NYT Magazine Discovers Bloggers

Glad they could us. Disappointed that I only had to read Page 1 of 10 before hitting a factual error:
“Then in 1999, Mickey Kaus, a veteran magazine journalist and author of a weighty book on welfare reform, began a political blog on Slate. On kausfiles, as he called it, he wrote differently.”
Wrong. Kausfiles was independent until the spring of 2002, at which time Kaus “took the Boeing” by merging Kausfiles into Slate, and I started bitching about his lack of permalinks. Which he still doesn’t have, now that we mention it.
On to Page 2…
Update: Wow, this thing is really pretty bad. In fact, I think it deserves a full-blown, semiFisking. I won’t include the entire article text, but here’s my page-by-page list of objections. — go to ‘More…’ for the full ugliness.

Page 1
“…A couple of seconds later, the item appeared on Daily Kos, and his hundreds of thousands of readers began to take note, many of them posting their own fevered thoughts in response. Moulitsas read some e-mail messages and surfed around, trying to think of the next rotten thing to say about the right. “
I’m no great fan of Kos’ political stance or that of his readers. But are all of his reader’s thoughts “fevered”, and is his entire method of political blogging “trying to think of the next rotten thing to say about the right”? I’m on the other side, and I think that’s a fairly stupid set of exaggerations.
“A year ago, no one other than campaign staffs and chronic insomniacs read political blogs.”
Excuse me? A year ago, September 2003, it had already been ten months since bloggers helped bring down Trent Lott in December 2002. It had been six months since The Command Post brought warbloggers together and led the cutting edge of media reporting on the invasion of Iraq. A year ago, Instapundit was receiving a mere 2.5 million visitors a month. That’s a lot of insomniacs, unless there are a heck of a lot more campaign staffers than I thought.
Page 2
“The Dean phenomenon drew so many new people to the grass roots (or ”netroots,” as the Dean bloggers used to call them) of presidential politics that a kind of fragmentation occurred in what had been, until then, a blog culture dominated by credentialed gentlemen like Kaus, Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Reynolds, a conservative law professor whose blog, Instapundit, is read faithfully at the White House… But just as Fox News has been creaming CNN, the traffic on Kaus’s and Sullivan’s sites has flat-lined recently, while Atrios’s and Moulitsas’s are booming. Left-wing politics are thriving on blogs the way Rush Limbaugh has dominated talk radio, and in the last six months, the angrier, nastier partisan blogs have been growing the fastest.”
I don’t dispute that Kos and Atrios’ traffic has been booming recently. But let’s look at Glenn’s traffic for the year again. Looks pretty damned “booming” to me. And what’s the basis for claiming that Kaus and Sullivan’s traffic has flatlined? I’ve never heard of Sullivan publishing his traffic stats, and he doesn’t seem to have been interviewed for this piece. Kaus was interviewed, but I’d sure like to hear some actual numbers showing his “flatline.”

…Among the Washington press corps, too, their impact is obvious. Back in 2002, [Josh] Marshall helped stoke the fires licking at Trent Lott’s feet, digging up old interviews that suggested his support for Strom Thurmond’s racial policies went way back; Marshall’s scoops found their way onto The Associated Press wire and the Op-Ed page of The New York Times.”

Now we remember 2002!
Page 3
“The Wonkette is more fun to read than Daily Kos…”
The site is “Wonkette”, as is the author’s penname. Nobody refers to either as “The Wonkette”; it is simply “Wonkette”.
“She’s also more fun to hang out with…Before we went off to the fabulous party that Americans for Tax Reform were throwing at the New York Yacht Club on Monday night, we had time for an expensive dinner at a really nice restaurant in SoHo…The candlelight reflected off the Champagne bubbles in her glass…Ana Marie Cox has peachy cream skin and eyes of a very bright blue, strawberry blond hair and a filthy mind…”
Somebody’s getting overstimulated. Down boy.
“She was filling out applications for a master’s in social work when Nick Denton called. Denton is the world’s first blogging entrepreneur…”
Really? Somebody tell Ev Williams, who founded Pyra, maker of Blogger, in 1999.
The rest of the piece is mostly profiles of Kos, Wonkette, and Marshall, and is mostly harmless.
Other reactions to the piece from:
Daily Kos’ Geheimbundler, who declares it a “hatchet job” on left-wing bloggers. I tend to agree with him, for the most part, although I’d suggest that the slant of the story was more due to a bad writer looking for a simple storyline (“rise of the angry unkempt lefty bloggers”) than due to actual political prejudice.
Jeff Jarvis
Betsy Newmark
Charles Johnson is not amused
Allah is displeased
Ace of Spades
The Commissar