Blogging while oblivious

Posted by admin
Aug 12 2007

Shorter Jeff Kouba: “Why, no, I’ve never received anonymous email with images of my face photoshopped onto a mutilated and ejaculate-covered corpse with my home address posted below. Why do you ask?”

It’s worth remembering that the blogosphere is still so new it baffles spell check. For that matter, if I type “blogger” on my screen, my retro software offers alternatives like “loggers,” “floggers,” and “boggler.”

It “boggles” my mind to realize how quickly a piece of Internet terrain has gained power in politics. By now, the political blogosphere is to the left what talk radio is to the right. It is a forceful, sometimes demagogic, message-monger organizing tool for the progressive end of the Democratic Party.

Nevertheless, there is another, less flattering way in which broadband has followed broadcast and the liberal political bloggers mimic the conservative talk-show hosts. The chief messengers are overwhelmingly men — white men, even angry white men.

I began tracking the maleness of this media last spring while I was a visiting fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy. An intrepid graduate student created a spreadsheet of the top 90 political blogs. A full 42 percent were edited and written by men only, while 7 percent were by women only. Another 45 percent were edited or authored by both men and women, though the “coed” mix was overwhelmingly male. And, not surprisingly, most male bloggers linked to male bloggers.

Next year, Yearly Kos will undergo a name change. The assembly of progressive bloggers will call themselves Netroots Nation. But when will the members of these netroots look more like the nation?

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