Meanwhile on the A-list

Tanni Haas, Ph.D., author of Making It in the Political Blogosphere: The World’s Top Political Bloggers Share the Secrets to Success (Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2011), was kind enough to send a review copy this way, and I admit that it took me a while to get around to it, on the basis that if I wanted to know what bloggers think, I could presumably read blogs. Then again, as Dr. Haas points out in the Introduction:

Studies have found that political blog readers consider such blogs more trustworthy sources of information than they do any other mainstream news media, including online and offline newspapers, television, and radio. Political blogs are considered more trustworthy because they provide access to a broader spectrum of issues than is available in the mainstream news media; cover those issues in greater depth, with more independence and points of view; and present them in a manner that’s more understandable and relevant to readers.

And this reflects my own experience: I buy the local newspaper because it’s, well, local, but for national coverage, I’ll hit several blogs and monitor my tweetstream.

“Several,” of course, is not by any means a lot. Dr. Haas says there are 1.3 million blogs classifiable as “political.” (I don’t consider this a political blog: maybe 10 to 15 percent of the posts here have some sort of political orientation.) In the book, twenty name-brand political bloggers are interviewed — six or seven pages each — and now and then there’s something that looks suspiciously like wisdom. For instance, Haas quotes Thomas Lifson of The American Thinker:

Many people write material in order to demonstrate how much they know, or to put forth a point of view they feel strongly about. But they sometimes forget who the reader is, and what the reader needs to know… So the one piece of advice I’d give people is to look at their material through the eyes of the reader who doesn’t know you, who doesn’t care who you are, and who needs to be given a reason to read the next sentence of your posting and continue all the way through.

I am reasonably certain that no one will accuse me of trying to show off how much I know.

The principles of Making It in the Political Blogosphere can occasionally be extended to blogs on other topics; the “tribalism” of poliblogging referred to by Kevin Drum, for instance, likely exists in every other subject with more than a handful of bloggers. I’m thinking, therefore, that the book may also be of interest to people who can’t stand the thought of writing about politics, and there are, I suspect, many more of them.

(Here’s the obligatory Amazon link. The book can be had in trade paperback for $15 or Kindle-ized for $9.99. Being as how I’m in a generous mood, I’ll send a PDF to the first five people who ask nicely.)


  1. Roger Green »

    22 November 2011 · 7:10 pm

    Mr. Hill, sir, would you be so kind?

  2. CGHill »

    22 November 2011 · 7:24 pm

    On its way.

  3. Guy S »

    23 November 2011 · 8:20 am

    Not too proud to beg over here. Now if they had a book out on the bottom level political bloggers, I would soooo be in there!

  4. Jeff Brokaw »

    23 November 2011 · 1:48 pm

    I’ve been reading political blogs for ten years now, led by Instapundit plus many, MANY others — you would not believe the amount of political stuff I’ve read over that timespan. I wrote mostly political stuff for a few of those years, but backed away from that around 2005-6, though not completely. I found that analyzing and critiquing politics requires a degree of cynicism that I don’t care to stew myself in voluntarily. But I’m damn glad that others do.

    The whole thing with political blogging is that it grew mostly in proportion to how awful the news media is. Reading political blogs is the only way to even be close to truly informed any more.

  5. Jeff Brokaw »

    23 November 2011 · 1:56 pm

    OK, maybe it isn’t the “only” way. I guess if you regularly listened to both NPR and Rush Limbaugh, or watched both CNN and Fox News, you’d sorta kinda get there too. Same idea, really: you need counterbalancing news sources today more than ever before.

  6. CGHill »

    23 November 2011 · 5:43 pm

    Book, or reasonable facsimile thereof, on its way to Guy.

  7. Guy S »

    23 November 2011 · 7:44 pm

    Thank you sir! Have the file snug on the drive now. And I have to say, Jeff is spot on, as far as the cynicism goes. Up until the last presidential cycle, I was able to pontificate with mad abandon on Kerry, McCain, Bush, Gore, and all the other characters, in and out of the DC cesspool. Doing so actually made me feel a bit better. Venting does have a place after all.

    But from the shenanigans leading up to the 2004 primaries, and the resulting election, to the present day. There is no joy in Mudville (Joy left in ’05…moved to Granate City, IL. Raising the level of intelligence in both towns.), the constant reality of what is going on around the world, and in this country in particular, is of such a bizarre nature, it is terrifically hard to even parody or satirize it. It is like we are on a collective acid trip…and not the “good” kind.

    One hopes it will end in 2012. I suspect it will. Maybe the Mayans have it right after all.

  8. Watergate + Guns + Murder = ( Fast + Furious ) | Psssst! Over Here! »

    29 November 2011 · 8:10 am

    […] of our nation’s founding, that I have to write about it. As I wrote in a comment to a Dustbury post the other day about political blogging: “I found that analyzing and critiquing politics […]

RSS feed for comments on this post