Thursday, April 01, 2004

The Horse, of course

I know a lot of people have been wondering what's going on with our old friend, Media Whores Online, the spunky Web site that for the past several years has been striking terror in the hearts of the sell-out Kewl Kids of the Beltway.

"Out to pasture"? Does that mean -- gulp -- that The Horse is no more?

People have to appreciate just what MWO accomplished in a few short years. Operated simply by a regular citizen, it became the first liberal activist Web site to attract a mass audience -- one, it must be noted, that responded to its pleas by sending out thousands of scathing (and, evidently, sometimes nasty) e-mails to various media miscreants.

MWO demonstrated the power of free speech in an open democracy, and in many ways paved the way for the development of the liberal blogosphere. I know that many of us now in the blogging biz were first able, by watching MWO, to see just how much could be accomplished by simply disseminating important information and working it out of the vast wormholes that the nation's corporate media have become.

Call it the democratization of the media, if you will; the Web has become an important way for important information to be kept alive when it might otherwise be buried. The traditional media did not like it, particularly those from the conservative realm. Tucker Carlson to this day makes rueful references to Media Whores Online.

And the big mystery, of course, was Who's really behind MWO? Because it couldn't just be an ordinary pissed-off citizen. That would cede waaaay too much power to ordinary people. The very concept blew Beltway minds like so many overinflated balloons. (Remember the limp but snide profile in Salon that attempted to answer the question, and just wound up embarrassing itself?)

In any event, MWO has been taking increasingly long vacations in the past year or so, culminating in the most recent hiatus announcement. A lot of people are wondering if we've lost the valued MWO voice for good.

I happen to have a long-running correspondence with the person primarily responsible for MWO's content, and so I wrote and inquired about what was up. The answer, to put it most simply, is that real life outside the Web intruded on MWO's online career, as it does for most of us.

Without revealing too much of what was explained to me in confidence, I think it's safe to say that MWO's editor became unable to post as often one might have liked to be effective. There is also a bandwidth issue, but putting out a tin cup is not on the agenda.

The editor explained to me that MWO hopes to return before the election, bigger and badder than ever, weighing in when it counts most. It may return as early as May ("at the rate the admin is going with their lies and corruption!").

Let's all hope so. That may be a horse of a different color, but it's the one many of us rode in on.

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