Sunday, March 04, 2007

bloggers unite!

i'm not sure whether many of you folks (if any) pay much attention to the progressive netroots movement. whether you read dailykos or myDD or talking points memo. suffice it to say, i devour about 20 political related blogs daily.

some would wonder when i find time to do my job. or sleep. that's a question i'll save for another day.

but last night i went to this event at "the tank." it's a little performance space just south of canal street. See a list of attendees here. in terms of blogging celebrity, it was a pretty star-studded event.

it was a panel discussion and a q&a afterwards. I have a problem with panels taking questions from the audience because, inevitably, you have some wackos out there who love to hear themselves talk and don't have anything really meaningful to say, but what they say takes forever and must be orated in very loud voices with lots of arm and hand movements. i have a hard time taking people like that seriously. i realize that just as new york is a great place for intellectuals, it's also a haven for wacky ones. (remind me to tell the story about the john "torture memo" yoo debate with the constitutional law professor at my law school. it was complete madness.)

the discussion last night, however, was mostly interesting. if you don't know anything about the "marcotte affair" read here.

the issue is whether campaigns can ever effectively hire established bloggers. for those who've worked on campaigns, you know that the only mouthpiece for that campaign is the director of communications, those kings of spin trained by years of PR experience. i.e. not bloggers.

no politician will ever have a staff made up of people who agree with them on every point of every issue. the problem is that when staffers don't agree, they don't go out and write about it publicly. so where do bloggers fit in? one of the panelists said that he didn't always agree with his politician, and where their opinions didn't match, he stayed silent on the issue. i don't agree with that policy.

during the discussion it was established that the netroots community needs to put the first foot forward in getting people used to the fact that no blogger's ideals will perfectly parallel those of their politician. i think that if a politician hires an established blogger they're hiring that person for 1.) their writing skills 2.) their opinions 3.) their reader base. i don't see why a blogger can't work for a politician and still go home and post that they happen to not agree on that issue. i think that by hiring a blogger, you take the risk that sometimes they'll vocally disagree with you. you want an opinionated person, you get one, you respect their opinions, and encourage that kind of discussion amongst the campaign and the general public. a blogger would never work for someone whose views they didn't mostly feel like they could align with. though there will always be some ripples along the way, the majority of the time a politician will get inspired posts that support their policies.

and what about disclaimers? in capital letters before each post "THESE VIEWS ARE THE VIEWS OF THE WRITER, AND NOT NECESSARILY OF POLITICIAN X.' hell, it works for newspapers and television stations. they use them all the time when they're hiring controversial writers or controversial people to host talk shows.

your thoughts?

7 people who played with me:

Blogger Peter DeWolf said...

I thought that link said "" and was TOTALLY expecting something different.

3/04/2007 4:59 PM  
Blogger cadiz12 said...

that marcotte affair was ridiculous. p.r. in general is a slippery slope, and i think if people want to hire a person known for speaking her mind, why the hell would they stop her from doing so after she's hired?

don't make no kind of sense.

3/05/2007 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't buy what the politician would get out of it, other than some vague association with this new media thingymebob he doesn't properly understand.

Blogs are like any other media. If you hire them, they lose their objectivity and often they lose their readership soon after. Getting favourable coverage from a well respected blog is like getting a favourable article in the New York Times. Paying a well respected blogger to cover you is like taking out an ad in the New York Times.

3/05/2007 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You liberal idiot. You and my friend Hybrid Hand Puppet would be good together. You could feed each other tofu and compare miles per gallon.

Can I touch you?

3/05/2007 7:39 PM  
Blogger The Stormin Mormon said...


So I guess that I can't really follow that up with a comment with substance.

If it were me, I would have to say that I hire people to hear what they have to say. If they are going to publicly disagree with me, and my job is voicing my opinion (and that the opinion should mirror that of my constituents), then I would hope that they would have the sense to disclaimer it.

It seems nerdy, but just the little note that "Hey, while I feel this way, politician X may/does not."

Everyone that works for me has an opinion that I value and respect. And I'm sure that if any of them have blogs, they post about me being a moron when I disagree with them. But I'm not in a high profile position, where people speaking of me can alter my career.

3/05/2007 10:48 PM  
Blogger Syar said...

I guess it all boils down to covering your ass. Cause you can't really set boundaries for what's published online and maybe some politicians are too scared to take the risk, disclaimer or no disclaimer.

I'm still chuckling at hal i. burton.

3/05/2007 11:20 PM  
Blogger Cousin said...

Of course there's also a problem if they -don't- lose their objectivity. I thought Dukakis never recovered momentum after Brazile's foot-in-mouth attack on George Bush I.

The netroots people were valuable for the 2006 election but could be counterproductive for 2008. Kos would excise the entire New Republic/Blue Dog Democrat crowd out of the party and send them packing for Rudyland...

3/07/2007 7:15 AM  

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