Curiously, My Blog Was Left Out

The Big Four: How a small quartet of blogs is poised to remake the political landscape as the ’04 election cycle begins.
Yet more evidence that the media world doesn’t revolve around the FCC and Big Media. I don’t know how much influence the blogosphere will have over Presidential politics but it’ll be interesting to see. Also, it’s quite possible that it will act as a barometer for the big media types. If you can’t get bloggers or blog readers — news junkies all — involved in a story it’s probably a pretty good indicator that it’s a dead end.

The Big Four are Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan, Mickey Kaus, and The Volokh Conspiracy. These four sites are usually visited by news junkies many times a day because they are staffed by bright people and continually updated, and thus they can guide the chattering class to a breaking story or even a hitherto ignored story. Trent Lott is no longer majority leader in part because these superpowers of the blog filed and fueled the story of his remarks at Strom’s birthday bash. The New York Times is reeling because of consistent attention to its inaccuracies and biases by these same sites. Because these sites are so widely read and referred to, they can amplify even small murmurs and overnight can redirect traditional media towards a target.

The power of synchronized blogging is still somewhat incipient. The first generation of bloggers are individualists, and unlikely to coordinate their activities. But if blog alliances do begin to develop among them, the ability to drive the news cycle in a particular direction will be immense.

When the blogosphere ignores a story, that story is marked as boring or insignificant or both. If a story cannot hold the interest of the web’s news hounds, it is hardly likely to interest the general reading or viewing public.

If the web seizes on a story, however, it is a huge signal to editors and assignment desks to pay attention. The media dinosaurs can ignore these currents in opinion-making, of course, but not for long.

The first presidential election with full blog participation is opening now. As the Iowa caucuses approach, watch the blogs (1) to see if any Democrat is catching fire there and (2) for leaks of damaging info. Howard Dean is reported to be investing heavily in controlling web-spin, but the blogs cannot be controlled in any meaningful way. The filters that reporters and producers used to provide are gone, destroyed by free agents in cyberspace. The Drudge Report, a sort of Model-T blog, did much to bedevil Clinton. If any of the Big Four reach Drudge-status, it will be as though King Kong, Godzilla, and Mothra all arrived in an Iowa China shop at the same time.

Let’s not also forget that the blogosphere exposed MoDo for the lying, misleading ***** she is when she altered the meaning of a statement by President Bush on al Qaeda.

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