Close Enough for a Cigar

Jonah Goldberg on blogs:

I’m pro-blog – a reader of many and a admirer of quite a few. But the steady drumbeat about the “revolutionary” nature of blogging is getting out of hand. Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, may be right that “the revolution will be blogged,” but the revolution isn’t about blogging.

First, some perspective. The typical blogger is not some hyper-smart, tenacious lawyer – like the guys at Powerlineblog – poring over the minutiae of a faulty CBS story. Nor is he a crusading consultant/activist/left-winger like the guy who runs the Daily Kos. The average blogger, according to a 2003 survey, is a teenage girl who updates her site a couple times a month with the latest 411 about her prom dress or which Olsen Twin she, like, really likes.


And most print publications are concerned with equally-frivilous topics. So what’s Jonah’s point? A small number of blogs — just like a small number of older media outlets — exert a vast amount of influence. If Jonah complains that most blogs are little more than online diaries, well, that’s probably a step up most of what’s in, say, Comsopolitan.

The rest of Jonah’s column argues that blogs are the new-medium extention of – wait for it – the grass-roots conservatism pioneered by his employer, National Review:

In many ways, the real story of the bloggers’ triumph is the story of a right-wing (though not always conservative) populist uprising that started half a century ago. The story begins with National Review’s founding in 1955 and extends through five decades of steady, heavy and difficult work. In the 1970s it was Spiro Agnew’s denunciation of liberal media bias that ultimately resulted in William Safire getting a job at the New York Times. In the Wall Street Journal, the late Robert Bartley’s op-ed page opened a new front in the heart of elite daily journalism.


And that’s a point I find difficult to argue against. I might quibble with the details — the most influential bloggers I know lean libertarian, rather than “right wing,” for example — but Jonah’s observations are mostly on target.


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