Brady Averill of the PiPress looks ahead to blogs' potential impact on the '06 campaign.
She misses the most important point of all.
Averill kicks off with an ironic aside:
"There are some right-wing blogs that even if you tried to have a conversation with them, it's essentially a bunch of frat guys having a party and doing a beer dance,'' said Michael McIntee, producer for the Inside Minnesota Politics blog and podcast. "And that's not useful; it's pretty much making noise."This from Mike McIntee, who launched a specious attempt at a lawsuit to try to flip the identity of Minnesota Democrats Exposed. Just saying, Brady, that you could pick slightly more-credible sources on the subject.
But I digress. Mr. Averill hits the MSM anti-blog talking point, citing Larry Jacobs, who must have a full-time gig answering media questions; he seems to be the only person on any local reporter's rolodex...:
People who possess strong political beliefs are able to read "almost exclusively from information sources that support their already existing views," said Larry Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study for Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs....which is the usual snif that you get from academics and the MSM - and as usual, misses the point.
Partisan blogs might help people on the fence decide whom to vote for, said Nora Paul, director of the Institute for New Media Studies at the University of Minnesota. But they're not about to change minds, especially when the readers go to blogs with similar views.
Blogs may not change anyone's mind (or they may; I've had my mind changed on at least one issue by bloggers); it's irrelevant. Where blogs excel - and where they'll matter in the '06 campaign - is at informing, empowering and mobilizing. Blogs pass on information that the even talkradio, much less the MSM, won't touch; they empower the citizen to own the issues; they are a direct conduit to activate the people that the larger "elite" media don't bother with.
Blogs may not change any minds - but they will catalyze energy.
Rex Sorgatz, creator of the mnspeak.com online forum, said a significant number of the political blogs listed on his Web site are "intrinsically partisan." He said he doesn't have anything against those blogs, but he's "not sure those kinds of blogs are going to change anything in the world."Powerline, Charles Johnson and the Free Republic - as partisan as one gets - brought down Dan Rather.
Kos notched Trent Lott.
Captain Ed will have played a role in bringing down Canada's liberal government.
Ukranian bloggers - many of them partisan - played a pivotal part in the Orange Revolution.
Rex Sorgatz may not change the world, but he's hardly the final word.
And did you think we could get through an article about blogs without the traditional grump about "no editors?" Hah!
Along with partisanship, credibility is another problem for blogs.The popularity of blogs is a symptom of the peoples' growing distrust of the "gatekeepers", and perhaps of the diminishing need for them.
There's nothing in the First Amendment about the need for an editor. Bloggers can write anything they want; they can spout fact or fiction.
Jacobs advises readers to beware: "There's no gatekeeping here."
Big question: who picks sources for these articles, anyway? Gary Miller of KVM got a quote, but beyond that - Jim McIntee of the ethically-dubious Inside Minnesota Politics, which gets around 30 visits a day, and even at the height of its' suit-crazy peak was averaging 60 a day? MN Republican Watch, with all of 13 incoming links and a backlog of niggling inside-politics gossip to tittler about? No, there's nothing wrong with low-to-mid-traffic blogs; many of my favorite blogs clock 100-300 visits a day - but does Mr. Averill expect to get sweeping insight into the world of blogs from what looks like a random collection of obscure writers (says Mitch, noting that he is himself an obscure writer)? To say nothing of Larry Jacobs, who is about as credible on blogs as I am on cooking?
Sort of like asking "Pulse" magazine for a sweeping insight about the Chicago Tribune, isn't it?
Ms. Averill: Hang in there.Posted by Mitch at December 27, 2005 04:39 PM | TrackBack