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The Media Government The Internet United States Politics

The Year of the Political Blogger 67

The New York Times is running a story about how political blogging has arrived as a widely-accepted form of reporting during this election year. In addition to the nationwide TV and radio audiences, the candidates are making efforts to get their message onto the increasingly popular blog network. In doing so, they've elevated bloggers to the level of traditional media reporters at the national conventions. "The major political parties first gave credentials to bloggers in 2004. The Republicans allowed a dozen bloggers to attend their convention in New York, while the Democrats gave bloggers 35 seats in the nosebleed section of the Fleet Center in Boston. This year, the R.N.C. gave credentials to 200 bloggers as a means to 'get Senator McCain's message out to more people,' said Joanna Burgos, the press secretary of the convention. For bloggers attending the Democratic convention at the Pepsi Center in Denver, two types of credentials are offered. The first is a national credential, which offers the same access granted to members of traditional news media organizations. The second, more coveted credential is the state blogger credential. It allows one blogger per state to cover the convention alongside its state delegation, with unlimited floor access." Of course, political blogs are abuzz today with the news of Obama's selection of Senator Joe Biden as a running mate.
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The Year of the Political Blogger

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  • Riiiiight (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BitterOldGUy ( 1330491 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @01:30PM (#24719731)

    For Ms. Spaulding, 45, who works full time as an IT manager at Duke University Press in Durham, N.C., blogging is her passion, an unpaid hobby she pursues at nights and on weekends.

    Riiiiight, nights and weekends. Never on the job.

    • Re:Riiiiight (Score:5, Informative)

      by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @02:03PM (#24719957) Homepage

      You always have to remember there are many jobs where professionals are paid to fulfil the role not punch a time clock. Their success in the job is not measured by attendance, or the number of work related key presses per hour but by the role being fulfilled. Very good admins end up spending very little time administering the network because it runs properly, poor admins run poorly configured and maintained systems, hence they are continually busy trying to keep it running and fixing one disaster after another.

      The bloggers role in modern political reporting is a very sad indictment of the corrupt state of mass media news reporting or as is closer to reality the fabrication of the news. Examples like this [] which are used manipulate the political discourse are the reason that bloggers are coming to the fire as more independent sources of information or why major mass media news outlets are being viewed as just another blog.

      • The bloggers role in modern political reporting is ...

        I'd be genuinely impressed if bloggers of any sort were able to do anything more than, infrequent or isolated examples notwithstanding, offer commentary derived from traditional media coverage, or the contents of other blogs. That's a roundabout way of saying that bloggers don't do reporting. In fact, given cut backs or elimination of network news departments in recent years, I'd say the only folks doing real reporting are those working for newspapers.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          In the 21st century, you'd go hunting for some dead tree? I do read the news from mass media outlets but, it all comes off the web and, I read more than one countries version of it. Now that really does show up the local/business/political biases on just about every news story and it does make the news appear more like a story rather than anything based in reality.

          More than anything else, it also highlights the advertising as news stories and, the endless 'celebrity' drivel. I could not imagine dealing w

      • Amen to that.

        I'm in the process of clean up the mess the guy I replaced made. The set of servers I setup never have a problem, but the ones I'm replacing always do.
  • by nurhussein ( 864532 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @01:32PM (#24719739) Homepage
    This [] prescient Slashdotter predicted it all the way back in February 2007 []! Slashdot confirms it, Whiney Mac Fanboys can predict the future.
    • That's funny. Even more funny are the several comments that follow telling why Biden would be an idiotic choice for VP. I wonder if those same people suddenly changed their minds today? Gotta show your solidarity!

    • Darn! I'll never be first [] at anything :-(

  • by taxman_10m ( 41083 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @01:44PM (#24719827)

    I run the right wing political blog in Massachusetts and did not get credentials from the RNC. It is a community blog and so perhaps the RNC didn't like that a portion of the community doesn't like John McCain. But I filled out the form to be credentialed. All the RNC did was put me on their crummy email list so I get convention related spam.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > I run the right wing political blog in Massachusetts

      You're from too liberal a state. They only care about supporters in swing states and by the time Massachusetts goes red, they'll already have a landslide.

      In other words, they only care about what they can get out of you. But hey! I bet you could get some schwag by signing up for their program that rewards you for posting blog entries & whatnot!

  • Blogs (I still hate that word) really should have different levels somehow. Initially, blogs were just people spouting off their opinions, for the most part without having any first hand investigative knowledge or direct contact.

