Why bloggers still matter

posted at 8:31 am on February 22, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

This week I’ve been spending some time with the folks from the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity (along with a number of other writers) at a blogger conference they hosted. The theme was “The Tax & Regulatory Impact on Industry, Jobs & The Economy, and Consumers,” and it’s included a number of enlightening discussions on the real world impacts of excessive, redundant and intrusive government regulations on not only businesses, but citizens everywhere. (One example, provided by representatives of the AT&T Innovation center, is that American businesses spend 10.36 billion hours each year filling out government regulation compliance paperwork. The numbers are staggering.)

A different topic, however, was brought up by a featured speaker at dinner last night. The group was addressed by former Franklin Center associate Bill McMorris, now with the Washington Free Beacon. (The Beacon was the outfit that originally broke the Hillary Papers story earlier this month.) In an age when it seems like everyone and their chipmunk has a blog, Bill spoke about why the work of bloggers is still important, and how some of them continue to make a difference. The real opportunity, as McMorris sees it, is driven by the practices of the government in the modern era and the budget restrictions facing conventional mainstream media outlets.

You see, rather than attempting to hide things from the public, the government at all levels (including the Obama administration) has taken the idea of transparency to an entirely new level, releasing such a flood of documentation and information all across the spectrum that nobody could possibly sort through it all. In terms of keeping the public informed, think of it as death by a thousand documents. Newspapers and cable media entities simply don’t have the staff required to dig through that much material on everything from budget numbers to job postings, purchase orders and more. But, as Bill explained, an army of bloggers (or one blogger willing to put in the hours and elbow grease) can comb through the mountains of data they release on government web sites. By putting in Freedom of Information Act requests on seemingly mundane budget subjects, bloggers can uncover even more if they have the time and gumption.

He related several stories of how smaller, state level political bloggers had found all manner of government malfeasance which was later picked up by the networks. (Occasionally even giving credit to the original finder.) It seems like such a simple thing at first glance, but the truth of it is startling. The government has chosen to live by the rules we’ve put in place regarding transparency and public information (in most cases, anyway), but attempt to avoid exposure by drowning us in a torrent of mind numbing forms, reports and logs. Frequently hidden inside of them, though, are nuggets of gold which can allow any blogger to make their mark and bring the activities of their elected representatives to light. It’s something to think about as we approach the next round of elections.

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And why some, not naming any names…don’t.

Murphy9 on February 22, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Yes bloggers, cable outlets, and other news agencies outside the MSM and are important and needed. But for the conservative voice to gain a much larger audience there is one area where they are lacking. I HATE to quote WikiWaste, but it is easier sometimes.

“A news agency is an organization that gathers news reports and sells them to subscribing news organisations, such as newspapers, magazines, and radio and television broadcasters. A news agency may also be referred to as a wire service, newswire, or news service.

There are many news agencies around the world, but three are global news agencies which have offices in most countries of the world and cover all areas of information: Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. There are also dozens of national agencies, cooperative structure in Northern Europe and in the Anglo-Saxon countries.”

Liberals control the message not through the individual broadcast source, but through news agencies and it will be very expensive to overcome this situation for conservative voices currently.

HonestLib on February 22, 2014 at 8:46 AM

The government has chosen to live by the rules we’ve put in place regarding transparency and public information (in most cases, anyway), but attempt to avoid exposure by drowning us in a torrent of mind numbing forms, reports and logs. Frequently hidden inside of them, though, are nuggets of gold which can allow any blogger to make their mark and bring the activities of their elected representatives to light. It’s something to think about as we approach the next round of elections.

“We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices. Every citizen can be a reporter. The Net gives as much voice to a 13 year old computer geek like me as to a CEO or Speaker of the House. We all become equal. And you would be amazed what the ordinary guy knows.” ~ Matt Drudge June 2, 1998

Flora Duh on February 22, 2014 at 8:51 AM

You see, rather than attempting to hide things from the public, the government at all levels (including the Obama administration) has taken the idea of transparency to an entirely new level, releasing such a flood of documentation and information all across the spectrum that nobody could possibly sort through it all.

Except that what they really do, and want to do, is done by the Chicago method.

No memos. Just a word or two in someone’s ear.

They learned early on that in DC, “paper trails” can come back to bite you. (Fast & Furious.) So they leave none.

Just try to find out who ordered what changes to the O-care website, for instance. It was the product of all-night dorm-style “bull sessions”, not the standard SD procedure. If any memos were generated at all, they were ones the development team members found in the email in the morning, saying something like “set1356er78 at baud 3″, or “we want hyper capable agents, and we want them three years ago!”, or some such. No attribution, just a demand from the nebulous “management team”.

