The Power of Bloggers

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[Peter Suderman]

Thanks to this story, Minnesota political bloggers can proudly lift their laptops above their heads and, like button-down internet He-Men, bellow, "I have the power!" So good for them! It's pretty neat to get a big story in the New York Times about how awesome and influential you are.

But I'm not sure there's really all that much of a story here. The piece is titled "Senate Race in Minnesota Shows Power of Bloggers." I suppose that's not exactly wrong. But what it really shows is the power of the news media and journalism -- which is just not all that big a deal. As fellow guest-blogger Tim Lee told me in an interview last week, it's a mistake to "confuse journalism with a particular technology of news distribution." So it's true, as the story says, that the success of these blogs in getting out particular political messages has shown that "no Minnesota candidate this fall can afford to ignore Mr. Brodkorb, or the rest of the state’s universe of Web sites devoted to local politics." But mostly it's just true that no political candidate in the country can afford to ignore any news media interested in his or her race -- whether that means blogs and podcasts, local newspapers and television, or national magazines and syndicated talk shows.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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