January 29, 2007

Known Name, New Blog

Justin Katz

Providence Phoenix reporter Ian Donnis has ventured forth with a new Phoenix blog, Not for Nothing. He's been a great resource as a journalist, and I'm sure he'll continue to be so as a blogger, as well.

I can't help but note, however, this line from Ian's blog announcement:

Political activist Matt Jerzyk, a friend and occasional Phoenix contributor, has probably done more than anyone else to build the Rhode Island blogosphere.

I guess this characterization is true, inasmuch as Jerzyk is an insider bringing blogging to insiders, but then again, I've always thought that blogging is uniquely valuable mainly as a venue for the voices of outsiders. Be that as it may, I've a sense that Ian will tend toward integrity with respect to the distinction between bringing the outside in and pushing the inside out.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Actually, the whole insider/outsider distinction (with insider candidates trying to pass themselves off to the electorate as outsiders - there've been plenty from both parties in recent years) has been smudged so much that it's nearly meaningless. We all call anything we disagree with "inside."
I have my own issues with RIF, though - its sudden embrace of Mollis after he won the primary, for instance. Being liberal shouldn't mean blindly supporting Democrats.

Posted by: Rhody at January 30, 2007 11:53 AM

Justin - Inferring that I am an insider is hilarious! But I'll save that discussion for another day. My reason for writing is to say that both your blog and my blog have certainly laid the foundation for the RI political blogosphere. It just so happens that my site addresses more democratic and liberal issues - such as is our state - and thus my site has much more traffic and much more discussion. To dispute that is just to be a hater.

Posted by: Matt Jerzyk at January 30, 2007 2:58 PM

I'll give credit to Matt where it's due for at least having the initiative to keep doing what he's doing over there, even if he's almost always wrong. It's nice to see what the other side is "thinking." Matt doesn't realize that he's an insider, which is precisely why he probably is one. He's works from within the established system to preserve the "status quo" and doesn't seem all that concerned with reforming it, as it benefits him, and people like him -- the 10-15% of Rhode Islanders that belong to one of the big unions who's raison d'etre is to selfishly suck the life out of our state's taxpayers (the one's that haven't fled yet) -- not that I'm against unions or anything. As Ronald Reagan once said "the status quo" is Latin for the mess we're in!

The Anchor Rising folks, on the other hand, being from the right side of things in Rhode Island, are approaching issues from a position of far less power, and therefore, can legitimately be considered "outsiders" trying to reform the system. I suppose my friends here might also consider me to be an insider, but I'd dispute that, too.

As for Ian's throwing his hat into the blogging ring, I say good for him, though one might accurately wonder what took him so long (he's actually not a bad writer). It's got to be a step up from being in the local porn rag.

Posted by: Will at January 30, 2007 5:41 PM

I'm still on the "hater" comment. That's an especially baseless and brainless comment, Matt J. Is it possible you feel threatened by Justin and this blog?

Posted by: SusanD at January 30, 2007 8:20 PM


I would say that your unionist liberalism is part of what makes you an insider — a term that I do not mean in the dark-smoky-room sense, but in the sense that you are a professional political player. All of the Anchor Rising contributors are fellas with other jobs who address the state from the point of view of those outside of the political system.

That — to me — speaks more directly to the ethos and idea of blogging.

As for the "hater" thing: spare me. If liberals are beginning to throw that term — generally understood to denote habitual hatred of broad groups — to implicate others who may hate a given individual liberal (which I do not, by the way), then they have clearly completed the progression from idealistic sanctimony to insecure egoism.

Posted by: Justin Katz at January 30, 2007 10:08 PM
and thus my site has much more traffic and much more discussion.
From what I understand, Matt Jerzyk's site has more traffic. But the level of discussion doesn't come close to this site. RIF makes announcements, plugs like-thinkers, and shares bits of news advocating the opinions of the host, which are absolute.

One only needs to look at the length of posts to see the difference here at AR. Posts are often authors working through thoughts and developing opinions. The bloggers here welcome diverse thought and engage in intelligent debate. The "discussion" at RIF tends to be cliches, meaningless banter, and namecalling.

Both sites are interesting and worth visiting, but the differences go beyond ideology.

