Political Blogs vs. Traditional National Media in Campaign Coverage

How much first-hand reporting do political blogs really do on campaigns, and how do blogs compare to the traditional national media on this front? Consider these two quotes:

There's more...

TravisLaFrance.com

One of the greatest thing about working on the Dean campaign was that Trippi was more inclined to hire renegades from the blogosphere that DC-climbers, and Dean was so cheap that he'd take newbies that worked for beans.... to cut the crap, one Travis LaFrance was just such the political neophyte I there encountered, and whom now desires your attention. Dear Friend:

Rarely in the course of human events does the art of politics merge so seamlessly with the art of literature as it will in the coming days.

I've taken upon myself the task of raising the Internet's literary bar--I've started my own website, from which I'll be reporting live from the Republican National Convention in New York. Or, in the parlance of youth, I'll be "blogging the convention." Come have a look at:

TravisLaFrance.com

You've known and loved me from my books--Fun With Falconry and Toro--and I daresay that you'll love me again at my blog. More than a website, more than dispatches from far-flung and glamorous locations, TravisLaFrance.com is a surcease for the lonely longings of cyberspace's untold millions of wild-hearted maidens, daydreaming for a life of passion, Chianti, safari.

But don't fear that I've given up the traditional pen. Just this week I was taking in a plate of oysters on the half shell at a midtown bistro with my editor, as we inked the contract for my forthcoming autobiography, Cocksman in Silhouette.

"How can I write my autobiography?" I remarked. "I've still half my life before me!"

"Ah, but Travis," he replied, signaling to the waiter for another tray of martinis. "You have already lived the life of ten men."

How right he was.

I look forward to your visit.

Bravely,

Travis

P.S. Be so considerate to forward this email to lovers and colleagues--to dreamers and thinkers and beautiful women. Invite them to join this list by sending a note to me: travislafrance@travislafrance.com

Conversely, if you wish to not to drink from this gurgling stream of electronic poetry, simply reply to this note and identify yourself in the subject line with the word "PHILISTINE," and I'll have my girl attend to it.

This may call for a guest entry.

Diaries and Building a Community

Over the past three weeks, there has been an uptick in diary use on this site. Now, we have around five new diaries every two days. As the recent diary by clawed shows, diaries can sometimes be very well commented upon. Further, since diaries here last in the top ten diaries page for a full four days, every single diary is probably better read than 75% of the front-page stories Jerome and I pump out.

So, register today, and start writing diaries. Just like at dailykos, Jerome and I promote them to the front page sometimes, and provide links to diaries in front page stories even more often. Also, considering that there are around eight new diaries at dailykos every hour, your diary will stay in the top ten at MyDD around 50 times as long as it will over at dailykos. (Man, do I feel dirty promoting myself over kos.)

As our traffic continues to increase, there will come a day--probably in October--when Anonymous Hero will no longer be a posting option and it will be time for MyDD to become a full-fledged online community. Sign up and be one of the founders.

Moderate Bloggers Are A Rare Breed

I am probably not very well qualified to talk about moderates. For one, I am not, nor have I ever been, a moderate. Also, while the Harris poll has found for 32 years running that "moderate" is the ideological label of choice for more Americans than any other label, I seriously doubt that 40% of the country really is "moderate." Instead, I believe that many people on both sides simply like to call themselves moderates, no matter what direction their beliefs actually lean.

That being noted, I find the lack of moderates among the most popular blogs quite striking. In fact, in the top 50 most trafficked blogs (and the big ones not listed, such as Talking Points Memo and Billmon), the only site approaching "moderate" status is The Command Post. Even the status of The Command Post as a moderate blog is questionable, since it is a self-described "newsblog collective" and since its moderate status comes not from any single writer, but from a combination of liberal and conservative writers. Overall, I think Daniel Drezner is the only highly trafficked blogger who is still openly undecided.

Blogging appears to be following a pattern of other pundit-heavy media outlets (talk radio, newspaper columnists, TV political opinion shows). In all of these cases, partisanship sells while mixing your views or straddling the fence does not. Considering this, it is probably no surprise that the number of people seeing "no bias" in campaign and political coverage dropped from 58% in a January 1988 Pew poll and 48% in a January 2000 Pew poll to just 38% in a January 2004 Pew poll.

We seem to be entering a new age of openly partisan media in this nation, and as such I do not expect a new wave of moderate bloggers to come onto the scene. The audiences, the funding, and the link networks are major obstacles to any blogger not placing themselves in a certain ideological camp. Bloggers, as the newest wing of the media, may just be the most partisan media of all. They may also provide us a glimpse of what the future of news and political media will look like as whole.

Loose ends from the day

OK, rather than inside-blog about why chairman Matsui of the DCCC is giving money through a PAC to the DCCC in order to channel to the DCCC's (make that the DCCC chairman Matsui's) candidate of choice Carnahan (that's a pretty thin hair to split there Bonham & Thurman), or dive into how many $3 Cinnabon & like expenditures the DCCC has in the filings (enough of that stuff guys), instead lets talk about family & Rock-n-Roll.

I've maintained that the election will not break it's stalemate until October, but I've good news already. First, an uncle, who the rest of my family claims has never voted Democrat, is voting for John Kerry, because, they say, his two sons are of draft age, and he thinks Kerry is less likely to send them off to war; second, my sister, who defiantly voted for Nader in 2000, and Kucinich in 2004, has decided to vote for John Kerry. Who knows if it's just an isolated phenom, it's fwiw.

And, it's damn good news that the ACT concerts are going to begin the first week of October. It looks like Philly, October 1st is the ticket of choice (probably for Chris too) for MyDD. I'd like to fly down to Florida for the weekend of the 8th too, and why not make a weekend of it, stopping by to help Democratic House candidate Jim Stork in the 22nd and by-then Democratic nominee for US Senate Betty Castor to victory.

Diaries

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