Scott Gordon recently interviewed me about at the mainstream media and how blogs fit into that world. Here are some excerpts that mention our humble little site…
The traditional media kept a watchful eye on political blogs during Judge Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings this month. Washingtonpost.com‘s “Who’s Blogging?” feature tracked bloggers who linked to Post stories, as the site has done since fall 2005. NYtimes.com ran one of its sporadic blog roundups for the occasion. And Slate shifted the focus of its regular “Today’s Blogs” column to the confirmation hearings.
The roundups delivered a heavy helping of stridently partisan blogs and threw in some nonpartisan legal blogs like SCOTUSBlog, but only a few moderate voices like Donklephant were included. The roundups make American political debate look more stagnant, confusing and hopelessly narrow than it really is. How can a first-time blog reader tell the difference between bloggers trying to evolve new ideas and those trying to vindicate their preconceptions? Should he or she rely on the in-house bloggers of publications and political groups or the freestanding, unaffiliated citizens who supposedly define the medium? If roundups answer these questions more often, they will offer a powerful vehicle for introducing readers to blogs that offer more than simplistic partisanship.
And then this line about being free from the party lines…
By linking to these partisan voices (even if they are more complicated than expected, as Lopez suggests), political blog roundups tend to exaggerate the perception that American voters are firmly divided along party lines. Roundups acknowledge non-partisan and moderate blogs, but not as often as they link to stridently partisan blogs. Justin Gardner, leader of the ideologically mixed group blog Donklephant, thinks Americans are more often centrist than party-line, and he hopes blogs and blog roundups will eventually reflect that. “I like the position that we’re in,” he says of Donklephant. “We don’t have to rally the troops sometimes when we know that the poll numbers aren’t what we would want.”
CNN Internet Reporter Jacki Shechner, who primarily talks about stalwart right- and left-wing blogs during her short blog segments on “The Situation Room,” said centrist bloggers don’t get enough coverage. “I think we’d be remiss if we didn’t start including them some more,” she said.
Jacki, my email address is justinpgardner at yahoo dot com.
My inbox is always open.