Weigel

Netroots Nation: #shotsfired

This is the sad coda to the rather successful Netroots Nation and RightOnline conferences. There were a few nasty incidents over three days, all of them sparked by an incident on Thursday night that churned through the rumor mill. A conservative activist started heckling two Muslim women bloggers; he was cuffed, and Netroots bloggers opened fire on him. The activist threatened to call Andrew Breitbart – a weird, baseless threat, because he didn’t actually work for Breitbart. But when Breitbart briefly tried to get into the conference on Friday, he was heckled with, among other things, the accusation that he’d sicced a racist blogger on Muslims. And on Saturday liberals protested RightOnline with an extremely off-message party crash.

Pro tip: If you’re going to attract a lot of media with a stunt, bone up on the facts of the case you’re outraged about.

Anyway: This is how the ‘roots are trying to prevent more of this in 2012. Raven Brooks of Netroots Nation:

Good luck finding a venue in 2012 #ro11 folks. Two words, non-compete clause. Hugs and kisses, #nn11

Erick Erickson of RedState, who spoke at RightOnline:

I’m guessing the nutroots want to stop @rightonline to save themselves all the bad press b/c their attendees can’t control themselves

In reality, RightOnline has always been a smaller conference, and it’s benefited from the proximity of Netroots Nation, which draws in a lot of reporters who can skip a few panels on gender issues or the Roberts court to see leading Republicans roast some red meat. The relationship was largely beneficial for Netroots in the past; this was the year when they got sick of it. Given that some of the biggest “stories” out of the weekend were stunts, you can see why.