You can’t hold anyone accountable for anything if no evidence exists stating who thought up what “brainstorm”. Or who said, “do it my way, screw the law/GOP/reactionaries/bitter clingers/etc.”

That’s the Chicago way.

That’s The One’s way.

clear ether

eon

eon on February 22, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Happy New Year! Feds list 141 new regulations in only three days
1:53 PM 01/03/2014
******************

It’s a new year and you know what that means — new regulations. The Obama administration has wasted no time in writing them.

The website Regulations.gov lists 141 regulations that have been posted by federal agencies in the last three days alone. Of these regulations, 119 are “rulemaking,” meaning they establish a new rule. Twenty-three are “non-rulemaking,” meaning the regulations does not establish a new rule.

The largest group of regulations have to do with energy and environmental issues, many of them issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. One new EPA regulation is an amendment to a rule on hazardous emissions from lead smelters.
(More….)
==========

http://dailycaller.com/2014/01/03/happy-new-year-feds-list-141-new-regulations-in-only-3-days/

canopfor on February 22, 2014 at 9:11 AM

…because…there are no ‘reporters’!

KOOLAID2 on February 22, 2014 at 9:13 AM

the government at all levels (including the Obama administration) has taken the idea of transparency to an entirely new level, releasing such a flood of documentation and information all across the spectrum that nobody could possibly sort through it all.

Proof positive that government has gotten too big. If they can overwhelm us by releasing bad information amongst neutral information and expect to not get caught, then it’s far too big.

If too big to fail is bad for companies, that also works on government.

rbj on February 22, 2014 at 9:13 AM

many news reports done by major networks (Sheryl Atkinson comes to mind)get very little mention on their broadcasts, bloggers amplify the exposure.

dmacleo on February 22, 2014 at 9:18 AM

Laws and Regulations

Find federal and state laws and regulations.

http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Reference-Shelf/Laws.shtml

canopfor on February 22, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Sensible Regulations
@SensibleRegs

A project of NFIB, Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations is a broad coalition dedicated to ensuring federal regulations do not stifle job creation.

sensibleregulations.org

https://twitter.com/SensibleRegs

canopfor on February 22, 2014 at 9:30 AM

“But, as Bill explained, an army of bloggers (or one blogger willing to put in the hours and elbow grease) can comb through the mountains of data they release on government web sites.”

Tell it to your bosses at Salem, they’re the ones with the resources to do some investigating journalism. Instead they have a handful of full-time paid bloggers doing a couple of hours of work a day.

lowandslow on February 22, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Independent news gathering…it’s a good thing.

workingclass artist on February 22, 2014 at 10:01 AM

The largest group of regulations have to do with energy and environmental issues, many of them issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. One new EPA regulation is an amendment to a rule on hazardous emissions from lead smelters.
(More….)
==========

http://dailycaller.com/2014/01/03/happy-new-year-feds-list-141-new-regulations-in-only-3-days/

canopfor on February 22, 2014 at 9:11 AM

There are no primary lead shelters left in the US. Doe Run in Missouri just shut down in an agreement with EPA.
Now they are moving on to secondary lead smelters (who use recycled lead rather than mined virgin material).

I give them 10-20 years until they are all shut down as well.

God save us if we ever have a global nuclear war.

airupthere on February 22, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Since the vast majority of main media outlets run by the slogan, All the News That Fits the Agenda, we desperately need the blogger world to continue and thrive.

Newspapers and cable media entities simply don’t have the staff required to dig through that much material on everything from budget numbers to job postings, purchase orders and more.

Somehow, I have a feeling, that as soon as an R is in the White House, they will find the budget for this again.

CPRforAmerica on February 22, 2014 at 10:35 AM

many news reports done by major networks (Sheryl Atkinson comes to mind)get very little mention on their broadcasts, bloggers amplify the exposure.

dmacleo on February 22, 2014 at 9:18 AM

Media companies either (1) own content; (2) distribute content; (3) create content ; or (4) combination of first three. Content can be either entertainment or news. Take Comcast for example as they now are a combination of all three. With the merger of Comcast/NBC/Time Warner Cable (which has been separate of Time Warner for a while) you have an idea where broadcast/media companies are going. Sort of behind the scene, the media companies are now fighting for digital rights and this is very important. Internet providers are very important and think about who delivers that content?

Internet providers will use the overruling of net neutrality to their advantage to influence content in their favour. If your internet provider is Comcast, if legal, don’t you think they will tier bandwidth…not only for pricing, but for content delivery? Sure they will.

How is this germane to you post? Sharyl, who I like, works for CBS. CBS is a traditional linear broadcaster, and who have they partnered with to provide “The Final Four”? If, in the future, those two companies merge, what will happen to her reporting? I think you know as sometimes money is second to ideology. Just a hypothetical example not meant to be based on anything but my addled mind.

