Sunday, January 25, 2004
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The blogging of the President
Christopher Lydon will be hosting a radio show on NPR tonight from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM (Eastern Time) entitled "The Blogging of the President." Of course, there's an associated blog. Here are links to multiple posts about tonight's show -- which has an impressive line-up of commentators from both the blogosphere (Andrew Sullivan, Jeff Jarvis, Atrios, Joshua Micah Marshall) and the mediasphere (Gary Hart, Kevin Phillips, Richard Reeves).
To listen in online, go to Minnesota Public Radio's home page.
For background reading, check out this AP story on blogs and campaigns from earlier this week, and today's essay about political "cyberbalkanization" from the New York Times.
UPDATE: A few thoughts having just listened to the broadcast:
1) Christopher Lyudon is just a font of adjectives. My favorite for describing the blogosphere was "yeasty."
2) Great (paraphrased) exchange between Jeff Jarvis and Frank Rich:
3) Jeff Jarvis also had the best line of the evening: "Bloggers don't replace reporters; bloggers replace editors."
4) Where the hell were Gary Hart and Kevin Phillips? [UPDATE: According to this post, "We can't get through to Gary Hart's number." I have that problem too.]
5) Atrios and Sullivan had a yeasty exchange towards the end. Andrew made the point that he was willing to criticize his own side of the political spectrum, whereas Atrios would not do the same on the left. Atrios replied that simply wasn't true, and it was clear Andrew had not read his blog. Sullivan asked Atrios to cite an episode when he had criticized someone on the left. Atrios paused and said, "Well, I can't think of think of one right now."
6) Scrappleface posted the following headline to a Blogging of the President real-time entry: "Public Radio Show Talks about People Who Write About What's Written About People Who Do Little Else But Talk."
7) A final substantive critique of the show -- Neither Lydon nor any of his guests made the crucial distinction between campaign blogs and independent political blogs. The former might be more prone than the latter to the cocooning phenomenon discussed on the show.
FINAL UPDATE: On a related subject, Billmon privides an exhaustive report on a Davos Economic Forum panel on the relationship between the blogosphere and the mediasphere.posted by Dan on 01.25.04 at 01:08 PM
(Andrew Sullivan, Jeff Jarvis, Atrios, Joshua Micah Marshall) and the mediasphere.
Typical for NPR. Start slightly left of center, and then head left from there, and call it 'balanced'.
Thanks for this information... It looks like a neat thing that they are doing.posted by: Aakash on 01.25.04 at 01:08 PM [permalink]
Thanks for the comments. It was so frantic we couldn't get through to everyone.posted by: MattS on 01.25.04 at 01:08 PM [permalink]
I listened to that whole show for some reason and found it to be painfully dull except right at the end when Jarvis, Sullivan, & Atrios were on.
The majority of the show was a bunch of commentors, callers, & pundits who knew nothing about blogs talking back and forth with a bit of commentary from bloggers who had nothing interesting to say.posted by: John Hawkins on 01.25.04 at 01:08 PM [permalink]
Does this mean we now know who Atrios is?posted by: Lonewacko on 01.25.04 at 01:08 PM [permalink]
Pretty dull. It was very interesting to hear Atrios, though. Nonetheless I doubt that he'll become the liberal radio network's answer to Rush Limbaugh. Maybe he can write for that guy, though.
Sullivan was trying to score cheap shots on him. I mean, "It's not fair that I can't use ad hominem attacks against you because I don't know who you are?" Has political discourse really become so postmodern?
Atrios, as he said on the show, doesn't condemn Bush as much as he condemns the media who prop him up by character-assassinating Democrats. Andy is one of Atrios's most frequent targets, and he sounded like he was in the mood to settle a score.posted by: neil on 01.25.04 at 01:08 PM [permalink]
So can Sullivan name, without hesitation, any posts of his in which he praises someone on the left?
Can Daniel W. Drezner?
This is a pretty dumb standard. If you can't immediately name an example of what you are claiming, it 'proves' that no example exists.posted by: TomD on 01.25.04 at 01:08 PM [permalink]
Will Garance Franke-Ruta be remembered as the Henry Blodget of the Dean Bubble?posted by: Will Robbins on 01.25.04 at 01:08 PM [permalink]
Sullivan has on repeated occasions praised Christopher Hitchens, even though he disagrees with most of Hitchens' politics. Sullivan has also said nice things about Tony Blair. Those are just two that come to mind. I'm sure there are other cases. Try reading the man; he's intelligent, articulate, and principled. His is not an echo chamber blog.
I'm new to Dan's blog, so I can't say who he admires on the Left. But my guess is that he gives props where they're due.posted by: Mark on 01.25.04 at 01:08 PM [permalink]
I thought the show could have been better produced. The distinction between campaign blogs and blogs like this one isn't just a technicality; they are set up to do entirely different things. The discussion conflating both kinds of blogs therefore resembled a conversation being conducted in two languages at the same time.
I also thought the choice of guests was odd. First, no Glenn Reynolds, who has been more influential to the growth of the blogosphere (or at least to the growth of blogs like this one) than all MPR's guests put together. Second, the skew toward politically liberal guests -- which makes sense, actually, if you are talking about campaign blogs since there are many Democrats and only one Republican running in this year's election, but not if you are talking about non-campaign blogs. These tend to be mostly conservative or libertarian. Third, no one there seemed prepared to give much attention to special interest blogs that fill in gaps in news coverage by major media: military blogs most obviously, but also legal blogs and blogs of academics with some specialized focus like economics. And the only non-American blog even mentioned was Salam Pax's, though foreign news is one of the biggest gaps in mainstream American media news coverage and foreign bloggers have become an important means of filling in that gap for some people.
And I would have avoided Andrew Sullivan if I'd been making a guest list for this show. The guy's a talented writer but personally garrulous and a boor, something he demonstrated with a few seconds of coming on the air.posted by: Zathras on 01.25.04 at 01:08 PM [permalink]
Apparently Sullivan isn't decent and principled enough to avoid making unprovoked and hectoring attacks on his fellow guest. It's easy to verify that he was wrong to say 'Atrios never criticizes the left' and 'Atrios never gives President Bush credit' - but he is now painting himself as the victim.
He also denigrated Atrios for remaining anonymous... when he follows the same policy for his own letters page, giving the perfectly correct justification that the identity and address of the writer has no bearing on the validity of what they write.
Tony Blair, leftist? Bullshit. Sullivan likes Blair because they agree totally on Iraq and terrorism, where Blair has a rightwing policy.
Christopher Hitchens, leftist? I guess he used to be but he's all over the place now. Of course, Hitchens is Sullivan's personal friend from way back. I don't think this is a shining example of disinterestedness towards the left.posted by: TomD on 01.25.04 at 01:08 PM [permalink]
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