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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

We are bloggers, hear us roar

On the subject of the power of conservative blogs, Patterico links and quotes the Wall Street Journal and Allah at Hot Air, before opining himself:

[W]ell-written and insightful blogs can have an influence beyond that reflected by our admittedly pathetic hit counts. Reporters and politicians’ staff members monitor the better blogs for an indication of how the public feels. People e-mail posts to friends and relatives. And because the Internet is everywhere, you never know whom you’re going to reach.

It would be foolhardy for blogs to take all the credit for any major political occurrence like the defeat of amnesty. But blogs’ significance should not be unduly downplayed, either.

Allah, in turn, had linked and paraphrased Dean Barnett before writing:

[R]ight-wing blog readership is so pitifully small that we can’t influence much of anything except when opinion is unusually and passionately united on an issue, in which case Republican legislators might note it as a sort of "early warning system" for how the base at large is going to react.

The metaphor I'd prefer, actually, is biology and in particular biofeedback. There, you have what is by number, volume, or mass a comparatively tiny number of comparatively complex molecules that trigger, suppress, and otherwise affect one another — all of which, collectively, end up having a huge role in determining the actions of the major systems that collectively make up the organism. And it's a very distributed process. It's hard to say, "Here are the individual molecules that generated that allergic reaction that caused me to sneeze so violently that I ruptured a cervical disk." A lot of other things also go into the total causation of that ruptured cervical disk, too, but we may have a place in the causal chain whose importance is indeed disproportionate to our size and number.

Call us irritants, accelerants, catalysts, messenger RNA, or whatever. But ignore us, collectively, at your peril. Because when the circumstances line up just right and the chain reactions start to cascade, we can induce sneezing, spasming, nausea, confusion, headache, muscle ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and erections that last more than four hours.

(I'm talking to you, Dan Rather, you pathetic metaphor-mixing has-been. And are you listening, John ("my candidacy is toast but I can't admit it yet") McCain?)

Posted by Beldar at 02:35 AM in Weblogs | Permalink

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Comments

(1) Carol Herman made the following comment | Jul 4, 2007 6:46:07 PM | Permalink

Maybe, it has something to do with TIPPING POINTS, a rather fine book by Malcolm Gladwell, too.

So, it's not the number at all.

In the book, THE TIPPING POINTS, one example given is Paul Revere. ONE BLOKE, not even a blog. Who awoke and traveled at night, with the message "the Red Coats" are moving.

Following his knock at the door, farmers shed their sleep wear; and grabbed a horse; to shout it out, "next" down the line.

And, the best advice given that night? "Don't shoot till you see the white's of their eyes."

One reason for this is that the number of farmers who collected up on BREED HILL, were small.

But the BOOM was spectacular.

Later? The name of the hill was changed to BUNKER.

I'm not too concerned about what the pundits write about the blogs. (Heck, Drudge HATES the term! No "blogger," he.)

What it does give us, though, is a new technology. Where many peple bypass the pundits.

You think Pinchie has good business accumen? I think all he has is an inheritance. Wouldn't be the first one to beat such good fortune into the ground, either.

The other thing I see? Bush has been named a "misunderestimated" president. So, he'll leave that in his legacy.

It's a good thing we went into Irak, for instance. Even on a shoe-string, when compared to other military adventures.

It will be with us for a long, long time.

Meanwhile, the Saud's in their tents are no better off FOR having given us 9/11 ... then, well, the medical profession in England, is, for having reduced the costs to the point where they hire foreign born terrorists.

The two-fer? Sicko's Michael Moore didn't expect to see the docs on parade in London and Glasgow. An operation not caught, previously, by any security outlet.

But one that failed to do much except toast one of these brainiacs ... Uncovering what we're up against, in the bargain.

All in all, we need miracles like this to happen more often.

Are you still digesting the "burning car" approach to terror? The docs who put together, these contraptions? Not just "Achmed" be careful with those wires! Now we have "doctor, are you sure you measured the Jeep's grille?"

How about toasty being hosed with a fire extinguisher, as he tried to open his boot? Like Rosie O'Donnell saying "steel doesn't melt; this maroon thought he could still use a key, in all that heat.

While the taxi driver that booted him in the nuts, had his "trainers" (expensive sneakers), taken by the police for "evidence." And, his taxi was ticketed for overstaying his spot. Doesn't talking to the police count for anything?

WHy do magistrates of the court manage to come off so poorly, not only here; with Walton, but all over the English speaking world.

Ya know, that was English being spoken in Glasgow. But I really wish they had sub-titles running on the screen.

Ah, the other advantage: SO MANY PAIRS OF EYEBALLS NOW PEERING IN. I never did feel that way when flipping pages of the home-delivered New Yuk Times.

