Wednesday, October 05, 2005

ISSUE: Blogs as journalism? Blogfights in Missouri


Consider these two blogs in Missouri -- each openly partisan. Are they any
different from the partisan American newsletters two centuries ago? We'll
consider this along with the discussion of Benington's Haswell.

By Steven Clift

The partisan conflict-oriented national left/right political
blogosphere is deepening within the states. If you know of other
states where the "virtual civil war" is going local, let me know:

This of course is natural political competition among partisans for
power. It again raises the need for civic-minded investments that
counter often negative aspects of the new media when "politics as
usual" figures out how to use these tools like in Missouri. When the
model of diatribe and sarcasm works its way down into local
communities the lack of alternatives will be clear and politics will
become even more acidic to regular citizens. Contrast
http://Northfield.Org (the case study is here )with the national and
emerging state political blogging scene and you'll get a sense of the
opportunity we have (or will miss) to do something different.


Blog dogs governor, and Blunt bites back

Pointedly partisan Web site inspires rivals to return fire

The Kansas City Star

Matt Blunt is learning that being governor in the age of blogging
makes you an even bigger target.

Through the power of blogs —interactive Internet sites that allow
readers to add their comments to those of the site’s publisher —
critics now have platforms to challenge and mock Missouri’s governor
at every turn. One site in particular — — has
sparked the ire of the Republican Blunt and his staff.

Blatantly partisan and bitingly sarcastic, the site is the brainchild
of former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan, a Democrat, and her former chief
of staff, Roy Temple, who has emerged as the Blunt administration’s
chief antagonist.

Temple’s site has lampooned the governor for barring protesters in
wheelchairs from Blunt’s speech to the Governor’s Council on
Disability. It chided Blunt for giving multiple and changing reasons
for remodeling his office during a budget crunch. And it mocked the
governor for “letting the insurance industry pick its state
regulator” and “standing up for industry bad actors,” then declaring
September “Life Insurance Awareness Month.”

After enduring months of criticism and sometimes unflattering
revelations, Blunt and his staff last week lashed out at the site.

Blunt spokesman Spence Jackson issued a statement calling “a left-wing blog site … best known for posting
scurrilous attacks on Gov. Blunt, his wife and infant son.” has spawned a conservative imitator,, whose biggest target so far has been state Auditor
Claire McCaskill, a Democrat now seeking a seat in the U.S. Senate.


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