I was reading this critique of Eric Boehlert's new book by Anglachel, and it reminded me of something I'd thought earlier today: I can't believe that only a few bloggers have reviewed the book so far.
I mean, this is Eric Boehlert of Media Matters, author of very popular "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush". He's one of the most respected and credible voices in the blogosphere. So why the deafening silence? Yes, I know it wasn't released yet, but there are an awful lot of review copies floating around.
Perhaps it will help matters if I point out the only blog reviews to date have been written by the bloggers who protested the treatment of Hilary Clinton in last year's primary. Which raises an interesting question: Is discussing even the possibility of sexism in the liberal blogosphere the third rail? Might be.
That isn't all the book covers (the primary wars do take up two chapters). There's a lot of interesting background about other bloggers I didn't even know (for instance, who knew that Duncan "Atrios" Black once lived in Australia?). Boehlert wants readers to get some sense of bloggers - who they are, what drove them to blogging. It's really a good read.
But the book does have a few flaws. Boehlert takes great pains to list the charges of sexism in the primary without really investigating them; for instance, I can't imagine why he let it pass when a male blogger claims there was no sexism on his site because he didn't allow his commenters to call Clinton a "cunt" or a "bitch." (Because, of course, we all know there's simply no other language that could possibly demean women.)
To illustrate the debate, he gingerly uses a technique that liberal bloggers deride regularly: "He said, she said." (Literally.) I think the book would have been a lot stronger if he'd verified or refuted what male bloggers claimed about their allegedly sexism-free sites. (Because when I was interviewed for the book, I know I was asked for specific examples. I supplied them.)
And the "it's okay to be sexist because they're racists!" debate is also missing in action.
But I don't mean to make it sound like this book is just a replay of that dark time. There's much, much more (the subtitle of the book is "How The Internet Changed Politics and the Press"), and it's all great fun to read, especially when you already know so many of the players. (I especially liked the chapter on Glenn Greenwald and FISA. )
Anyone who reads liberal blogs and/or is interested in how the media works should enjoy it tremendously.