Thursday, October 04, 2007

Eleven Percent Solution

Reading the news today I was struck by the content of what passes for political discussion in the news media not to mention blogs that are politically oriented. Basically I find it awful. Why? Because the national discussion or perhaps the national illusion is centered on political tactics kind of a who’s who on who is the cleverest in their presidential campaign. While it may help us while away the hour sitting in our ivory tower it is not really very interesting.

For example McClatchy offers up this rundown on Hillary Clinton. You don’t have to click on the link if you don’t want ‘cause you won’t miss much if you don’t unless you are interested in political tactics, something that makes me yawn and take naps.

While Hillary may or may not be the winner take all for the Dems I kept thinking as I read the article that this may be a very good or very bad interpretation of a viable Hillary Clinton but it completely side-steps the issue of do we really want Hillary for president. I suppose it is great that she can speak in full sentences and that she is politically savvy but still, do we want Hillary?

What ever happened to, you know, like issues? Excuse my naiveté but I mean really would it not further the cause of democracy if we knew where the candidates stand on issues rather than can they whoop mean and nasty ol’ Karl Rove? Oh Christ, this is not very pragmatic of me is it? After all winning is everything even if it means the death of more people.

Then we have the political blogs like Digby who during a speech claimed that liberal bloggers have dragged the Democrats kicking and screaming to the left and later wonder why the Democrats have not ended the occupation like they promised. “They promised, they promised, not fair not fair!” Well goo-goo, gah-gah. Um, I hate to say this but as the polls show Hillary in a clear lead and that Hillary has stated she would like to continue the conflagration in the Middle East by taking on Iran I am a bit mystified how blogs have dragged the Democrats kicking and screaming to the left. Does any one in their right mind believe that our national leaders of any ilk really care what bloggers think? If the truth be told there are very few who care what bloggers think.

Looking at this Pew poll from April 2007 showing the percentage of people who get their news from different news media “news blogs” come in at a very low second to last of eleven percent of those polled beating only Rush Limbaugh who thankfully only rates eight percent. This hardly lends credence to Digby’s claim of self congratulation and self-delusion of importance. Even if Digby is read by a few thousand people that hardly constitutes a majority.

Worse still if you go to the Pew link (and very few will) and scroll down to the caption of "which audience know the most" we see that readers of so-called news blogs rate a very low 37 percent while viewers of Limbaugh rate a much higher 50 percent. Well who would have guessed that people who watch Limbaugh have more knowledge than blog readers? Not that I like Limbaugh in any way what-so-ever but I mean really. Interestingly those who go to at least seven different news sources score the highest in knowledge as opposed to those who say go typically to only one or two news sources.

So is the eleven percent solution claimed by the news blogs having a great effect on our ship of state? The answer is probably not. My point here is not to disparage blogs or even Digby who I agree with on many, many issues but rather if we intend as citizens to change the destructive and murderous behavior of our government then we need to be real with ourselves about how much of an affect we are having, then perhaps we can improve the percentages. Maybe.