Blogpolitic

Oliver Kamm in The Guardian:

In its paucity of coverage and predictability of conclusions, the blogosphere provides a parody of democratic deliberation. But it gets worse. Politics, wrote the philosopher Michael Oakeshott, is a conversation, not an argument. The conversation bloggers have with their readers is more like an echo chamber, in which conclusions are pre-specified and targets selected. The outcome is horrifying. The intention of drawing readers into the conversation by means of a facility for adding comments results in an immense volume of abusive material directed – and recorded for posterity – at public figures.

The blogosphere, in short, is a reliable vehicle for the coagulation of opinion and the poisoning of debate. It is a fact of civic life that is changing how politics is conducted – overwhelmingly for the worse, and with no one accountable for the decline.

A remarkable view for a political blogger to hold, unless Mr Kamm considers himself a Proper Journalist these days.

It’s early days yet. Political blogging has only really taken off in the last couple of years in the UK. Sure, much of it is unbearably negative and full of inaccuracies, but the same could be said of pamphleteering.

Just because some political blogs aren’t particularly edifying, it doesn’t make the blog format a Bad Thing. In time, some balance will be restored, and as always, the quality will float to the top.

In the meantime, we will just have to trust ourselves to be able to distinguish between fact and fiction.

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