Sunday, February 13, 2005

Quacking away the vacuum.

Question: What happens when a vacuum is created in a market?
Answer: The individual that fills that vacuum finds “instant” success.

Yesterday, I blogged a bit about the role of the blogosphere in modern journalism. My point was that bloggers and the things that they write have tended to counter the unbalanced Main Stream Media (MSM). To my surprise, Michael Barrone discussed a variation of the same issue at His focussed piece talked about the role of the blogosphere in the 2004 election. His column is summarized by the concluding paragraph:
So what hath the blogosphere wrought? The left blogosphere has moved the Democrats off to the left, and the right blogosphere has undermined the credibility of the Republicans' adversaries in Old Media. Both changes help Bush and the Republicans.

Then in a post about the Barrone column, John H. Hinderaker at Powerlineblog writes:
Barrone's survey is excellent given its brevity, and he generously credits us for our role in the campaign. But he omits what I think was probably the Internet's most important impact on the 2004 election: the Swift Boat Vets' campaign, which was organized around their web site, to which the conservative side of the blogosphere drove traffic. In that case, the internet facilitated a spontaneous grass-roots movement centered on a single issue, not just the critique of mainstream news reporting for which Barrone credits the conservative bloggers.

Both writers make excellent points but I think the conclusion can be broadened. What both Barrone and Hindraker have said is that the blogosphere has become another force in the US political landscape. They both talk about WHAT happened but neither address WHY it happened.

The "why" is that there was an unfilled need. A large segment of the US populous tolerated listening to MSM but they really were not satisfied with it. This vacuum was first broken with talk radio. That effect has been mirrored and amplified in the blogosphere. Where there once was only the MSM now there is Rush Limbaugh and Instapundit. We all know "nature abhors a vacuum" and the vacuum has been broken!