Monday, October 25, 2004


A note to those who believe in a vast, right-wing blogger conspiracy, obediently parroting carefully orchestrated leaks: This is what a coordinated assault looks like. And you know what? As Ace says, it's "not even close to decimating."

Believing that all the blogger attacks on Kerry come from a single source is a convenient fantasy. Myself, I am convinced that you do not need a conspiracy to get an assault that looks coordinated. All you need is a group of tenacious, inquisitive skeptics who are all interested in the same thing and are determined to keep pushing and prodding until they find what they are looking for.

Left-leaning reporters are more skeptical of the Republicans and so they are more dogged in their pursuit of stories that discredit Bush. Right-leaning bloggers are more skeptical of the Democrats and so they are more dogged in their pursuit of stories that discredit Kerry. Of course, professional journalists usually believe themselves to be unbiased reporters of objective fact, whereas bloggers usually are happy to admit that they are spouting their opinions. (This is not to say that blogs are without checks and balances, but that is a discussion for another day.) And of course, right-leaning bloggers are perhaps half of the blogosphere, whereas left-leaning reporters are a dominant majority.

But to return to the point, the whole point of the blogosphere is that it is a place where a thousand flowers bloom, like it or not. I would say that organizing a blogger attack is like herding cats, but that's not really true. Because anyone who reads blogs knows that bloggers tend to move in herds. But blog stampedes are self-organized and self-organizing.

It's like the invisible hand. Capitalism does not require a conspiracy. People want to buy, people want to sell. Letting them hook up with each other usually makes for greater efficiency than trying to manage or command economic development. Same story with the blogosphere. I won't say that there are never attempts to herd bloggers-- obviously there are. But it's less efficient. The real piranha blog frenzies don't require leaders. They just happen, believe it or not. Fast and furious? That's the blogosphere.

(Oh, for those of my imaginary readers who are sick of all the meta-story discussion, here's the actual story that today's post is about.)


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