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They will play the same roll they played in the 2006 Mid-Term elections, which is to say a modestl roll. Bloggers interviewed. Bloggers reported. Bloggers write for the true believers. The moderates who decide elections watch the news. They find the blogosphere too opinionated and mean. They vote their feelings and their feelings are swayed by images and perception.
I suspect conservative bloggers will do their best to swiftboat democratic candidates, and they will play the victim claiming that the media and all the institutions in the world is mean to them.I suspect you will play up nonsensical and petty issues of Democratic candidates. Is Hillary breast running? Is Obama coming back too quickly or not quickly enough to the lies about his background?I suspect as usual lefties will do the best they can to fight the lies and inanities that will be found on your site and sites like it.
As ever, keeping the press honest.Some will overreach and seek a larger role. They will fail.
"What will be role of bloggers in the 2008 presidential election?"That depends upon who the nominees are...
The partisan blogs will probably be at their most influencial during the primaries. After that they'll just agree with everything their candidate says (whether they be shills or sheep), and their role will be to say things in nastier fashion than their candidate can. The candidates will claim to know nothing about this. These days the left blogosphere has gotten more organized, centralized, and united (this is not a compliment) than the right. Thus, the left blogosphere will probably have more power in trying to keep candidates from tacking to the center, and more power in being kingmakers. This might result in a nominee too far to the left. The most partisan blogs on both sides will continue being pure propagandists for their "team" as they have for the past few years. They'll link to each other, pat each other on their backs, and be unenlightening to read for everyone else. This is not to say there's no influence in this, however. But it's the non-partisan and less partisan blogs where one will be able to see clearer who's talking points have traction, which attacks can stand up to scrutiny, and who's message is reaching the all-important swing voter. The partisan blogs would do well for themselves to pay attention to these blogs, but they probably won't.
I agree with Dr. Melissa that moderates find Blogosphere (if not exactly mean) too partisan, and at times, shrill.-- Americans don't "do" shrill --But equally, there are more and more reasons to check out blogosphere, by an increasingly mature population which grew up with computers as their birthright.2008 may not be the cementing of pajamas media, as a potent force for an opinion-forming clearinghouse, but 2012 will certainly be (or whatever communications advances we have then).However, for me the most interesting question in 2008 will be:Which blogger will position themselves for this or that candidate, including for the very interesting primaries?- Will Ann come out in favour of Russ Feingold if he runs?- Will Insty put his weight behind Rudi Guiliani?- Will Andrew Sullivan favour McCain?These are the perceived moderate-rightists in Blogosphere, but as ever, neither of the three bloggers above are necessarily in one camp or the other.(In fact, I predict that Ann, ever aware of her need to be moderate, or at least appear so, might favour a Democrat in 2008 -- so long as h/she doesn't repeat the mistakes of the appeaseniks)And how about our friends to the further Left?The Kos Kidz might just plump down for Barack, but dissension may be in the offing in other blogs.I suppose, though, my response places emphasises the candidates than the role of bloggers, contrary to what Ann's original question meant to elicit from us.But I'm transparent as to whom I back, why, and for how long.That's the real role of bloggers, as I see it. To put your cards on the table, unlike the Mediasaurus.Cheers,Victoria
Mine is pretty cynical. Except the last part, when I get all sappy. The role of bloggers on the left will be to help Democrats launder campaign cash while pulling the party towards unelectable positions. The role of bloggers on the right will be to basically be impotent besides helping divide the Republican base even further.But, mainly, it will just be people expressing themselves. In and of itself, that is a good thing with value.
Very correct Dr. Melissa. Blogger influence has peaked and will level off or even decline.
Plenty of catty gossipy stories from Althousians and Kaus-acks fixated on the traitorous Kerry and the shrill vindictive Hillary's every move, reaching a screeching dueling crescendo with 10 posts a day. Then the Black Helicopter Crowd will finish the job, with a flurry of stories about the half-black half-muslim crack addict from IL that recklessly wants to be our President with only 2 terms as Senator. Expect at least one illegitimate love-child to surface.As always, of the 10,000 stories from now to 2008, only handful will be relevant, or true. But then that's not why they write.
Blogging as an art or an industry is truly in its infancy or perhaps its toddler stage. But it is maturing and evolving rapidly. I think it will branch out into 3-4 forks and some of these will be very different from what we have today. In one branch, a savvy media group will corral the power of blogs into a powerful new media storm capable of dispersing news and ads instantly. A second will be just what you see today- a lotta of people who just like to write, yack and spout off. A third will be insidious and consist of offshoots and tools of the political elites (two main parties and a bunch of think tanks running to keep up). The last will be local (somewhat populist) groups formed by citizens who are sick of the local status quo and just want things to get done. The pols (from Congressmen on down) should fear this last group because they will shine brighter and brighter spotlights on their skulduggery. This last group will use the same tactics as used by the push/pull marketers in the last 50 years. But they will be primarily pushing the changes and reforms while voting out ineffective, bloviating incumbents regardless of party affiliation.Yeah, the internets and the google are seriously getting more and more influential.
Are we talking about the bloggers with, or without, tassles?
