Blogging, according to a variety of pundits, is the next big thing in the electoral process, or at least on the national level. This always seemed like a lot of Beltway posturing until I made the rounds of the local blogs this week (as part of my job as Advocate blogmeister). Sure enough, several of them, including Allen Gwinn at Dallas.org (who broke the DISD credit card scandal) and Robert Wilonsky at the Observer have taken mayoral candidate Gary Griffith to task for several of his campaign stands.
The intriguing thing is not whether Griffith should be criticized for the subjects the blogs mention (though, as I note in next month’s column, Griffith’s infatuation with the so-called cheese epidemic seems overdone). It’s that these blogs are writing about things that the traditional media hasn’t and probably won’t. I don’t think Dallas’ Only Daily Newspaper is going to call Griffith a liar like Gwinn did.
Which raises the question of whether this reporting will have any effect on May’s election. On the one hand, it’s difficult tell if a blog reaches the same sort of critical mass that traditional media does. Gwinn’s blog notes that it had more than 1 million hits in January, but that’s just the number of people who clicked on the site, and not those who closely read the material. He has had just two comments on the Griffith story, one of which was his. On the other hand, given the horde of candidates on the ballot and the traditionally low turnout in city elections, the blogs could swing enough votes to make a difference, especially since it seems that people who read politically-oriented blogs are more likely to vote.
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