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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Skippy: "3 reasons to give 3 cheers for blogtopia, and yes, we coined that phrase!"

Celebrate, darn it!

Thanks to Skippy for this reminder that we have a LOT to be thankful for - and happy about - THANKS SKIPPY!

we have noticed, as of late, a disheartening trend in various comments and blog posts around blogtopia*. several writers have seemingly fallen into the dumps because things are not progressing as progressively as progressives would like. they cite the dems' refusal to discuss impeachment, the iraq defunding which looks to be dead in the water, and the general tendency of those in charge to ignore the common citizens they are supposedly hired by to run things.

however, we here at skippy international are feeling pretty good about things, and we wish that the rest of you in blogtopia* would join us. after all, there are several major accomplishments that have come to fruition recently, all of which were done, if not completely, then certainly with major efforts, by the netroots.

to start with, blogs and bloggers really came into their own as true-to-life journalists with the libby trial. thanks to the kids at firedoglake, and to marcy wheeler (also known as "emptywheel "...and maybe some day she'll explain what the hell that screen name means), as well as swopa of medianeedle, jerlayn merritt of talkleft and margie burns for bradblog (plus others we have surely missed, and our apologies if we have), the idea of blogs as actual journalism came into existence.

where before blogs were seen mainly as an outlet for cranky powerless people to whine, suddenly it was proven that they could be used as an outlet for cranky powerless people to disseminate information on a national level at a level far deeper and wider in scope than any electronic media, and most dead trees media.

dan froomkin, and admitted fan of blogs, said on a q&a:

i think what did with this trial was not just impressive, it was transformative. by offering the public live-blogging of this very important trial, you not only put the msm to shame, but actually became a must-read for journalists who couldn't attend the trial, but wanted to get a better and faster sense of what was going on than they could from their own colleagues.

i'm not saying that the msm should emulate everything bloggers do -- far from it -- but the blogosphere's enthusiasm for this story was something to behold, and admire.

now, we here at skippy international had little to do with the libby coverage, short of a recurring photoshop, but just the very fact that several blogs made history by making journalism with this story should be an inspiration to everyone in blogtopia*.

and another recent event that bloggers can be proud of is the recent and effective backlash against annthrax coulter.

we will grant you that it wasn't just the blogs that were responsible for the dissemination of annthrax's f*ggot moment. for once, the mmm did its job and spread the word about her ill-conceived attempt at humor at the cpac convention.

but we would posit that the mmm, which took a few days before actually pouncing on the story, were spurred on by the relentless coverage annthrax got on the blogs, both the left and right.

it was, however, the lefty blogs that put together the action alerts, and the blog readers (you) were the ones that implemented them. media matters led the charge w/email addresses and other contact info of the papers that ran annthrax's column. other blogs, like the daily background, put together email cc's for quick use.

thanks to the work of those and other blogs, and of you, the people that wrote into these organs, at least 9 papers have dropped annthrax's column, and others could follow.

lastly, but not leastly (in fact perhaps mostly), the reason we can cheer is the role which blogtopia* played in the nevada state democratic party's decision to not allow fox news to broadcast the reno debate among presidential candidates. was forefront in the effort to convince the nevada state dem party, and other blogs contributed as well, but we must give mad props to matt stoller of mydd. we have not always agreed w/matt on several things, but for this we admire and salute matt's work in rallying blogtopia* to write and email and call (and fax) sen. reid and the nevada dems.

the impact of bloggers making the case of fox's severe partisanship is of paramount importance in the landscape of national media. this is perhaps the first time that it has been spoken out loud on a national stage the fact that fox news is a definitive partisanship organ, and it certainly is the first time that consequences derived there from have occurred.

of course, several other factors influenced this decision. john edwards announced he wouldn't attend the debate, and members of the nevada state dem executive board including michael zahara worked diligently from within the party to change the original decision.

but the netroots are not only a major factor in the change, but are getting all the blame now as well. this in and of itself is an interesting development. irrespective of whether or not it's true, the conventional wisdom now holds that blogtopia* is a force to be reckoned with.

and we would agree. the cumulative effect of these three instances of success shows that, as a political force, we have now had major impact on the national political and journalistic scene. this is something we can be proud of; this is something to cheer about.

granted, there's still plenty of work to to be done. the dems are turning out to only have very starchy shirts and no spines whatsoever when it comes to iraq. there is still talk of the congressional black caucus holding its debates on fox news. and, face it...there is still mountains of stupidity out there to contend with.

but there are definitely signs of progress. and we should all be incredibly proud of our work and give ourselves a collective pat on our backs. we have shown that democracy can work on a citizen level, and there is power in blogtopia*.

and *yes. we coined that phrase.

- posted by Skippy the Bush Kangaroo