Posted by: crowd surfer at January 30, 2007 11:19 PM

I don't necessarily dispute the oft-repeated assertion that "RI Future is the most widely read political blog in Rhode Island," for the sole reason that there doesn't seem to be a great number of them in RI. Someone has to be #1, right? I believe that a blog such as RIF, as Matt himself stated above, would naturally be more likely to have higher traffic numbers, mainly due to the various special interests groups that use it as a bulletin board for their pet causes. I will admit to my very small part in boosting those traffic numbers, as I monitor it daily, as well as regularly post to it (of course, using a pen name).

Please keep in mind that everything we know about the traffic of said site comes directly from the person with the most incentive (financial and otherwise) to be most generous with making such boastful claims. To my knowledge, there are no counter-claimants to the "title," as well as no objective evidence that is readily accessible to anyone other than Matt, that would either support or refute his assertions regarding web traffic to RIF.

Regardless of the numbers, I think it is valuable to read, if only for the window it that it opens to us [as conservatives] into the "liberal mindset" (oxymoronic, I know). The biggest difference between AR and RIF comes down to focus: AR's "purpose" is to open otherwise closed minds by expounding idea-driven and rationally-derived conservative thought, based on an over-arching belief in the individual (not government) as the best source of solutions to societal problems -- vs. the use of blanket characterizations, broad unfounded assertions, and deliberately emotional rhetoric used mainly for the purpose of stirring up the masses to follow a certain leftist ideology. Though to avoid using a "blanket characterization," I have to say that it will not be true in every case. Liberals can be rational sometimes. :)

Posted by: Will at January 31, 2007 1:36 AM


There’s a milder connotation of the term “hater”, as an abbreviated form of the term “player hater” (or “playa’ hata’”). In this usage, the “hater” is someone who claims to disdain a “player” for principled reasons, while really motivated by jealousy of the “player’s” success at the “game” (in original usage, usually defined in terms of social interaction with the opposite sex).

However, if we extend the analogy, by suggesting that he is being “hated upon” (or is that “hated on”?), isn’t Matt implying that he feels he has successfully assumed the role of the “player”, which in a political context can be fairly translated as an “insider”?

And always remember folks, don’t hate the players; hate the game. Which is what I think that Michael Novak was trying to say at the NRI Conservative Summit when he said next time you see a secularist liberal, give him or her a big hug.

Posted by: Andrew at January 31, 2007 9:43 AM

This whole debate sounds like two cliques of middle school girls about to rumble.
They're two blogs representing two sides of the political spectrum, each with a different style. Let's accept that. We don't need to make a value judgement here (in anticipation of being told that's precisely the problem with liberals, I say, sue me).

Posted by: Rhody at January 31, 2007 11:31 AM


RE: Insider-ness

I have been fighting the "establishment" for most of my adult life (including the very dangerous activity of criticizing police corruption in Providence under the Cianci regime) and in the process have made many, many enemies within groups like the Democratic party, labor and other community activists. I think the RI Future "DINO" series is another good example.

I started the RI Future blog because liberals and progressives - contrary to what you all think - did not have a voice in Rhode Island's institutions and the RI MSM. The blog has helped address this and we have brought 8 new bloggers on board in the last year and worked with other emerging left-leaning blogs like Pat Crowley and Kmareka to grow the netroots and bring more voices into the political debate. If you honestly think that the RI Future blog speaks FOR the insider establishment in Rhode Island, then I will just laugh and carefully choose not to correct your understanding of RI political structures.

RE: hating

I felt like Justin's comment was unneccesarily aggressive. Thus, I found his senseless critique to be 'hating' on the success of the RI Future blog. BTW, I did a panel with Justin and I found his presentation on his theory of blogging and politics to be especially articulate and humble which was why this rather obtuse attack came as a surprise.

RE: RIF and AR

Al fin del dia, I check in with Anchor Rising every day because I value your contributions to the political debate in the state. You often have smart and critical analyses (that I mostly don't agree with). I applaud your blog and your ability to catalyze debate. We need even more blogs - on the left and the right! Indeed, liberals like myself live for the vitality of the marketplace of ideas.


Posted by: Matt Jerzyk at February 1, 2007 2:32 PM