Welcome to Leftopia! This blog is meant to teach people how to participate in online politics - how the blogs work, what bloggers to read, where to voice your opinion and generally fight back!
Make no mistake, liberals are winning the fight online! That is why this blog is sorely needed - liberals who are not tech, internet or blog savvy need to be brought into the blogosphere. Blogs are truly the future of the progressive movement and there are still many on the left who are not involved but who care deeply about these same issues and are political activists outside of the internet. It is critical that they get on the bus and further strengthen this movement.
Most blogs will have entries or posts which consist of news, opinions or both. They generally don't run much longer than your average op-ed column. The great part about blogs is that YOU can respond back. And you can respond to the responses and so on. Thus begins an organic discussion (or fight) about the topic and assertions made in the post.
It is recommeded that you try to keep some anonymity in your online name as you might want to be as candid as possible. You don't want anyone to follow you home so to speak.
The right-wing media likes to cherry pick particularly ugly or incendiary comments posted by users to score cheap political points and generally smear and frame blogs as being some kind of uncivil haven for radicals. Don't be fooled. While some blogs do moderate the comments sections, most are very open discussions in which anyone can post anything anonymously. There is a major difference between what is posted by those who run the blogs and write for the blogs and what users comment in reaction to those entries. The media tries to blur that distinction and attribute user comments to the bloggers themselves. Right-wingers have also been known to masquerade as liberals and then post bigoted, stereotypical or even threatening comments in order to use them as "examples" of the danger and incivility of blogs. Ultimately they simply don't want more people to participate in online political discussion. Why do you think that is?
Now we come to the most critical part. DOING SOMETHING!
I used to wonder about exactly what effect blogging, emailing and posting comments online would have in the real world. Turns out, a ton!
Firstly, arguing with political opponents online is not only fun but very effective. This is not TV, where the house always wins. Online, conservatives do not have any advantage whatsoever. They must convince people using actual arguments and logic. They cannot coerce or cut off anyone's mic. They cannot parade imposters posing as liberals or Democrats. They cannot reinforce their frames and narratives by only inviting weak representatives of Democrats and liberals to the fistfight that is cable television politics (see Alan Colmes). And those who would stand up to their talking points and propaganda always can.
Amateur Reporting and Investigation
These days, anyone can break a story. Newsrooms are constantly trimming their staff and this the amount of time that reporters who actually want to do some investigative reporting can. In addition, as the blogs often work, someone will spot something that the mainstream media have overlooked either negligently or deliberately (they do - wake up). Then other blogs will link to that story in their blogs and next thing you know it's flying all across the blogosphere.
On to the good stuff, where to go, what to see. These are my personal favorites with a brief blurb about each.
News and opinion site. Headlines of mainstream news stories are linked to and op-ed style opinion pieces are published. Comment pages for most stories and opinion posts are lively and well-monitored.
Video clips from television and internet are provided for viewing and/or download in several formats.
Original reporting and muckraking site which has broken many big stories and focused in-depth reporting where mainstream media outlets have not. Quite often well ahead of the curve in investigative stories.
An online spinoff from the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank. Provides a forum for online progressive discussion.
Sober media watchdog which posts viewable and downloadable clips of mainstream media with criticisms and rebuttals. Particularly draws the scorn of Bill O'Reilly as they have the nerve to quote him directly and refute his claims.
More of an online magazine, but Glenn Greenwald posts every day and is a must-read. Also posting weekly articles are Joe Conason and Sidney Blumenthal who are well worth the time.
The Godfather of liberal blogs. Was instrumental in putting liberal blogs on the map and establishing the format of entries and comments. Truly cultivated a community based around the site which has inspired many members to start their own blogs themselves.
The community of blogs, bloggers and users who discuss and comment.
Someone who intentionally posts controversial or contrary messages in an online community with the intention of baiting users into an argumentative response.
Someone who posts messages which claim to share the same viewpoint as the others but having some "concerns". Merely intended to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group. Example: Those who are "concerned" that Democrats' investigations of the most unpopular President in modern times will hurt them.
Contraction of “iPod” and “broadcasting” (but not for iPods only). Posting audio and video material on a blog and its RSS feed, for digital players.