THE CONSERVATIVE BLOGOSPHERE….In the Prospect today, Garance Franke-Ruta writes that things are not always what they appear to be in the conservative blogosphere:

Right-wing blogs…increasingly provide cover for professional operatives to conduct traditional politics by other means ? including campaigning against the established media. 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.

Garance ties four recent blog storms not to citizen bloggers, but to activists who are posing as citizen bloggers in order to provide a 21st century cover for old fashioned dirty tricks campaigns:

At worst, they’re the prot?g?s of conservative fund-raiser Richard Viguerie and dirty-tricks master Morton Blackwell, who has tutored conservative activists since 1965…, the blog that served as the clearinghouse for the attack on CNN, was helped along by Virginia-based Republican operative Mike Krempasky. From May 1999 through August 2003, Krempasky worked for Blackwell as the graduate development director of the Leadership Institute, an Arlington, Virginia?based school for conservative leaders founded by Blackwell in 1979. The institute is the organization that had provided ?Gannon? with his sole media credential before he became a White House correspondent.

There’s more that ties together the blog storms over Dan Rather, Eason Jordan, Jeff Gannon, and Joseph Steffen, so read the whole thing. Bottom line: a large part of the conservative blogosphere is nothing more than old style slime artists with a shiny new medium to abuse, while another large part either wittingly or unwittingly passes along their swill as a supposed groundswell of grass roots outrage. Peek underneath the rock and it’s not a pretty sight.

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