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April 15, 2006
The Fever Swamps, Exposed

Today's Washington Post reports on our more extreme left-wing counterparts of the blogosphere and the measured tones of debate they promote. The David Finkel piece focuses on Maryscott O'Connor, whose life provides an example of the balance and stability so evident in the fever swamps:

In the angry life of Maryscott O'Connor, the rage begins as soon as she opens her eyes and realizes that her president is still George W. Bush. The sun has yet to rise and her family is asleep, but no matter; as soon as the realization kicks in, O'Connor, 37, is out of bed and heading toward her computer.

Out there, awaiting her building fury: the Angry Left, where O'Connor's reputation is as one of the angriest of all. "One long, sustained scream" is how she describes the writing she does for various Web logs, as she wonders what she should scream about this day.

She smokes a cigarette. Should it be about Bush, whom she considers "malevolent," a "sociopath" and "the Antichrist"? She smokes another cigarette. Should it be about Vice President Cheney, whom she thinks of as "Satan," or about Karl Rove, "the devil"? Should it be about the "evil" Republican Party, or the "weaselly, capitulating, self-aggrandizing, self-serving" Democrats, or the Catholic Church, for which she says "I have a special place in my heart . . . a burning, sizzling, putrescent place where the guilty suffer the tortures of the damned"?

This reads like a parody of bloggers and blogging rather than a day-in-the-life feature article. In Finkel's quotations from O'Connor's and other left-wing blogs, he has to block out 18 expletives. Every single quote drips with hatred and venom, and none of it rises above ad-hominem vitriol. In the entire article, Finkel produces not a single measured argument against policy, but instead exposes the personal nature of their loathing.

If I were a liberal blogger, I would cringe with embarrassment after reading this article. Finkel doesn't report on the respectable blogs on the center-left like Jeralynn Merritt at TalkLeft, Ezra Klein, and even John Aravosis at AmericaBlog, who takes strident positions but provides actual argument to support them. The bloggers that Finkel highlights do not appear removed at all from Democratic Underground and Indymedia nutcases. The Post leaves the definite impression that Jeralynn, Ezra, and John are the exceptions to the rule on the Left.

The right-wing has its fever swamp, but they generally don't dominate the upper echelons of the conservative blogosphere as it appears the fever swamp of the Left does with the liberal blogosphere. I don't know anyone among conservative bloggers who wake up foaming at the mouth and retire at night barking at the moon in the manner ascribed to O'Connor. Most of us blog to improve our lives and the nation instead of indiscriminately venting spleen.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 15, 2006 12:14 PM

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