The Times keeps conservative blogs at arms length, treating them with either how-dare-you criticism, pat-on-the-head condescension or, most notoriously, accusations of CIA stoogery. But when it comes to liberal bloggers like the ones covering the Lewis Libby trial, The Times embraces them as they struggle side by side with the MSM, as shown in Scott Shane's front page story today, "For Liberal Bloggers, Libby Trial Is Fun and Fodder." (By contrast, Shane has written two condescendingpieces on conservative bloggers.)
Firedoglake is one group blog covering the trial of Libby, the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney accused of lying to prosecutors during the investigation of who leaked CIA worker Valerie Plame's name to the press.
It's a convoluted trial in which everyone, government officials and journalists alike, seems to have a faulty memory - no surprise, since it involves who may or may not have said what to whom in the summer of 2003. Tom Maguire, a must-read on all matters Plame-related who knows the ins and outs better than virtually any journalist, wonders if the Times is watching the same trial he is.
But it's not Maguire's hard work being celebrated on the front page of Thursday's New York Times, but the left-wingfiredoglake. The front page also featured a photo of co-blogger Jane Hamsher to accompany the article.
"A collective of liberal bloggers, fueled by online donations and a fanatical devotion to the intricacies of the Libby case, Firedoglake has offered intensive trial coverage, using some six contributors in rotation. They include a former prosecutor, a current defense lawyer, a Ph.D. business consultant and a movie producer, all of whom lodge at a Washington apartment rented for the duration of the trial."
"Even as they exploit the newest technologies, the Libby trial bloggers are a throwback to a journalistic style of decades ago, when many reporters made no pretense of political neutrality. Compared with the sober, neutral drudges of the establishment press, the bloggers are class clowns and crusaders, satirists and scolds."
If Hamsher's name sounds vaguely notorious, it's because while working last fall for Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont, Hamsher posted a doctored photo of Sen. Joe Lieberman in blackface. That incident merited precisely one neutral sentence near the end of the Times' story.
Firedoglake is certainlyhappy with the story.