Monday, June 21, 2004

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The blogging of the convention

The Associated Press reports that the Democrats will offer media credentials to "a handful of bloggers" at this year's convention in Boston. Andrew Sullivan is unimpressed at the opportunity:

For my part, I think bloggers could make more of a statement by not going to these elaborate infomercials. All they are are schmooze-fests for journalists, pundits and political types and then many layers of corrupting parties for donors. The only political importance is as television shows, and you can better understand that by, er, watching television.

Andrew is largely correct -- the conventions because of their effect on the television audience. That said, I don't think this is an either/or kind of situation. I'm happy some bloggers will be inside the tent, as it were -- mostly because I'm betting that they'll be able to provide the kind of "local color" that can seem blasé to the veteran journalist. Bloggers also shouldn't care about whether such anecdotes offend the sensitivities of the powerful and the privileged. Plus, bloggers can also report on an issue that mainstream journalists would be reluctant to cover --how mainstream journalists behave at these shindigs.

Incidentally, I got a call last week from a Washington Post writer asking me if I'd be attending. I patiently explained that my wife is not keen for me to go to Boston and/or New York on our own dime just because the political parties might let me through the front door.

posted by Dan on 06.21.04 at 12:44 PM


> my wife is not keen for me to go to Boston and/or New York on our own dime

That's a bizarre response. Don't you get paid for writing articles?

posted by: goethean on 06.21.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

Mainstream event, mainstream journalists, and no doubt mainstream bloggers. If anyone wants a non-mainstream view, send me 3 grand and I'll go, credentialed or not.

posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 06.21.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

[Sullivan:] For my part, I think bloggers could make more of a statement by not going to these elaborate infomercials.

And the grapes they serve at the Republican convention? They're sour!

posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft on 06.21.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

It seems to me that Andrew Sullivan is threatened that other bloggers might usurp his terroritory.

I think having bloggers attend political conventions is a GOOD THING. I don't want the "local color" -- I want bloggers doing what they do best: shaking things up, asking the follow-up questions, criticizing the status quo.

IMHO, the political conventions are much in need of an injection of "wake the f*ck up" and "respond to the average man." Yes, there is the danger that only "certain" bloggers will be credentialed, or that the bloggers invited will revert to the m.o. of the established media or focus on inane commentary.

But this is a good opportunity, that just may be made something of.

posted by: cj on 06.21.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

My wife has gone one step further and wants me out of New York for the convention.

Carping about the fact that conventions are contrived for TV is such a cliche. The whole point of the modern convention is to allow a once-every-four-years opportunity for each of our two major political parties to speak directly to the public and show whatever face they choose to show to the public. Those choices, as in the 1992 GOP convention or Al Gore's 2000 speech, can be significant. And there are still the genuine human moments that crop up in any live TV event, no matter how stage-managed, like the electricity generated by the Ted Kennedy 1980 and Reagan 1976 not-entirely-a-concession speeches.

posted by: Crank on 06.21.04 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

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