    This will let the people who write about this stuff actually ATTEND the meetings they are giving their opinions about.

    But I'd still say the overall trend of blogging is a negative one for journalism and disseminating quality information. At least from my experience, unless
    • by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @02:09PM (#24720009) Journal

      At least from my experience, unless provided by a major news provider, blogs tend to be a means for someone to advance their opinion,

      And this differs from the other media in what way, exactly?

      We had a brief period in history where journalists pretended to be objective. Before the mid 20th century, they were very upfront about their political motives, and I hope that we can drop the pretense altogether in the near future.


      • by religious freak ( 1005821 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @02:23PM (#24720085)
        I vehemently disagree. No one denies having an opinion, but one can certainly relate the events that are happening without interjecting your opinion into the mix.

        I would prefer to see the future not look like Fox news.
        • by jellie ( 949898 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @04:07PM (#24721013)

          I agree with you that the media (with the obvious exception of Fox News) tries to be unbiased in its reporting, and I applaud them for doing so. But sometimes their attempts to be balanced actually causes their story to be unbalanced. For example, does every story about teaching creationism or "intelligent design" in school really need to have quotes by the Discovery Institute or some other creationist? Why even give them any publicity or credibility?

          In my opinion, one of the reasons why The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report are so popular is their ability to make fun of a story, often at the expense of impartiality. The Georgia-Russia conflict led the media to bring up the "3 AM phone call" ad with respect to a certain candidate's qualifications; Stewart, on the other hand, showed the clips of the media to point out how ridiculous the argument is.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by extrasolar ( 28341 )

          Yet, wouldn't it happen that you point out Fox news because you disagree with their take on the issues?

          I'm looking for a conservative to complain about Fox News, and a liberal to complain about Micheal Moore. Until there are, in fact, many of these kinds of people, I'll always be skeptical about the advocacy for objectivity.

          • by religious freak ( 1005821 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @04:54PM (#24721431)
            No, I don't always disagree with the opinions of fox news (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't), I disagree with the way they represent themselves as dispensing "news" while interjecting their own opinions into the mix. News is great, commentary is great, but the two should rarely if ever, be confused for each other.

            For a great way to dispense news, see The News Hour with Jim Lehrer or CSPAN.

            Network news is so-so at best - they use way too many superlatives for my taste. How can this be "the worst economy" or "the most difficult time for working families"? It's not quite as bad as Fox news announcing "another liberal agenda", but it's still annoying.
            • by jnnnnn ( 1079877 )

              I disagree. There will always be biased reporting.

              The much safer option is to ensure that the population is capable of critical thinking and will recognise shoddy reporting.

              There are two ways to ensure this: education (english class) and parody/watchdogs.

          • by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @06:26PM (#24722149) Journal

            I'm looking for a conservative to complain about Fox News, and a liberal to complain about Micheal Moore.

            I'm a hard-line Libertarian, and I'll complain about them both. Not for their bias, but for their pretense at objectivity.


          • I'm Progressive as all hell, and I usually don't agree with Micheal Moore. He tends to go on the extreme about things, and doesn't show any counter-points to his documentaries. I do think he's more good than bad, though.

            I dislike Fox News both for the fact that it is right-leaning to the point of being radical, but I dislike it MORE because it claims to be the most balanced network on the air. If it described itself as "your neo-conservative news network", I don't think i'd be upset.

            • The way I see it, Fox News is fair and balanced, for it's intended audience. Fair and balanced can only meaningfully be identified as that bias which is invisible to you.

              But yeah, Micheal Moore is definitely someone who really disturbs me, and when liberals praise this guy I have a hard time taking liberals seriously. At some point liberals need to just speak out on this guy and call him a dumb ass.

              It's not what you believe but how you believe it—the problem of religion.

            • He tends to go on the extreme about things, and doesn't show any counter-points to his documentaries.

              Interesting. Are you also angry that on physics specials on Nova that they don't give counter-points from flat Earthers? How about counter-points from KKK members conflicted of murder on civil rights specials?

              Balance without regard to the facts is just another form of bullshit. And on the facts, the Bush Administrations invasion of Iraq and our health care system are completely indefensible. And if you a

          • Problematically, the comparison between 'liberal' and 'conservative' is a false dichotomy anyway.

