I think it’s great that bloggers have forced open the doors of public discourse. But with all due respect to those taking part, the idea of an on-air blogging party is just painful.
Political cartoonists run into this a lot also. We may be people whose very profession requires us to pay attention to the news and to have lively opinions about same — but we are rarely invited to sit at the big kids’ table. If a cartoonist is on-air, you can bet there’s a chalkboard or a large sketchpad set up on an easel nearby so they can sketch out their wacky, wacky ideas. Watch the pony do his trick! How much is two plus one? Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! Everybody cheer!
In the case of blogging, of course, what we’re essentially talking about is on-camera typing.
CNN is trying to incorporate bloggers directly into its coverage of next week’s midterm elections by inviting them to an “E-lection Nite Blog Party,” an event aimed at corralling some of the top online opinion makers in one place to provide instant reaction as the results come in.
The cable news network plans to host more than two dozen bloggers from across the political spectrum â€” including sites like RedState and Daily Kos â€” at a Washington Internet lounge where they can monitor the election returns on a slew of flat-screen televisions. (Each blogger will get his or her own monitor, which can be tuned to any channel.) There will be free wireless access â€” and plenty of food and beverages, natch.
Seriously, you don’t ask newspaper columnists to sit in front of a laptop and write their columns on air, and we’re way past the point that bloggers should have to humiliate themselves like that in order to get a few seconds of airtime. This isn’t 2002, we all know what blogs are. If bloggers have something to contribute to the conversation, let them sit at a roundtable on election eve and contribute their thoughts like any other opinion writer, without treating them like teenagers at a TV dance party circa 1962 who need to be lured into the studio with “plenty of food and beverages, natch. “