Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


The impact of blogs is overstated

Bull Moose has a good post up today about the blogosphere and its place in contemporary politics.


Moreover, it is a delusion to believe that the blogosphere is representative of anything but the hundreds of thousands of scribblers that join in this marvelous medium and the few millions of good folks who read it. The Moose is always struck by how few people actually read a blog or even are familiar with their existence - even those who are politically active. Of course, it is also true that a diminishing number of people by the day read mainstream newspapers and journals - not necessarily a healthy phenomena for a functionary democracy.

So, alas, it is generally a good thing that the blogosphere provides an opportunity for more and more Americans who want to get engaged and sound off. However, we should keep it in perspective. The blogosphere is generally an ideological hothouse that does not reflect the everyday thoughts of Americans. In that way, it is much like talk radio.

I generally agree with the points made in the post. It's easy for us bloggers to sometimes overstate our influence and take ourselves too seriously. Blogs are serving a good purpose as a watchdog of politicians and the media. It's important to maintain some level of humility though in the midst of fulfilling that role.

Marshall Wittmann, author of Bull Moose blog, is Sen. John McCain's former communications director.


At 11/29/2005 07:43:00 AM, Blogger Mr_Proteus said...

We should give credit where credit is due. Without blogs, I don't think the forged National Guard memo that Dan Rather presented would have been debunked as fast as it was. With only weeks before the election, that could have changed the course of history. So, yes, some blogs do serve a good purpose.

I take exception to this statement: "The blogosphere is generally an ideological hothouse that does not reflect the everyday thoughts of Americans."

Huh? What are blogs but the expressed thoughts of Americans (and people around the world)? I've read enough to know that most aren't even ideologically driven, most are just a daily journal. Additionally, some bloggers have gotten very clever and used their blogs to help police fight crime, break up gangs, find missing children, watch for terrorist activity, and so forth. You just have to look for them; they won't be broadcast into your living room every evening. I prefer it that way. If you want something, you have to go find it.

At 11/29/2005 10:08:00 AM, Blogger Scott said...

I think he was speaking to political blogs in this post and not the diaries and more non political sites. Looking around the blogosphere, it's pretty easy to see that most political blogs are pretty ideological. Though there are some centrist and even non-partisan blogs out there, the more widely visited blogs tend to be staunchly defending liberal or conservative agendas.


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