Monday, July 26, 2004

Convention Blogging Update

It’s getting so that there may be more attention paid to the bloggers at the DNC than the “mainstream” media.  The list of bloggers is impressive; the most comprehensive listing I’ve seen is at Iddybud, where Jude has listed all of the blogs, the credentialed bloggers, those who were credentialed and then “disinvited” because (so they say) of a lack of space, and others such as delegates who will be blogging from the convention, including my Faithful Correspondent.

I guess the big question is what will blogging contribute to the convention?  What dimension can it bring?  That’s hard to say.  When the first coventions were televised in 1952, it didn’t seem to make a lot of difference, according to historians – the conventions went on as they always had, and back then, when there was actually some spontaneity and news generated from them such as the battle between Robert Taft and Dwight Eisenhower for the nomination, it was not, as Garry Trudeau called it in 1972, a study in foregone conclusions.  By 1956 the parties were paying attention to TV, and that’s when they started to put a pretty face on the nuts-and-bolts of the covention business; timing their hot speakers for prime time and getting the attention of the voters in between roll call votes with “spontaneous” demonstrations.  But since the 1968 disaster in Chicago, conventions have been scripted down to the last pop of the last balloon and the over-the-air networks have reduced their coverage to such that you’re more likely to catch a rerun of The O.C. than you are of convention coverage.

As one droll pundit noted today, the conventions on TV are four-day party infomercials, and I can’t argue with that.  If, however, there can be anything added to it by bloggers who, it is to be hoped, will not be following the script but looking at the human moments – the discussions in the platform meetings, the chants from the “free speech zones,” or the take on the whole experience by someone who’s never been to one of these parties before, it will add sense and dimension.  And maybe – just maybe – it might make a difference.  Here’s hoping.