Jonah Goldberg

The moment of "blog triumphalism" is upon us. This may sound like odd news to you, since it's entirely possible that you still don't know what a blog is. If you're in the dark, hie thee to the nearest Internet search engine and type in the word.

The phrase blog triumphalism speaks to the growing sense of optimism, self-confidence and power - and, perhaps, depending on one's perspective, arrogance and even hubris - that characterizes the bloggerati's mood these days. Virtual taxidermists are taking orders to stuff the carcasses of all sorts of Mainstream Media ("MSM") mastodons bagged by the bloggers. New York Times editor Howell Raines and CNN news chief Eason Jordan top the list of felled beasts. Dan Rather, meanwhile, (like Sen. Trent Lott) was merely tranquilized and de-fanged.

Oddly enough, the establishment media can't stop writing about blogs. The P.R. and marketing industries kowtow to them. And politicians are getting on the bandwagon. Sen. Jon Corzine of New Jersey boasts of being the first senator to mention the word "blog" on the Senate floor - a nice thing, I suppose, but an accomplishment that does not endanger the current headcount on Mount Rushmore either.

So it's no wonder that a group of people who were dismissed during the Rathergate scandal as so many amateurs sitting around in their pajamas should be feeling good about themselves. And they should.

I'm pro-blog - a reader of many and a admirer of quite a few. But the steady drumbeat about the "revolutionary" nature of blogging is getting out of hand. Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, may be right that "the revolution will be blogged," but the revolution isn't about blogging.

First, some perspective. The typical blogger is not some hyper-smart, tenacious lawyer - like the guys at Powerlineblog - poring over the minutiae of a faulty CBS story. Nor is he a crusading consultant/activist/left-winger like the guy who runs the Daily Kos. The average blogger, according to a 2003 survey, is a teenage girl who updates her site a couple times a month with the latest 411 about her prom dress or which Olsen Twin she, like, really likes.

According to the blog search-engine firm Technorati, 23,000 new blogs are created every day - or roughly one every three seconds. Let's imagine, for argument's sake, that amid this staggering new daily output, 10 excellent, must-read blogs are created - a wildly generous estimate. That means every single day there are 22,990 new blogs on the Internet that almost nobody, save a small group of friends and co-workers, will ever read or care about. That's fine, but it's not exactly a sweeping endorsement for the power of the medium as whole.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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