- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blog hype

“With the completion of YearlyKos, the first convention for the 500,000 unique visitors the [DailyKos] site claims to get daily, bloggers now face the problem all outsider movements encounter when they go mainstream. Can the astute elements of their critique survive their newfound legitimacy? Or, to put the matter somewhat differently, can the bloggers remain jerks to the press, when the press is busy swooning over them?

“There is no doubt about the swoon — the mainstream media is now as taken with bloggers as it was with John McCain in January 2000. YearlyKos swarmed with the top writers in the mainstream political press establishment. ‘Meet the Press’ invited [DailyKos creator Markos] Moulitsas on to talk for a segment about blogger power. …

“But political reporters are notorious suckers for this kind of novel new underground movement — soccer moms, NASCAR dads, exurban voters. Journalists respond especially gullibly to the arrival of new constituencies with an air of prairie-fire authenticity. Some of these movements, like the Proposition 13 tax revolt in California, turn out to be as transformative as the avatars predict, and more so. But a larger number of them — like the “Rock the Vote” youth registration movement — turn out to be massively overblown, hype phenomena with little lasting impact.”

— John Dickerson, writing on “The Markos Regime,” Monday in Slate at www.slate.com

Blog gripe

“I … launched my blog (or shall I say ‘warblog,’ which is what I named it, apparently coining a term I’ve come to loathe) five days after the September 11 massacre. …

“‘What do warbloggers have in common, that most pundits do not?’ I enthused. ‘I’d say a yen for critical thinking, a sense of humor that actually translates into people laughing out loud, a willingness to engage (and encourage) readers, a hostility to the Culture War and other artifacts of the professionalized left-right split of the 1990. …’

“Man, was I wrong. …

“The Culture War, which seemed to take a back seat to the genuine article in those traumatized days of late 2001, has come back with a vengeance, with current-events webloggers taking a central role in the hysterical Red/Blue scrums over Terri Schiavo’s comatose body, Janet Jackson’s exposed nipple, and the pressing national security issue of whether people of the same sex should be able to obtain a marriage certificate.”

— Matt Welch, writing on “Farewell to Warblogging,” in the April issue of Reason

Dads matter

“Do dads make a difference?

“Judging by the way they’re often depicted in pop culture, the answer would seem to be no. From the big screen to the small screen, from books to advertisements, fathers are mostly bumblers, abusers or dullards.

“When they’re around at all, that is: Many a plot revolves around deadbeat dads who are simply gone, and no one seems the worst for it. …

“Well, with Father’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to explode this so-called conventional wisdom for what it is: a vicious lie. In fact, a wealth of social-science data … shows the opposite to be true: Loving fathers bring a vital dose of love, security and stability to their wives and children, and they make a very positive difference, indeed.”

— Rebecca Hagelin, writing on “Life with — and without — father,” Tuesday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

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