March 27, 2011

"[I]t's time for me to face up to the fact that the political blogosphere is a near complete bore."

"There are two reasons for this boredom, as far as I am concerned. The first is as follows: Six years ago, the political blogosphere was not dominated by the money and resources of mainstream media and professional political advocacy groups. Now it is. The political blogosphere has now acquired all of the defects (and none of the virtues) of mainsteam and advocacy media. With money has come self-censorship and intellectual dishonesty."

68 comments:

EnigmatiCore said...

Most of the same big names from six years ago are still the big names.

The Crack Emcee said...

Wow - talk about accuracy! I try to tell 'em, but don't always have the words. Not my field:

Open it up!

rhhardin said...

I never heard of him.

Coketown said...

He's right. I like independent bloggers just fine, but WaPo, NYT, and Atlantic bloggers are a total bore. Media companies saw a rise of interest in blogs around 2003 and got on the bandwagon, focusing on and marketing the personality of their writers rather than the quality of their writers.

What they don't realize is that most journalists don't have marketable personalities. Do you think Ezra Klein and Megan McArdle are likable people? Not really. They're stuffy, overbearing, pedantic, and irritating. Thus, the meteoric fall in mainstream publications' audiences. Their bet is that there's enough stuffy sophisticates out there who don't mind boring personalities. There aren't even enough to support Slate, let alone the Washington Post!

Trooper York said...

He hasn't been the same since Mr. Wilson chased him off of his lawn.

Chip S. said...

I never heard of him.

He's bizarro Norma Desmond: "I'm still small. It's blogs that got big."

Stephen said...

rhhardin,
P(re)JTV

Trooper York said...

"What they don't realize is that most journalists don't have marketable personalities"


I know the really cool bloggers don't want to work for magizines. That's why the Crack Emcee turned "Blacks and Blondes" and I told "Jugs" that I was too busy.

Third Coast said...

Read Dennis a lot, but I think he got bored. He's a full time CPA and had gotten involved in other projects as well. Obviously a very smart individual. Was one of the original Pajamas Media guys but apparently got screwed over by Roger Simon and his initial blogging displayed a lot of bitterness toward Simon. I guess his heart just wasn't in it anymore.

The Crack Emcee said...

Oh, and along with stupidity, don't forget cowardice!

There's a LOT of intellectual cowardice out there.

Maguro said...

His stories about Pajamas Media were pretty funny, but I never got the sense he had much else to say.

AJ Lynch said...

wv =fauck [what you do with a hawtie]

John Myste said...

Funny you should write this. I was just contemplating writing an article on how both liberals and conservatives are completely intellectually dishonest and act as Emerson's "retained attorneys" for their cause. I am a liberal who is often characterized as a conservative (an insult) by other liberals for being intellectually honest.

Henry said...

Yup.

edutcher said...

Notice how badly he's been missed.

TWM said...

He's right. But mostly I find the big bloggers boring because it's all circular reporting, with little to no original viewpoints or really interesting writing. Add in that about 1/3 of any big blogger's posts are fights with other bloggers and it really is the same thing day after day.

Now some specialty bloggers are still interesting. You know, bloggers who are engineers or in the military or have a particular area of expertise that makes them unique, but the big-hitters are all saying the same thing.

And there's a lot of small bloggers out there that are interesting, but they are hard to find becaue the big-hitters are only getting bigger and pushing them out.

That's one reason I read Ann so much. She is one of the few well-known blogger who find an interesting angle to the stuff everyone else is just regurgitating.

PatHMV said...

The closest thing to institutional bloggers I read in The Corner at National Review Online. I don't consider Politico and others truly to be blogs, but media operations.

Ann Althouse said...

@PatHMV Yes, this is the whole point. There are true bloggers and there are reporters who are either trying to break into the big time or assigned to keep up a blog by their employers. These reporters aren't true bloggers. Of course, they are boring. But blogging is a great and beautiful thing if you actually do it. It's not boring at all. But who's really doing it?

Big Mike said...

Just so you don't bail on us, Professor.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Why would someone quit blogging because other people are boring? Seems like you would have an easier time getting an audience.

