June 03, 2003
What I'd like to see

I'm not a blog triumphalist. I think blogging, in some form, will eventually affect how people take in news, but I think that said effect will be largely limited. It takes a certain amount of effort to read blogs that turning on the tube doesn't require, and unless you're the kind of person who has a lot of time, at home or at work, in front of a computer, blogs as a source of information are likely not on your radar screen.

That said, I do think blogs are having a larger and larger effect among the people who do have the time and inclination to seek out news and views from alternate sources. I also think there are ways that the energy and diversity of blogs can be harnessed for political gain, such as this suggestion from Greg Beato:

Imagine, for example, if one hundred of the most popular liberal websites joined together to create a virtual ad network. Overnight, politicians, advocacy groups, and various other entitities would have access to a platform capable of reaching hundreds of thousands of liberals at once. And in return, the participating sites would have more money to fund their publishing efforts.

That's a pretty slick idea, and it got me thinking about another way that blogs could be used to communicate progressive ideas and voices, in particular those that don't get a whole lot of airplay now.

What I have in mind is to recruit liberal bloggers from a broader range of professions. When I look at my blogroll now, I see a lot of people from a small set of occupations: Lawyers. Economists. Techies. Writers. Students. Professors. Activists. All well and good, but somewhat limited. I'd love to see some progressive blogs started by folks in the following fields:

- Medicine: Doctors, nurses, physical therapists, physician's assistants, and so forth. Hospital and HMO administrators. Doctor's office managers. We've got a health care system in chaos and several Presidential candidates who are touting health care plans. I'd like to know their take on the various public policy initiatives that are being floated around.

- Insurance: Claims adjustors, policy underwriters, actuaries, etc. What's their opinion of tort reform? What do they know about why insurance rates seem to be skyrocketing?

- Education: Teachers, principals, guidance counselors, and so on. What's the deal with standardized testing? Does federalizing education standards represent an improvement over state and local control? The only bloggers I've seen with a background in education are conservatives.

- Law enforcement, from cops (whatever happened to Lucas Miller, whose Flatfoot articles on Slate were among my favorites?) to probation officers to judges to bailiffs to wherever else.

There are countless others, but that's a good start. In some of these cases, it would be nice just to know that a liberal or two exists within the profession. In any event, wouldn't it be nice the next time you encounter someone's standard hobbyhorse rant about education standards, or socialized medicine, or the war on drugs, to be able to point them to an essay on that topic by someone who actually lives it every day?

I'm not in a position to take action on this, so if anyone else wants to run with it, I say mazel tov. In the meantime, it's entirely possible that examples of lefty bloggers in these and other fields exist without my knowing about them. If so, please tell me about them, either in the comments or via email. I'll collect the info that I get and link to it on my sidebar like I did with the Texas political bloggers.

UPDATE: I knew I'd overlook something. The Bloviator is a generally liberal blog that writes about public health policy by someone who does public health policy for a living. My apologies to Ross for the oversight.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 03, 2003 to Blog stuff | TrackBack

A hell of a point. And a tough nut to crack, certainly - I know in law enforcement and education, finding a liberal is going to be pretty tough, at least in my experience. Very pragmatic careers.

One way to approach it would be to host a server and set up MT for folks. Cruise by the local Green party meetings and ask the leadership council to distribute the information. Do the same at libby meetings, and maybe wallflower the democrat powwows.

It would be a physical, beat the street sorta thing in that people would have to meet people who weren't into the online deal. And, fire them up about it.

A cop at the green party meetings though, Im not so optimistic - I've been to a couple of em :)

Posted by: Michael on June 3, 2003 6:31 PM

I don't think finding liberal teachers will be hard - I think many public school teachers are true believers in the system. FWIW, just about all of my school friends who went into teaching could be described as liberal or moderate.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on June 3, 2003 9:45 PM

I like to think of myself as genially liberal rather than generally liberal. :)

Thanks for the special notice. I also have an RSS feed, which might make it easier for some to follow my blog updates.

Posted by: Ross on June 4, 2003 11:21 AM