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July 21, 2004 7:00 PM   Subscribe

A "bipartisan" look at political weblogging (pdf); they're soliciting comments.
posted by kliuless (8 comments total)

 
Perhaps the situation should be discussed from three perspectives.
The first is that blogs are superior to traditional media in getting detailed, complex and *collated* information disseminated. While newspapers, for example, rely more and more on just a few wire services for their raw data, which is then sifted through their editors and "journalists", bloggers get data from any number of sources--and often give instant references to these sources to their readers, who can just as quickly "fact check", at least to their satisfaction.
The second perspective is the popularity of the blog, both in itself and through trackbacks, and *who* reads that blog. It's *effects* can be markedly different, depending on its readership, for example, military, political, or journalistic.
Very select blogs read by important people can be very influential. But few can ignore a blog with tens or hundreds of thousands of readers.
The third perspective is the credibility of the blog. A disciplined blog, where trolling is at a minimum, and the conveyance of information, with *persuasion* instead of haranguing, or preaching to the choir, will get better results. An "opinion journal" (not the WSJ), that just spits out partisan crapola and spin will and should be ignored. It is "entertainment", not "information", and has little cred.
posted by kablam at 7:47 PM on July 21, 2004


A disciplined blog, where trolling is at a minimum, and the conveyance of information, with *persuasion* instead of haranguing, or preaching to the choir, will get better results. An "opinion journal" (not the WSJ), that just spits out partisan crapola and spin will and should be ignored. It is "entertainment", not "information", and has little cred.
Says you. There are many, many disciplined and opinionated blogs that use facts to destroy the partisan crapola and spin in the real world and the old media. Just because they have a point of view or certain political beliefs does not at all make them less credible, if they deal in facts.
posted by amberglow at 7:50 PM on July 21, 2004


thanks kliuless
posted by MzB at 8:38 PM on July 21, 2004


"opinion journal" (not the WSJ), that just spits out partisan crapola and spin will and should be ignored.

Can you point me to a (diverse) range of political weblogs that aren't just opinion journals? I'm serious, I want to see some if they exist. I don't think I've seen a single "political weblog", in the last five years, that hasn't been someone pushing their opinion, backed up by a highly selective deck of links. Sure, some are more dull and boring than others. But they are almost all wall-to-wall wannabe pundits.
posted by Jimbob at 9:21 PM on July 21, 2004


What's not an opinion journal ? Doesn't the quest for that amount to an attempt to roll back Einstein's Theory of Relativity ?
posted by troutfishing at 9:40 PM on July 21, 2004


An article about blogging... in PDF.

Something's not getting through to the author(s). Wouldn't it be loads easier and more sensible to put it out on, say, an HTML-based web site that can automatically collect feedback from viewers?
posted by clevershark at 11:59 PM on July 21, 2004


Why is anyone still talking about political blogging? I mean, we all saw what it did for Howard Dean...

The whole thing seems to be much of a flavour-of-the-week muchness.
posted by reklaw at 1:53 AM on July 22, 2004


Well, it goes to credibility of sourcing, and what could be called the "signal to noise" ratio. For example, if you just give headers and link to "fact", not "opinion" articles, you have a high s:n. If you both express opinion and link to opinion, you are mostly "noise."

It really isn't confusing--unless you want it to be. For example, back when the Soviet Union would crank out heavily dialectic'ed stories in Pravda, they would insist that *unless* the stories were filled with dialectic, they just weren't "factual." That is NOT TRUE. Dialectic has nothing to do with facts. They even insisted that the dialectic was more important then the factual information in the story. Spin doctors always insist that their spin is more important than the facts.

Very few blogs, however, just link to news stories without added commentary. So how else to determine their cred?

1) If linked sources are generally reputable, and are to "facts" stories, not opinions.

2) The linked stories themselves are reasonable. If the facts are second or third hand, unchecked by the source, then they have lower cred.

3) Commentary is not obviously slanted. It is important to recognize slant even if you agree with it.

4) Multiple unique sourcing. Linking to three articles that are all based on an AP source accomplish little, unless you are pointing out differences.

5) Collating and organizing. A big advantage of a blog is that they can library and maintain information, which is instantly available for review and comparison. It also lends itself to fact-checking and calling out if someone is lying.

6) Blog rules. The operator of the blog is a de-facto editor, granted, one that is usually hands-off. If the post to a blog fits the rules and is not rejected out of hand, it has already made it past the "kook, crackpot and troll" filter. Follow-ups are VERY critical, too, and become part of the original post, so even if you lie, there is a good chance that someone will catch you at it, which might ruin your story cred.
posted by kablam at 3:47 PM on July 22, 2004


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