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September 26, 2004 10:06 AM   Subscribe

The Bloggers on the Bus: The New York Times Magazine on bloggers on the campaign trail, and what effect they may or may not have.
posted by mrbula (35 comments total)

 
Odd that there's no mention of Little Green Footballs' outing of the Killian memos as fakes. I would have put that as the most significant blog-related event of the campaign.

Also a shame they didn't name long-time collaborativemediablog hero Rusty Foster as the anonymous "full-time programmer" keeping DailyKos up and running. No mean feat given it's now getting over 700,000 hits per day.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:52 AM on September 26, 2004


This article was probably written and edited weeks ago before the Rather tempest in a typewriter happened. And LGF had as much to do with the debunking of those memos as they did with the suicide of Hitler.
posted by Mo Nickels at 11:27 AM on September 26, 2004


I don't find it odd they didn't mention LGF (or Powerline, or the Free Republic forums). I admit to just skimming the story but wasn't the article about webloggers who were actually at the DNC and reporting it? They also didn't mention Trent Lott. I don't know much about how a newspaper works, but it's my understanding that the NY Times Magazine is autonomous (along with the Book Review) from the paper and the memo thing is pretty new to get into a ten page piece. I expect the story was finished long before Rather ever opened his mouth.

It would be cool to have mentioned Rusty, but on the other hand I doubt the readers care much about the nuts and bolts. They didn't mention the Trotts or Blogger either.
posted by cedar at 11:32 AM on September 26, 2004


(Did anyone else listen to NPR on Friday afternoon when they were discussing the impact of blogging in the media and they called LGF "Little Green Apples"? Did I imagine that? In any case, the person reading the story suggested that LGF & FreeRepublic, love them or hate them, had quite a lot to do with calling the superscript thing into question and getting the mainstream media to pay attention to an apparent fraud.)
posted by dhoyt at 11:37 AM on September 26, 2004


From Page 1 of the article.

A year ago, no one other than campaign staffs and chronic insomniacs read political blogs. In the late 90's, about the only places online to write about politics were message boards like Salon's Table Talk or Free Republic, a conservative chat room.
posted by raysmj at 11:42 AM on September 26, 2004


Odd that there's no mention of Little Green Footballs' outing of the Killian memos as fakes.

on what planet did that occur?
posted by quonsar at 11:46 AM on September 26, 2004


So they spent pages discussing the liberal bloggers reporting from an Internet cafe during the RNC, specifically mentioning several blogs, but didn't seem to extend the same courtesy to the conservative bloggers reporting *from* the RNC? Gotcha.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:49 AM on September 26, 2004


God, could you even imagine the contrasting scenes between the friendly liberal bloggers lounging in the tank eating carrot sticks and the RNC bloggers.. probably looking for protesters to kick.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:57 AM on September 26, 2004


"full-time programmer" keeping DailyKos up and running. No mean feat given it's now getting over 700,000 hits per day.

huh? most web servers can easily handle a million http requests per day without "breaking a sweat" (unless they run on microsoft platforms) and certainly without the assistance of a "full-time programmer". where do you come up with this technogolly geewhiz crapola?
posted by quonsar at 12:00 PM on September 26, 2004


God, could you even imagine the contrasting scenes between the friendly liberal bloggers lounging in the tank eating carrot sticks and the RNC bloggers.. probably looking for protesters to kick.

Yep, Kos is as friendly as they come.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:10 PM on September 26, 2004


they mention the typewriter thing
they mention trent lott
rtfa
posted by mr.marx at 12:13 PM on September 26, 2004


Did anyone else listen to NPR on Friday afternoon when they were discussing the impact of blogging in the media and they called LGF "Little Green Apples"?

I heard that, too.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:14 PM on September 26, 2004


A year ago, no one other than campaign staffs and chronic insomniacs read political blogs

Alas, though I devoutly attempted to avoid them, I'm pretty sure I was reading political blogs a year ago. Which am I?
posted by mwhybark at 12:15 PM on September 26, 2004


krrlson, if you read the article, you'd see that actually, yes, he is.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:16 PM on September 26, 2004


Quonsar: DailyKos runs on Scoop. It's a completely dynamic system doing everything from databases and Perl. Stuff like the accurate "unread comments" feature puts a big load on the server. The previous biggest scoop site kuro5hin struggled and could barely cope with about 250,000 hits per day, so he's managed to scale it up remarkably well in a very short space of time. I'm surprised he's managed to do it.

He's also managed to add features while doing it, adding various nifty features like diary promotion while keeping it going.

