Why are there so many conservative writers in the blogosphere? I’ve been asked this a couple of times over the time that I have been blogging. Are we better writers? Is the left full of luddites? Are we just merely better motivated?
Political motivation is rooted in the need to change the status quo; the desire to shake up politics as usual. Therefore, while an extreme moderate may sound like a contradiction, a person so driven to maintain the message as handed down from on high is generally rare in the collection of us that populate the blogosphere. Non-conservatives represent the political status quo in Canada.
Blogs provide a medium in which we express our message, unregulated by the CRTC, the FCC, or the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Many of us who blog with a conservative angle do so because our voices aren’t heard in the mainstream media and, as of late, bloggers have held this very institution to account for delivering the wrong message or even falsities. While bias is presented constantly by the media, it is validated by the very fact that it is labeled “mainstream”.
Yet there are members of the mainstream media who blog. These bloggers are generally conservative-minded and Andrew Coyne and Adam Daifallah are two examples. Why would these columnists blog to hundreds while their columns are read by a hundred thousand? Freedom without an editor, freedom from the filter and freedom to experiment outside of the mainstream draws these journalists as they put away the press credentials and practice citizen journalism (known popularly as blogging). Would Peter Mansbridge ever write a blog? He wouldn’t need to. The Brits have the Queen’s English. As Canadians, we have Mansbridge’s Message; Peter Mansbridge is probably the reference by which “mainstream” Canadian opinion is measured. For Mark Steyn, an internet blog provides a no-holds-barred soapbox. For Peter Mansbridge, a blog would provide an audience of those who just happened to have missed the National that night. (I use Mansbridge merely as an embodiment of “mainstream” opinion as he generally doesn’t opine on the news — his copy is crafted by the CBC bosses)
The CBC is worried about the advent of competitive opinion in the form of cable news. While news organizations operate top-down to deliver or offer opinion, the blog media — as it stands — offers its opinion bottom-up, from the grassroots. Competitive opinion offered by citizen journalists? The CBC now can only complain of the inconvenience.
A political party that controls the state broadcaster through appointment of fervent supporters will have a competitive advantage in the definition of the range of Canadian versus “Un-Canadian” opinion. The Liberal party, in essence, defines the range of Canadian “mainstream” opinion and wields this dynamic to their electoral advantage.
The blogosphere presents the decentralization of news and opinion. The speed of news dissemination by bloggers is beaten by no other group. One can tell the difference between a blog reader and a person who exclusively watches broadcast news: the blog reader generally has a couple days lead-time on certain developing news events. As blogs increasingly become more of an “estate” in their prevalence and audience as news outlets, traditional news organizations will take notice and either compete in the actual rather than the implied range of public opinion or they will become irrelevant and veritably outside of the newly defined mainstream.
Blogs have and will continue to change the way that we receive news. In the future, news will be presented and commented upon by these citizen journalists who rise to their own blog fame through respect based in merit and accurate reflection of the audience to which they write and of which they (and we) are all members.