Saturday, November 8, 2008

On the political thinking of mass audiences

I am considering writing a new kind of post in which I filter the entire comment thread on an issue or topic as posted in a main stream media outlet. I had earlier considered declaring a DMZ blog, [demilitarized Zine?] where divergent but respectful discourses could occur. That is difficult and unlikely..I can hardly get 10 people a day to read my blog as it is. So instead I am going where the people are: the comment threads on online articles of major news papers and TV networks. These some times run to the thousands of comments but in that toilsome number is its virtue. The narrow clustering of opinion and rhetorical leaning that is found in blogs and news filters on the left [e.g. dailykos] or the right [e.g.] is suspect to me. Those represent non-dialog politics. There, divisive issues having already severed the body politic into camps that can talk only among themselves, the echo chamber provides encouragement but little learning. For all of their own biases and shortcomings, MSM in its online formats does seem to connect a wider spectrum of citizens. So that is where I am going in hopes of finding a better representation of the whole of the political beast.

These will be very long posts and much less frequent than daily. If you are not up for punishingly long posts, there will always be a summary. They will be full of nits picked and tiny follies exposed. Their fodder will be opinions and facts the cat or the NY Times drug in and I elected not to skip any...solely for the purpose of an accurate sense of where the population is at even if it turns out that the population has a dangerously inaccurate sense of the matter at hand. Further, I won't be accused of dishonesty by trying to pose as neutral on issues: I am not, and I am often rather wrought up about some things. I label myself a progressive. I would like to believe that a sound argument or a new but verifiable fact will still reach me and perhaps affect me. What I hope will occur, and hold me to this if I fail, is that the other side's ideas will be presented in their own words by their own partisans. More you cannot ask.

One thing that will burn me out or persuade me this is a waste is finding that the selection that turns up is still self-selected in some way and not balanced enough to meet my goal of encompassing political perspective. I will cast about for different publications to make sure I give my discoveries a chance at a breadth of fresh air. We'll see.

If readers have suggestions for online publications or particular single-topic posts with a comment thread they would like me to wade in to and weigh in on , do mention them in the comments to this post.

A note about the post date: it is a blogger hack to provide an expiration data for an introductory post that, when its date of obsolescence passes, the post receded int0 the archives.

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