My little town

Well, it’s been four years already, so it’s time for a page one story in the Grey Lady that features good old political blogs and their presence at national conventions, particularly the Democratic Convention, as blogs are no longer just “hip” and “cutting edge” but are now arguably legitimate power players. Insofar as the most-read blogs now have daily readerships larger than all but a few newspapers, this presence of political blogs on the big stage is inevitable: not to do so would be to exclude key demographics from access to information and perspective, and of course, to a key activist base.
Beecause as alluded to in my interview with (future Supreme Court Justice?) Cass Sunstein, blogs can be more than mere opinion echo chambers (though let’s face it, this is mostly what they are) and can actually be organizing points for political action (or fundraising; it’s this last one– fundraising– that all elected public officials are obsessed with to the exclusion of governance, policy, or, well, anything else.)
You’ll note, of course, that the likeliest bloggers to attend these things are the most trafficked (a reasonable proposition actually; see above)… and in some cases, the most geographically desirable (i.e., blogs with a single-state-politics focus have been given special privileges at this year’s Democratic convention)… but, of course, “the professionals” are also going to be there in disproportionate numbers (again, practical reasons: you don’t have to worry about taking a week from your day job when blogging is your day job.)
I suppose I should have some appropriately erudite thing to say about all this, oh, the corrupting influence of money and all… but I don’t. When I began this hobby seven years ago, “blog” wasn’t really a word yet; for me, it’s still a hobby. Quite a few others have made it a profession: good for them. Some of the hobbyists are even trained, experienced journalists; most, of course, are not. To the extent that mainstream journalism, mostly because of corporate profit imperatives, has dumbed down everything to celebrity obsession and superficial gotchas, and bloggers call them on this, well, that’s a good thing. To the extent that blogging joins in the bullsh*t and itself engages in internecine namecalling and generates more heat than light… that’s not a good thing.
To develop a major blog takes a huge amount of time and effort, and often, money. We are a money-based society: no way out of it (which is why the Grey Lady article notes that a number of “smaller” blogs have raised convention-travel-expenses from their readerships). Just another part of the playing field. To the extent that my brethren bloggers can remember that money is not the entire playing field (the way that mainstream journalism, especially broadcast, has failed…. utterly and totally failed…)… the better for all.
And now… it’s on to Denver… or bust!!! (And congrats to Iceland and its silver medal in team handball.)