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Campaign 2004

Political Blogs Go Mainstream

It was at this summer's national party conventions that web loggers, or bloggers, come into their political position as the independent, widely read, and sometimes irreverent and opinionated journalists.

"Yes I'm mocking the Bush girls, yes I'm mocking John Kerry, yes I describe the federal marriage amendment as, say, a dating game," Ana Marie Cox, editor of Wonkette.com, said during the Democratic convention.

The Wonkette blog is just one of often self-referential news and opinion clearinghouses expressing the national mood during Campaign 2004. The medium of the blog is not, in fact, lost on the candidates. President Bush and Senator Kerry each has one on his site, promising an inside look at what the campaigns are up to.

But out in the wilds of the web, it's not about campaigning so much as the unfettered expression of free speech. Some make no pretense toward journalistic objectivity, freely leaning to the right, like this post from Polipundit.com:

"Go out...and vote for President Bush. The fate of the world, of generations yet unborn depends on you."

Or to the left, like this from DailyKos.com:

"Please people, vote out of office any and all Republicans today."

Though some of these sites are more about aggregating news reports from various sources, others are keeping a close eye on traditional media.

"No longer do the newsies get to decide by themselves what is news and what is not, what to put in a story and what to leave out," according to PressThink.org.

Of course now, traditional media is also keeping an eye the bloggers.

Reported by: Charles Gray, cgray@wtoc.com

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