Thursday, January 05, 2006

Michael Barone on How Blogs Changed American Politics

Writing in US News and World Report, Barone declares that blogs helped Bush and the Republicans by discrediting the mainstream media, while simultaneously moving Democrats to the fringes of the left, rather than back to the center:
The right blogosphere's greatest triumph came after CBS's Dan Rather on September 8 reported that Bush had shirked duty in the National Guard and the network posted its 1972-dated documents on the Web. Within four hours, a blogger on pointed out that they looked as though they had been created in Microsoft Word; the next morning, Scott Johnson of relayed the comment and asked for expert views. Charles Johnson of showed that the documents exactly matched one he produced in Word using default settings. CBS defended the documents for 11 days but finally confessed error and eased Rather out as anchor. MSM tried to defeat Bush but instead only discredited itself. The Pew Center's post-election poll showed a sharp decline in the credibility of newspapers and broadcast TV and a sharp increase in reliance on cable news, especially Fox News, and radio.

So what hath the blogosphere wrought? The left blogosphere has moved the Democrats off to the left, and the right blogosphere has undermined the credibility of the Republicans' adversaries in Old Media. Both changes help Bush and the Republicans.