In fact, the blogosphere in general is not much different than talk radio or TV punditry. It is dominated by the left and the right. The difference, of course, is that the far left is largely nonexistent on radio and TV (unless you buy into the mainstream media liberal agenda argument), but my point is that the blogosphere is almost entirely comprised of extremes, e.g. Patrick is supported by 30% of Likely Democratic Primary Voters, but 90% of the lefty blogs. I am a self-described moderate Democrat, so the typical lefty blog holds no appeal to me.
BMG has been different. In maintaining its neutrality, BMG had a credibility that none of the other lefty blogs could claim – credibility built upon the “major contributions” of the “supporters of all three candidates.” To be sure, the BMG editors have played a critical role in the creation and management of the site, but it is the diversity of opinion that distinguishes BMG. Perhaps 75% of BMG posters are Patrick supporters, but I would respectfully submit that it is the other 25% that make BMG worth reading. Vanity? Perhaps, but I don’t think so. Without us, it would be, to borrow David’s expression, an echo chamber.
Now, as a non-Patrick supporter, I face a dilemma. I feel as though my contributions help maintain, or even enhance, the credibility of BMG. But to what end is that credibility being applied? To defeat my candidate in the primary? Each time that I log on I find a permanent shrine to that objective: “BMG Editors Endorse Deval Patrick. Read the endorsement. Volunteer. Contribute.” I am told, keep on writing. . .you never know who is reading. We’re all in this together. Gee, thanks, but why are non-Patrick supporters the only ones being asked to sacrafice something by contributing to a pro-Patrick site? Sounds like a good deal for the folks supporting Patrick who don’t want this to become an echo chamber. If this place became exclusively pro-Patrick, who the hell would bother to read it? Even the mainstream media might tire of a one-trick pony.
I started to share my feelings in a comment yesterday. Both Charley and David thoughtfully replied, as they almost always do. They mentioned that the editors did not start BMG as a “neutral institution” and I can appreciate that. BMG is their baby, not mine. I also believe that they are earnest in their pledge to “continue to recommend and promote substantive posts, regardless of which candidate is favored.” However, for me, BMG had been a “neutral institution” before their decision to endorse and I never before felt the need for their assurances. Yesterday, that changed and, while BMG’s endorsment may be in line with the editor’s (well-earned) vision for the future of their site, I very respectfully submit that it detracts substantially from my personal experience.
About 70% of Likely Democratic Primary Voters support a candidate other than Deval Patrick. The few non-Patrick that regularly contribute to this site are what make BMG interesting or, at the very least, different than the other lefty blogs.
Although I respect that it was the editor’s decision to make, I genuinely believe you guys sacraficed something great (nuetrality) for something that feels good (the endorsement). That’s my opinion and I thank you for the opportunity to share it. The question is, do I want to continue sharing my thoughts with a site that has literally been redesigned to support my candidate’s opponent? I don’t know. Maybe.