Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama Angers the Liberal Blogs...

To date, Barack Obama has received far more netroots political support than any other presidential candidate this side of Ron Paul. However, he now seems to be angering those very supporters who have been his staunchest advocates.

As Sarah Lai Stirland describes, Obama's appearance this weekend on the Fox News cable channel has liberal bloggers up-in-arms. Many liberal bloggers had been calling for a boycott of Fox News as a way of de-legitimizing the network perceived to be a right-wing media outlet. Obama initially agreed to a self-imposed boycott (which lasted two years), but after weeks of criticism over his association with the controversial Reverend Wright, expressed his desire to directly combat this criticism. Apparently, he was not combative enough in the eyes of his most ardent supporters.

Matt Stoler of OpenLeft flatly states, "It was a mistake for us to endorse Obama". On the DailyKos, one diarist speaking of the appearance on Fox News states, "Simply put, I cannot vote or support anyone who participates in this medium". Comments like this abound in the blogosphere today.

Will this cyber-liberal anger have any significant effect on the outcome of the primaries? Probably not. Liberal bloggers have been highly critical of Hillary Clinton for months, and that is unlikely to change. If anything, it only tarnishes the unreasonably idyllic, heroic image that the Left harbored for their still-favorite candidate.

In the meantime, something must be said for the hypocrisy of these liberal blogs who have been insisting on a boycott of Fox News. Regardless of to what extent you think Fox News has a right-wing bias, bloggers, perhaps above all, ought to realize 1) the value of an open and expansive marketplace of ideas filled with diverse viewpoints and comprehensive dialogue, and 2) that suppressing political speech is inherently counter-productive. For these liberal bloggers to boycott a major media outlet, and insist on their candidates following their lead, simply because they disagree with a perspective different from their own, makes them no better than their perceived right-wing enemy and concedes any claim to the moral high ground.


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