            This is because the terms don't have any specific meaning, and are just flung onto people as some sort of arbitrary separation or disparaging remark (Oh, he's a liberal and you know what that means.)
            Even within the ambiguity of the terms, people like Michael Moore wouldn't be well classified into them. 'Liberal' simply doesn't describe anything notable about him as compared to 'Bush hating' and 'anti-corpo
          • Yet, wouldn't it happen that you point out Fox news because you disagree with their take on the issues?

            Don't be obtuse. If it were Fox Opinion, they wouldn't get as much flack. But since they present their partisan hackery as News, they're engaging in false advertising. That and being sloppy as a matter of course.

            I'm looking for a conservative to complain about Fox News, and a liberal to complain about Micheal Moore.

            Ah, a lover of false equivalency. Moore backs up his viewpoints with copious amounts of

        • by jcr ( 53032 )

          I vehemently disagree.

          Tell it to Dan Rather.


    • At least from my experience, unless provided by a major news provider, blogs tend to be a means for someone to advance their opinion, as opposed to report the news (though they may call it reporting).

      There's a problem when the sponsors decide what's "news" and what isn't. Sure there's plenty of chaff from the bloogers, but it's the only thing that will get those with the resources to report a bit more truthfully. Note how those in mass media reacted in the past, with calls for control of the bloggers. It's

  • In the US maybe. Political bloggers have gotten very far in other parts of the world for a while already... (Just off the top of my head []
  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @02:25PM (#24720105) Journal
    I'd say the majority of blogs are just repeating the talking points they pick up on from the established political parties. It gives the illusion of participation in the political process, but really its just an exercise in thought conditioning.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Deadstick ( 535032 )
      I'd say the majority of blogs are just repeating the talking points they pick up on from the established political parties.

      ...or just operated by parties or other interests to begin with. Screw the middleman.


    • I'd say the majority of blogs are just repeating the talking points they pick up on from the established political parties. It gives the illusion of participation in the political process, but really its just an exercise in thought conditioning.

      Yeah but they don't just repeat, many re-interpret or cut through the spin. What's important is that there is actual discussion about the news stories, both content and technical. It also brings us to a wider range of mainstream outlets when we find one blog referencing al-Jazeera and another blog with, say, Russian news. It also allows us to see just how many people feel disenfranchised or disappointed with the system, and allows a much broader spectrum of views, working against the myth of a polarized

      • No, its usually repetition. Like "today on meet the press Mr X said A, B, and c which is stupid because of poltical party talking points Q and F". They really don't care to understand why Mr X said what he said they just try to stuff his words into the talking points they feel comfortable with.

        I don't think it brings anything of any value to the table. Your example of the 9/11 "truth" movement just drives the point home. A crazy group of people committed to avoid any information that makes them think.
    • The Republicans, at least, are using the blogs as an opportunity to spread their neoconservatism farther than Rush Limbaugh could ever dream of doing with radio.

  • Or am I wrong, and is this posting not a lame excuse to get the Obama/Biden ticket on the frontpage of slashdot ? News for nerds.

    • I think you're confusing political news for political opinion. This is an opinion piece about Political Bloggers in general (and in specific, about the most recent event to occur among them, that being Obama's selection of Biden.) Also, it's relevant to the conventions (and again, the selection of potential Veeps such as Biden).

      Don't read too much into it. Obama/Biden was going to make the front page today SOMEHOW.

  • "blogs" are little more than a genuine free application of the press. They aren't (typically) paid for what they write, yet they get "published" anyway, and the better the reporting, the more readership. Because of the open nature, you don't have to wait a couple days for your rebuttal comment (aka letter to the editor) to show up. There will always be "professional" journalists, but I suspect that at some point along the line, blogs will force those people to adapt, and acknowledge their biases and opin

  • Ombama/Biden, McCain/?

    The Olympics got nothing on the U.S. Presidential Campaign!

    The fun is about to really begin.

  • sorry fellow Slashdotters - I can't take it anymore, only the media is getting excited about this - Personally I'd much rather read about solid state disk drives or naked women than who Obama is texting today or how many geritol pills McCain had last week....

  • Sorry, man. Somebody had to say it

    • You should make that a bumper sticker. I guarantee you'll have buyers.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by iminplaya ( 723125 )

        You're probably right. It's there for anybody. The quick reaction from the moderators makes me awful proud. If you ever see one, post a picture, ok?

