Saw Markos of the Dailykos.com on Colbert report on Thursday night. Contrary to his fire band posts on state of U.S.A. on his blog, he is quite a demure looking guy. But he was able to hold his own in front of Stephen Colbert (whose whole persona seems to throw some guests off track). Even in the face of such intense public scrutiny, Markos, who is on a book promoting tour, was unfazed and answered most of the questions without any show of nervousness (he later claimed on his blog that he was very nervous).
But the most striking thing while I was watching the Colbert Report was thinking “here is the birth of a celebrity solely on the basis of his blog”. Why I say that is the loud supporting shouts from the crowd who were obviously kossaks (readers of the site like to call themselves kossaks) and the feeling that I got “Man, I going to see Markos, the creator of dailykos.com!!”
Markos is no different than your generic average, everyday Joe who probably spends his weekend mowing the lawn, taking kids to school, and blogging whenever he gets the opportunity. He and hundreds of thousands like him are quietly redefining the political landscape in U.S.A. and, to a some degree, in Canada. The average number readers of the dailykos blog are something that at least 90% of the newspapers and magazines in North
America would die for. And with last night’s appearance on The Colbert Report, that number is bound to move up.
How are the blogs redefining the political landscape?
By monitoring our “esteemed” politicians’ decisions and their actions. It was easy for politicians until 2001 to say one thing and then, on the political arena, do exactly the opposite thing. Not anymore.
Example: John McCain, who has been posturing himself as a presidential candidate (2008) in the U.S., recently has been warming up to theological nutcase Jerry Falewell (I hope I have the spelling right). It was at dailykos (I forgot who posted the piece) that this news came out : In 1995 John McCain called Falewell an Intolerant Idiot (or something to that effect). This “posturing” spread like wildfire in the blogsphere to the point where John McCain had to come on The Daily Show to try and calm down the liberals (who have always viewed John McCain as a sane Republican). It did not work. It’s now common knowledge in the blogsphere that McCain has sold himself to the devil to get to be the president. This flip-flop (and his reversal on the campaign reform bill) will definitely cost him votes from the progressives.
This is just a small example of what bloggers can do to a politician. True, their reach is not quite as influential as, say, FOX or CNN or NEW YORK TIMES, but they are getting there. It was easy for the politicians to ignore the bloggers earlier as blogs were really at the fringes of the political landscape. But over the last four years, after the eroding of the public’s positive perception of the mainstream media (MSM), especially their blinding support of president Bush leading up to the Iraq War in 2003, blogs are in the limelight. No wonder some democrats (and some republicans) in U.S.A. are always courting (in the form of posts) the readers of these blogs (unfortunately, this has yet to happen in Canada).