RC's point about "Swift Boating" is interesting because that term really has two, almost opposite, meanings, depending on which side of the political divide you are on. From the conservative side, it pretty much means completely debunking a candidate's claims. I do think that blogging will keep the MSM a bit more honest. October suprises just don't have as much effect any more, if they can be debunked or discredited w/i 24 hours. And, as a result, you get RatherGate, where an attempted hit on a candidate gets turned around, with those trying to pull it off ending up being the ones discredited. Yes, to some extent, a lot of stuff doesn't make it from the blogosphere to the mainstream. But, esp. in a presidential election, a lot does. Fox News, Rush, etc. on the right, and CNN on the left follow blogs enough now that the important stuff hits the mainstream w/i 24 hours or so. And, then the rest of the MSM often has to address it. I do agree that the left side of the blogosphere is more likely to be kingmakers than the right - and the person most likely to be hurt by that is Hillary (IMHO).
Bruce,You bring up a good point about the October surprises. Sometimes I'm too hard on my own favored medium. Keeping the Press honest is not to be sneezed at in these cut-throat elections.I also think more bloggers will take money from specific campaigns--to be the friendly, "official" voice. They will almost be like the blog-world's press secretary.Enigmaticore,Do righty bloggers divide? While there are diverse opinions, to be sure, what I read makes me think most people seek the same thing: a natural communicator of conservative and libertarian principles who will hold the line fiscally and defend the country. Illegal immigration will be decided by then. No one wants that issue floating around during the presidential campaign.
I do agree that the left side of the blogosphere is more likely to be kingmakers than the rightThey have a more vacant position than the right. - and the person most likely to be hurt by that is Hillary (IMHO).Oh, I agree, but not so fast. Howard Dean was all the rage in December 2003. Kerry had the money, the connexions, the gravitas. But lacked charisma.I'm not saying Obama = Dean, but Democrats chose the person who was the most presidential (remember that gay old word, "electable"?), thinking Americans would accept that better.And they damn near nearly did. Hillary is still relevant to bloggers, because bloggers like memes.Cheers,Victoria
October suprises just don't have as much effect any more, if they can be debunked or discredited w/i 24 hours.Or, on the other hand, substantiated-- in which case they can now become more potent than ever (i.e. Mark Foley).
I always feel uncomfortable prognosticating. That is because sooner or later the wildcard-- stupid human behavoir gets in the way.In this case, I believe that bloggers can and have the potential to be influential. But I don't think they will, largely due to some high-profile 'mistakes.' Specifically, I am pretty sure, based on some things I've observed recently on many blogs, that there are a lot of bloggers who think they are always right and don't need to check their facts, even when the sources of those facts are other bloggers. That happened on the left last year (when Jason Leopold came up with a speculative and unsubstantiated-- and later turned out to be false-- story which was immediately parroted on hundreds of blogs) but the right is every bit as susceptible to it, and I predict that when it happens in 2008 (not if, but when) the major media will be ready to pounce.On the other hand, bloggers who carefully check out stories and who don't jump in the pool when this happens may have their credentials burnished, especially if they are among the first to express skepticism.
I don't think the "moderates who decide elections watch the news" find the blogs "opinionated and mean". I'm sure they would if they read them or knew anything about them, which they don't.It's like the quote from Casablanca:"You despise me, don't you?""If I gave you any thought I probably would."
And in a few years, today's top pundits will have ben cast aside and replaced by bloggers/ professors & bloggers/ raconteurs & bloggers/ business execs who are known for their brainpower and their ability to analyze and skewer. This is another big big change brought to politics by blogs.
Will Prof. Althouse "stick with her own kind" and back the former law professor?
As a British citizen I have no hope or expectation of influencing American elections.But as a blogger Googling for the derivation of the phrase 'barking mad' only to stumble upon Prof. Althouse, I can only comment......you are gorgeous, you are wondrous and I intend to emigrate to the States so that you can bear my children. Or something along those lines:)Yours ever,PP
What I'd really like to see are blog debates. Have a group of bloggers ( from across the spectrum ) come up with a set of questions. The candidates then have a set amount of time to respond, and all responses are posted. Then each campaign ( as well as outside bloggers ) can fisk each other's responses. Linking to supporting facts will be encouraged.This would have many advantages over traditional televised debates. First, it avoids the ridiculously short time limits used in live debates. The standard 3 minutes is too short for a serious detailed answer, and plenty short enough that a candidate can avoid answering the real question with a sound bite or an "I'd first like to respond to something my opponent just said" Instead of 3 minutes to answer, the candidate would have days to come up with their answers, and no word limit. Second of all, the written word would force them to stay on topic. When speaking, it's very easy to lead the audience away from the question and on to a subject you really want to talk about. That's because the listeners don't have the question in front of them; they are forced to follow the speaker wherever he leads. With the question on the screen, and the ability to go back and re-read it at any time, it will be painfully obvious if the candidate tries to change the subject.The third advantage is that if the responses are written, then the candidates themselves do not have to answer them. They can delegate that to their staff. Some people will say that's a problem, that we should get the actual candidate’s answer. I have two answers to that. First, the whole reason that candidates now spend days on debate prep is so that they can learn to answer the questions the way their advisors tell them to answer. Second, the job they are applying for is Chief Executive, not Chief Policy Wonk. Their job is to surround themselves with the right people to give them the right advice. Letting them handle the debate is the best way to test the candidate’s ability to do their job.
Over at Irregular Times, we're working to put together a reference that will connect people with information, rather than vague feelings, about the issues most relevant to the Presidential election in 2008. We're creating it in the form of a list of 2,008 reasons to elect a progressive President in 2008.We're up to 102 reasons so far, and have given ourselves the deadline of the end of this year to have it complete. I'd be interested to see if you have any thoughts, as a law professor, based in the recent contortions of traditional structures in American law... like the revocation of habeas corpus rights. Any good reasons that come to mind?
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