AJ Lynch said...

The blogosphere has created quite a few stars and unique, smart voices. But the MSM refuses to acknowledge most. If the MSM was smart and interested in making a profit, it would have hired a few of these stars and replaced their own stodgy fossils. Or it would hve at least interviewed these stars for their magazine type shows. Has 60 minutes ever tried to book Glenn Reynolds for its show? It would be fscinating to ask him how he is so productive. Or Althouse as well? How do you blog evry day for what six years?

The only blogger that I can think of who went sorta bigtime MSM-wise is loopy Andy Sullivan [and that figures when you think of how the MSM thinks]. He is on sunday's Chris Mathews fairly often.

FloridaSteve said...

"Industry" bloggers suck. That's why I never read them. If someone is relying on the clearinghouses for their web info then whay don't they just watch the evening news. It's about as useful.

Michael K said...

There are blogs that produce a lot of information. This one has been the best source on the Madison protests that we have. I also read specialist blogs in medicine and biology. Mickey Kaus is succinct and to the point. I don't have the patience to read lengthy opinion pieces unless they are very very good. There are all sorts of blogs but finding them can be a problem. I can see where a general purpose blog could end up being boring.

Freeman Hunt said...

I didn't realize that anyone considered those media outlet political "blogs" to really be blogs.

Of course they're bad. They're as bad and boring as the same media outlets' political coverage.

rcocean said...

Dennis should really change his name to "Dennis the Bore".

That's the real reason he's quitting, no one reading him, and there's no reason Why anyone should.

Besides just being a boring writer Dennis had three major problems. One, he was a Republican small businessman constantly writing about economics. His viewpoint was always predictable and never insightful, just Chamber of Commerce CV.

Two, he wasn't really interested in anything else. Three, he constantly acting as if the blog was a big chore and we all should be grateful he was writing for free.

IOW, lack of passion + no insight + no specialized knowledge = no readers.

Just my two cents.

rcocean said...

Correction:

lack of passion + no insight + no specialized knowledge = no readers (unless you're Bob Herbert).

TWM said...

"But blogging is a great and beautiful thing if you actually do it. It's not boring at all. But who's really doing it?"

I'm pretty sure you are. Crack Emcee is, too. Ace does. But many of the smaller blogs I used to read have joined bigger groups like PJ Media.

ricpic said...

Dennis the Peasant is a peasant snob.

Bob Ellison said...

"These reporters aren't true bloggers."

Back when the term "blog" was new, that would have been considered a pretentious statement.

A blog is what someone wants to write, right? DtP did it for a while and now thinks it's not worthwhile, not because of him but because of other forces. He's entitled to that opinion. Many have blogged and failed to acquire an audience. Rationalization is therapeutic.

The Crack Emcee said...

I get impressed by the political analysis on Hot Air, sometimes, but most of the blogosphere needs a kick in the ass. I can see Glenn Reynolds coming from a mile away (Dr. Helen can be different - many of the women can be different) so, like pretty much all the rest, he's only unconventional compared to liberal blogs - but not so much different underneath. (His top link, right now, is informing us our emails at work are being read. What? Am I brain dead?) It really is a closed loop of nothing - but with lots of page views.

it serves them well. What it does for conservatism, or (most of all) solving our problems, I can't see.

vbspurs said...

It's been argued that blogging turned Andrew Sullivan from a cogent, elegant writer from the Right into a raving looney incoherent writer of the Left.

That or the doobage.

shiloh said...

Just so you don't bail on us, Professor.

Pretty sure most of the folk here would muddle thru somehow ~ ok, there may be a few conservatives who have (((I despise Obama))) withdrawal symptoms ...

btw again, "we" need more pundits w/a keen grasp of the obvious.

>

If nothing else, ad nauseam political blogs give strict, die hard ideologues a release for their pent-up emotions/frustrations lol

Don't want anyone going postal!

grange2500 said...

DtP convinced me to give Althouse a second chance after I initially found her boring. His judgment was sound and I'm thankful I listened.

