Sunday, September 07, 2008

blog tail wags newspaper dog

I've been reading often and widely on McCain's rhetorical strategic switcheroo (he drops the experience claim after picking Palin) and his tightrope-walking on change (he's 90% the same as Bush but avoids all mention of the Prez and claims that he would bring everything New New New New to government). Blogs several times per day. And, on the iPod, two or three extensive podcasts a day (my favorite weeklies are "Left, Right & Center" and "Slate's Political Gabfest" but I also listen to CSPAN's "Road to the White House" which gives you full audio of stump speeches).

One of the daily blogs on which I depend is that of my colleague Dick Polman, "The American Debate". Sometimes Dick seems to need to please the conservative side of his audience, and thus treads lightly. Mostly he does not tread lightly: he's incisive, sees the whirling rhetoric through the spin, writes well and--best of all--is out there for me every single day.

Dick's blog started out as an experiment he was trying on the side - an unaffiliated, unadorned blogger site (like the one you're reading now). A few months ago (April '08) he moved over to a fancier Philly.Com site. Even before that move, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran his American Debate blog column every week or so, continuing Dick's many years as the Inky's chief national political correspondent. Now (happily for me and many others) he's at Penn teaching journalistic writing (and indeed writing political anslysis for blogs) to undergraduates but maintains a connection to the Inky through the blog. It's a good instance of how creating an indy blog can become the tail that wags the dog. In fact, it might be the best instance of that fairly new phenomenon I know.