It was five years ago yesterday
, that this blog got started, largely due to the encouragement and influence of pioneer blogger Ted Barlow
(whose original blog seems to have tranformed into something else entirely
). Thanks Ted!
A lot has happened since then. But the big difference between 2002 and now is that a whole lot of talented writers have emerged. And these people have been vital towards understanding and clarifying important policy areas (Social Security is not doomed
, there are better and cheaper ways to provide healthcare, the Iraq War makes no sense, much of the economic "wisdom" you read in the papers has a pro-corporate tilt).
The liberal blogs have begun to influence the big press as well. Mostly it's fact checking, but that's almost enough. As Josh Marshall wrote, the media has become gradually more conservative over the last 25 years. That's due to a number of factors, mostly consolidation and abandonment of regulation (equal-time provision, fairness doctrine). But the result was a limited perspective on the world. Perhaps the best example of that is the Washington Post's never-ending cry that Social Security must be pared down. But we know better, thanks to the tireless efforts of bloggers who actually looked at the numbers and weren't stampeded into dismantling a program that, more than ever, is needed in a world where job changes are frequent and pensions a thing of the past. And then there's Fox News, a party organ masquerading as an objective news outlet - and influencing their cable-news peers.
Think about how dismal the situation was a little more than five years ago. The only place to read about politics was NRO and Mickey Kaus. Ugh. But that was all there was in 2001
. Thankfully, that's all changed.
Where are blogs headed? Hard to say. The recent inclusion of video does not seem to be a step forward. On the other hand, group blogs are a success (allowing a single blogger to rest from posting, but still keep visitors engaged).
A few words about right wing blogs are in order: They don't matter since right wing radio is where the action is. Who cares about Powerline when you have Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, Prager, Medved, Hewitt, Miller, Ingraham, Bennett, and Gallagher broadcasting throughout the day and night?
In any event, blogs have made a real difference, mostly for the good, and it will be interesting to see what they will look like, and how they influence the debate five years from now.
Congratulations and thanks. I drop in every day and leave a comment occasionally.
About the video. I think there will be more of it. I wonder if anyone is counting (statistically).
How about video words versus printed words?