The Poor Man's Soapbox.
The Poor Man's Soapbox.
The newest item in political discussion is "the blog" and unless you are a member of the mainstream media (MSM) a "blog" is not a monster. Blog is short for weblog and in general a weblog is an online repository for publishing ones thoughts. What subjects are found on blogs? All sorts from the diaries of teenage girls to commentary on international diplomacy and war. Typically a blogger (one who writes a blog) chooses an area of interest and confines their blogging to that interest.
As you may know the blog has taken a prominent role in our media and political culture. Blogs cover stories the MSM either reports inaccurately, is unable to report properly, or does not report on at all (due to lack of interest, resources, or more malign motives). Since all that is needed to be a blogalist is a connection to the Internet nearly anyone can become a blogger. The up and coming blogger does not need a journalism degree and there are services on the Internet willing to publish blogs for free. One can setup a blogsite and blog away within ten minutes.
The blogs biggest victory to date is in catching the Rather incident. By now we all know the details about the evidence and the aftermath of it. It was a blogger who unmasked and publicized the perfidy of CBS. The Blogs were also essential in forcing the resignation of Eason Jordan. You may recall Eason Jordan was the man who admitted to carrying Saddam's water in Iraq so CNN could keep their Baghdad office open. Mr. Jordan at an international UN conference accused our soldiers of deliberately targeting journalists in Iraq. The blogs broke that story and kept it alive until Eason had to resign.
Another blogger victory was forcing the MSM to back down from erroneous reporting from West Allis. You may recall President Bush's campaign stop in West Allis where he said "En route here we just received news that President Clinton has been hospitalized in New York. He is in our thoughts and prayers. We send him our best wishes for a swift and speedy recovery." [http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/sep04/256193.asp]. You may recall the AP put out a story saying the crowd booed the President's sentiment. Bloggers quickly and successfully refuted the story and the AP removed references to the boos and the authors name from the story without retraction or apology. The blogs kept the AP honest. [http://www.rightvoices.com/archives/2004/09/03/what-liberal-media/]
In the "olden" days (2 years ago) one would have to write a letter to the editor to ask for a retraction and hope honesty and integrity would prevail. Sometimes it did (ala Tailwind) more often it did not. People now have a more powerful tool to hold the MSM accountable. The MSM curses the blogs on a regular basis and accuses them of being a bunch of amateurs writing in their pajamas very quickly the term "Pajamahadeen" was coined .
What blogs are good to read? The best known national blogs are "The Corner" (http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/corner.asp), "Powerline" (http://powerlineblog.com/), Instapundit (http://www.instapundit.com/), Michelle Malkin's blog (http://www.michellemalkin.com/), and Little Green Footballs (http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/). A couple of excellent internationl blogs are: The Belmont Club (http://belmontclub.blogspot.com/), Iraq the Model (http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/), and The New Sisyphus (http://newsisyphus.blogspot.com/). My favorite Wisconsin based blogs are Blogger Beer [note: this one is local to the Fox Valley region] (http://bloggerbeer.blogspot.com/), Lakeshore Laments (http://lakeshorelaments.blogspot.com/), and Boots and Sabers (http://www.bootsandsabers.com/).
The blogs have quickly become a very important part of our democracy. They lower the cost of publishing opinions and serve as a check upon the more powerful MSM. They are the modern day soapbox.