What is a Political Blog?

The subject of women and participation on political blogs has come up again, this time in an NYT column penned by Katharine Q. Seelye. 

Most of the column is spent presenting the opinions of readers and experts on why women don't participate on political blogs.  The problem is that Seelye never attempts to define what a political blog is.    Are Feministing and Pandagon political blogs?  What about a site where the author writes both about politics and family life such as  Half Changed World?  I would argue that they are, but I have a feeling that the NYT would not.  Reading the column I was left with the impression that a political blog is any site where women commenters are in the minority regardless of content.

Seelye correctly points out that women bloggers don't get the same attention in the media that our male counterparts do, referring to the coverage of (and attention from Presidential candidates) of the BlogHer convention vs YearlyKos.  But she never analyzes that lack of media attention or acknowledges her own role in it.

I have more questions than answers about this:  What is a political blog?  Is the MSM using a narrow definition that purposely leaves women out?  Is this a manufactured controversy or a real problem?  And if it is a genuine problem, why does the discussion feel so sexist?

Tags: Blogher, MSM, netroots, New York Times, Women, Yearly Kos (all tags)



A forum for learned dissent and investigation

Generally I would define a political blog as any blog dedicated to learned dissent and deeper investigation of facts or persons connected to public office.

Ok thats the dry version.  

The better one is that a political blog is a place where anyone can hang out and really do some digging into the choices they need to make with their votes.

I wonder if there is a dividing line you need to cross,say, 50 percent or more of the posts related to politics - before it can be categorized. Males tend to play for hierarchical reasons/ I like reading Female blogs specifically because many of them are so well written.

Bitch, PhD for example has an amazing post about the social effects of a female standard of beauty that keeps women anorexic. I consider that a political post.  Its not always about statistics, for me, personally.

I do however miss chris bowers and his kin here.  I think there is a great difference between a political blog and blogs associated with campaigns.

by Trey Rentz 2007-10-07 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: What is a Political Blog?

Daily I read the politcal blogs DailyKos, MyDD, AmericaBlog, (and ain't I a woman?) firedoglake (Jane Hamsher) -- and the "feminist" political blogs Pandagon, feministing and feministe.

Throw in Huffington Post (owned and operated by Arianna Huffington) and that's a lot of o' women run political blogs.

True, I was feeling starved for a woman's point of view at DailyKos and Americablog (and MyDD) and there was a tendency on Kos, for instance, for(mostly male) commentors to label "women's" (or gay) issues like abortion and gay marriage, as "bad for the Democrats" and something that should be postponed for another day, without naming what that day would be, of course.

Which is one of the reasons I turn to the feminist, and yes political, blogs.

The political bloggers are men meme, is old hat, even the New York Times should have heard of Wonkette. But as always, they're behind the times, or only spouting the views of a particular writer and labeling that the general view.

by judybrowni 2007-10-07 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: What is a Political Blog?

I was going to make the same point about there being lots of well-known progressive political blogs with prominent female writers.

You've already provided lots of examples. I'll just add: there's digby as well.

by WVaBlue 2007-10-07 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: What is a Political Blog?

Seems to me that many political blogs are run by 25 to 30 year old males.

It is a real issue, no matter how much people want to hide it.

There are some like Amanda Marcotte who fight valiently, but it seems rather male dominated.

But we can ignore it if the MSB tells us to do so.

by TomP 2007-10-07 09:38AM | 0 recs
Re: What is a Political Blog?

I agree.  I don't get the point of this reflexive bristling against anyone pointing out the gender disparity in the political blogosphere.  I doubt Seelye means to claim that there are zero women in the blogosphere, so pointing out some examples of female bloggers is rather meaningless.  The 2005 BlogAds political blog census had 75% male respondents; the 2006 edition was 72% male.  Unless something dramatic has happened in the last year and a half since that report was released, a disparity still exists in the blogosphere, which is comprised not just of bloggers, but of blog readers as well.

by aaronetc 2007-10-07 09:54AM | 0 recs
Re: What is a Political Blog?

I don't mean to be reflexive.  I'm just skeptical whenever the discussion comes from a traditional media outlet.  

by Melissa Ryan 2007-10-07 12:56PM | 0 recs
NH blogs
I think we are getting more participation by women in our local NH blogs, at least on the left.  I know a lot of women activists who are learning to post and realizing that we have a lot to say.  Sometimes it takes some powers of example.  
I don't read the right wing blogs, such as they are, here, so I don't know if women post on those, though I would doubt it.  
by bloomingpol 2007-10-07 10:27AM | 0 recs

I thought Gina Cooper was the driving force behind YearlyKos.  Whatever the merits of the article, it seems like a pretty big oversight.

by John DE 2007-10-07 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Why believe Kit Seelye

Kit Seelye misrepresented Al Gore's quote on Love Canal and Love Story as part of the corporate media's narrative in 2000 that Gore was an untrustworthy braggart.   New Hampshire High School students complained that she got the quote wrong; she issued a technical apology that managed to blame Gore.  She altered his words so she could claim Gore said that he uncovered the Love Canal scandal.  Since Ms. Seelye was a shill for Bush why should anyone take Seelye seriously except to learn what the corporate media wants the public to think about?  

by darrow 2007-10-07 02:52PM | 0 recs
Re: What is a Political Blog?

What is a political blogger?  I'm not sure we really need to "define" it, so much as we need to understand it.  Political blogs are proof that many people want more than just the "main-stream" media to inform them of political topics and opinions.  And the same holds true for readers of political blogs, many want more than a one sided, 24/7 view of politics.  Women bloggers are offering diversity to their readers (who are potential voters), and that's a good thing.

Women are a huge voting block, and in 2008 they will be voting on issues that are important to them, and many of these issues aren't being sufficiently addressed in the same way they are on blogs authored by women.  For this reason "all" political blogs are relevant, and there isn't a right or wrong way to blog about politics.  

If a "mommy blogger" blogs even just a few times a month on a political issue relevant to her readers, then she is reaching "voters".   For the most part, what we now know as "traditional" political blogging, has in many cases been a "mirror" of what is being reported in the "main-stream" media (although still better because it at least allows readers to comment with their opinions). But, this leaves a huge "political blogging" gap that is being filled by women, women with diverse ideas on both blogging and politics.

Women "will" be a force to reckon with in the next election, and blogging will be a defining part in that.  With that in mind, I (with the help of many other bloggers) compiled a list of over 100 women (almost 200), that are blogging about politics.   These women are blogging in their own "unique" styles, and reaching many voters.

So, (as far as I'm concerned) there is no way to "define" what a political blogger is, because a political blogger is anyone that is being read by a potential voter.

by Catherine Morgan 2007-10-07 05:35PM | 0 recs


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