Steve Hemmingsen, the former anchor of KELO-Land News in Sioux Falls, has some thoughts on the role of bloggers in the SD Senate race.
I don't know how you prove this or if it can be proven at all given the ethereal nature of this whole cyberspace thing, but I suspect that these bloggers are the ultramodern form of talk radio. I also suspect they had a lot of clout in this last election from Bush to Thune.
I suspect so too. See what the biggest blogger in the country, Professor Reynolds, had to say about the role of the SD bloggers in the last race (and see his link to the Grand Forks Herald). Another national publication is working on another story along these lines. When it comes to commentary on what happened during the last election, blogs are the 800-lb gorilla sitting in the room. Few locals, with the exception of the rather fearless Hemmingsen, want to speak of them. Hemmingsen has some questions about accountability, which is fine. I hope it will generate commentary on the quality and balance of all South Dakota media. It wasn't the Dakota Blog Alliance, after all, which simply made up certain items and then refused to admit that the items were made up, which the editor of the Argus did. There seems to be two responses to the blogging phenom. Some, like Hemmingsen and the Rapid City Journal reporters who write on Mt. Blogmore, have embraced blogging and find it interesting and clever and imaginative and a breath of fresh air. Others, however, have fought a pitched battle against the idea of blogs. Note the editor of the Argus Leader, who thinks blogger commentary is "crap" driven by a "violent" internet "cabal" of "yahoos" and "jokers," who are full of "hatred" and "vitriol" and lack "guts" because they hide "behind their computer screens" and won't face him "man to man." Some people welcome new thoughts, technology, information, back-and-forth, and the marketplace of ideas. And other people are fighting a losing battle so they can hold onto their power to control the public debate and decide what "news" the citizens should consume and what "news" citizens should be protected from. We can all be thankful, for example, that the news barons at the Argus Leader protected us from these 66 stories which were critical of Tom Daschle that ran in other prominent publications around the country. Thank the Lord the Argus protected us from the brutal truth.
It's a Brave New World. Remember what Peggy Noonan said about this election year:
Who was the biggest loser of the 2004 election? It is easy to say Mr. Kerry: he was a poor candidate with a poor campaign. But I do think the biggest loser was the mainstream media, the famous MSM, the initials that became popular in this election cycle. Every time the big networks and big broadsheet national newspapers tried to pull off a bit of pro-liberal mischief--CBS and the fabricated Bush National Guard documents, the New York Times and bombgate, CBS's "60 Minutes" attempting to coordinate the breaking of bombgate on the Sunday before the election--the yeomen of the blogosphere and AM radio and the Internet took them down. It was to me a great historical development in the history of politics in America. It was Agincourt. It was the yeomen of King Harry taking down the French aristocracy with new technology and rough guts. God bless the pajama-clad yeomen of America. Some day, when America is hit again, and lines go down, and media are hard to get, these bloggers and site runners and independent Internetters of all sorts will find a way to file, and get their word out, and it will be part of the saving of our country.