I'm hear in room 401a-c of Chicago's McCormick Place Convention Center listening to a FCC Commissioner Michael Copps deliver a lecture on "A View from Washington: Winning a Better Media for Everyone" and it occurs to me that I'm by no means alone.
People -- lots of people -- want to hear Copps talk about telecommunications regulation and what they can do to help fight for a better regulatory environment. And the people aren't lobbyists for phone companies or cable companies or television networks or anything. They're ordinary citizens (relatively speaking) who've gotten interested in telecom regulation and doing public interest activism on that topic.
This is, in my view, one of the aspects of the netroots that gets most overlooked in the media coverage I tend to see. This nexus of issues is an area where until very recently the conversation was entirely dominated by interested corporations. There was no equivalent to labor unions or environmental groups to anything else in civil society to way in. And now there is! It gets much less attention than anti-war activism or sending mean emails to journalists, but these telecom and media regulation issues are a very big deal to the netroots. People didn't just show up to hear Copps speak (and he's not a very good speaker), but gave him a standing ovation when he took the podium and are laughing at his broadband policy jokes (which aren't, in my view, especially funny). And it's not just an audience of obsessives, either, of the dozen or so people I recognize here none of them are specialists in this area as such.
Apologies for the bad photo, I should really invest in a digital SLR like the guy sitting next to me has.
Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.