Sometimes, a post is just a post

SOMETIMES, A POST IS JUST A POST…. After a while, blogging is bound to give someone a thick skin. Some people are going to like what you have to say, others won’t. If you invest too much energy in responding to every criticism, it quickly becomes counterproductive.

Once in a while, though, it’s worth noting criticism, if only to set the record straight. The American Spectator, a right-wing magazine best known for its work with Paula Jones in the 1990s, didn’t care for this weekend post, in which I questioned whether the Tea Baggers’ events this week constitute genuine grassroots activism. The Spectator‘s item perceived the post as part of a “coordinated message operation.”

A few weeks ago, it was revealed that the Left has been manipulating the national news media via an online communication loop called “JournoList.” As someone who follows political blogs closely, I had noticed how successful the Left was at (a) getting its favorite narratives picked up by the national media, and (b) discouraging coverage of narratives unfavorable to Democrats. Conservatives have long speculated on the role of back-channel communications between “progressive” activists and sympathetic journalists in this sort of coordinated messaging operation. The JournoList revelation exposed one of those back channels; that there are many others is easily inferred.

So you can imagine my reaction when I spotted Steve Benen of Washington Monthly pushing an anti-Tea Party message by Oliver Willis of Media Matters.

As analysis goes, this is more than a little odd, with a series of claims that are both paranoid and wrong. My post quoted Oliver because … wait for it … I thought he raised a good point. I link to colleagues who raise good points all the time.

Here’s a quick play-by-play: I was going through posts yesterday from some of the bloggers I read regularly, and I saw an item from Oliver. I thought his point was compelling, so I wrote a post, quoted Oliver, and added some of my own thoughts on the subject.

It’s a practice some of us refer to as “blogging.”

There was no “coordinated message operation.” There is no nefarious plot. I wasn’t encouraged, directed, or instructed to write my thoughts on the subject. George Soros didn’t pay me to write the post; I wasn’t compensated in the new “global currency” that Michele Bachmann is worried about; and I’m not in league with ACORN or any of the other assorted right-wing boogeymen.

Now you know.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.