Behold the power of the blog

Bloggers are proving their worth to public discussion all the time. Skeptics should give them a try.

The media are changing. If you want to know how media are changing, ask former CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan. Jordan resigned because of the changing media arena. Dan Rather knows, too. He went head to head with a new breed of amateur journalists called bloggers, and lost.

Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., was vilified because bloggers brought to the national media’s attention his statements at Republican North Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond’s birthday. Because of this, he eventually resigned from his post as Senate majority leader. Bloggers delivered this year, and some very important people felt the sting.

For the most part, people don’t like change. In numerous discussions I’ve had with my friends, most are supremely skeptical of bloggers and other forms of digital media.

There was recently a parody piece in the pages of The Minnesota Daily discrediting blogs. I don’t understand the antagonism – why are the mainstream media, and their nearly religious followers, afraid of a bunch of guys in their pajamas?

Not all of the mainstream media are antagonistic toward bloggers; they were ABC News’ “People of the Year.” Many members of the mainstream media are getting their own blogs. Bloggers were invited to this year’s Democratic and Republican national conventions. Even the attempts at ridicule are turned into aspects of blogger pride; I gladly accept the moniker as a member of the “Pajamahadeen.”

But I understand how some people might have difficulty entering the blogosphere. When I first got started, blogs seemed incoherent; they didn’t have an obvious purpose. I would go to a blog Web site, and there were links and comments about subjects. It was confusing, but once you get the “feel” or the “flow” for a certain blog, it becomes enjoyable.

If you don’t know how to get started, I can help. If you’re a politico like me, I suggest starting at two blogs that are hubs with connections to other, more-focused, blogs. If you’re looking for right-wing blogs, start at hughhewitt.com. For left-leaning blogs, start at newleftblogs.blogspot.com.

Quite frankly, I do not spend a lot of time reading lefty blogs, so you’re on your own as far as specifics go. But there are a number of blogs I visit at least weekly, and they deserve special mention.

The first is dalythoughts.com, a political blog done by Gerry Daly. He kept me up to date on election information, including painstaking details about polls and their results. Now he puts together a fine political blog that proves his immense knowledge of all things political.

Another important blog is powerlineblog.com. It was named Time Magazine’s “Blog of the Year,” and for good reason. Last year, Power Line took the lead in the question about the “60 Minutes” documents that were later found to be forgeries, and thus committed Dan Rather to retirement.

They are local Minnesota folks, and they are also on 1280 AM The Patriot on Saturdays, starting at noon.

If politics aren’t your deal, there is still hope. IMAO.us is a hilarious blog, but it is a bit political. I’d also recommend thesneeze.com. The guys at thesneeze.com do some horrific things to themselves. It’s funny.

And if you’re ever bored, spend some time on fark.com. I hope this helps gets you started, whether you are a stubborn member of the mainstream media, or you’re just someone skeptical of blogs. I hope you give it a try.

Bloggers are best described by Hugh Hewitt: “They are cyber Sherpas, they take the vast amounts of information found on the net and turn it into a consumable form.” Hewitt is completely right. But not only are bloggers important in taking the wild currents of the information super highway and making it digestible, they are also important to the bibliophiles. Bloggers link their sources in the text; if you want to see where they get their information, you can. Most blogs also allow you to give instant feedback, normally in a comments section. So, if they’re wrong, and you catch them, there is a direct process to challenge them.

The discussion continues, and you’re involved. How often can you talk back to Peter Jennings? I say bring on the future, bring on the bloggers, pajamas and all.

Marty Andrade welcomes comments at [email protected]