Friday, November 5, 2004

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Blogs, American politics, and international relations

Subscribers to the paper version of Foreign Policy already know this, but Henry Farrell and I have an article on the blogosphere's influence on world politics and foreign affairs in the November/December issue. It's entitled "Web of Influence," but actually I like the teaser on the cover even better: How Blogs Have Changed the World. Here's the abstract:

Bloggers compelled Trent Lott to resign as Senate majority leader and Dan Rather to apologize to viewers on national television. But can these online diarists influence global politics as well? What began as a hobby is evolving into a new medium that is changing the information-gathering landscape for international journalists and policymakers alike.

Go check it out -- critiques have already been posted elsewhere in the blogosphere. Oh, and if your blog was not mentioned in the "Around The World in Blogs" section, don't blame us, blame the staff at FP!!

[Forget world politics -- did blogs influence the 2004 election?--ed.] Hey, I'm glad you asked -- I'll be on a panel to answer that very question in a few weeks:

IHS and Reason magazine present Ana Marie Cox, Daniel Drezner, Henry Farrell, and Michael Tomasky debating the role of blogs in the election on November 18.

A free-for-all discussion on the role of blogs and politics featuring Wonkette's Ana Marie Cox, blogger and University of Chicago political scientist Daniel Drezner, blogger and George Washington University political scientist Henry Farrell, The American Prospect's Michael Tomasky, moderated by Reason's Nick Gillespie.

Drinks and hors d'oeuvres to follow remarks and Q&A.

Thursday, November 18
7:30-9:00 pm

Topaz Bar
1733 N Street NW, Washignton, DC

Porter's Dining Saloon
1207 19th St. NW (19th and M Street)
Washington, DC

This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies and Reason.

Space is limited, so please reserve a place by RSVPing to Alina Stefanescu at Free drink tickets will be given to the first 50 respondents!

posted by Dan on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM


I never knew that about Joi Ito!

Maybe someday someone will do a study showing how the Al Qaqaa story was covered by many right-wing bloggers. That was pretty painful to watch: non-story, media bias, the Russians took it, it was never there, it was a IAEA snow job, it was the cheese-eating surrender monkeys what took it, the Russians and the Syrians joined with the Iranians to take it out before the invasion in no less than 38 tractor-trailers each helper taking 5 minutes to carry 25 pounds, the French did it, media bias, 380 tons of high explosives are just the same as 380 tons of munitions, it's a non-story, Dan Rather!, we have no credibility left, etc. etc. etc.

posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

And, don't forget blog comments.

For instance, take a look at the first comment here. Look at the email address, go to that URL, and look at the page's source. At the time of this comment, the source contains the following in several places, as if it was a template or copied and pasted from another site:

That doesn't necessarily mean what some might think it means, but it's interesting nonetheless.

posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

Can we stop having Wonkette on all of these panels, please? Don't we already know what she's going to say? I mean, it was funny the first time, but now it's just boring. And she's not even really a blogger anyway.

posted by: praktike on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

Oh, and Lonewacko, Al Qaqaa was a totally legitimate story. See the LA Times for more.

Regarding Dan's article, did you know that there's a booming and vibrant Kuwaiti blogosphere?

Check it out:

posted by: praktike on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

Weren't a lot of the big bloggers reluctant Kerry voters though? Yeah they raised a lot of issues that helped Bush but the owner of *this* blog, for instance, didn't exactly swing Bush.

posted by: Clark on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

Holy Crap! I agree wholeheartedly with Praktike!!

Putting Wonkette on a panel with Dan is like having a media roundup with guys from The Financial Times or Foreign Affairs sitting next to the cub reporter from Teen Beat Magazine.

She is the least authentic of all "popular" bloggers--if she were a singer she would be Ashlee Simpson! Stop feeding the beast, Dan. Have some standards. You're better than this.

posted by: Kelli on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

Naturally, if I still lived in DC I'd be there--but only for the booze.

posted by: Kelli on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

I wholeheartedly agree on removing Wonkette from these discussions. She catapulted herself into the spotlight by the Capitol Hill intern debacle, which she inserted herself into and repeatedly flogged on cable news shows and her blog, and really offers nothing in the way of analysis. Now I see she has just inked a six-figure book deal, so I think we all can see what she intended to get out of this blog thing in the first place.

posted by: Chief Wiggum on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

Wonkette inserted herself?
Forgive me but it seems to me she got where she is by exactly the opposite happening.

I'm quite convinced...(Note I didn't say firmly convinced) that the only reason she keeps ending up on these things is the very same reason Ashelee Simpson still has a recording contract.

posted by: Bithead on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

My free-stylin' rap above about Al Qaqaa might have been misinterpreted. I was referring to the attempts by several Bush supporting blogs to spin this story. They presented a series of explanations, each of which was announced to have settled the matter. When new facts came out, a new explanation was invented which miraculously settled the matter yet again.

posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

Didn't all of you vote for Kerry? Wouldn't it make sense to have someone who voted for Bush? That might provide a different perspective.

posted by: Dingo on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

After Dan Rather's forged document story attack on Bush, any further media attack story so close to an election, was going to be dismissed by most voters. The Clinton boys had sadly manipulated one too many news cycle. It backfired.

Too clever by half.

posted by: Marvin Thulenberg on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]


1. There appears pretty conclusive proof that al Qaqaa was looted after the invasion not just of regular munitions but of the HMX and RDX.

2. Al Qaqaa is just the tip of the iceberg.

3. Even if things get better in Iraq, the 250,000 tons of unaccounted-for munitions in Iraq are going to be discussed many times again, perhaps leading to hearings.

Not admitting to major league fsck ups in Iraq might end up having been too dumb by half.

posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

I've already read it and posted it for all my two readers to endulge

posted by: Richard on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

It is quite amusing to watch the scramble for simplistic explanations of which group or issue gave Bush the win. It's the gay-bashers! No, it's the Hispanics! No, wait, it's the Swift Vets! Hold on, it's really the Security Moms! Hogwash, it's Fox News brainwashing! Etc.

It seems to me that this exercise is as productive as (please forgive my rare descent into low-brow humor) trying to figure out which bean in the batch made you fart.

Bush won. Republicans won. "Why?" matters quite a bit less than what they do with their mandate. If Iraq goes well, and if there's progress on Social Security, tax reform, and non-discretionary spending, they will have deserved our vote of confidence. Otherwise, they'll be hearing from a lot of us in 2008. It's really that simple. Let's get on with our lives in the meantime, shall we?

posted by: Gabriel Pentelie on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

What, people who comment on blogs have lives? I thought that was a contradiction in terms.

posted by: Doug on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

I don't know why you want to separate out Rather, Lott, elections, and international relations into nice parsimonies. The internal conditions and events of the US -- those things usually placed outside of the study of international relations by IR theorists -- have a particular effect on US foreign policy and thus relate to a variety of international, intranational, and global relationships.

posted by: Matt on 11.05.04 at 12:40 AM [permalink]

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