Somewhere, over the rainbow, a blog is born. A blog for Kansas. A blog for America. A blog by a reporter with a difficult-to-pronounce last name. But most importantly, a blog that is AMERICA'S ONLY PLACE dedicated to the vital intersection of politics and Sunflowers. The Heartland gods nod in wise approval.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Don't believe the hype

Start peddling conspiracy theories, and watch the inbox fill up.

In response to last week's post about tasteless flyers, bulges, et. al., Jack from Nashville pointed out that a Bush "Special Olympics" ad may have been a Republican plant. Meanwhile, in the ongoing Bush bulge controversy, Prof. William Polley of Bradley University (and host of his own blog), speculates on whether it's a bulletproof vest or some other security advice about which the GOP is not being forthcoming:

Now, don't you think that thecommander-in-chief of the world's only superpower would be able to wear a wire that was undetectable under clothing. If it's a wire under his suit, the wire is the thickness of an extension cord! ... These people think that Karl Rove duct taped a big electronic device to the president's back for the debate? No, the simplest explanation is the best one here. It's a bullet-proof vest and a bad-fitting suit.

So much for conspiracy theories, although it did make for some lively e-mail. And that begs the larger question: Why is this blog here?

A friend of mine at the Post sent me this article yesterday about the over-hyped blog phenomenon:

These opinion-laden, e-journals draw only fleeting notice from Web surfers. But they have captured the interest of thousands of reporters who have written about bloggers and their supposed impact on the Bush-Kerry campaign.

I'll tell you what's going on here: journalist envy. A significant percentage of journalists (myself included), in their adolescent daydreams saw themselves as pirate-radio superheroes, people who, armed with a low-watt broadcast signal and THE TRUTH would not only topple giants (who often resembled the people who picked on them in high school), but gain long-sought adulation for it. Problem is, most of us ain't that special. Most of us have learned that to live with The Man, you become The Man. But here's this new medium, the blog -- our own voice, unedited and unfiltered for the masses.

And I admit, I keep up with this despite my best interests in time and resources. I track those readership stats weekly. And you know what -- they KEEP GOING UP! But even at the rate I'm going, I'm still nowhere near have a WEEK of my blog postings match what I can get in one day of readership of The Wichita Eagle, a none-too-giant newspaper.

That said, the blog's been good for the e-mail. And the new acquaintances. And the friends from college who have looked me up. Up close and personal. Just like a late-night college call-in show, with a Public Enemy intro.