A voice in the wilderness

A VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS…. Long-time readers may recall that for about two years, I edited the “Blog Report” for Salon.com. Every day, I’d feature a couple of dozen posts from the left and right, summarizing what was on the minds of many bloggers. After a couple of years, I more or less created informal categories for the various conservative bloggers — ranging from “thoughtful” to “borderline dangerous,” with most somewhere in between.

What I didn’t expect was to see Charles Johnson’s “Little Green Footballs” emerge as a reform-minded blog for the right.

Yesterday, for example, LGF posted a YouTube clip filmed at a gathering of Glenn Beck fans.

At a “Project 912 Glenn Beck Tea Party,” an unnamed speaker rants about “infiltration by the Communist Party” (a John Birch Society talking point), says that digital cable boxes are “brainwashing machines” planted in our homes by the government, and swears to stop paying taxes…. This is some really deranged stuff, and the audience is eating it up.

This did not, as John Cole noted, go over well with some of Johnson’s fellow conservative bloggers. (John added, “The problem for the right is not Charles Johnson, but all the crazy people in the party.”)

But what’s especially interesting is that LGF has had a variety of similar items of late. Earlier this week, Johnson wrote, “This turn toward the extreme right on the part of Fox News is troubling, and will achieve nothing in the long run except further marginalization of the GOP — unless people start behaving like adults instead of angry kids throwing tantrums and ranting about conspiracies and revolution.”

A couple of weeks ago, LGF had a similar item: “Wow. Racists, 9/11 truthers, and conspiracy theorists, all brought to you by Fox News. Featuring ‘the great Alex Jones.’ What the hell is wrong with Fox News?”

Johnson really angered some of his colleagues when he said “too many on the right are now suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome,” an observation that led to “meltdowns” in LGF comment threads, and “a barrage of hate mail that shows no sign of letting up.”

After having read Little Green Footballs over the years, I didn’t expect it to be one of the sites urging conservatives to pull back from the fringes and be more responsible. It’s a pleasant surprise.

Here’s hoping others Charles Johnson’s lead.

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