This story has been developing for some time, and has provided the usual lefty suspects with quite a delicious schadenfreude chortle or two. But now the New York Times has weighed in, and the article makes it clear that something extraordinary is happening in the blogosphere. If nothing else, the sheer viciousness & paranoia that it's engendered amongst the former supporters of the (formerly?) right-wing anti-jihadist blog Little Green Footballs.
To recap: Charles Johnson, the founder of the influential blog, announced last fall that he was "leaving" the right/Republican movement. His reasons were that basically he could no longer swallow the lockstep doctrinaire cant that demanded unswerving hatred of Obama, support for Sarah Palin, denigration of minorities and anti-intellectualism. Man, just writing that sentence sounds so wrong - but perhaps it's emblematic of how polarized our political dialogue has become, that anyone not defining themselves by what they are against more than they are "for" by necessity straddles the lines of division drawn by the most extreme in the political wings.
Anyway - the point of this post is to call attention to a nice example of the somewhat rare MSM-created snark. Johnathan Dee, the NYT writer, mocks the inevitable screeching sure to result from the confluence of an article about Charles Johnson ("race traitor! burn him!") done by the bete noire of the right, the New York Times:
But perhaps I am, as many suggested to me, just another liberal dupe. Perhaps I even fell for the pretense that Johnson lives in the modest home where I visited him, which bore none of the trappings his supposed sellout would suggest. The U.P.S. man who delivered packages to his door while I was there, and his truck, may have been hired for the day just to snow me; the decidedly un-Mata-Hari-like woman he introduced to me as his fiancée, who brought us water and fruit as we talked in his small home office, may have been a member of the Trilateral Commission. It would be just like a representative of the Mainstream Media to get caught believing his eyes like that.Damn, that's some fine stuff.
The deeper message in the article though, is starting to touch on something interesting to New Media types like myself - that the "Link Economy" has grown to a size & strength that it's benefits and drawbacks are starting to become known & predictable. Which is about the time that a workable business model starts to really emerge - when you can posit Action A will lead to Result B, then you have a predictable model. Which big advertisers can start using to attach those nice little wads of cash to.
The larger effects of Johnson's break with his former political cohorts (about which more than enough has been written elsewhere, on both sides of the issue) may be that this is a starting point for independent journalists/content producers to start defining a monetization model for the blogosphere and social media sites.