Sunday, January 11, 2004

“What’s A Blog?”

The roundtable discussion on Meet The Press this morning was a discussion of the “new media” and its impact on the 2004 election. At one point, Tim Russert, who has no problem hiding his Luddite views of anything more advanced than a crystal set, turned to Chuck Todd of The Hotline and asked him, “Now, Chuck, what is a blog?” (He asked Chuck because he’s the youngest of the roundtable and has a goatee, so I assume Tim thinks he’s hip to the jive.)

Chuck patiently explained that “blog is short for web log – ‘blog’ – and it’s an on-line journal.” He showed clips of the Dean, Clark, and Bush blogs and explained the process to the rest of the panel, consisting of David Broder of the Washington Post, Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times, and Roger Simon of U.S. News & World Report. The consensus was that blogging was a fad and would not have much impact on the race – Heaven forbid anything should threaten the old-guard press – but they did acknowledge that blogging was “energizing the grassroots.” Roger Simon was the most dismissive of blogging, saying that most of the blogs he’d read consisted of “I woke up, decided to blow off my chem class, so here’s what I thought of last night’s episode of ‘Friends.'” Send that man a link to TLC! (Just for the record, I never took a chemistry class, and I haven’t watched “Friends” – on purpose – for a long time.)

Well, fine. While blogging may be new, it is definitely finding a voice and a place at the table, and just as newspapers in the 1930’s dismissed radio as an “invention” and did the same for television in the 1950’s, the internet – and blogging – is a force to be reckoned with. Just ask Trent Lott.