Running a large-scale, dynamic, database-driven site (especially using open-source databases) isn't the same as serving out static HTML pages.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:27 PM on September 26, 2004


Also, I forgot: the picture of Apple and Cox and Germond is both priceless and like looking at a rerun of dotcom-era ads for, you know, some dotcom thingy.
posted by mwhybark at 12:30 PM on September 26, 2004


on what planet did that occur?

It wasn't broadcast on Omicron-Perseid-Hyperpartisan-Blind-Spot 7, so some of ya'll may have missed it.
posted by dhoyt at 12:35 PM on September 26, 2004


It's kind of an odd article in general, more filled with snarky asides than NYTM centerpieces usually are. (Although, as raysmj and mr. marx note, the article does mention FreeRepublic, and it mentions Trent Lott and the Killian memos, too.

But, all in all, as much space as this article devotes to the bloggers, I got the impression that the author does not think very highly of any of his subjects, even if he respects their influence. He starts from the presumption that all bloggers consider only one partisan side of any issue ("It's almost as though, in a time of great national discord, you don't want to know both sides of an issue. The once-soothing voice of the nonideological press has become, to many readers, a secondary concern, a luxury, even something suspect. It's hard to listen to a calm and rational debate when the building is burning and your pants are smoking.").

He then disses each blogger and his/her aspirations in turn (Wonkette: "Why was she so excited about working for MTV? MTV is for 9-year-olds."; Marshall: "Marshall started the blog in 2000, during the Florida recount, as a release valve, and it's still working that way; oversimplifying weighty issues, reducing them to their essential skeletons, somehow relaxes him."; Kos: "...while Moulitsas blogged with gusto -- posting a doctored photo of Senator Zell Miller with fangs and bloody eyes and the comment, ''Try not to puke,'' staying late at the Tank to boo during the televised speeches...").

The focus on liberal bloggers is also curious; he couldn't find one interesting conservative subject? But since he's a freelancer, I'm guessing he imagined the piece as a two-minute profile of these folks he was curious about at the RNC, and the NYT ended up trying to market this piece as "behind the political blogosphere."
posted by grrarrgh00 at 12:36 PM on September 26, 2004


they mention the typewriter thing
they mention trent lott
rtfa


Uh, no.

I would rather blind myself with a rusty screwdriver than read ten pages about blogging. I can barely bring myself to read my own weblog and am nowhere near masochistic enough to read about other peoples.

I do apologise for for the factual error in my post, all I can offer as an excuse is sentences like, "Earlier this month, a platoon of right-wing bloggers launched a coordinated assault against CBS News..." have the interesting effect of wiping out what little reading comprehension I have along with my desire to live.
posted by cedar at 12:40 PM on September 26, 2004


Steve Gilliard did a pretty good job of dissecting this article. Link.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:49 PM on September 26, 2004


Theophile Escargot: Don't be so sure it's rusty that Kos is talking about.
posted by Captain_Tenille at 12:54 PM on September 26, 2004


Running a large-scale, dynamic, database-driven site (especially using open-source databases) isn't the same as serving out static HTML pages.

Theo: yeah, i know scoop. i'm just brain dead today.
posted by quonsar at 1:05 PM on September 26, 2004


CT: I thought you were more-or-less running K5 while rusty worked on DailyKos? What's going on... or is it a big secret?

I haven't seen any big filks on the DailyKos error page...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:09 PM on September 26, 2004


Cedar: I can barely bring myself to read my own weblog...

Huh?
posted by Dick Paris at 1:13 PM on September 26, 2004


TheophileEscargot: both of us do dailykos stuff, I just do more of the day-to-day database massaging type stuff.

Really, my whole day revolves around Scoop.
posted by Captain_Tenille at 1:19 PM on September 26, 2004


krrlson, if you read the article, you'd see that actually, yes, he is.

If you read his blog, you'd know otherwise.
posted by Krrrlson at 1:21 PM on September 26, 2004


grrarrgh00: I didn't get the dissing and dislike thing you heard. It seemed to me more like the writer was expressing a fondness for the n00bs, a kind of senior's welcome to the the freshman class.

Also, the curious personal tone of the piece is clearly a formal response to the personal nature of blogwriting.

Finally, it feels like the pitch chapter for a book, something that could be interesting, covering the introduction and development of poliblogs as a feature of the mediascape from a personality perspective.
posted by mwhybark at 1:22 PM on September 26, 2004


CT: Oh well, please replace my praise for Rusty Foster with the committed, diligent and modest Captain_Tenille.

