December 10, 2004

Lexington on Rathergate, Blogs and Big Media

A tad old (Nov 25) but still worth reading if you missed.

For most of the post-war era the American media were dominated by a comfortable liberal consensus. The New York Times was the undisputed king of the print news, while the network anchors lorded it over TV news. That consensus is now under siege. The attacks are partly coming from the cable networks—particularly from conservative Fox News. (Charles Krauthammer once quipped that Rupert Murdoch had spotted a niche market—half the country. Sure enough, Fox is now America's top-rated cable news network.) But old media also face a newer and more unpredictable source of competition—the blogosphere. Bloggers have discovered that all you need to set yourself up as a pundit is a website and an attitude.

As Glenn so aptly puts it: "If you've got a modem, I've got an opinion!" And usually one with an attitude! Oh, a reminder. I'm still trolling for votes. The estimable Samizdatistas and B.D. are in a dead heat (each with 28.8% last time I checked!) Do your part to get B.D. to 30%... vote here. Remember, you can vote again every 24 hours. So what are you waiting for? Vote for B.D., even if you think Rumsfeld is the greatest thing since sliced bread or that Bush is the devil incarnate. We run a big tent over here...


Posted by Gregory at December 10, 2004 06:43 AM
Comments

Speaking of the blogosphere's new influence, Torchpraise did a little analysis on the WizBang Awards that reveals some interesting trends in the composition of the blogosphere. Some may find it interesting. Check it out here:

http://torchpraise.blogspot.com/2004/12/blogosphere-bellwether-70-conservative.html

Posted by: torchpraise at December 10, 2004 02:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Torch,

I think your analysis is too quick to discount the significance of the fact that WizBang is a conservative site and therefore most of the people attracted to the voting in the first place are probably conservative. Aside from that, the information from the voting habits of a very small sample of self selecting users should lead you to disregard the evidence because of the structural flaws in gathering it. Using evidence like this is highly suspect, and doesn't pass any form of rigorous academic muster. The conclusions you drew from it were similarly dubious.

For example, if a well known left leaning blog were to hold blog awards, you would see more votes for the liberal sites. For an observer to then try to draw an exact analogy to overall blog readership, as you did, would be misguided to say the least.

In fact, most non-partisan studies have indicated that at the moment, left leaning sites dominate the internet and the blogosphere. That could change, and I would hesitate to draw sweeping conclusions from it about why left leaning sites dominate the sphere, as you did, but it is the way it is now. Here is one study by a conservative columnist which talks about the right/left internet divide:

http://www.chronwatch.com/content/contentDisplay.asp?aid=10536

Here are some excerpts from the article:

Traffic is the number of people who visit a particular website and how many pages they view. When I set out on this comparison, I have to admit that I had a bit of bias in my mind. I assumed the Republicans would win this contest hands down. Boy, was I wrong.

Part of the answer may be found in the generation gap. Many conservative Republicans tend to be older and therefore less computer-oriented than the younger set. College students, for example, live in an environment where required Internet research is central to their lives, and almost all college campuses provide high speed Internet access in their dorms rooms. Most of these campuses also tend to be bastions of liberalism, and therefore a disproportionate number of students might visit left-leaning websites.


Posted by: Eric Martin at December 10, 2004 04:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

So I went and voted for you and...whatta ya know? You're up half a percent!

Your welcome.

Posted by: Ignatius Byrd at December 10, 2004 07:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

thax! surfing the net from ft. lauderdale airport (a pretty nice one, actually, compared to madcap miami--and with wifi through the airport) awaiting a connection to nyc. christmas shopping awaits this weekend...lots of it! so blogging may be light. anyway, appreciate your vote.

Posted by: greg at December 10, 2004 11:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric:

You make some points.

Do you know of any liberal sponsored blog awards? We'd like to see how the skew works in the other direction.

You did a good job picking the quotes from that article... (we noticed that there's also a big international factor that you didn't mention).

We did say that the Wizbang! numbers don't translate exactly, so we weren't claiming that our conclusions had been certified by the actuarial society.

Also, we figured that a sample of 20,000 would be pretty representative.

But we do agree with your objection about Wizbang's inherent conservative bias. That's why I asked for a liberal site's award results.

Thanks for the input. Have a Merry Christmas!

Posted by: torchpraise at December 11, 2004 01:27 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wampum

Posted by: praktike at December 11, 2004 06:51 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Torch,

I will keep my eye out for liberal sponsored blog awards, and notify you accordingly.

I did notice your disclaimer that the WizBang numbers were skewed, but you only suggested a slight bias. In fact, you used the exact ratio from one category's vote (exaggerated slightly even), in order to draw on the extended correlation that the blogosphere is 70% conservative and 30% liberal. This was the crux of your further argument as to causes.

Merry Christmas to you all, and if I find a relevant site, I will let you all know.

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