On the eve on the Republican Primary in Florida, I'm getting more and more down on political blogs at least when it comes to discussing Republican candidates. I read tons of them every day including Townhall, Malkin, Powerline, RedState, Race42008, Instapundit, Politico, etc and for me the majority of them seem over the top, fake, and willing to write just about anything. Of course ones that really want to fool you will even make disclosures about who they support, but that still doesn't change the fact that they will write anything and take huge leaps of faith to support their candidate or bring a competitive candidate down.
Some bloggers like Michelle Malkin are truly in a league of their own. Malkin won't hide her disdain for a politician and even when I don't agree with her, I feel that she at least will try and act like a real journalist and back her opinions up with facts, links, and pictures. Jonathan Martin's blog is another I enjoy reading and not because he uses his blog to write stories; he already writes for Politico. Jonathan uses his blog for what blogs were originally designed to do - background information, quick breaking stories, and insider perspectives. Instapundit, Little Green Footballs, and Powerline are some other blogs that I respect a lot too. Those to me are good examples of political blogs even though I might not agree with their perspectives.
Other good examples are the average small individual blogger. I pick those up in my Google News looking for posts that people write about clients and one in particular. Again, I'm not expecting much and the average blogger is just giving their opinion to their readers - sort of like water cooler talk via the internet. Again I may not agree with their posts and often I will comment if I believe they are misguided, but as I wrote above, the individual blogger making posts is a good thing.
The bloggers in between Malkin/Martin level and the individual blogger is where it gets squirrelly. These bloggers are trying to jump into the big time and really seems to ignore journalistic standards. Perhaps they don't care because they are going out of their way to help a candidate, but the sites that publish these posts take the long term hits from it. I already have a few sites on my list that after this primary season is over, it is highly unlikely I will visit them on a regular basis again. Besides the blog posts, the comments are even more venomous rendering them mostly unreadable and really useless.
Besides losing readers in the long term, I'd imagine ad dollars will be harder to come by unless of course the site's candidate of choice ends up winning the primary. Sure some of these sites have multiple bloggers who support different candidates, but when the most vocal blog poster goes one way in a big way, that site gets labeled. At the end, these middle tier sites just end up driving traffic to the actual journalists who have a companion blog. Sites like National Review, Washington Post, Weekly Standard, Politico, the other good examples mentioned above, and heck even the NY Times Caucus Blog, The Hill, and many others with real standards will end up squeezing out these middle players or rendering them irrelevant; that is until they get lucky and actually get information before others. However, with newspapers, radio shows, and tv commentators finally getting around to embracing digital and blogging, that seems less likely every day.