Should have known it was too stable for rusty... ;-)
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:28 PM on September 26, 2004


If you read his blog, you'd know otherwise.

Is it the general tone of his blog or his opinion of mercenaries that offends you?
posted by Space Coyote at 1:36 PM on September 26, 2004


Is it the general tone of his blog or his opinion of mercenaries that offends you?

Both, though his commentary on the mercenaries is characteristic of the tone of the entire site. He may have issued an apology about the statement you're referring to (though belated, probably insincere when one considers his routinely extreme opinions, and obviously prompted by his sponsors turning away), but his blog is just one ounce of crazy shy of DU.
posted by Krrrlson at 2:24 PM on September 26, 2004


The amazing thing about this medium is the dissemination of information, not the specific bloggers. If we start to put these people (Kos, Marshall, Sullivan, whomever) onto a pedestal, their ability to be corrupted increases. As the little guy with nothing to lose, they will stop at nothing to get their version of the truth out to the public. But as they become more wealthy through the process, their credibility, like any of ours, will be called into question.

Let's take these blogs for what their worth, instead of what we want them to be. They have the ability to provide non-mainstream news to millions of people all over the world. Forget the "power" of bloggers. Forget the "genius" of Kos, or whomever else. They are valuable because they call into question the very news that media conglomerates spoon feed us every day.

The egos of bloggers are what will eventually make them less credible. These people aren't infallible, and making them into the messiahs of free speech and information will only make their fall that much harder.
posted by BlueTrain at 5:53 PM on September 26, 2004


Blogging Sells, and Sells Out
posted by homunculus at 8:40 PM on September 26, 2004


Terrible article — was it just me or was he absolutely drooling over Wonkette? It was almost embarassingly awkward for me to read, as if I were privy to someone else's cache of pick-up lines...

That and, of course, the bit about Marshall hitting the dance floor ("Just kidding!") or Kos looking 15. Who on earth wrote this thing?

That said, I am head over heels in love with Josh Micah Marshall. Granted, I've had a huge crush for some time, but the whole bit about his TPM staff card and all the wrinkly clothes — I love it.
posted by rafter at 9:38 PM on September 26, 2004


quonsar: what TheophileEscargot said about page views. That 700k number is dynamic pages. In static stuff like images and rss files, it's serving, at last count, approximately 700 billion trillion trillion bazillion hits a day (yes, I made that number up because I couldn't bother to go and look. It's some number > big). It's still not like mega-impressive or anything. But considering it's scoop, it's kind of amazing that the site's ever up at all. ;-)

and TheophileEscargot: What CT said. I actually wasn't sure, reading the article, who they might have been referring to with that "full-time programmer" line. CT does a lot of stuff for it, and I did a lot in the past few months, but less so now. Neither of us are actually "full-time." Maybe it was some kind of average.

And as for the article, I thought Wonkette came off as really sort of pathetic and sad. And Kos does look 15.
posted by rusty at 12:23 AM on September 27, 2004


Terrible article — was it just me or was he absolutely drooling over Wonkette? It was almost embarassingly awkward for me to read, as if I were privy to someone else's cache of pick-up lines...

rafter, Daniel Radosh has already packaged this sentiment into an exciting quiz for your enjoyment:
  • Which blogger does Matthew say is most "fun to hang out with"?
    A. Wonkette
    B. Atrios
    C. Markos Moulitsas
    D. Josh Marshall
  • Which blogger does Matthew say has "peachy cream skin"?
    A. Wonkette
    B. Atrios
    C. Markos Moulitsas
    D. Josh Marshall
  • Which blogger does Matthew say has "eyes of a very bright blue, strawberry blond hair and a filthy mind"?
    A. Wonkette
    B. Atrios
    C. Markos Moulitsas
    D. Josh Marshall
  • At a fancy dinner, which blogger does Matthew say "swallowed an oyster and smiled"?
    A. Wonkette
    B. Atrios
    C. Markos Moulitsas
    D. Josh Marshall
  • Of which blogger does Matthew say, "the candlelight reflected off the Champagne bubbles in her glass"?
    A. Wonkette
    B. Atrios
    C. Markos Moulitsas
    D. Josh Marshall
  • Which blogger did Matthew say, "grow[s] hornier as the day wears on"?
    A. Wonkette
    B. Atrios
    C. Markos Moulitsas
    D. Josh Marshall
  • Which blogger ends up in Matthew’s hotel room?
    A. Wonkette
    B. Atrios
    C. Markos Moulitsas
    D. Josh Marshall


  • Think you got them all right? Check your answers.
    posted by soyjoy at 2:18 PM on September 27, 2004


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