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Strong opinions, weakly held

Does two make a trend?

Yesterday I read that on Friday, President Bush sat down with a group of “milbloggers” to discuss how things are going in Iraq, and more importantly, get his version of the truth out to the public without its being filtered by people who give a crap about whether or not what he’s said is true or even makes any sense.

Last December, Microsoft flew in a bunch of big name bloggers to sit down with Bill Gates and let him disseminate some truthiness as well. At least Microsoft bothered to invite some independent voices instead of assembling a gaggle of sycophants who were so awestruck that they could barely get down to professing their undiminished love and asking softball questions.

These aren’t the only data points either. I’m sure that the ongoing Presidential campaign will feature any number of sit-downs between candidates and the bloggers who love them. In fact, Barack Obama’s already had a blogger dinner. We’ll have to put up with an avalanche of posts about how John Edwards claims he reads so-and-so’s blog and how Fred Thompson really is just as genuine as he appears to be when he’s acting.

I think that the responsibility here falls on readers. Bloggers are, for the most part, just regular people, and when someone you admire singles you out for special treatment, it’s hard not to get caught up in it. So when you read first person accounts of meetings with that special person, just know that everything that follows probably belongs in a gossip column rather than on the news page.

2 Comments

  1. Talk to Washington based reporters some time. They’ll tell you which campaign has the best food for the press. It’s easy to then compare their coverage of those campaigns to their opinions of the food.

    Worrying about bloggers being wowed by celebrity is way down on my list of concerns.

  2. I met Barack Obama when he was the Golden Boy at the DNC in Boston in 2004. He came to give the high-five to bloggers and theoreticaly to get our opinions on stuff. When he asked the assembled crowd what he could do to make his blog better, everyone replied, in near unison: “write it yourself” and he laughed a bit as if we were having a joke with him but people were like “no, seriously WRITE IT YOURSELF” I know it’s not likely to happen, but that’s my “I met Obama” story.

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