        Damn! I sure wish moderation went to +/-1000. I would love to see how many dweebs are trying to mod it down more. They're probably slamming on that moderate button like the "close door" button in the elevator. Whack away fellas. Hee hee hee. No sense of humor whatsoever. What a bunch of dopes...Pusillanimous Pinheads...Presumptuous Popinjays...Sanctimonious Scat

    • That was my first thought, too, when I saw Obama / Biden on paper - but I didn't have the stamia to parse it out in print, as you have. I must admit, written it DOES have quite a punch!

      Well. Great minds DO think alike... and our do too.

  • I didn't know Ric Romero was writing for the New York Times now?
  • Irrelevant (Score:3, Interesting)

    by afabbro ( 33948 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @05:46PM (#24721827) Homepage

    That's nice, but blogs are irrelevant to the election. Completely.

    If you don't believe me, just ask yourself - when was the last time you changed your opinion or plans on who'd you vote for based upon something you read in a blog?

    Blogs are just poor man's talk radio. People who listen to Air America are closed-minded liberals, just as people who listen to Michael Savage or Rush Limbaugh are closed-minded conservatives. They tune in to have their views reinforced, not to challenge their thinking. Same thing for blogs.

    Influence presidential politics? Forget it. I'd wager less than 1% of Americans even read blogs, much less political blogs, and they tend to be the digerati, concentrated in blue states where the state's electoral votes are already pretty obviously going one way...

    Hey, nothing wrong with 'em, of course - talk all you want! But if you want to influence politics (local or national), the best way is to first become a multimillionaire and then start giving money. Sorry, I misspoke - it's the only way.

  • Of course the political parties want to accredit bloggers. Most bloggers have an agenda. A blogger who wants to go to a party convention almost certainly supports that party, so they're a good person to let in.

    Trouble is, bloggers aren't journalists, and real journalists do themselves a disservice by having anything to do with them. When was the last time you heard of a blogger getting independent corroboration of a story before running it? How many would go to jail to protect a source? How many know the d
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Fyzzler ( 1058716 )
      Where can one find one of your mythical journalists with integrity, ethics and that does accurate background checks and fact finding without political bias?

      I think they stopped teaching and believing that stuff in the late 70's, early 80's. Walter Cronkite was the last of the old school network journalists.

      The new breed journalists care much more about how well their hair and makeup look on tv and how much salary and air time they can soak up, while reading Edutainment and Factoids off a teleprompter
    • A lot of bloggers are professionals...that is, they're published on sites owned by traditional media companies, submit their work to editors, etc. I'm not saying anything about journalistic integrity, because honestly I think it's sort of a stretch to imply that print media is more credible. Maybe it was at one point but, well, I'm not going to go there. My point is, a lot of the bloggers getting these press passes are the guys who work from an office and have book deals coming.
  • Hi, Blogs, blogs, blogs... Terminally boring and pointless... I defy anyone to sit and read any more that the introductory sentance of ANY of this type of online drivel and remain conscious! :-) After the pet rock, I think the 'blog' deserves the title of the most pointless invention of the last 500 years! Mike.
  • Wasn't there a small incident within a couple of years ago, when bloggers were given a "sort-of" pass and were essentially treated as second-class journalists (You may only come up to this line, unless you shelled out for the full press pass)?

    Probably information poisoning from digg, but given how some journalists and politicians view bloggers...

  • All I can find is batshit insane ones that are so far to the Left or the Right I need a decoder ring and a specially programmed ENIGMA machine just to figure out what's being said. They make LOLCats read like Plato.

    I think the problem is that people who are moderate, or simply don't suffer from the mental illness that is a political ideology, aren't driven to blog about it.

    I especially love skeptic blogs. They can be so clear on science versus religion and woo woo issues, but when they turn to politics, you

  • For Ms. Spaulding, 45, who works full time as an IT manager at Duke University Press in Durham, N.C., blogging is her passion, an unpaid hobby she pursues at nights and on weekends.

    BORING! let's hear about the IT manager who spends her nights and weekends as a high paid escort.

    Feh! Politics. It's all just insane people, debilitated by various memes, playing with their mental blocks.

  • I think people forget how political blogs first made their impact in the 2004 election.

    It was a number of conservative blogs that got out information about the Swiftboat Vets for Truth, and these same blogs closely monitored the conservative message board site Free Republic, picked up the message suggesting that Texas Air National Guard memos were fake, did their own research, and within 24 hours effectively proved the memos were fakes. This episode doomed Senator Kerry's Presidential campaign and effective

  • I'll snooze in Denver either way.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM