Tuesday, May 13, 2008

We get blasted

Policythought reader and facebook member Alex Lotoro took us to task today about our coverage of issues...in response to a thread I posted concerning our coverage of 3rd party candidates and party outsiders such as Ralph Nader and Ron Paul here's what came back...

The biggest reason why you should cover third party candidates, particularly Ralph, is because blogs are independent news sources that don't suppress truths when it hurts them...like Ralph's thoughts on the public airwaves and how they should be leased, not sold.

You don't have to cover what gets you ratings, you can cover what your readers need to here. That's what the press is for! Otherwise, it's impossible for the full-time student, the 60+ hour a week employee, the working parent, to make an educated decision in November.

Your blog is too similar to what I can see on CNN and Fox News, same story different commentary. I'd rather spend my time reading AfterDowningStreet, Counterpunch, Democraticunderground, or CommonDreams...so I learn something new.

I thought I'd take the opportunity to rebut and see if other readers had a take on this...

I admit our coverage of third party candidates is limited. Particularly of Nader, this comes from a few things. First of all he isn't a legitimate candidate for President. Each of his attempts have gotten less credible and I think most readers want to read about candidates that are likely contenders for the White House.

That doesn't excuse our lack of coverage for his policy ideas. However, I tend to believe that the cream rises to the top when it comes to ideas and politicians. Nader enjoyed a more prominent role in the 90's as a consumer advocate and occasional presidential candidate, over time his capacity for new policy and new ideas hasn't kept pace with his longevity. In truth Ron Paul is seeing a more sustained following despite his incredibly small chance of winning the White House. His libertarian platform and opposition to the war in Iraq has gained him a solid following. He also has the added bonus of actually having a job in government, that means people have voted for him and continue to keep him in congress. Ralph Nader has a political movement and people who believe in him, but as we've learned throughout this primary season, translate that into votes.

We don't have to cover what gets us ratings...just want our readers need to hear. Determining what our readers "need" to hear is a difficult task and one I know at least I struggle with everyday. We have posted powerful pieces in opposition of the war, media coverage of the race, and global climate change. Recently, when candidates called for a gas tax holiday, I posted on a piece on the need for gasoline prices to go up not down. A point that even today, I buttressed.

The reader posted the names of several liberal blogs they would read before ours. I take no issue with a person's taste, we cannot please all readers all the time. However, the blogs named are part of the same echo-chamber effect that we have railed against. They serve to harden reader's views in a hyper partisan way. At policythought we try to call it like we see it, not how Keith Olbermann or Sean Hannity would like us too.

I hope more readers step up and serve us some smack down...we need it around here. It gets our dander up and gets us posting on issues our readers want covered. Keep em comin!

1 comment:

Alex Lotorto said...

If I was really going to "blast" you, I wouldn't restrain myself to simply listing the blogs I'd rather read more frequently, I'd comment on your complicit silence on the serious proposals put forth by groups and serious coalitions like United for Peace and Justice.

Commitments to peace, social justice, and repairing our planet, like those of LEGITIMATE politicians like Ralph Nader and the Green Party are absent from this blog as well.

And to quote Dr. King, "Silence is betrayal".

What makes these people and their policy proposals not legitimate? If Ralph or Cynthia McKinney received 30 or 40% of the vote, would they not be president?

Do they have to be covered by other blogs first to be legitimate?

Does the corporate media have to tell you they're legitimate candidates?

At what point did our constitution allow for a two party duopoly, plutocracy, corporatist state?

Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez have accomplished more in their lives than any of Democrats or Republicans EVER will: legislation, movement building, civil rights, safety protections...the list is almost endless.

I won't continue, there is simply too much to say that has already been said by people much more grounded in the rhetoric than me.

I'm just a frustrated citizen trying to make real change in this country so I can get back to making films, dating, and sleeping at night.