I enjoy Daily Kos.
I am a newbie. I got here in March last year just after the Clinton boycott so I probably have no business writing a meta diary. But the truth is that DKos has become an important part of my life. I really feel part of a community here. I care about this orange corner of cyberspace.
I came late to the blogs. I'm 57 and I'm slow about these things. I've always been a political junkie, but I relied more on C-Span, magazines, and newspapers than the Tubes. (Old habits die hard.) In Fall 2007, though, I started visiting HuffPo. Two things happened in February: One, HuffPo started heavily censoring comments and two, I realized that the best blogs I was reading were on DKos. So in early/mid-March, I began to blog here. I've been here ever since.
Lately, however, I have been bothered by what I see as a move away from the reality-based approach.
More below the crease.
Here's the problem:
- A diary declares Obama a failure after two weeks in office and goes to the top of the rec list. Mind you, the final form of the stimulus package had not been reached and remains undetermined even now.
Forget a honeymoon (or lack of) by the GOP. Apparently, many progressives have also ended their relationship with Obama after essentially a one-night stand. The reality is that Obama has already kept several of his campaign promises--the Lily Ledbetter Act, the closing of Guantanamo, the ending of torture, the ordering of a withdrawal plan for Iraq, the extension of SCHIP, and the end of medical marijuana raids. He will likely sign the largest stimulus package in history in the next week or two.
He also pledged in his campaign, over and over again, to change the tone of the discourse in Washington. Of course that won't happen overnight, but screaming that Obama should cease attempts to work with the GOP is not reality-based. Obama will always strive for more unity and bipartisanship. That goal is an essential part of Obama the man and Obama the politician. That does not mean he will cave to Republicans on every issue. That does not mean we should not push for progressive programs. It does mean he will continue to try to establish civil discourse with the GOP. That is reality.
- A diary in support of a progressive candidate for an IL House seat goes to the top of the rec list--only after the diarist changes the headline to a gratuitous, unsupported, and false attack on the President's Chief of Staff.
Forget the reality that Rahm Emmanuel will be CoS for the foreseeable future and will be Obama's point man with the Congress. He will undoubtedly merit criticism, but he will also merit praise. However, if we have so prejudged him that simply slamming his name in a diary title is enough to make the rec list, we have lost touch with reality.
- A diary tops the rec list by calling for a boycott of a national news magazine because the magazine had the audacity to quote Sean Hannity, mention Joe the Plumber, and use the word (gasp) socialism. Of course, if one actually read the article, one would discover that Hannity and JtP are not mentioned in a flattering way, and that the thrust of the piece was that it was the Republican Bush Administration that took the biggest step ever toward socialism with the Bailout.
Reality? Newsweek is fairly left-leaning publication compared to Time, US News, National Review and others. I read it all through the primary season. Sure they get caught up in MSM inanity, but they also publish some pretty good stuff at times. But to boycott Newsweek for this non-existent offense? Get real.
Folks, we need the give and take of ideas here. We need to both praise and criticize Obama. We need the tension between more "pure" progressives and more "pragmatic" ones (I do not use those terms pejoratively). But we also need to make sure our diaries and comments are accurate, sourced, and reality-based.
Stop and think before you recommend something. Read the diary and check the sources. If the diary is well-written, well-sourced, and reality-based, rec it whether it expresses your personal view or not. Then go to the comments and argue your own case. If the diary is a rant, snark, meta, or personal one that does not require sourcing, make sure it is tagged as such. Otherwise, if the diary has little or no sourcing for its claims and denies obvious realities, don't rec it, even if you agree with its position.
There are always going to be poor diaries. However, the Rec List is a reflection of our collective wisdom. Let's make sure we stay firmly grounded in reality and that we are proud of what shows up here.
UPDATE: Thanks to all for your comments and for the recs. I did correct an error in the introduction. I did not start visiting HuffPo "this past fall" but rather "in Fall 2007." Brain cramp.