Blogs in the MSM

Today's The Hill has a story on how the Democratic Leadership, Nancy Pelosi in particular, are interacting with the blogosphere.

When she posted to [DailyKos] last Wednesday, describing her resolution calling for ethics investigations, readers offered excoriating reviews: “"She is out of touch and dragging down the party," wrote one. "Pelosi has zero credibility with me,"” averred another.

But even as blog readers were pressing the submit button on their most withering opprobrium, Pelosi was preparing to take her House Democrats a few steps farther into the blogosphere.

Last week, her office launched three new blog-friendly efforts. It established an RSS feed for the House Democrats, [xml url here] a kind of clearinghouse for distributing press releases, floor speeches and even sound and video to Internet surfers. It started sending out a daily e-mail to Democratic members summarizing the day'’s prominent blog posts. And Pelosi began making weekly guest posts at Daily Kos.

Her overtures to the blogs, even ones like Daily Kos where the largely liberal crowd finds the San Francisco representative too accommodating to centrists, exemplify the love-hate relationship politicians have with leading blogs. On the one hand, the blogs offer an eager audience and echo chamber for Democratic messages, and a pool of potential volunteers and campaign contributions.
The piece was largely fluff, though the bit about the Democratic Party starting an RSS feed for speeches, press releases, even sound and video clips is encouraging.

The Hill goes on to say that blogs are analogous to direct mail and talk radio, forms of communication Republicans have dominated since the 1970s. I would contend that this comparison goes only so far. Direct mail is one-way communication. Talk radio, with the ability for listeners to call in, is more like a student-teacher relationship - one party holds all the power and authority and interacts with his or her audience only when desired. Blogs, on the other hand, are a conversation. Granted, one person (or one person's IT staff) has the ability to remove comments, but after the initial post, the politician has no control over the message. At the same time, blogs allow far more interaction between politician and constituent.

But you knew that.

It's nice to see parts of the establishment media noticing blogs, especially when they aren't attempting to show them in a negative light. It's nice to see that parts of the Democratic Leadership are engaging bloggers even though those same bloggers don't always have the nicest things to say about Party Leadership.

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