Been a long time since that crap has been thrown onto my driveway. Let me tell ya!

And, my mom, who was brilliant at business; said: "When you lose customers, they're not so soon gonna come back."

(2) Roy Lofquist made the following comment | Jul 5, 2007 12:24:11 AM | Permalink

Dear Beldar,

I don't think anybody understands what is going on here, but it is surely something pretty big.

I go back aways - seven inch black and white TV, vacuum tube computers, 300 baud acoustic couplers, news shorts at the movies, "thanks to the coaxial cable".

I retired a couple of years ago and now spend maybe forty hours a week on the web. Golf game's gone south but I am stimulated.

I look at maybe 100 blogs a day just trying to shovel a glimpse into the ditch of what each one means. (More Dylan to follow if the notion strikes me).

On the broadest level the political/news online community is divided between the traditional MSM and the low overhead new media. "Never pick a fight with somebody who buys ink by the barrel" is an old saw. Guess what. Pixels are evil. These cute little things are the "blind, deaf and dumb nymphomaniac who owns a liquor store" of my youthful dreams. As I remember, the La Brea Tar pits still have plenty of room left to accommodate the carcasses of the print media.

Cable, once so promising, now uses the National Enquirer as its business model. Brit Hume and Lehrer are the last holdouts.

This leaves the online community as the intellectual arbiter of the body politic. This seems to have fallen into a number of distinct models.

The most famous of these is Drudge. Pick up the stories off the wires and use a K-Mart blue light to psych the reader. Next step up is Lucianne which is far more accessible because you can preview the story and source. Glenn Reynolds offers editorial discrimination which is a God-send. Thousands of blogs are wanna-be's.

What I find most interesting are the collaborations. Pajamas Media, Sanity Squad, Volokh, American Thinker, etc. These collaborations allow the writers to take whatever time is appropriate to develop their ideas without a deadline pressure. I find a better product there. Obviously you are an exception.

Regards,
Roy

(3) Kent schmidt made the following comment | Jul 9, 2007 1:36:48 PM | Permalink

"The people", that's us have slipped the tether of "our betters", big media, and there's no going back.

(4) Carol Herman made the following comment | Jul 10, 2007 1:53:50 AM | Permalink

Today, over at Just One Minute, reading the comments on Robert Novak's new book, it hit me. HE WAS IN ON IT! From the beginning. He was working with Fitzgerald! There was "no man on the street." And, no peeking into Who's Who. He got his information sitting in Armitage's fancy State Department office.

WE'VE BEEN SET UP.

Not very different than how the two stange men met at the White House. A 27 year old Woodward, waiting to get papers signed. And, the older man. Eye contact. Mark Felt. And, an exchange of phone numbers. From out of the blue.

Later, Mark Felt would teach Woodward how to meet him, in secret, in downtown parking lots. Or perhaps men's rooms. Because there's a whole culture out there who makes contact this way. By luck, after J. Edgar Hoover died, and Nixon wasn't interesting in putting his underling, Mark Felt at into the top chair; Woodward had a SOURCE.

I'd bet ya that there were insiders who knew. And, who knew the goal was to take our Nixon.

Success!

Many years later, however, Mark Felt, at age 92, was very angry with Woodward. Heck, he turned Woodward into a millionaire! Robert Redford played him in a movie. And, what did Mark Felt get? Sometimes, that's how those "love affairs" go south.

Dubya was a target walking in the White House door. And, the propaganda artists in the media, coupled to all of the Bonkey lawyers, weren't gonna give up just because people don't particularly like their candidates!

This time the lawyers were working for the government!

And, Robert Novak knew it! From Day ONE.

So, that not only was Russert out to "halp" Fitzgerald, so, too, Novak. And, he played it like a whore playing a shy bride role, no less.

Now?

The new propaganda tune is that we're losing in Irak. And, Snowe and Collins, among a few other republicans; more water carriers for the Saudis, are looking to remove American troops from Irak "because Maliki hasn't met benchmarks."

I have no idea if this attempt will be successful.

And, all we have is the Internet. And, Rudy Guiliani out there looking so promising. So, too, I'll add does Fred Thompson. (But Guiliani's added Ted Olsen to his team. And, if I had to bet? I think Fred Thompson would be thrilled to be Guiliani's veep.)

But when it comes to the public, it's like we're sitting "outside," while the prep work is going on in the kitchen.

And, I do fear Dubya doesn't have the strength for this latest assault.

That's where it's going to come from. Fitz? He got as far as he could go. Novak? Won't be turned into a millionaire, like Woodward, though.

And, we're gonna watch congress getting more and more confused each days. Heck they didn't expect Immigration Bill to die, ya know?

And, if the press scares me, enough. The congress-critters scare me even more.

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