Hey, Ohio blogosphere, did you get a chance to see the PBS show that was about you? Now that the airings of the show on PBS and The Ohio Channel have concluded, you’ll have to look to online sources to view the September 26 installment of “The State of Ohio,” which features Ohio’s political blogosphere (unless you purchase a DVD or VHS of it here).
OK. Did you click on a link in the prior paragraph so that you could view it? If so, we are ready to deconstruct it.
Karen Kasler, who’s hosting the show, recaps the week’s news headlines in Ohio during the first 5 minutes. The segment about the blogosphere begins at the 5:15 mark, or five minutes fifteen seconds into the video footage.
Eric Vessels, of Plunderbund and Progress Ohio, is the guest who’s sitting next to me during the blogging segment. Plunderbund posted a TIVO-replicated video-clip of the program. Before getting the first on-screen look at Eric Vessels and myself, Karen Kasler makes reference to a left-wing national political blog, Huffington Post (at the 5:45 mark), then a right-wing national political blog, Townhall (at the 5:46 mark), and then segues into discussion of Ohio’s political blogs. Eric’s first on-screen appearance occurs at the 5:56 mark. A screenshot of Plunderbund’s front page is shown at the 5:59 mark. My first on-screen appearance occurs at the 6:08 mark, with a screen-shot of the front page of Buckeye RINO shown at the 6:12 mark.
At 6:38, Karen Kasler segues into the discussion of the presidential campaigns’ activities in Ohio, and how Ohio’s bloggers have responded.
Because Eric spoke of communications between local and national bloggers, at 8:26, Karen Kasler guided the conversation toward the interaction and cooperation between Ohio’s blogs, noting that my blog referenced Carnival of Ohio Politics, edited that week by Jill Miller Zimon, of Writes Like She Talks. Other editors of the Carnival of Ohio Politics include Lisa Renee, of Glass City Jungle, Ben Keeler of The Point, and Keeler Political Report, and, until recently, Scott Piepho of Pho’s Akron Pages. If you are a blogger who would like to have the best 3 of your past week’s posts on Ohio politics included in the Carnival of Ohio Politics, dash over to the webpage and send an email. Eric spoke about how searchable blogs are, and how easy it is to link up from many sources. Eric’s Plunderbund post notes that some of his comments during this segment hit the cutting room floor. Also on the cutting room floor was Karen Kasler directing a question at me that mentioned the right-wing State of Ohio Blogger Alliance.
At the 9:46 mark, Karen Kasler poses the question of “Who are you bloggers?” Eric joked that he was tempted to play into the stereotype by wearing pajamas into the studio. I didn’t get a chance to say who I was, as a blogger, until later in the program. I won’t say what I’m wearing right now as I type this.
At the 10:50 mark, Karen Kasler starts asking about the influence that bloggers have on politics. Eric and I talk about how cost-effective blogs are, as messages can be spread without cash outlays. Blogs are able to fill a niche in cases where the MSM is silent and where campaigns lack the cash to advertise. The diversity of opinion allows voters to learn the pros and cons of issues and candidates as they search the blogs. If someone finds their viewpoint unrepresented in the blogosphere, Eric points out, at the 11:59 mark, that one can launch their own blog with relatively little difficulty. Eric mentions WordPress (at the 12:16 mark) as one of the available blogging platforms, which also happens to be the platform that I use. Eric said (at the 12:27 mark) his interest in blogging was sparked by Daily Kos. He also mentions (starting at the 12:32 mark) Chris Baker, who’d been on hiatus more recently, but who had risen to prominence at Ohio 2nd Blog as being inspirational in Eric’s initial writings at Plunderbund.
Eric had made use of the term “citizen journalists,” so at the 13:09 mark, Karen Kasler asks for elaboration on that point. Eric and I did not bash the MSM at this point, though I’ve been known to bash some media outlets on this blog. We maintained a level of civility, though Eric pointed out that bias exists in the media, just as it does in blogs.
