Wednesday, May 24, 2006

In the dark, to be sure.

The New Republic's Keelin McDonell writes in the May 29 issue about Mike McCurry's rude introduction to modern communications technology. If you haven't been in Left Blogistan lately, McCurry did some flacking for the telecom interests opposed to network neutrality and won a hostile reception at places like MyDD, TPM, and others.

Remarkably, McDonell manages to cover this dispute without devoting more than a sentence to the policy issue at the heart of it:
(Bloggers, whose own Web presence would be threatened if unregulated telecom companies decided to charge to prioritize websites, largely want legislated oversight of the Internet.)
McDonell uses parentheses to stress that he's not interested in the issue, and apparently he hasn't bothered to learn anything about the issue other than it involves government regulation of the Internet. Which doesn't exactly narrow things down, unless the Internet is a strange and foreign place to you.

No, the whole article is about nasty words between McCurry and the bloggers. If you care about network neutrality, don't bother with The New Republic. For serious coverage of that sort of policy, you're better off on the internet. Armed with Google, McDonell could have spent about ten minutes educating himself to the point of being about to write a couple of coherent sentences about network neutrality. Instead, he sounds like he just asked Mike McCurry.

On the other hand, if you're uncomfortable with new-fangled stuff like "blogging" and open debate, then McDonell and The New Republic are writing for you. He's happy to give McCurry the last word:
McCurry, for his part, has finally realized that blogging is less like a witty exchange with Sam Donaldson and more, as he now puts it, like "a primal scream in the darkness." He checks out Daily Kos and other blogs "occasionally," and he admits he should, maybe, have known better. "I knew when I went into the blogosphere and took the argument on that I'd be asking for trouble," McCurry says. "I just didn't know how much trouble."
Who does The New Republic think its audience is? The blogosphere sounds like "a primal scream in the darkness" only to those -- like McDonell -- who would rather sit in the dark than turn on the lights.

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