Interview with Jane Hamsher: Blogger, Firedoglake.com

Interview with Jane Hamsher: Blogger, <i>Firedoglake.com</i>

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Mother Jones: Who’s doing a better job of using the Internet, Republicans or Democrats?

Jane Hamsher: If backing winners is your metric, [Republicans] fall far short. And they don’t raise any money. My understanding is that the Republican Party is very upset with right-wing bloggers and their inability to form communities, to raise money, to have any kind of cohesive group action. They just exist really as the toenail clippings of the mighty Wurlitzer, endlessly repeating what right-wing talk radio says. And right-wing talk radio has a much more powerful effect than they do.

The strength of the left-wing blogosphere comes from the communities that we’re able to create and those communities exist because we allow comments and we interact with our commenters. It’s very organic and bottom up. The left-wing blogosphere, because there’s no money in it, it’s essentially a meritocracy. You have a bunch of people who are very creative. The threshold for entry is very low. You have a lot of people with a lot to say. It leads to a large talent pool. Contrast that with the right, where they are basically subsidized through wingnut welfare to get online and repeat endlessly what people hear on Rush Limbaugh every day. They’re not great minds, you know? They are keeping really mediocre people as the voice of the right and it’s not inspiring anyone.

MJ: Can a Democrat win without winning over the blogosphere?

JH: The Democrats are still trying to play this Big Tent bullshit over a center that doesn’t exist. As they wake up and smell the coffee, they’ll realize they have to play to the base. The place the base goes to organize, get its opinions, is increasingly online. It may not be everyone, but it’s everyone who are the opinion makers, the people who collect at the water cooler in the office, and everyone wants to know what they’re thinking. They tend to have influence beyond what their numbers would indicate. In this next election cycle, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama probably don’t need the netroots behind them-they just need us not to hate them. Whereas we could be more helpful to the candidacy of a John Edwards or a Bill Richardson or somebody like that. But beyond 2008, they’re going to be dealing with a situation much like the Republicans are. They have a base and they have to be able to speak to them. They won’t be able to marginalize the netroots, because it’s not one blogger-its not Markos, it’s not Atrios-it’s the way the base communicates with each other.

MJ: Do you think that women are adequately represented in the blogosphere?

JH: On the whole, it is men who read blogs. But I think it’s a meritocracy. My blog has a much higher percentage of women readers than any other major blog, and I’ve never found this to be a problem for myself. If your writing is good, they will come. You have to put in the time to figure out how the blogosphere works. If you’re willing to do that, I don’t think being female is any barrier. In fact, I think it’s an advantage at this point. The A-list bloggers are hungry and looking to give exposure to women who write really well. Most of those criticisms of male A-list bloggers shutting out women-I really don’t have any other word to call it except just “bullshit.”

 

More Interviews << >> Politics 2.0 Index

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate