Three years ago, I thought it would be cool to do something fun for bloggers at CPAC. Everyone was gathering there, why not have a casual get-together for people who work so hard.
In fact, my thought was little more than a Tweet-up sort of deal. Ha!
Turns out, I wasn’t the only one thinking about doing something for bloggers. Ali Akbar, who himself, a young blogging buck, along with Aaron Marks, a young finance and tech genius who helped online fundraising for elections, also wanted to do something for bloggers.
So, we three started Blogbash. Like most things in my life, it started as a modest idea and morphed into something else entirely–sponsors, food, drink, cake, swag, speeches, awards.
Blogbash became a thing.
We continued the tradition last year. And this, year, Ali, Aaron, and I have been working nearly full time putting together the best Blogbash yet. Hours of work, endless conference calls, dealing with caterers, procuring bartenders –and we’re doing it all from out of state. Aaron is in Pittsburg. Ali is in Dallas by way of Georgia. I’m here, north of Houston.
We have helpers (learn more about everyone here): Devon Wills has worked on getting bags, shirts and other things printed up. Others like Lyndsey Fifield and Abby Alger will help organize in DC. In other words, it takes lots of work by lots of dedicated people to pull this off.
It’s important, too, to know that some groups have loyally supported bloggers by way of Blogbash–Freedom Works is chief among these. We are gratified to have their help again. We’ve had new supporters, too, like Heritage Foundation, Injustice the Film, etc.
This year, we’ve had groups clamoring to support the bloggers–some candidates, more industry groups. This is heartening for the conservative movement as a whole. Many industry groups have been afraid to “come out” for fear of punishment by the Obama administration.
Please go take a look at this (still incomplete) list of sponsor Blogbash.org/sponsors/.
Please make sure and thank them and remember them. Blogbash approached nearly every single group who asks bloggers to pimp their stories, candidates, ideas, etc. With sponsorships as low as $300, it didn’t take much to participate.
Finally, this year, we’re adding to the already big party atmosphere of BlogBash. Bloggers can nominate their peers.
Best Investigative Post
Best Activism Post
Best Sunlight Post
Best in Show: Podcast
Best in Show: Twitter
Best in Show: Facebook Fanpage
Best in Show: Video
Conservative bloggers are doing amazing work shining the light in dark places, causing real change. They are making a difference. Please nominate the posts, podcasts, social media stars. They will be voted on AT the party.
What started out as a friendly get together, has become that and much more–an event filled with surprise guests, renewed relationships, and rewards recognizing our peers phenomenal work.
It’s been an honor to put this together. Unlike the left, where the blogging community is almost entirely corporate, now, on the right, bloggers tend to be unpaid and independent.
Blogbash is a yearly token of appreciation for hard work and sacrificial commitment.
Ben’s Transom newsletter was particularly good today and he saved the best for last. It’s so important I’m sharing it here.
Here’s the nutshell: The Left-leaning journalism investigates the right. The Right-leaning journalism provides commentary and (and Ben doesn’t say this, but I am) when they do rarely investigate, investigates the right after being given oppo research by someone on their own side.
The right is resource-deprived and lazy with the resources they do have.
Here’s what Ben says [subscribe here]:
RISE OF THE CONSERVATIVE THUMBSUCKER CLASS:
David Freddoso isn’t wholly wrong here, but I think his career is instructive in the real failings of conservative journalists. http://vlt.tc/cu Freddoso is one of a number of solid shoe-leather investigative journalists with a conservative bent – he’s now at the Examiner as an opinion page editor. Phil Klein was the same – now he’s an opinion columnist at the Examiner. So was Tim Carney – same deal. The general trend among conservatives is to ditch the investigative thing and move into what we might call Novak-lite opinion writing; they talk to sources and cover events but rarely break news. They take the second or third bite out of something, not the first. And they generally leave it to Gawker to file the FOIA requests. http://vlt.tc/da
There’s a whole class of people in DC who live this trend, wasting writing talent on minor league punditry which ought to be applied to keeping politicians accountable and rooting out scandals on the other side. Instead of offsetting in some small way the overwhelming advantage the left has among investigative journos, the sights of these writers are nearly always trained on their own party (Carney, for example, criticizes both sides, but much of his aim is at remaking the right into a less big business friendly entity). At the same time, the big publications on the right have gravitated toward three kinds of stories: the thumb-sucking or humorous rehash of what’s in the news; the big think-piece commentary about some social or political meme; or the throw-off profile of a friendly Republican politician. The effect is that these publications have little or no impact on the left or the broader conversation – their influence is limited to the right and stays there.
This trend is a real shame, and it’s one of the reasons that story-breaking on the right about the left has been almost entirely conceded to the amateur or semi-pro class online. The biggest story of the year on the right is Solyndra – a story broken by ABC News. The second biggest story of the year on the right is Fast & Furious, which is now resulting in Congressional investigations and calls for Eric Holder’s resignation – it’s a story broken by CBS News. In a just world, these stories would’ve been broken first on the cover of a major conservative publication. But that hasn’t been true since, well, the days of David Brock.
At the Redstate confab in South Carolina (this was pre-Solyndra) I pointed out onstage that Obama’s administration had been to that point remarkably scandal free. I pointed out that scandal had followed the Chicago team for decades, and that we’d learn about the scandals eventually, but likely only after everyone was out of office. This is an indictment for every journalist on the right who has the capability to investigate but spends their time on opinion writing instead. It’s no longer debatable: Andrew Breitbart has done more for the cause of conservative investigative coverage than any of the right-leaning outlets under Obama (Schweizer works . And that’s something the DC-NY conservative professional thumb-suckers should be ashamed of.
As for Freddoso – who’s no more than an acquaintance, but again I genuinely like his work – yesterday is a bad day for him to be throwing this stone. He spent a good hour on Twitter deriding Rick Perry for calling Sam Brownback “John” at an event based on a Twitter report from a Bloomberg journo, a report which turned out to be completely false – Perry was referring to John Archer, a candidate for Congress who was in attendance at the government reform event. http://vlt.tc/cv It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that –but the point is that the Examiner doesn’t have anyone covering that event to correct him, and neither do any of the right-leaning outlets. It’s a different problem from the lack of investigative-focused stuff, but it illustrates the same truth. Writers on the right mostly don’t do journalism; they do play-by-play.
So much of the investigative work is being done by bloggers and they are under-funded and often over-worked.
One thing Ben doesn’t mention is how the right-leaning DC journos don’t want to be hated. They hang out with other journalists and want to be included. The social pressure in DC is liberal. Always.
Journalists are people (most of them). They want to be liked, included and respected. The way to be a skunk at a garden party is to criticize Democrats or investigate them.
Note also: bloggers and commentary from outside DC tends to be a lot more strident, and, I’d like to add, truthful. That social pressure isn’t there. It’s difficult to write about friends.