Boring? Sometimes obsessed with topics that bored me, but his writing was never boring. His was one of the few blogs that could make me laugh out loud and he attracted some very witty regular commenters. His sparring with them was a delight. I generally found his economic/cultural/political observations interesting ... but it was his sense of humor that kept me reading.

He IS missed and I hope when it becomes fun again, he'll return.

Synova said...

Ah, I think it's more likely off-year doldrums.

2012 will be exciting again.

PatHMV said...

@Ann Althouse:

Well, you're doing it, as is Instapundit (different sort of blogging than you do, but still real blogging), Patterico, the Powerline guys, Volokh, Robert Stacey McCain (don't like him, but he's a real blogger), and lots and lots of other folks. For whatever reason, though, they just don't get nearly as much traffic as any of the rest.

It's hard, doing the slog. You've got a gift for keeping with it, as do a few of the others I've mentioned. At my own small group blog, we sort of plateaued at about 300 or 400 readers per day, and could never break into a significantly higher readership than that, so we all of us blog much less regularly now. We just couldn't figure out the secret to breaking into the big time of readership.

Luke Lea said...

You just gotta find the good stuff. For example here:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2011-03-22-column22_ST_N.htm

shiloh said...

We just couldn't figure out the secret to breaking into the big time of readership.

Huffington Compost

A relatively famous "celebrity" started the blog.

Corporate backing/connections/networking ie she brought all of her famous friends, political or otherwise w/her.

Advertising revenue to diversify ie only (5%) of HP is politics.

Politics
Business
Media
Entertainment
Comedy
Sports
Style
World
Green
Food
Travel
Tech
Living
Health
Divorce
Arts
Books
Religion
Impact
Education
College
NY
LA
Chicago
Denver
Blogs

>

Just like in real life it helps to know important/influential people. Appearing regularly on 24/7 cable news media.

>

Bottom line, there's too much competition so very hard to find your own niche nowadays w/out being totally outrageous. This is why tv is dominated by reality tv as creativity has totally died re: entertainment and producing reality tv is very cheap er inexpensive.

I digress.

Beldar said...

Where is this money for bloggers of which they speak?

Why have I not been told?

alwaysfiredup said...

I really enjoyed DtP. He had a talent for writing with humor, something many bloggers lack entirely. He is missed and I do hope he resumes writing.

Methadras said...

He hated Amanda Marcotte with a zeal I did enjoy.

virgil xenophon said...

alwaysfiredup is right about the humor of DP. I started reading him in 2004/5 and besides his normal commentary his featured recurring fictional town--a serial political soap opera-and cast of characters in the early days was a hoot.

Republican said...

DtP was blogging before most people had computers. He was clever and usually insightful. He never took himself too seriously, and when others tried to, he shut them down.
When threatened by Mrs. RJS, he outed himself in a way that made Mr/Mrs RJS look like the asses they are. DtP received offers to write for various publications and sites, but he declined the offers. He was not motivated by becoming a celebrity, making money, or numbers of hits, so he did not worry about offending anyone. His blog was about pleasing himself. When he became bored with himself, he closed the door.

AJ Lynch said...

Crack:
You have an ax to grind vs. Reynolds for some reason. Since you are omniscient, did you see the college tuition bubble from a mile away like he did? Have you been pointing out the state & local govt insolvencies like he has for a while?

TWM said...

"You have an ax to grind vs. Reynolds for some reason. Since you are omniscient, did you see the college tuition bubble from a mile away like he did? Have you been pointing out the state & local govt insolvencies like he has for a while?"

Did Reynolds see it or did he just link to someone who did? That's what he mostly does and both of those have been written about for a long, long time now.

I can't speak for Crack, but hell, I saw both things coming and I'm no expert in either area - you'd have to be blind or have your head in the sand not to have seen them.

tim maguire said...

I used to read Dennis occasionally, but never regularly. His complaint reminds me of the head-in-the-sand journalists going on about how the average blog is junk. Never mind that most of the best original reporting is done by bloggers, if you randomly visit a blog, that blog's quality will probably be low.

