Monday, January 12, 2004


So Roger Simon was dismissive of blogs on Meet the Press. The blog boomers are predictably irate.

Jeff B. in the comments alerts us to a rather numbnutty discussion of blogs on Meet The Press; transcript here. The choicest moment is Roger Simon (not The Roger Simon, Our Roger Simon, the one who comes up first on Google, but the Other Roger Simon, the Dead Tree Roger Simon) insulting us all, which is to say the audience he wishes he had

More people probably read Instapundit than Roger Simon's blog. But Simon's readers on paper (US News and op-ed pages) far outnumber any blog's readership. So i don't think he is insulting readers "he wishes he had." A buzzmachine endorsement would create an increase in readership so tiny that no analyst could find it inside of the noise of real life data.

Joanne Jacobs left a comment that is kind of funny when you step back and think about it.

Your analysis of the banality of Wrong Roger's prose was priceless. I call it "Look, Ma, I'm writing!" writing. And I hate it. "Fine writing" is usually a substitute for reporting or thinking. If the columnist has something to say, he or she just says it without any blowing snow.

When I was a columnist, I worked hard to have something to say in every column. They cut down trees to make newsprint to put out newspapers. I owed it to the trees to make their sacrifice meaningful.

I agree that Simon's columns are often banal. But that is hardly a dimension where the (traffic weighted) blogosphere does better. And the typical big political blog is hardly a place where new ideas or critical thinking carry the day. I stopped reading Sullivan and Kaus etc. because i realized i knew what they were going to say about almost any issue before i read them.

A few days ago Kevin Holtsberry astutely summarized the prevailing realities of political blogging.

what I am considering giving up is the back and forth commentary, fisking, ranting, and what have you that occupies your typical blogger. I just find myself having less and less to say about current events. And it is largely frequent and heated discussions of current events that give the Blogosphere its traffic. A good example of what makes me tire of the whole thing is this Calpundit post on Brooks and the Neocons. It is not so much his post, although it is that too, but the comments that drive me to despair. To me these comments are a microcosm of the larger phenomenon: angry accusations, smarmy asides, bald assertions, and people talking past each other.

This isn't to say that all blogs are like this. (Check out my blogroll; all of those blogs are excluded from this indictment). But good blogs that don't play by the rules--who don't rant, who post on subjects not on the front page of today's newspaper-- those blogs are rare and have trouble drawing traffic.

UPDATE: Hell in the Handbasket has some spot-on comments.

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