Saturday, June 10, 2006

Bloggers: Saviors or sell-outs? You decide

The New York Times covered a blogger con in Vegas the other day. Here's the start of the story:

"There were the bloggers — nearly a thousand of them, many of them familiar names by now — emerging from the shadows of their computers for a three-day blur of workshops, panels and speeches about politics, the power of the Internet and the shortcomings of the Washington media. And right behind them was a parade of prospective Democratic presidential candidates and party leaders, their presence a tribute to just how much the often rowdy voices of the Web have been absorbed into the very political process they frequently disdain, much to the amazement, and perhaps discomfort, of some of the bloggers themselves."

Let's stop there. Just how big a force are political bloggers these days? Well, it seems the jury's still out, despite all the flash. And here's an observation, from the NYT again:

"As became clear from the rather large and diverse crowd here, the blogosphere has become for the left what talk radio has been for the right: a way of organizing and communicating to supporters. Blogging is nowhere near the force among Republicans as it is among Democrats, and talk radio is a much more effective tool for Republicans."

Then there's the question of selling out. Just who do these bloggers think they are? The NYT offers this:

"They may think of themselves as rebels, separate from mainstream politics and media. But by the end of a day on which the convention halls were shoulder to shoulder with bloggers, Democratic operatives, candidates and Washington reporters, it seemed that bloggers were well on the way to becoming — dare we say it? — part of the American political establishment. Indeed, the convention, the first of what organizers said would become an annual event, seems on the way to becoming as much a part of the Democratic political circuit as the Iowa State Fair.

"And for whatever disdain that could be picked up toward mainstream politicians and news media, it seems fair to say that the bloggers and the people who love them were fascinated by their favorite targets. Jennifer Palmieri, a deputy White House press secretary under President Bill Clinton, held a "pundit project training," where she told bloggers how to present themselves in television interviews — what to wear, how to sit and what to say."

Read the NYT story here

No comments: