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May 14, 2004

And Never the Twain Shall Meet

For some time, we've been wondering about the proper function of blogs. Should blogs attempt to emulate what newspapers would be without all that liberal bias, i.e., a digest and analysis of all the day's important news, without regard to partisan rooting interest? Not to say that blogs would be objective in their analysis, but they would be objective in their presentation of subject matter, i.e., they wouldn't just ignore topics and developments which undermine the blogger's pet cause.

Or should they continue being what they largely are now-- a vehicle for partisan reinforcement, a way of scoring points on one's opponents by constantly, and exclusively, linking news and analysis that supports the writer's and readers' beliefs?

We were thinking about that because the other day we read that Kerry leads Bush by seven points in the crucial, almost-can't-win-without-it Republican-leaning swing state of Ohio.

We didn't link the story at the time. Not because we were actively trying to suppress it or anything (we wish we could suppress stories, as the liberal media does!), but because it's depressing.

And because it's no fun to write about. There's seldom any good analysis when it comes to bad news. All we can think of is trite formulations like "Things will get better," "Just wait until the economy grows a little more," etc. That's rote, kneejerk nyah-nyah stuff; but it's the best we can come up with in such situations.

So we don't bother.

And neither do most bloggers. Instapundit hasn't blogged the Ohio poll yet (at least a search of his home page yields no hits on "Ohio"; if he posted it under "Bad News for Bush" or the like, we missed it).

Spherical liberal Oliver Willis -- a one-man blogosphere, as it were -- on the other hand blogs the Ohio poll, but for some reason completely misses the SurveyUSA poll showing Kerry ahead by just one point in absolutely-gotta-have-it California.

This may be just the way it is. After all, most of us are doing this with our free time; we naturally gravitate to news we consider hopeful. News we can use as a springboard for an "In yo' face, feller!" shout.

But this results in leftie and rightwing bloggers simply discussing entirely different subjects. We've grown away from arguing about subjects; now, more often than not, we're not even arguing anymore, because we're not even dealing with the same fact-patterns. The left yammers exclusively about Abu Ghraib. Boo-hoo-hoo. The right tends to want to talk about Nick Berg's execution.

The left blathers endlessly about Valerie Plame, AWOL, and the "Real Saddam Hussein," the Butcher of the Jordanian Banking System Adnan Chalabi.

To be fair, the right actually tends to engage in these issues (the media being left-dominated, we can't avoid these issues to the extent the left can avoid our issues), but we spend more time talking about Kerry's dubious Purple Hearts.

Hyperpartisan nitwit Josh Marshall made what we considered an amazingly cynical and self-serving declaration a few months back. (Sorry, no link; we looked for it but could not find it. But he wrote it.) He announced that he would no longer even bother refuting what he termed the "lies" of the right. Such was beneath him; and doing so distracted him from his important work as an Internet Detective seeking out the facts in the Valerie Plame affair.

We thought that was a pretty self-revealing statement. He was announcing that he wouldn't even bother attempting to engage the other side's arguments at all; henceforth, he would just ignore them. It was Josh Marshall's Liberal Bubble-Blog Manifesto.

But, as arrogant a statement as that was, we have to admit it is largely just an admission of what most of us to lesser extents. Yes, we ourselves attempt to refute the arguments of the left; but most of the time we just ignore them.

Now, we know that everyone who reads this blog reads an awful lot of other stuff, and almost certainly knows all the day's headlines from other sources. But, that said, we're wondering whether blogs, in order to become a more mature medium, should do a better job of actually engaging the other side.

We don't know. Maybe the best solution would be to have a fairly objective "Headlines" section which just relates the day's biggest headlines, like does.

Then again, that seems like an awful lot of work.

Forget we mentioned it.

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posted by Ace at 04:08 PM

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