come up.

At least Aravosis called Jared Bernstein (Chief Economist and Economic Policy Adviser to VP Biden) on his GOP talking points, for whatever that's worth. (I'm curious to hear Thom Hartmann's take on it, if any, tomorrow. For a bright guy he seems somewhat clueless about President Obama, the public option and all that.)

"Access blogger" is the perfect coinage.

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

I was surprised also.

His wife Kate Shaw works in the White House Counsel's office, so he's not exactly an "outsider."

Chris is whip-smart and a nice guy (if you write to him, he'll actually write back—or he has, to me at least) but his views on the whole health care disaster as mixed, at best.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Atrios is the name, Eschaton is the blog. :-)

Other than that eensy quibble... excellent post.

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

If he didn't disclose right away, how did users know that he worked for HCAN?

Submitted by lambert on

I don't remember the detail; I think some investigation was done, lo and behold, etc.

dr sardonicus's picture
Submitted by dr sardonicus on

...the idea was that rock 'n' roll would replace the corrupt pop music, not become it.

As it is. As it was. As it ever shall be.

Submitted by regulararmyfool on

Give me a crew of ten people and I could up your count of self servicing commentators passing an irrational memea by 200.

Give me three techs that can backtrack the origin of the messages and I will promise that I can find you 100 bought and paid for disinformation people who are commenting from government servers.

I remember the revelations of "Operation Mockingbird" during the 1970s Church commission hearings.