Hoe DailyKos de Democraten hielp tegen Bolton

Daniel Drezner stipt op zijn weblog een probleem aan op het gebied van weblogs en politiek. Hoe kun je namelijk (wetenschappelijk) vaststellen dat een weblog politieke invloed heeft gehad? Weblogs schrijven immers vaak over politieke zaken terwijl er tegelijke tijd enorm veel aandacht is van de traditionele massamedia.
Drezner beschrijft een voorval waarbij wel duidelijk is wat de invloed van een weblog is. National Review Online publiceerde vanmiddag een artikel over de rol van het Amerikaanse weblog DailyKos in de rel rondom de (voorgenomen) benoeming van John Bolton tot VN-ambassadeur.

When Melody Townsel, the Texas woman who claims that U.N.-ambassador nominee John Bolton chased her through a Moscow hotel, throwing things at her and “behaving like a madman,” first tried to tell her story to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the committee showed no interest. It was only after she turned to the influential far-Left website DailyKos that Democrats on the committee realized Townsel might be a powerful weapon in their campaign to defeat the Bolton nomination.
Bron: National Review Online – How DailyKos Helped Dems Attack Bolton

Townsel schreef een brief aan twee Democratische volksvertegenwoordigers, maar kreeg alleen een standard reply. Pas toen het verhaal verscheen op DailyKos, namen fractiemedewerkers contact met haar op. In de dagen daarna stuurde de Democraten haar brief naar alle kranten. Vervolgens begonnen zelfs de Republikeinen te twijfelen aan de kandidatuur van Bolton en werd de stemming drie weken uitgesteld.

Blogs influence traditional media influence politics

During the morning reads of my feeds I found an article on Slashdot reporting on the article Web of Influence by Daniel Drezner and Henry Farell published in Foreign Policy. The authors give an elaborate view on the influence of weblogs on (US) foreign politics.

Every day, millions of online diarists, or “bloggers,” share their opinions with a global audience. Drawing upon the content of the international media and the World Wide Web, they weave together an elaborate network with agenda-setting power on issues ranging from human rights in China to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. What began as a hobby is evolving into a new medium that is changing the landscape for journalists and policymakers alike.
Source: Foreign Policy

Drezner and Farell see the top dozen American political weblogs as a service-hatch (doorgeefluik). They take over interesting news from smaller weblogs and publish it on their own weblogs. Journalists of the traditional media read these weblogs and report about it. Then finally politicians read about the interesting posts of weblogs through the coverage of the traditional media.
The article in Foreign Policy focusses on (duh) weblogs influencing foreign policy. The article however points to a paper that was presented by Drezner and Farell at the 2004 American Political Science Association (APSA) annual meeting.

Weblogs occupy an increasingly important place in American politics. Theirinfluence presents a puzzle: given the disparity in resources and organization vis-à-visother actors, how can a collection of decentralized, nonprofit, contrarian, and discordantwebsites exercise any influence over political and policy outputs? This paper answersthat question by focusing on two important aspects of the “blogosphere”: the distributionof readers across the array of blogs, and the interactions between significant blogs andtraditional media outlets. Under specific circumstances – when key weblogs focus on anew or neglected issue – blogs can socially construct an agenda or interpretive frame thatacts as a focal point for mainstream media, shaping and constraining the larger politicaldebate.
Source: The Power and Politics of Blogs

I’m interested if I can use their results in my research on the Dutch blogosphere and their relation and influence on politics. I will keep you informed.