Weeks Pages/Week5

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Political Blogs

From the Syllabus

Monday, Oct. 9. Practice Day: Introduction to Video
  • Production Guest: Jason Crow, Cambridge Community Television
Tuesday, Oct. 10. Public Citizen Discourse: Political Blogs and Net Organizing
  • Guests: Professor John Palfrey, Berkman Center for Internet and Society; Dan Gilmore
  • Assignments: none
  • Readings: none

Interesting Reading on Blogging & Politics:

An Irish conference will examine the benefits of political blogging
The Rise of Blogs
Times profile of liberal bloggers on the campaign trail (need to register free w/ nytimes.com)

Some Political Blogs:

Leaning to the Left...

  1. Just to the Left
  2. Daily Kos
  3. Left2Right
  4. Wonkette

...and to the Right.

  1. A Little More to the Right
  2. The Daily Brief: A Military Blog
  3. The Volokh Conspiracy
  4. Ace of Spades HQ

Things to Consider

Actor Jared Leto, recently said the following:

"I think that blogging should die a sudden death. It's just ridiculous. It's like a playground for four-year-olds. People say and do things in the world of blogs that they would never do in real life, and I think it's a false experience. You know, it's, like, eating too much candy. One of the things along those lines that bothers me about when people start citing blogs as news sources is that when people are writing on these blogs, they feel like they don't feel they need to do any research or back up their opinions with facts or anything, you know what I mean? Times have changed. It used to be, to be a writer you had to have experience and talent, and learn a craft. Now anybody with an opinion, which is anyone and everyone, feels that it's worthy. Technology is allowing people to have access to things where before it required very great skill. So there will be some interesting developments from that, and also some things that are pretty worthless. Pretty soon anybody with a cell phone is going to be able to be a news reporter. The blog is yesterday's parachute pants. It's here now but it's gone tomorrow."

However incoherent this rant may be, does he have a point?

  • Do consumers assume bloggers are more or less truthful than the regular news media? Is that a problem? What might be the value in that?
  • Are blogs only valuable for the opinions of the bloggers, or are they also a valid source of factual news?
  • Is it good or bad that everybody with an opinion can make it heard? What might be the effects on politics, culture, religion etc?
  • Is it a problem that many bloggers have not "learned a craft" in journalism school or by working up the ranks in a regular news agency? Might there be benefits to giving such people a voice?
  • Is it good or bad that the traditional sources of news and opinion concerning politics now have competition in the form of blogs? Why?