In general, media broadcast companies have more than their teeth planted in the digital (content/distribution/ownership) world, they want to control it and expect more “Liberal” mergers in the future.

HonestLib on February 22, 2014 at 10:37 AM

As long as we have a complacent and slobbering LSM, bloggers will ALWAYS be important…

Khun Joe on February 22, 2014 at 10:52 AM

The only source of truth anymore is with the independent blog writers of the word. As the old boss says, “Just a blogger” matters!!

No Time Clock on February 22, 2014 at 10:57 AM

PROTIP: If you have to write on a blog that bloggers still matter, you’re doing it wrong.

gryphon202 on February 22, 2014 at 11:23 AM

the government at all levels (including the Obama administration) has taken the idea of transparency to an entirely new level, releasing such a flood of documentation and information all across the spectrum that nobody could possibly sort through it all.

It’s not new. Back in the ’60s the Best and the Brightest of the Kennedy White House was concerned that the e-e-evil Pentagon was withholding cable traffic from them, so they demanded to be in on everything. The Pentagon dutifully complied by installing the equipment and, no, the White House was not staffed to handle the flood.

ss396 on February 22, 2014 at 11:36 AM

If Thomas Jefferson were alive today he would be a blogger. Wait there is a site in North Dakota called “Ask Thomas Jefferson”.

There seem to be about 4 distinctly different types of Bloggers.

1.The high school activist that wants to be the first with there handle posted.
2.The insider that is frustrated with his job but has no other outlet.
3.The person who thinks everyone is minimally informed about everything and thinks they know better about everything. “ME”.
4.News people that get their info and stories from the blogs because they do not have to work as hard or give credit to anyone.

When I post I like to write with markers. These are words, or phrase that are not common, just to see how it is picked up and used by others. It is kind of fun to see some of your ideas show up elsewhere in a few days.

The Blogs are a collective of thousands of mines thinking on one subject in a matter of moments. It is the most important 4th branch of government. A Free Press.

jpcpt03 on February 22, 2014 at 11:59 AM

mines

Okay, I have been glazing at my navel for ten minutes and I give up!!! I got nothing so far. Chuckle.

HonestLib on February 22, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Of course bloggers still matter.

And of course, the Democrat Media would love them to go away. So they ignore them, even when what the bloggers report is legitimate news.

Some examples of the Democrat Media ignoring blog stories that later mattered:

1. Matt Drudge of course, circa 1998.

2. “Buckhead” at Free Republic and the crew at Power Line, who exposed the attempt by C-BS to steal a Presidential Election for the Democrats by using forged documents.

3. The modern-day bloggers who are exposing O’bama.

Del Dolemonte on February 22, 2014 at 1:00 PM

4. If a Liberal like me frequents sites like HotAir and repeats what he has learned; he gets mocked and silenced by his own. Nah, can’t stop me from flapping my yap no matter what. Somebody is scared of something me thinks.

HonestLib on February 22, 2014 at 1:48 PM

If Thomas Jefferson were alive today he would be a blogger. Wait there is a site in North Dakota called “Ask Thomas Jefferson”.

There seem to be about 4 distinctly different types of Bloggers.

1.The high school activist that wants to be the first with there handle posted.
2.The insider that is frustrated with his job but has no other outlet.
3.The person who thinks everyone is minimally informed about everything and thinks they know better about everything. “ME”.
4.News people that get their info and stories from the blogs because they do not have to work as hard or give credit to anyone.

When I post I like to write with markers. These are words, or phrase that are not common, just to see how it is picked up and used by others. It is kind of fun to see some of your ideas show up elsewhere in a few days.

The Blogs are a collective of thousands of mines thinking on one subject in a matter of moments. It is the most important 4th branch of government. A Free Press.

jpcpt03 on February 22, 2014 at 11:59 AM

If Ben Franklin were alive today he’d have started something like Brietbart

workingclass artist on February 22, 2014 at 3:16 PM

that didn’t format the way I wanted it to…

workingclass artist on February 22, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Ok! “workingclass artist” here is another of my must see sites on the net. You type in a subject and it give back quotes from famous people. It’s called “goodreads”.

jpcpt03 on February 22, 2014 at 7:49 PM

If Ben Franklin were alive today he’d have started something like Brietbart

workingclass artist on February 22, 2014 at 3:16 PM

that didn’t format the way I wanted it to…

workingclass artist on February 22, 2014 at 3:17 PM

I knew what you meant. And, totally agree!

avagreen on February 22, 2014 at 7:52 PM

jpcpt03 on February 22, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Neat!

avagreen on February 22, 2014 at 7:53 PM