Sunday, February 20, 2005

Are bloggers after the mainstream media?

Jack Shafer's column on Slate points to two essays whose authors argue that bloggers are out to get the mainstream media.

On the National Journal's website, Bill Powers writes thusly:

Blogs aren't mainly about money, not yet. They're about taking power and control away from the old brand names, tipping the bloated sacred cows off their pedestals. Just as establishment media outlets have always dreamed about bringing down presidents, bloggers dream about bringing down editors-in-chief and news anchors.

Shafer's column then points to a post on Mark Cuban's blog entitled Political Bloggers - the new paparazzi. According to Cuban, " I don’t know the number of political bloggers, or the number of pages posted, but I can tell you this, every single one of them with any aspirations of popularity is looking for a way to stand out. The way that happens is to knock one of the gatekeepers off their perch."

My initial impulse was to disagree with both Powers and Cuban. After all, before Rathergate, didn't everyone accuse bloggers of being partisan attack dogs whose goal was to disparage opposing political beliefs and those who hold them?

While the following isn't exactly a scientific survey, I thought I'd test the penchant of the blogosphere to write about media types vs. politicos. Here's what I found:

Search Posts on Posts on
Term Feedster Technorati
Eason Jordan 1,638 5,084
Howard Dean 2,583 30,801
John Negroponte 1,164 1,445
Michael Moore 2,994 55,238
Alberto Gonzalez 252 1,298
Hillary Clinton 2,205 17,432
Condoleeza Rice 51 478

FWIW, I believe this shows two things:

1. Bloggers are at least equally likely to write about (some) politicos as media types.
2. The conventional wisdom that conservatives/Republicans are more prevalent in the blogosphere than liberals/Democrats is true, assuming that bloggers write more often about the opposition.