Accuracy in Media

Is that an “army of Davids” I hear on the right side of the blogosphere simultaneously calling for a Republican candidate in New York to withdraw from a special election? Indeed it is.

At high noon today, a host of conservative bloggers took a coordinated stand against Dede Scozzafava, the GOP candidate in the 23rd District race to replace Republican Rep. John McHugh. Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, rejected by the GOP establishment that embraced Scozzafava, has long been the preferred candidate of conservative bloggers, but events this week spurred them to issue a mass “un-endorsement” of Scozzafava.

On Monday, Scozzfava’s husband, a local union leader in the district, called the cops on Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack because he had the gall to ask questions about issues that matter to conservatives.

Scozzafava’s campaign lied about the encounter in an attack on McCormack but was forced to issue a retraction after audio revealed the truth. The campaign also leaked e-mails to the liberal blog Talking Points Memo in an attempt to embarrass McCormack but only made itself look worse. Even liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of Daily Kos defended McCormack.

Coupled with the disgust for Scozzafava as a RINO (Republican in name only), the McCormack controversy proved to be the tipping point for conservative bloggers. They increased the volume of their individual megaphones by yelling the same thing into them at the same time: Dede Scozzafava must go!

Readers heard that same message at both major and minor blogs. “It was a semi-coordinated move in solidarity with John McCormack, although McCormack didn’t know we were doing it,” said Quin Hillyer of The Washington Times. “It was just casual through a few e-mails and word of mouth, and then it just took off.”

Jim Geraghty of National Review Online included this tongue-in-cheek comment in his un-endorsement post at The Campaign Spot: “Why, it’s almost as if the natural response to a candidate attacking one conservative journalist was to spur all of them to unite to make that candidate’s life miserable or something.”

Other blogs and bloggers who joined the campaign included:

The Washington Examiner also published an editorial today calling for Scozzafava’s withdrawal.

Whether any of it will matter remains to be seen. The blogosphere’s coordinated un-endorsement of Scozzafava arguably will have even less impact than newspaper endorsements of candidates have had for decades because most readers won’t even have a vote in the race.

But the blog campaign is further evidence of the maturation of conservative new media. Three years ago, most conservative bloggers were committed to working independently. Now they have shown they can unite in common cause, just like a militia-style army of Davids.

Perhaps more importantly in the short term, today’s effort has bolstered Scozzafava’s rival, both in terms of money and enthusiasm. “It’s beyond my expectations,” Hoffman said in response to the outpouring of Internet-driven conservative support he has received lately. “It’s like a tsunami, and at this point someone should tell Dede Scozzafava you can’t swim against it.”




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