Political Blogs

The term of "blog" seems to have started around 1997 when it became popular to update a personal website regularly with commentary, but the idea of a political blog really boomed after the attacks of 9/11 when people wanted a place to voice their opinions about the potentials of war and their feelings about terrorism.[2] A political blog is considered a type of blog that comments on politics or one that is written by a politician and/or their campaign staff.

Politically Focused Blogs

When it comes to politically focused blogs, there is often a clearly defined political bias in the commentary—in the US this is either a liberal or conservative bias. According to wikipedia, "the increasing popularity of political blogs by independent commentators has led to their adoption by media companies, politicians and other organizations hoping to be seen to be more accountable to their audiences."[1] In fact, as some "A-list" blogs such as the Daily Kos and AndrewSullivan.com started to attract a lot of readership with their discussions of American foreign and domestic policy, media institutions and political elites caught on and also started to adopt blogging.[2] Some political leaders have greatly benefited from broad audience base the internet provides. One such example is Howard Dean of Vermont. Dean raised unprecedented campaign funds via the internet through the use of grassroots blogs and his own website. On the contrary, some politicians have greatly suffered due to the increased exposure political blogs provide. United States President George Bush is frequently followed by blog sites online. His follies and everyday mishaps are recorded without restraint. In most cases, they serve as comic relief and are seemingly harmless to the Bush administration.[1] Above all, political blogs have unquestionably shaped the political process and are becoming part of mainstream media.[2]

Criticism of Blogs

There has been some criticism of blogs as a source of political information. Bloggers tend to link only to those who agree with their political stances. In a study by Adamic and Glance, bloggers linked to blogs with contrasting political views only 15% of the time.[3] Because bloggers tend to focus only on their viewpoints, blogs may present biased information. As a result, readers may need to rely on many different blogs (rather than only one or two blogs) in order to get well-rounded and thorough information. However, the general public does not seem to notice a problem with bias. In a Pew Research Center survey, most people said that there was no obvious liberal or conservative tilt in political information presented on blogs.[4]

Blogs by Politicians

Some of the more notable blogs include

1. Wikipedia. "Political Blog: United States." Retrieved May 12, 2008 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_blog#United_States
2. Wallsten, K. "Political Blogs and the Bloggers Who Blog Them: Is the Political Blogosphere and Echo Chamber?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. Setember 1, 2005. http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/0/4/1/5/5/p41556_index.html
3. Adamic, L. and Glance, N. "The Political Blogosphere and the 2004 Election: Divided They Blog." Conference on Knowledge Discovery in Data. 2005. http://portal.acm.org/ft_gateway.cfm?id=1134277&type=pdf&coll=GUIDE&dl=GUIDE&CFID=67756524&CFTOKEN=46260614
4. The Pew Research Center. "Summary of Findings: Internet's Broader Role in Campaign 2008." The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. January 11, 2008. http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=384
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