Romney’s Greatest Ally

It’s no secret that bloggers have changed the political world, to what degree is still not exactly understood. Most blogs are microscopic at best, lucky if they can manage more than a couple of dozen hits a day, but while as individuals, these smaller blogs weild very little power, but as part of a greater community, there is potential for weight.

But, the role these lesser known bloggers play is communal in nature, and often times I get the images of cartoon animals, like from Disney’s Bambi, a few picking up on the oncoming presence of “Man” and thumping on the ground and hollowed trees to warn the rest of the cute little forest critters until virtually everything in the forest knows what’s up.

Ultimately, therefore, this end of the blogosphere is reactionary, assisting perhaps in the dissemination of already known information and making it perhaps well known without actually breaking any new news.

On the other end of the spectrum, however, the dynamic is completely different, and the best example of this would have to be Matt Drudge. In this Salon.com article, we see at least one effect that the “Big Fish” bloggers have on the campaign scene, in particularly The Drudge Report.

One thing that I found particularly prevailant during the 2004 campaign and after has been the utter disgust with the Mainstream Media from the Left. Couple this with the disdain that the ultra right has always seemed to have, and you come up with a rather interesting phenomenon; as one associate of mine used to teach his poly-sci classes used to say, “If both sides are walking away thinking they didn’t do so good, then that’s usually a sign of a pretty good compromise.”

This is most likely a result of the fact that for the most part the mainstream media at least attempts to stay close to the center. Sure, there are some deficiencies, the first one that pops into my head was the lack of vetting of the Swifties, but still.

On the other hand, independant political sites have neither the necessity nor the desire to maintain this same amount of objectivity, and in fact, polarization seems to be rewarded. I have myself found that I’ve often been rewarded in massively increased traffic and exposure on my more partisan articles as opposed to my much more frequent pieces on horse race (which is actually what I tend to prefer writing).

On top of not having to maintain objectivity, blogs also don’t have to really worry about where stories come from, what their impact will be etc. For most blogs that, as I mentioned above, don’t really have that large of an audience as individuals, this isn’t much of an issue. Smaller bloggers don’t have the audience, and they don’t have the resources to affect large amounts of change.

Enter Matt Drudge. Here’s a guy with a huge audience, and no shortage of resources for new media and information, which creates a kind of precarious situation. As pointed out in the article, and should come as no surprise to anyone reading this, real life reporters and politicians actually turn to Drudge as a source in and of himself. But this has to it a very real downside, with no pressure to remain objective, what incentive does Matt have to act as such? What kind of ethics keeps the Drudge Report honest?

Sadly, none.

Which finally brings me to the bit about this article which disturbs me the most. As other campaigns have kind of whined about, it would seem that Matt prefers Mitt. As a result, the more damaging scoops coming from the Drudge Report would seem to benefit him. With all the opposition research hitting Matt’s desk, he gets to pick and choose which hits his front page and in what context.

So, I just wanted to put this little bee in your bonnet (yeah, I use that expression, shoot me), is this helpful? Can someone like Drudge elevate himself to the role of Kingmaker? And if he can, is this really a good thing? What if Matt ends up liking a complete asshole?

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