Monday, May 15, 2006

Blogs: The new democratic medium

Sometimes after church on Sunday I will watch Meet the Press to see what the press, the pundits, and the politicians are saying at the end of a given week. This week, Tim Russert's guest was John McCain, and among the questions Tim Russert asked McCain was whether or not "partisan rhetoric" needed to be "toned down" and this was how he began that question:

"Does some of the partisan rhetoric need to be toned down, do the blogs need to be toned down...?"

Blogging has become such an important medium that it warrants mention on Meet the Press as one of the many things that the political soft-types in this country think needs to be "toned down."

What bloggers and blogs (on both sides of the spectrum) are doing is to democratize the media and the press, putting news gathering, reporting, and commentary in the hands of the people themselves, and as we have seen in the Tennessee blogosphere, in the hands of those making the news.

Do weblogs have spin? Of course, many of us do have our own views and our blogs reflect that. If you read a variety of blogs (not just those that agree with you) you can get a variety of takes on the news. Weblogs give the news back to the people to give us a more populist view of news, and even to make news with their blogs. As computers in America become more affordable, and more people who don't have computers in their homes gain internet access through schools, libraries, and public terminals, more Americans won't just read blogs, they'll create more of them as well.

The mainstream media doesn't like competition, and I suspect the arrival of the blog as a media form is just an itch they don't know how to scratch.


At Monday, May 15, 2006 7:55:00 PM, Blogger Steve Mule said...

We have have to be careful here. While I agree with you in substance we have to take notice that there are BLOGS (KOS, Instapundit and so on) and then there are blogs (like yours and mine and 99% of all the others). Blogs can write about anything and say anything and while that is good and well, FEW will have any importance or signifigance at all.


At Tuesday, May 16, 2006 1:45:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Actually, mine has become very widely-read, especially compared to what its readership was when I began it a year-and-a half ago.

This is largely due to the fact that I keep it updated daily with relevant commentary, information, and news. Occasionally, I will talk about personal things, but I try to make all of that relevant to my readers also.

I think one of the keys to having your blog be something credible is to be out there in the community being active as best you are physically able. Doing things like being on the radio is a large part of that, as well as being politically active (as opposed to just talking), and just spreading the word around the blogging community that you are out there.

Above all, I think keeping your blog updated REGULARLY is the most important thing you can do to increase readership and credibility.

At Tuesday, May 16, 2006 7:08:00 PM, Blogger Steve Mule said...

First off, your point about reguarly updating your blog is well taken. I'm clearly not doing that as often as I should.
Secondly, I should have been alittle clearer about equating your blog with mine. Obviously, yours has a much greater readership BUT neither of us are going to be quoted by the MSM for a long time to come. That was my point - that there are two classes of blogs the one that influence the MSM (whether the MSM likes it or not) and those that have no influence what so ever except with their readers.
All that said, I will admit here and now, that your blog is better than mine. Mine isn't as old as yours and I'm still learning.


At Wednesday, May 17, 2006 9:20:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Well, I don't expect to be quoted in the MSM just yet. I'm not vainglorious about it-I just like to write. I'm glad others enjoy reading and commenting.

My point is that the medium is growing-I feel that at some point it will be a uniquely self-contained source of news and information-like television and radio and the regular net websites. We're slowly moving in that direction.

At Wednesday, May 17, 2006 9:31:00 PM, Blogger Steve Mule said...

OK, well I never meant to say or imply that you were vainglorious or anything like that - I also have no doubt that you are better read than I am. No doubt at all.
My fear about blogs is that they will simply become another form of swapping rumors, gossip and the like. That's something that should not be encouraged no matter how deliciously salacious or rating boostering that may be.


At Thursday, May 18, 2006 8:55:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

No implication taken, by the way.

Unfortunately, our regular newscasts have become "another form of swapping rumors, gossip and the like," and that is a sad commentary on the state of media in this country. Realistically, as blogs expand, I expect many will follow this pattern. However, there are responsible outlets in the press, so I expect there will be some responsible bloggers as well.

As I said in the post, I don't expect good blogs to be without spin.


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