Why Campaign Bloggers are Boring

Jeff Commorato reacts to feedback on his post charging that Official Bloggers hired by presidential campaigns are boring and uninspired.

Bloggers working for a campaign are digital press secretaries. The current White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was a conservative radio host and FOX News contributor. In those roles he could and sometimes did challenge the administration and their positions even though he encouraged people to support them. His role has now changed; he must tow the administration line even if he personally has questions about their message. This limitation is part of the job, it is the straightjacket of employment and most of us who work for someone else have similar constraints in our nine to five.

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On an official blog we should expect to see nothing but campaign-speak. That these bloggers will almost always tow the campaign line and speak the campaign rhetoric. It is a necessary function of their job and would be a distraction otherwise.

Does that mean they must be boring, redundant and scream PR? No! Campaign bloggers have to find ways of making their blogs an extension of the message and the candidate but still useful and unique to a reader. Something needs to change because we don’t have the best this medium has to offer yet. As I have argued, I think the end product will look slightly different than the unfiltered and independent political blogging we are often used to. So what can and should this experience look like?

The essence of blogging is freedom. A blog can either be interesting or it can be written with a goal of not offending anyone but it can not be both.

The irony, of course, is that even plain vanilla blog posts that have been staffed to death will nonetheless draw fire from opposing camps and parties. Why not, then, hire people whose judgment and temperament you trust and give them the latitude to write passionately for the cause?

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Campaign 2008, , ,
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. yetanotherjohn says:

    Why not, then, hire people whose judgment and temperament you trust and give them the latitude to write passionately for the cause?

    Because you want plausible deniability. Life is hard enough for the candidates to have to live with what they say. It becomes even harder to live with what others say for them. There is a reason a campaign has a spokesperson rather than allowing any campaign staffer to talk to the press.

    A blogger who can “speak their mind” is inevitably going to say something to offend someone.