by John Hawkins | September 5, 2007 5:11 am
Dean Barnett wrote a piece for the Weekly Standard entitled, “The Lopsided Netroots: Why there’s no conservative Kos.”
Dean’s a smart guy, but I can’t say that I necessarily agree with his conclusions about why the left side of the blogosphere is bigger than the right side.
From his perspective, it’s all about how the left and right side have a different focus. So, he mostly chalks it up to different aims. Here’s a pretty good synopsis of the piece in a paragraph,
“Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, the most widely read center-right blogger, amplifies Johnson’s point. “Different needs produce different approaches,” he says. “People on the right think their political machine works, but that the media is out to get them. Hence rightish blogging
is more about punditry and reporting, and they’ve succeeded–note the paucity of lefty bloggers embedding in Iraq, while the number on the right is extensive enough that I can no longer name them all. People on the left, on the other hand, know the media is basically on their side, but feel that their political machine stinks, so they’ve focused on building a new one. And they’ve succeeded, too.”
Although it’s true that the Left and Right tend to have different goals, I’ve done a lot of thinking about this issue, have discussed it with a lot of other bloggers, and I think there are two primary reasons that there is a size difference between the netroots and the Rightroots.
#1) The Right has a much bigger grassroots audience in areas outside of blogging. A lot of conservative wonks, activists, and diehards who might otherwise be reading blogs have already flocked to talk radio and large online websites that don’t qualify as “blogs.” If you’re a “Freeper,” a “Dittohead,” or have been “Hannitized,” you may be getting your conservative news “fix” from those sources and may not feel a need to go looking elsewhere in the blogosphere. Moreover, the Yearly Kos convention is neat, but conservatives already have a major convention called CPAC that’s about a dozen times bigger and flashier, so why reinvent the wheel?
#2) The Left has been out of power for a long time and that has inspired a lot of anger and energy that the Right lacks at the moment. If, God forbid, we were to have 8 years of President Hillary Clinton, I strongly suspect that the netroots would level off or even decline in influence and popularity while the Rightroots would take off like a rocket.
PS: I actually toyed with the idea of setting up a conservative version of the Yearly Kos convention and I think I could make it work, but, aside from it not being as needed on the Right because of CPAC, there were two problems with the idea.
#1) If it bombed, I couldn’t afford to take the financial hit.
#2) If it succeeded, people would expect me to organize it every year for the rest of my life.
To tell you the truth, I’m not sure which would be worse.
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