Probably the worst comment I heard about bloggers comes from Lee Siegel (no relation to me) of The New Republic:
"It's a bizarre phenomenon, the blogosphere. It radiates democracy's dream of full participation but practices democracy's nightmare of populist crudity, character-assassination, and emotional stupefaction. It's hard fascism with a Microsoft face."
"Crudity, character-assassination, and emotional stupefaction?" True - of some bloggers. Just as true of some establishment media stars. What would he call it when establishment figures do it? Soft fascism?
The guy is driven by jealousy and resentment. This is obvious when he claims that most commentary of bloggers
"... requires no special training or skills, and ... attempts to parlay street-fighting skills into fame and riches."
"Parlay street-fighting skills into fame and riches?" Many bloggers don't care about fame and fortune. This is not what you can say about many establishment media types.
Powerful media elite feel threatened by bloggers on the Internet. As a result they get emotional. And everybody knows you can't think straight when you are filled with emotion. The blogosphere has been called the liberal answer to talk radio. No, the blogosphere is not liberal. It is not conservative. It is not susceptible to the usual populist messages either.
The blogosphere is filled with ordinary people, who are tired of being lectured to by the political elites, who do not seem to have a clue as to what they, the bloggers, want. These are citizens who are trying to express themselves, thereby sending a message to those in power. That's it.
Bloggers are not journalists. They must rely on good journalists to obtain facts. Once in possession of the facts, they can express themselves as easily as any establishment pundit.
Will bloggers modify politics? You bet. In a big way. Instead of establishment Democrats taking positions that must be followed by the netroots, netroots ideas will push up to the leaders. The same will eventually happen to the Republicans, even though they love hierarchy. Many more citizens will become Independents. Ordinary citizens will have a greater political voice than ever.
KOS has been criticized as building a power center. He claims this is not so and I believe him. The main reason DailyKOS is so popular is that any person can use its facilities to post a message - it's called a diary - that will be read by visitors to the site. This means that a man who is unemployed and does not have his own computer, can go to a library, turn on the Internet, click onto DailyKOS, and then write an article that will be published and possibly read by a prominent political leader. It does not cost him a dime.
Though we have had a democracy since 1796, the little guy never had much sway. Powerful people chose candidates in both parties for a long time. Then came the primaries, which were more democratic. However, in the last analysis, leaders of the parties had the major say in the choice of candidates. Now, people who have never had a voice, have a voice.
In a word, citizens blog to gain political access.