Like a number of my blogging brethren and sistren, I received the following email from the Heritage Foundation:
You've been discovered! Tim Rutten's Media column in today's edition of
The Los Angeles Times is the latest example of the traditional media's
newfound appreciation of the growing influence of bloggers on America's
public policy debates.
Our job at The Heritage Foundation is to provide useful resources -
objective data and conservative analysis and commentary - to journalists,
analysts and commentators of all stripes. But we aren't quite sure how
to do this with the blogger community.
So this email is an invitation for you to participate in an experiment.
For the next month, we will periodically email to you short notices
about significant Heritage studies, publications and events. At the end of
the month, let us know if these notices were helpful. If not, tell us
at any time, and you won't get any more. If you find you only want those
notices regarding specific issue areas - foreign policy, welfare
reform, etc. - we'll limit our future emails to you thusly. If you want to
continue receiving all of the notices, let us know that, too.
Regardless of your perspective on the issues of the day, we are
confident you will find Heritage materials useful in your effort to provide
the kind of incisive, immediate and thoughtful commentary and analysis
made possible by blogging.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Laura Bodwell Mark Tapscott
Marketing Manager Director, Media Services
The Heritage Foundation The Heritage Foundation
I don't plan on replying to this email, which if I'm reading the text correctly means they assume I've opted in for their press releases. That's fine - I'm actually moderately curious about this, though for the life of me I can't figure out why they just didn't set up their own blog instead. I can just about guarantee it would have gotten a better bang for their buck (and a lot less snarkiness) than scattershooting email to a bunch of people they know nothing about.
I'm willing to attribute Heritage's ineptitude to inexperience, but what in the world is Doc Searls thinking?
Not too coincidentally, Heritage is a conservative think tank. On the whole, conservative thinkers are far more clueful about the Web and its authority structure than their liberal counterparts as both the Rutten piece (which was almost entirely about warbloggers) and this emailing attest.
Liberalism may not be absent from the blogging world, but it's certainly impotent. The only voices on the left with any firepower on Web are Michael Moore and Robert Byrd, and neither one of them blog (though Moore uses the Web quite intentionally, which Byrd does not).
Okay, there's Eric Alterman.
Want to see how little peaceblogging actually counts? Wagging the Tale of War, which I wrote yesterday, got a whopping eight inbound links on Technorati. Total visits for the day were 1908, which is somewhere between half and a third of what I get on the average Wednesday. As a percentage of my Technorati Cosmos (all the inbound links in the last 24 hours or so), my peace post hardly did any better than two other posts Sixth Column (about blogging itself) and RSS for Webcasts and lost by one link to Book support.
My point isn't about me. I'm just in a position to witness first-hand the complete absence of a peaceblogging movement. There's no Glenn Reynolds on blogging's left. No Andrew Sullivan or Charles Johnson. Even Brian Linse's Lefty Blogroll is thick with bloggers who not only support the war, but are pro-war in general.
As for your claim that the lefty blog world is "thick" with folks who support this war, all I can say is that if you'd kept scrolling down, you could have clicked on any number of links to bloggers who have loudly condemned the invasion of Iraq. A little bit more of that "research" thing I mentioned in the previous paragraph might have led you to this collaborative effort, which is written and maintained by lefty and libertarian types.
Finally, you're right when you say this "isn't about me". Perhaps one reason why your Wagging the Tale of War post got so few links on Technorati is because the majority of liberal bloggers don't read you. (For all I know, this is true of libertarian bloggers as well. I'm not very familiar with that community, so I'd rather not make any sweeping statements about it.) I can't say I'm surprised by that. Better luck next time.Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 24, 2003 to Blog stuff | TrackBack