The Muckraking Right, Examined
Jacob Laksin has a lengthy take-out on “the muckraking right,” the conservative bloggers and videographers who’ve been able to, occasionally, blow past the mainstream media’s narratives and win national debates on ACORN or Van Jones. One of the newer pieces of information is this interesting analysis from the former bad boys of conservative muckraking at The American Spectator, who are taken aback at the pace and tactics of Breitbart et al.
Wlady Pleszczynski, the longtime editorial director of the American Spectator*, *presided over the magazine’s hard-hitting investigative coverage of the Clinton administration in 1990s, but he sees clear differences between the Spectator’s reporting and what right-wing bloggers are doing now.
Take the magazine’s most famous series on “Troopergate,” in which reporter David Brock (now the politically converted CEO of Media Matters) got Arkansas state troopers on the record about President Clinton’s sexual indiscretions. Investigative journalism with a decidedly partisan bent, Brock’s coverage might be seen as a precursor to today’s conservative blogging, but* *Pleszczynski isn’t so sure. “Brock was a traditional reporter, albeit one with a certain point of view. He wasn’t acting as a political activist,” Pleszczynski says. “What you see today is more like guerilla theater.”
Pleszczynski is quick to note that this is not necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, he sees it as a testament to the more democratic character of the new media*. *“My sense is that the masses are now involved on a much larger scale. That’s what freedom is all about.”
Some disappointment with the institutions of the right is a small part of the rise of the new conservative media.