A reader writes:

Reading your essay "Why I Blog" has forced me to reflect more intensively on how exactly history will be written, particularly electoral history, in the future. The 2008 election is historic for a myriad of reasons, but perhaps the most significant outcome of this election cycle will be the unprecedented amount of real time commentary over the course of the election.

But how do people address blogs and new media sources (youtube, etc.) as historic documents? As I am "writing and thinking out loud" via this email, the line between historical actor and commentator is becoming blurred and represents both incredible challenges and opportunities for us. My sense is that it is impossible to treat blogs in a similar way as newspaper articles, editorials, or memoirs.

The blogger not only assists in the dissemination of hopefully factual information as events happen, but necessarily writes themselves and their readers into entries. Although all material is in essence 'peer reviewed' in a very loose sense of the term, all blogs are not created equal - another problem. One concrete example of this "blurring": As this election cycle has developed, one might have a sense of that the contemporary "conservative" party was entering into a stage of identity crisis. The blogging tit-for-tat amongst individuals such as Christopher Buckley, Kathleen Parker, and Rich Lowry clearly demonstrates this to be the case in a way that a dead wood version of National Review could not accurately portray. These incidents might have eventually come to light through memoirs or perhaps access to letters posthumously, but these commentators have become as much actual actors within the Republican Party at the moment precisely through such media forms. Whether or not there is any historical significance is yet to be determined, however, my sense is that it will be.

So, I'm curious, how do you see your blog as a potential historical document?

Yes, of course. What weight will be given this blog over others will be for historians to judge. But, sure, the Dish will be one way for future generations to figure out what on earth happened in America in the Bush-Cheney years.

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