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First Impressions of meeting with the President.

President George W. Bush meeting with military bloggers in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, Friday, Sept. 14, 2007. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

President George W. Bush meeting with military bloggers in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, Friday, Sept. 14, 2007. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

The sit down with President Bush was, I've got to note - fun.

It was serious. He talked to us, and with us, not at us. And, unusual for the personality types that populate the blogging world - we listened. We got in our questions, and I think they were good ones, and the President made his points, which were a mixture of the thrust of his message this week and new (to me, anyway) stuff in response to our questions.

Make no mistake - he knew we were going to generally be a receptive audience, and we were. The staff knew our blogs, and they knew that while some of us have not always been fans or happy with things as they are, they knew we were not going to storm the Bastille, either.

I had a list of questions, most of which ended up being asked by others. So, as the other bloggers put up their posts, I'll link to them, so you can both see what I was interested in, but let the relevant blogger run with the question and the answer. And I'll put up a post about my question and his answer.

The President acknowledged, so to speak, the rise of the blogosphere - which he seems to see as complementary to the MSM, a view to which I subscribe, as well. We're another vector that people can use to disseminate or gather information - whether the MSM is gate-guarding it because of their biases, or simple economics. There are only so many air minutes, so many column inches, and the MSM is a business. They have to make editorial decisions.

If anything, the blogs hearken back, really, to an earlier time in the growth of the Republic.

We're the "broadsides" of this era. As Larry Schwiekart and Michael Allen describe them in their book, A Patriot's History of the United States (page 42):

"...Americans' literacy was widespread, but it was not deep or profound. Most folks read a little and not much more. In response, a new form of publishing arose to meet the demands of this vast, but minimally literate, populace: the newspaper. Early newspapers came in the form of broadsides, usually distributed and posted in the lobby of an inn or saloon where one of the more literate colonials would proceed to read a story aloud for the dining or drinking clientele. Others would chime in with editorial comments during the reading, making for a truly democratic and interactive forum."

That covers blogs pretty well, I think. Though there are some pretty deep and profound ones, and there are ones which are growing into news outlets that have many trappings of the MSM, as well. With their strengths and weaknesses.

And today, the President just gave blogs some props.

And while the venue may have held milblogs - it's props for all bloggers who take their vocation or avocation seriously - and I think that's true for blogs of the Left, Middle, and the Right, the Poliblogs and the Milblogs, and the harder-to-characterize blogs as well.

And that's a good thing - because I think that our greatest strength and contribution is: "Others would chime in with editorial comments during the reading, making for a truly democratic and interactive forum."

Sure, there's trolls and scary places and people who don't know argument from excrement - but if you have something to say, and create the environment, you can open a pub like Castle Argghhh! where others chime in, you can learn something, and even though you're #1 in Google for "I bayoneted myself today" and you have an Outhouse Naming Contest, in America, you can still get invited to the White House to talk to the President.

And that's just cool.

And Barney is one *fine* looking Scotty.

And this is where I say that I wouldn't have been sitting at that table today if it hadn't been for Dusty, Bill, and the Denizen/nes of Argghhh! - because you guys make this worth doing for four years.

Thank you all, very, very, much.

There's some other people I owe, as well, but I know they prefer to remain anonymous. Thank you, too. You know who you are.


27 Comments

I am so happy for you & the group. Maybe all this blogging doesn't fall on deaf ears. Maybe even Barney is reading blogs. Hooah! John and the rest of the gang - I'm proud to know all of you & be part of our Milblog family. I may be the strange Aunt from time to time - but we sure are pioneers! Keep blogging and stay away from sharp objects!
 
Over here in the UK we had a similar comment about the beauty and effect of blogs: "In a dizzying, energising and raucous return to the pamphleteering days of the 18th and 19th centuries, the people have, through the worldwide web and easy-to-use publishing software, been given a voice. They will not easily be silenced." (The 'Scotsman') Well done all. In such a target rich environment as the left side of the political sphere, let us continue the mission - educate, inform and if we can annoy the "DailyKos/UK Guardian" nutters at the same time let it be thus!
 
Yes! I've always thought of blogging as being the "pamphleteers" of our days. I can't wait to hear what your questions were and the answers.
 
I don't have the right words. But I'm still in shock and still very, very proud to know you, John (and the others, too). Just think what wouldn't have happened if you'd quit all the times you thought of it... ;) So proud of you and all you've done, John.
 
It's true that the key to the Castle is the quality and variety of blogging and discussions, so we all contributed. But your rulez have kept this place from winging off to the radical edges, and without your heart, John, the Castle would not be the place it is. Very proud to be a tiny part :-)
 
And yet you taunt me with Barney. You fiend... You will pay, Donovan. Oh yes, you will pay.
 
Oh please, don't tell me you embarrassed us by getting down on the floor to play with the dog. And did the President call you Big Tribble with Legs? (aaaiiiieeeee, the Big Boot, it burns usssss).
 
Why do two people at the table appear to have something white over their faces. The possible covers would seem to be (1) whipped cream from getting "pied", (2) paper towels from the White House crapper, (3) Phantom of the Opera masks. Do tell. Thanks
 
Why do two people at the table appear to have something white over their faces? The possible covers would seem to be: (1) whipped cream from getting "pied", possibly (2) paper towels from the White House crapper, or (3) Phantom of the Opera masks. Do tell. Thanks...... Terry
 
That was terrific. I have had online access for about 9 years now, and have learned so much more in the process than I would have had I kept my satellite/cable account. Totally way kewl.
 
