Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Problem With Political Blogs

Now I'm a blog junkie, a blog convert, a blog evangelizer, a blog fanatic, I've joined the club, drunk the kool-aid and jumped the shark. I especially like political blogs. I reckon I get a livelier and more honestly informed take on politics from blogs than from newspapers. (I nearly wrote "better informed" but I think the crucial difference between a blogger and a reporter is that a blogger is allowed to write to a better informed audience, the reporter himself may actually be better informed but just can't get that information on the page.) But I thought of a problem with political blogs that hadn't touched my mind before.

There's a certain balkanization of subject matter on blogs. You come to trust particular bloggers, some of whom you return to day after day, but those particular bloggers are only good at a handful of subjects. But let's say something incredibly important happens in the world--say, some obscure crisis in the financial markets, or a some small state that nobody's ever heard of causing a large-scale diplomatic blow-up. Well then the bloggers that I rely on might not be able to deliver the goods on those weird weird subjects. So what am I to do.\?

Now, what I think happens in those situations is this: bloggers read more blogs than anybody else. If they don't know what's up, they're likely to know somebody who knows something, and thus will put up a nice snip and a nice link. But as a reader, this is the moment when I turn my eyes back to the newspapers and news magazines. They're more likely to have a broader range of good material than blogs. Sorry, bloggers!

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