The Year of the Blog?

The Year of the Blog? A few weeks ago, I observed that magazine articles about blogging had “jumped the shark” (I believe I also observed that the term “jump the shark” had “jumped the shark”). I predicted that Time magazine would soon have a “cover story that blares, ‘Blogging Nation.”” Okay, so I was wrong about what the cover would say, but this week’s Time does have, what is in effect, “the blogging cover story.”

The magazine requires one to subscribe before accessing its site, but one of those “Bush campaign staff members” who monitor weblogs has already e-mailed me this excerpt from the article:

The (Bush) campaign also keeps a close eye on the blogs, using them, just as it uses Limbaugh, to mainline information to the G.O.P. faithful. “Blogs are what talk radio was a few years ago,” says Bush campaign communications director Nicole Devenish. Her staff members regularly write, along with the message for the talk-radio circuit, the one that will go out to blogs and websites that link to the Bush campaign site. Bush staff members rely on and, which track political blogs and websites to see what items in local papers, on websites and in blogs are getting the most hits. “If a story moves up through the rankings and linking, we can know,” says one of the Bush staff members assigned to alert the rest of the team about which stories are moving through the blogosphere. “We get indicators about stories before they break elsewhere. It’s like an early-warning system.”

That attention has proved fruitful, since blogs are where some of the most powerful if picayune attacks on Kerry have taken hold. When Kerry put Swiss cheese rather than the traditional Cheez Whiz on his Philly Cheese Steak last year in Philadelphia and last month in Green Bay, Wis., called the famous Packer stadium “Lambert Field” instead of Lambeau Field, the bloggers lampooned him for being out of touch. Does this matter? The Washington Post wrote off Kerry’s chances in the key swing state of Wisconsin because his slip was “akin to calling the Yankees the Yankers or the Chicago Bulls the Bells.” …

But some Kerry advisers think he has missed an opportunity to rally voters to his cause using the Net. “I don’t think this campaign really understands the new technology,” says one. “Yes, they raised money with it, but they don’t see it as an organizational tool.” The reason, he says, is that the team still steers by the stars of the New York Times and the TV networks. Senior adviser Mike McCurry reads the Daily Kos and a few other blogs, but most Kerry aides don’t and instead rely on one staff member to provide an overnight summary. The Internet is not their medium. “It’s not where they live. It’s not how they talk to each other,” says the adviser. “The Kerry camp hasn’t moved. It’s where campaigns were 20 years ago. They are going to do it the way they did it in ’88 for Michael Dukakis. They are going to do it on TV, but broadcast television is damned near irrelevant for the rest of the cycle. Things move too fast now.”

I am happy to have mainlined this information to the GOP faithful…however, and this is just a guess as I have a strict don’t ask, don’t tell policy here, that at least four of this weblog’s seven readers are among the GOP perfidious.

rexblog bumper music: Man of the Year (Alice Cooper)

  • Hudge

    Odd to see such a democratic phenomenon as blogs praised so highly by a member of the loyal opposition.