#1 in Google for "I bayoneted myself today" and you have an Outhouse Naming Contest, in America, you can still get invited to the White House to talk to the President. That was pretty funny.
 
The deceiver in chief invites his sycophants into the throne room.
 
Ahh...but what a great way to suck up. Mark is just jealous he'll never get invited to the big white house on pennsylvania ave. His sycophant tendencies will be forever in a closet in Irvine. where everything in Irvine belongs as far as I can tell.
 
Mark - I even managed to drop in the conversation with the President that I was *not* a fan of the invasion of Iraq. Yet no Secret Service guy stepped up to cap me, amazing! Nor was I led away in chains, even. Terry - the crude "pied face" is because I don't have photoshop on my laptop, and those two people have requested that their faces not be posted on the 'net. Same reason we're all smiley-faced in the post above. As for what passed between Barney and me, well, those who know, know. And those who don't...
 
Don't mind bark.... err... Mark. He was bottle fed as an infant :p The psychic scars can linger well into adulthood.
 
Congrats, John, that's really terrific. Something that you'll never forget and something very much deserved. And let me second Cassandra re: Mark.. His "style" is passive/aggressive whiny sophomore girl with a little stalker thrown in. The boy ain't right.
 
Let me suggest that this is part of a deliberate and very smart campaign to give props and prominence to the growing new comm channels to counterbalance the frequently malign influence of the fading "broadcast" gatekept ones we grew up with (us old folks, i.e.) So expect more acks and interaction, probably some scoops and "heads up" contacts that you're not used to having.
 
Brian - what you said is already happening, and I've already used yesterday's meeting to get on to two mailing lists I was refused before. The question is - if the Roosevelt Room changes over from Teddy to Franklin 18 months from now... while I don't expect the same level of personal access, will we be given the same level of staff access? I hope so, at least in terms of general info we're now getting that we didn't get before.
 
Your report and those of your fellow guests of the Leader of the Free World are making my day. What a trip! Question: Will you be blogging about how it all came about? I'm wicked curious. Keep up the totally awesome work. :-)
 
Mark is just jealous he'll never get invited to the big white house on pennsylvania ave. His sycophant tendencies will be forever in a closet in Irvine. where everything in Irvine belongs as far as I can tell.
I have the personal letter to me from President-elect John F. Kennedy [this is the God's-honest truth], so I'm not jealous of invitations to the White House ("envy" would be the better term, but I'm not envious either). People who know me (or who stalk me) know I'm not a sycophant. In addition to being one hell of a terrific writer, Cassandra is obviously a seer, because in our many intimate on-line conversations, I NEVER revealed my lingering ambivalence concerning the bottle and the breast. Carrie is still bearing a torch, er ... grudge over her embarrassing vulgar public outburst on V.C. in response to one of my postings, and John of Argghhh is "da man" because he spoke truth ("I was *not* a fan of the invasion of Iraq") to "power" without fear. p.s. If you knew Irvine, you WOULD be jealous (envious). Have a good day, y'all.
 
And I've got a personal letter from Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, so I'm not a bit jealous of John, et al. Umm... Yeah... I'll keep trying to tell myself that. *rolling eyes* John, I'm still trying to absorb the "coolness" aspects and implications of that meeting. Just amazing. I may expire of jealousy. :P
 
A piece of advice for you, Mark: I doubt you could choose a worse place to come and try to continue your interactions with Cassandra than this one.
 
What a GREAT story to tell the grandkids... Blogs are the new wave ham radios. You guys do good work.
 
**The deceiver in chief invites his sycophants into the throne room.** Mark - What exactly is the point of this comment? Does it move debate/discussion forward? I don't see how. You want people to believe that you are not envious, but what else are people to believe? The comment screams sour grapes. Although I don't believe it's the visit to the White House that you covet. I think it is the fact that John has a group that is enjoying this with him. I think it is the Castle you are envious of. I am unfamiliar with any discourse you have had with Cassandra, Carrie or John at VC and you don't ring a bell here. Therefore, I can only draw (or jump to) my conclusions from what I am reading in this particular post. This post isn't particularly political, it's more about celebrating good news with a friend. You seem very petty indeed coming into the Armorer's place and ridiculing this moment. John is apparently in such a good mood that he is allowing you to break the Rulez. You comment - IMO - should have been deleted. As for the actual comment as opposed to the motivation for posting it......the whole idea that Bush "deceived" or "tricked" or "lied" us into Iraq is simplistic and speaks to a low intellect and poor reading comprehension skills. Further, anyone who could refer to John or Matt or Steve or Mrs. G (they are the ones I've met) as "sychophants"...........well, it's just so silly that from here on in I can't take anything you say as anything other than nonsense.
 
Cool. How do I get an invite? :-)
 
Maggie: That's just Mark's style. He shows up, drops an extremely insulting comment into the well, then acts like he's been scalded when people react predictably (Dude.. you mean sycophant is not a compliment?). But then unlike libs, who are invariably peaceful and non-aggressive, rethugs are nasty, mean-spirited poopy heads. What is the world coming to? It's getting to where one can't even vilify them with impunity anymore.
 
This is nice.