The Left Wing Conspiracy Revealed by Non​vi​o​lence​.org

Non​vi​o​lence​.org read­ers may not be aware that my per­son­al site has been the talk of the polit­i­cal inter­net for the last few days. Since post­ing an “account of get­ting a phone call from a CBS News pub­li­cist”, I’ve been linked to by a Who’s Who of blog­ging glit­er­at­ti: Won­kette, Instapun­dit, The Volokh Con­spir­a­cy, Lit­tle Green Foot­balls, Rather­Biased, etc. For a short time yes­ter­day, the sto­ry was a part of the second-ranked arti­cle on Technorati’s Pol­i­tics Atten­tion index.

A hack from CBS News called me to say they were doing a pro­gram on an issue that’s cen­tral to Nonviolence.org’s man­date: con­sci­en­tious resis­tance to mil­i­tary ser­vice. After look­ing over the mate­r­i­al, I thought the inter­views of resisters who have fled to Cana­da would be inter­est­ing to my read­ers and so wrote a short entry on it. Think­ing it all a lit­tle fun­ny that a pub­li­cist would care about Non​vi​o​lence​.org, I men­tioned the inci­dent in the “Sto­ries of Non​vi​o​lence​.org” sec­tion of my per­son­al site. One by one the lead­ing polit­i­cal sites of the blo­gos­phere have run the sto­ry as fur­ther proof of the vast left-wing main­stream media con­spir­a­cy. It’s rather fun­ny actu­al­ly.

I have to won­der is who’s kid­ding who with all this feigned out­rage? For those miss­ing the irony gene: the Non​vi​o​lence​.org Pay­Pal account cur­rent­ly has a bal­ance $6.18, the bulk of which comes from the last dona­tion – $5.00 back on Novem­ber 20th. My cor­ner of the left wing con­spir­a­cy is fund­ed by the vast per­son­al wealth I accu­mu­late as a book­store clerk.

Wonkette’s pages adver­tise “spon­sor­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties,” she’s a recent cov­er girl on New York Times Mag­a­zine, her hus­band is an edi­tor at New York mag­a­zine and in Octo­ber she cashed out her blog­ging fame for a $275,000 advance for her first nov­el (“It’s not Brid­get Jones does Wash­ing­ton, it’s Nick Horn­by does pol­i­tics”: good grief). Eugene Volokh has clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court (for San­dra Day O’Connor), teach­es law at UCLA and just had a big op-ed in the Times. Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds teach­es law at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ten­nessee, has served on White House advi­so­ry pan­els, and is a paid cor­re­spon­dent for MSNBC. Yet he, like the oth­ers, calls a two minute phone call “recruit­ing”?

I’m begin­ning to think the real inter­est comes from the fact that this top tier of blog­gers is total­ly in bed (lit­er­al­ly) with the MSM. Their income comes from their con­nec­tions with media and polit­i­cal pow­er. Their carefully-crafted fas­cade of snark­ish inde­pen­dence would crum­ble if their phone logs were made pub­lic. They’re not real­ly blog­ging in their paja­mas, folks.

By men­tion­ing the exis­tance of blog pub­li­cists, I’ve threat­ened to blow their cov­er. Pay no atten­tion to the men behind the cur­tains: my social gaffe was in pub­licly admit­ting that the main­stream media courts polit­i­cal blogs. Kudos to jour­nal­ist Derek Rose on admit­ting the prac­tice:

But why shouldn’t a news organization’s pub­lic­i­ty depart­ment court blog­gers? As a MSM mem­ber, I get emails from TV flacks all the time pro­mot­ing their scoops. From ABC, for exam­ple, I’ve received emails regard­ing a tape they got of the Belt­way sniper’s call to the Rockville police; Bar­bara Wal­ters’ Hillary Clin­ton inter­view; and their ‘Azzam the Amer­i­can’ video … as well as a Rush Lim­baugh drug laun­der­ing sto­ry that nev­er panned out. I even got atten­tion from pub­li­cists when I was work­ing for a news­pa­per that didn’t have a 20th of the cir­cu­la­tion of Instapun­dit…

Rose aside, there’s incred­i­ble dis­tor­tion in the “report­ing,” a term I have to use very loose­ly. Won­kette says “Kel­ley claims that a CBS min­ion put the screws to him to post some­thing about a ’60 Min­utes’ pack­age on con­sci­en­tious objec­tors” yet all read­ers have to do is fol­low the link to see I nev­er said any­thing like that. Why do the cream of blog­gers feel like a posse of self-absorbed sev­enth graders? When I start­ed Non​vi​o​lence​.org back in 1995, I thought the brave new polit­i­cal world of the inter­net might be All the President’s Men. Boy was I wrong: it turns it’s just Heathers. God help us.