My place on the ladder of qualifications for commenting on the passing of Steve Gilliard, proprietor of The News Blog (fka Steve Gilliard’s News Blog), is just about the bottom rung. His contributions to the left/liberal/progressive blogosphere are far better accounted for elsewhere; other eulogies are more personal and hard-hitting.
But as the blogosphere mourns their loss, I have to also add my own personal note about Steve, the blogosphere, and hope that the next Steve Gilliard to come along achieves recognition beyond the online community.
Blogging has its share of detractors, but if someone asks me why I like to read blogs, I could answer with a term coined by Steve Gilliard: GOPCPA.
What do I mean? I’ll backpedal a bit to how I “met” Steve: When I was working with Allison Hantschel on Special Plans, she had selected one of Steve’s pieces for reprinting in the book. It was typical Gilliard: no punches pulled, barely-contained contempt for Douglas Feith’s entire enterprise, and particularly for Feith’s role in the AIPAC scandal. In that post, Gilliard used the acronym GOPCPA as shorthand for the Coalition Provisional Authority as put in place and directed by the GOP. It struck me, when I came across that, as one of those perfectly distilled gems you won’t find in other media; certainly no newspaper editor would let that pass. Yet there in a six-letter acronym is a summary account of Iraq under Paul Bremer--acronym as poem, acronym as punditry.
Then, when it came time to verify that my interpretation of the acronym was correct, Steve replied within minutes of my email, something close to record time for a blogger; a demographic known for its rapid response time to breaking news, but not to personal email.
Like so many bloggers, Steve had a knack for putting things simply yet forcefully and in a way that assumed sophistication in his readers.
He will be remembered as a blogger, but I will also remember him as a published author in the Informed Citizen Series, the series of books dedicated to getting the some of the best writing on the Internet into print and out to general readers. I’m very happy to have had the chance to “be his publisher,” in any context; I’m also hopeful that in the future a blogger with Steve’s talent and readership will be widely recognized not just on the Internet, but everywhere else, too.