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Right On Line – Reviewed

8 May

Right On Line is the conference for bloggers and other new and digital media activists and journalists held more or less annually, with varying sponsorships.

I attended the 2011 one in Minneapolis, the last one Andrew Breitbart enlivened, which had been deliberately and provocatively  scheduled to occur in the same city at the same time as NetRoots Nation, the socialist conference for digital media types.  (Breitbart went over to the NetsRoot confab to conversate.) NetRoots was being held in the civic center so its speakers were cast to the surrounding hotels for shelter, and Daily Show creator Liz Winstead ended up in mine, riding the elevator with an unknown ROL spy.

This year’s Right On Line was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity at the new Marriott Marquis hotel across from the Cato Institute, which got mentioned a lot due to its proximity, although only one Cato employee (Kat Murti) was on a panel.  (Coincidentally, this new hotel is next to the D.C. government owned convention center, also new, where AFP held its annual American Dream summit a few years ago, “inciting” Occupy to block traffic outside and then storm the building, in hopes of kidnapping David Koch for ransom.)

I don’t know who used to be in charge — perhaps the Breitbart organization — but the conference used to have a bigger share of borderline hipsters and a smaller share of soccer moms and older people, either way a fascinating social amalgam.  There were a sprinkling of gay celebrities, including Breitbart London editor Milo Yiannopoulous (with his mop and pompadour bleached blond for the visit to the colonies) and newly self-outed Townhall political editor Guy Benson, dressed in as conservative and midwestern a fashion as ever, his good little boy demeanor now potentially taking on a new erotic edge for some (something he may not care for).

Most of the discussion were nuts and bolts about blogging or doing investigative journalism (like Ed Morrissy of above), or surveys of media as an industry and a political force (like Sheryl Atkinson’s keynote address).

Much of the upper level staff and directorate of AFP appeared on stage at some point.  Tim Phillips, the CEO, spoke several times.  If you’ve seen him speak once you’ve pretty much seen him I think, so it was good the others presented.  I was especially curious to see Freyda Levy speak, and she did, on the state of the liberty movement, and it was good.