Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

More on the Value of Blogs

I originally posted this as a comment to Schramm’s post about the value of blogs, but I thought it was worth repeating here. The Time article’s warning about people only reading web pages which conform to their own views is just a watered down version of Cass Sunstein’s absurd arguments from his book Republic.com. Sunstein went so far as to argue that there should be government labels on web pages to warn simple-minded readers that the page is "liberal" or "conservative." (Regulations: the first refuge of the liberal.) He feared that the web would lead us away from the pre-web diversity in news opinion. But Sunstein, like Time, fails to recognize that what they cite as unbiased or mainstream news is neither unbiased nor diverse. Indeed, anyone who gets their news from the NYT and Peter Jennings has secured an ideology-affirming loop just as effective as any selective web browser. Liberals seem very concerned about the web, presumably because they maintain a position of relative dominance in the print and broadcast media (outside of say, Fox), but do not appear to have any such stranglehold on the blogosphere.

Aside from failing to take into account the fact that most readers I know scan a reasonable variety of weblogs from the left and the right, the Time/Sunstein article also fails to take into account the news aggregation function of blogs. On any given day, readers of this page will see articles from a wide variety of publications linked which they otherwise may not have seen. The articles may be from left, right, or moderate publications or writers. This news aggregator function is common to blogs, and I believe contributes to the popularity of blogs as a news medium.

Discussions - 1 Comment

very true.

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