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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Left Losing Internet Edge

Not to pile on with the bad news, but Robert Parry has a must-read bummer at Alternet, “The Right-Wing Media Machine Has Arrived on the Internet.” The title will come as no surprise to political internet junkies, who have noticed over the last year or so a distinct increase in conservative and wingnut web pages that don’t look quite so cheesy as before.
This doesn’t mean that the right has websites as widely-read as HuffPo or Daily Kos. They don’t. And there is still a noticable gap in writing quality favoring the left, at least among the middle-brow political websites. But amplifying Jerry Markon’s WaPo post on the topic, Parry does a good job of explaining why the pro-Republican right’s superior message discipline is providing the GOP blogosphere with a growing edge:

…The Right’s Web attacks on Democrats, progressives and mainstream journalists had much greater resonance because those hostile stories got picked up and amplified by the Right’s talk-radio programs, by Fox News and by print outlets, such as Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Washington Times…the Right is now fully “wired” to disseminate a potent political message via the Internet, as demonstrated by the Tea Party assaults on President Barack Obama in his first year and by the Internet-savvy upset win by Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race.

Worse, conservatives have not been shy in tapping corporate resources to nurture and support their blogosphere, in painful contrast to the woefully underfunded left, in which most bloggers work other jobs to support their postings. Parry adds,

Some right-wing bloggers have found their endeavors richly rewarded as right-wing institutes create “fellowships” for bloggers; other bloggers have become influential TV personalities, the likes of Michelle Malkin; and still others, like RedState’s Erick Erickson, wield outsized political influence because their commentaries resonate through the Right’s echo chamber.

It was a hollow conceit to assume that the progressive blogosphere would have a perpetual edge over the right. It was always a question of ‘when,’ not ‘if’ coporate resources would empower the right to level the field. But as the integration of streaming internet audio-visual content with television, telephones and even radio in cars becomes more seamless, perhaps there will be a more permanent democratization of media access. It won’t happen automatically, and it will certainly require an energetic effort from progressives to put in place. The alternative would be even more disturbing than Parry’s post.

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