Blogging the Election

The Revolution Will Be Posted (NYT)

Every four years, by journalistic if not political tradition, the presidential election must be accompanied by a “revolution.” So what transformed politics this time around? The rise of the Web log, or blog. The commentary of bloggers – individuals or groups posting daily, hourly or second-by-second observations of and opinions on the campaign on their own Web sites – helped shape the 2004 race.

This is followed by some very short postings from several Usual Suspect Bloggers, including the ever-present Wonkette, and a couple of whom I’ve never heard.

With a couple of notable exceptions such as RatherGate, I’m still not sure that the blogosphere is quite as important as most of us think. Glenn Reynolds, though, explains why that may be changing:

The biggest story of this campaign was the candid admission in July by Evan Thomas, assistant managing editor of Newsweek, that the press “wants Kerry to win.” Though this seemed significant at the time, it was only later – with things like CBS’s bogus-document scandal, and the attempted late hit about the alleged missing explosives – that it became clear just how right Mr. Thomas was. Mr. Thomas has since suggested that press bias is probably not as influential as he first thought, but it has been abundantly clear that the press has been in the tank for Kerry/Edwards for several months.

People have noticed. As I wrote in August: “Elections come and go, politicians come and go, and pretty much all of them turn out to be disappointments one way or another. But the ‘Fourth Estate’ is a big part of the unelected permanent government that in many ways does more to run the country than the politicians. And it’s unraveling before our very eyes, which I think is the biggest story of the election so far.” It still is.

If the mainstream media (“MSM” in blogspeak) is indeed losing its legitimacy as the primary conduit of information in our political system, then alternative media, including blogs, will indeed be huge players.

Update (1216): Will Collier asks an interesting question: When’s The First BlogLeak?

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Campaign 2004, Media
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. McGehee says:

    <grinds teeth>

    I wish people would stop calling a media industry that calls Dan Rather a “journalist”, mainstream!

    <runs naked through the streets, smeared with war paint, stinking of Jack Daniels and screaming obscenities at my neighbors>

  2. McGehee says:

    [grinds teeth]

    I wish people would stop calling a media industry that calls Dan Rather a “journalist”, mainstream!
    [runs naked through the streets, smeared with war paint, stinking of Jack Daniels and screaming obscenities at my neighbors]