At the 16:27 mark, Karen Kasler steers the conversation towards partisanship, not just between Democrat and Republican, but of minor parties, too. Some of my blog entries touched on the presidential candidacy of Libertarian Bob Barr (here, here, and especially here and here). Karen Kasler asks why the blogosphere is so polarized and why alternative voices from outside the major parties aren’t more prominent. The tug-of-war between Democrats and Republicans does generate web traffic in the blogosphere, and though we may try to steer the conversation in other directions, readership is substantially greater when inter-party bickering comes into play. There is a silver lining for minor party and independent candidates that allows them to be part of the political discourse, through blogs, without needing tons of money for campaign advertising. Eric advances the idea that inter-party bickering can be more entertaining, and mentions Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, at the 17:26 mark, as someone who approaches politics from that angle. Karen Kasler, at the 17:45 mark, notes my claim that liberals think I’m too conservative (re: abortion, guns, gay marriage, small government) while conservatives think I’m too liberal (re: labor, education, environment, diversity), which is what led me to employ the RINO (Republican In Name Only) designation.
One of the major points of departure between myself and Eric is that he is fed the talking points of his party, while I’m not fed the talking points of mine. Karen Kasler asks about that at the 19:35 mark. Eric pointed out that he’s judicious about whether to go ahead and print the party’s talking points. At the 20:12 mark, he pointed to a time when, Democrat Party, or not, he participated in the blogswarm criticisms of former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann. Printing talking points without fact-checking can lead to loss of credibility. Eric took advantage of an opportunity to lash out, at the 21:48 mark, at Matt Hurley, of Weapons of Mass Discussion (Eric substituted Destruction for Discussion) as someone who printed talking points in the Ohio 7th Congressional District contest between Steve Austria and Sharen Neuhardt before all the facts had been checked. Karen Kasler jumps in, at the 21:59 mark to note that Matt Hurley was not present to defend himself, stopping Eric from elaborating more. Not all the facts were in, but, in my opinion, Neuhardt can’t just sweep the immigration issue under the rug, unaddressed, and still look like a leader who will engage in honest discourse on the issues of the day with the people she wishes to represent. If she thinks the nation’s laws on seeking asylum need revision, then she should please spell that out for us. The intro that I didn’t get to make at the 9:46 mark, when Karen Kasler first asked whether bloggers work in the basement while wearing underwear, was finally made at the 21:04 mark, when I describe myself as a failed politician, one of several who blog who had lost their last election.
Karen Kasler, at the 22:11 mark, noted that one right-wing blogger had declined to come on the program, citing that Ohio’s political blogosphere hadn’t yet matured to the point of possessing enough gravitas to merit a TV news segment. Matt Naugle, of Naugblog, outs himself as the blogger referenced.
I pointed out, at the 23:06 mark, the increasing length of the blogroll at BlogNetNews: Ohio, to show that the Ohio political blogosphere is gathering strength.
If you’ve read my very first post here at Buckeye RINO, then you know that I contributed to Word of Mouth blog before launching Buckeye RINO. I make mention of this at the 22:45 mark. Eric responded, at the 22:56 mark, with a shout out to Scott Bakalar, who, with his wife, Michele, started a blog after becoming fed up with sewers that would back up and flood his basement after some hard rains. Hi, Scott!
To make my final point (beginning at the 24:58 mark) about the power of blogs, I pointed to Word of Mouth (as an aside, I acknowledge that Buckeye RINO is still small pototoes in the real world). During the summer of 2007, some contributors at Word of Mouth expressed dismay at Lorain City Schools (one of the largest school districts in Ohio), and called for the public to make their voice heard, and advocate for change. There was a shakeup in the Board of Education elections last year, as incumbents were swept out of office. A blogger’s (Brian Hazelett’s) rallying cry was instrumental in mobilizing hundreds of teachers, parents, students, and other community members, to show up in force at school board meetings. In addition to Scott, Michele, and Brian, the other Word of Mouth bloggers (Kelly Boyer Sagert, “Henery Hawk,” Loraine Ritchey, Jim Smith, Paula Tobias, Dale Lieb, and Roman K.) at that time also stoked the fires that turned a passive community into an active one. The local print news media and the Cleveland TV media trudged out to Lorain to report on the community’s rally. It’s an example of the power of what a blog can do and foreshadows the possibility of even greater political muscle that Ohio blogs might flex in the future.