Monday, July 23, 2007

Solving the problem of Blogger's undue influence on politicians

An under-discussed part of the WP article Muscling a Web Site Into a Social Movement was it's reference to local politicians being influenced by Greg. First, excerpts from the article:

In the past 18 months, Letiecq has leveraged his blog to help elect allies, kill off opponents' campaigns and shape local public policy. Peers call his site the most influential local blog in Virginia.
...
Tribbett said this locally oriented approach represents "the future of blogging." Because local officials lack an outlet for their views, Tribbett explained, they are intimidated by a blogger with a large and loyal following able to flood their offices with calls or "put boots on the ground."

"It's amusing to see local officials pushed around by a blogger," Tribbett said.


I'll make this short and sweet. To those who worry that a blogger like Greg could use false, misleading posts and hyped rhetoric to cow politicians into doing what he wants, there is a simple solution.

Elect politicians who aren't intimidated by the likes of Greg. If Greg can't police his own blog for facts and civility, we can punish elected officials who give him too much access and credibility. I've long chided local politicians for associating too closely with Greg's site. I read it and comment there (or I used to), but I'm not a public official. I even helped Greg with information from time to time.

My point is that the answer wouldn't be to shut Greg down, or censor him, or block his access to stuff. Even trash blogs play a role, by bringing to the front idle gossip so we can discuss it's merits for example.

But we can admonish politicians who support Greg's brand of political discourse.

1 comment:

David said...

Charles,

I couldn't agree more. "Amusing" is hardly the right word.