And he's right; just not about anything that matters.

AJ Lynch said...

TWM:

Fair enough. However, I think he tends to link to things with which he endorses, agrees with or likes. Which shows he is human- we all like to be right or at least have allies in our opinions or outlook.

But my point still stands- he and/or his linkees seem to be way ahead of the Beltway/ politico/ MSM conventional wisdom.

Salamandyr said...

Reynolds has done some real writing on a number of subjects. But even more importantly, through his blog, he's given voices to a lot of people, and a lot of ideas that might never have gotten attention if he hadn't paid it to them.

For that reason alone he is worth praising.

Chris said...

He's right. I go back to some of my old liberal blogs and they're averaging a post every couple of days. One a day tops. And they're asking for PAYPAL DONATIONS to post the words "Evening thread: Rock on".

Conservative blogs haven't fared much better. In the midst of the crisis in the Middle East, most of them were talking about Beltway trivialities. Even Andrew Sullivan used to be entertainingly hysterical. Now he's...civil and measured and dull. The fire has gone out.

Chris said...

And yeah, I know most of them are on Twitter too now, but they're just as boring and obsessed with D.C. beltway gossip there. The sense of being engaged with the world beyond Washington and other bloggers has gone away.

TWM said...

"Fair enough. However, I think he tends to link to things with which he endorses, agrees with or likes. Which shows he is human- we all like to be right or at least have allies in our opinions or outlook.

But my point still stands- he and/or his linkees seem to be way ahead of the Beltway/ politico/ MSM conventional wisdom."

Oh yeah, he links to things he supports and agrees with, which as you said is only natural. He also will ignore stuff he really doesn't like. For example, the day I see him link to a positive story about law enforcement will be the day I believe he is remotely objective about the subject (and also the day I say, "I'm coming to join you, Elizabeth!" ala Fred Sanford."

And yes, he and others are ahead of the MSM on most stories, but I think half the time that's just because the MSM doesn't cover anything but fluff and even that from a liberal standpoint.

TWM said...

"Reynolds has done some real writing on a number of subjects."

Yes, he does, but not much on his blog. And most of it isn't that original. Of course, like I've said before, most of the stuff we read on the internet is circular reporting - who the hell knows where the original thought came from anymore.

That said, I read Instapundit daily just because he does have a talent for finding good stuff out there.

The Crack Emcee said...

AJ Lynch,

Crack:
You have an ax to grind vs. Reynolds for some reason. Since you are omniscient, did you see the college tuition bubble from a mile away like he did? Have you been pointing out the state & local govt insolvencies like he has for a while?

Go to college and you'll make more money, but you won't be any smarter. I have a G.E.D., like James Taranto, Peter Jennings, and a host of others - that's what I think of a college education today. I haven't seen a bubble, I've seen a waste, and I've seen it since I was a kid - not to mention the clique mentality - which Glenn's endeavor is just more of the same of.

I notice you're impressed that he's "pointing out" we're going broke - ooooh, how hard is that? (I have a bunch of pennies in my pocket, right now, think I'll figure it out?) How to turn that around? Glenn Reynolds ain't "pointing out" nothing in that regard - and anything I say is treated like the ravings of a lunatic (also to protect the clique) so how smart are you?

If you would listen to me, our economy would be better (maybe not fixed but better).

If you would listen to me, Gabriele Gifferds wouldn't have a bullet in her head.

If you would listen to me, Andrew Brietbart wouldn't be fighting a false charge of racism.

If you would listen to me, we wouldn't even be dealing with racism.

If you would listen to me, a bunch of people (Oprah, Al Gore, Arianna Huffington and more) would be facing charges and not running our lives into the ground.

Where's Glenn Reynolds on any of that?

Being "way ahead of the Beltway/ politico/ MSM conventional wisdom" ain't saying much, AJ, and it ain't doing much either.

Last I heard, people wanted change. I know I do.

Trooper York said...

The problem with the Instanerd is that he doesn't link to cool blogs like the Macho Response or me.

But maybe I should stop calling him the Instanerd.

Trooper York said...

Just kidding.

