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March 14, 2005

What Blogging Has Done For (To?) Me « Blogging »

The other day my friend sent me an article excerpt about the Bankruptcy Bill, mainly just a quote from Sen. Schumer. I really don't like the guy for a number of reasons, and he is one of the people who I don't trust to make a simple statement of fact when politics are involved.

I admitted I didn't know much about the subject, but that my initial reaction was that it wasn't as simple as Sen. Schumer was saying: that Republicans passed the bill to stick it to the little guy and let the rich off the hook.

After returning home, I started researching, and found that the truth behind the bill was actually pretty bad, just not the aspect my friend was upset about (in my opinion). I went to Google News and was able to get a good idea of the issues involved just by reading the headlines and the first few lines of the article Google always includes. From those, I saw that while the Bill made it harder to file for bankruptcy, it did nothing to address the way credit companies make it easy to get too far into debt. It did alot to reduce the supply of bankruptcy for individuals, but nothing to reduce the need for it in the first place.

Then I saw several other bloggers address the issue; some were people I respect, some I'd never heard of. But without even having to turn on a TV, I was able to gather facts, commentary, and opinion about an issue that really hadn't had much coverage on the national stage until last Tuesday.

The left side of the blogosphere accuses the right side of being an 'echo chamber' and 'taking marching orders from the RNC fax machine'. The right says the same thing about the left...interestingly, the only actual evidence I've seen is that the DNC does send out faxes...and it is also true that there are more singular/ultimate opinion leaders on the left side (Kos, Atrios on top, with a number of second-tier opinionists like Drum, Yglesias, O-dub, Pendagan (sp?), Kausfiles) than on the right side (where we have independent opinionists like Bill Whittle, Dean Esmay, Charles Johnson, Ace O' Spades, Allah Pundit, Bill INDC, the Llama Butchers, Glenn Reynolds, Wizbang Blog, Kim and Connie du Toit, Baldilocks, Michele Catalano (when she's feeling political), Vodka Pundit, Rather Biased, Blogs for Bush, JawaReport, Q and O Blog...and I'm sure I'm missing a dozen that are equally as big and important. None stand out as the place to get information, except for Glenn Reynolds perhaps (and he does less opinion and more linking. All of the people on the right side can and have become the focal point of the blogosphere when they hit on something important or newsworthy.

But I digress.

The point is that within a few minutes, I can scan and get diverse opinions from an extremely wide range of viewpoints. I can check out the extreme conservative, the classicly liberal, the religious conservative, the libertarian, the social moderate, and the straight conservative viewpoint and what they think of the issue and feel very confident that I have a good idea of what issues are at stake. I don't have to adopt any specific viewpoint, and rarely do. Even apart from a possible/probable liberal bias in print and broadcast news media, I could never get such a range of opinion and reaction in the old media. But the scope and range I can cover in just a few minutes means that it is very difficult for me to get caught up in one just erroneous opinion.

This applies to all sorts of issues. I can see that Kansas City signed a Safety away from Miami, and over the next few days I can hear what the sportscasters think of the guy and his prospects for improving the defense. I can more easily remain a Kansas City Chiefs' fan no matter where I live. Sure, that's the internet...but what cements my status as a fan is that I can talk about the Chiefs with other Chiefs fans around the whole world, no matter where I am.

And when I encounter some issue or news item that elicits a strong reaction from me, I can research it and expand my understanding, without fear of mistakenly swallowing misinformation.

Blogging has absolutely revolutionized the way I get information and news about the world I live in.

Posted by Nathan at 06:15 AM | Comments (0)
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