Friday, December 07, 2007

Did he mean regurgitate or puke?

In an interview with Texas Monthly, former White House Communications Director and Counselor to the President Dan Bartlett had this to say about conservative blogs:

What about the blogs?

We had to set up a whole new apparatus to deal with the challenges they pose. Are they real journalists? The Washington Post, for example, has journalists who are now bloggers. Do you treat them as bloggers? Do they get credentials?

Let’s think of it as a practical matter. If one of those journalists-turned-bloggers, Chris Cillizza, e-mails you to say he needs an interview, and at the same time one of the Post’s print reporters—say, Dan Balz—e-mails you and says he needs an interview, and you can do only one . . .


Because the print edition of the Post has more of an impact?

Because Balz is on multiple platforms. He’s booked more easily on television. He’s read by more people. He influences people a bit more. Now, the question might not be as much Chris versus Dan as maybe, “Is it Dan Balz or one of the guys at [the conservative blog] Power Line?”

Yeah, or what if [conservative blogger] Hugh Hewitt called?

That’s when you start going, “Hmm . . .” Because they do reach people who are influential.

Well, they reach the president’s base.

That’s what I mean by influential. I mean, talk about a direct IV into the vein of your support. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on.
Somebody will have to explain to me how this interviewer got out of journalism school without learning to ask the obvious follow-up question: If conservative bloggers are so servile, why were they so critical of the White House over the Harriet Miers nomination, immigration policy, and runaway spending? Bartlett repeats a typical slander of the left and because it fits this reporter's particular template Bartlett doesn't get called on it.

In one brief interview we see quickly how the White House came to be so alienated from its base in so short of a time period, and the media's biases against blogging and especially conservative bloggers. It's definitely an undigestable combo plate Bartlett and the Texas Monthly should've been too ashamed to serve.