I don't want him to link to me.

But he should link to Crack. He cares about it a lot more than I do.

Trooper York said...

Plus he has to keep up his quota of Althouse links or she will release those photo's of him with Mama Elsa.

The Crack Emcee said...

Actually, Troop, you're wrong:

I've had a few Instalaunches and they don't add up to much. It's being locked out of the dialogue that bothers me. Watching Glenn Reynolds (and Pajamas Media) link twice to Julian Schnabel's new movie on the Middle East - and not mention the man employs a pet psychic is, to me, criminal. Why so much attention to a fruitcake? Because no one but me will say he's a fruitcake. Everyone else pretends they have to listen and debate a delusionally wrong-headed NewAger, but me? I'm beyond the pale.

That's why I don't like Glenn Reynolds.

Trooper York said...

Oh that's different Crack.

I like the Instanerd.

He reminds me of all the guys we used to pick last when we played basketball. And gave wedgies to in gym class.

I feel I have to be nice to him now to make up for that.

Trooper York said...

I fact it's similar to why I like the blogger lady. She was the one you would give a half a spliff and some Boones Farm Apple wine and you were good to go.

So to speak.

shiloh said...

most of them were talking about Beltway trivialities.

And AA has been talkin' about er posting pics ;) of the WI union trivialities. And the conservative national media has posted links to her blog which has increased her "hits" temporarily.

Again, Americans and humans in general, have the attention span of a peanut ie

the Princess Di fuss eventually passed

same w/Michael Jackson

Gabrielle Giffords etc. etc.

AA has been beating a dead horse w/the WI ado 'cause hey, she lives in WI and will never go national 'cause she's a strict conservative ideologue, and they are a dime a dozen in the blogosphere.

apologies to peanuts ...

AJ Lynch said...

Crack:

You could have prevented the Giffords shooting? Yet some say you are a lunatic?

Did I read you correctly?

The Crack Emcee said...

LOL!

Too true. They're types and they think we don't see it. Compared to both Ann and Glenn, you can't put me in a box, politically, racially - anything. But they're both easily identifiable as types. Their thinking isn't original, or enlightening, but they're in charge and think they deserve to be there.

It's demoralizing, not just for me but when I think about our country and why it's in the shape it's in. They, and all the other Boomers, will act as a firewall until the day they die.

The Crack Emcee said...

AJ Lynch,

Crack:

You could have prevented the Giffords shooting? Yet some say you are a lunatic?

Did I read you correctly?


Yes - New age is my subject, that everyone laughs at, until it's too late. if there was a focus on the fallacies within this topic - instead of going along with, say, Oprah's promotion of it - Gifferd's killer may have been reachable and able to see he was tripping. Instead, we have billions of people who think they're "normal" with a head full of dangerous nonsense.

And, yeah, I'm crazy for thinking that.

AJ Lynch said...

Crack is saying [I think] too many parents aren't parents today- they'd rather be Facebook pals with their kids. I agree with that Crack and if you say it that way, people won't say you are a lunatic.

The Crack Emcee said...

AJ,

Look - today Glenn Reynolds is "pointing out" that blacks aren't happy in blue cities.

I covered that issue back in 2007.

See how good and timely he is? I especially like that he wrote "Skin color is unrelated." (Excuse me while I go bang my head against a wall.) There's no reason in reading my blog:

These privileged white college kids have got you hooked up.

The Crack Emcee said...

AJ,

I agree with that Crack and if you say it that way, people won't say you are a lunatic.

Are you offering to be my spokesperson?

The Crack Emcee said...

Andrew Breitbart is probably the only person who can call a book "Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!" and people still take him seriously.

if anyone else actually shows righteous Indignation, they'll be shouted down for being "mean" or whatever by those most deserving of it - and find support for it.

Saving the world AKA "saving the planet", of course, is an impulse only for assorted NewAgers - the hippies, environmentalists, etc. - or those with money.

No one else need apply or they'll hurt you.

Donald Douglas said...

I read this in December.

AJ Lynch said...

No, unless it involves a big paycheck and short hours.