Blogging a Dead Horse

Paul “The Thinker” Richards generalises about political blogging:

The disadvantages are that there is no quality control, and some of the political debates descend quickly into trivia, nit-picking, or simply insults flying back and forth across cyberspace. Blogs allow people to insult others, call them names, and question their intelligence in ways they would never dare to face to face or in a political meeting. There are plenty of egotists and attention-seekers out there…

It’s not at all clear why the standards of “a political meeting” are relevant to an assessment of the uses and disadvantages of political blogging, nor why the fact that blogs allow some people to insult other people is necessarily a disadvantage. It surely depends on who is insulting whom, and for what reason.There are some other disadvantages, however, that we might like to note: when used unThinkingly, political blogs can facilitate hypocrisy, immodesty and the dissemination of untruths masquerading as well-known facts, for example. Nor should we forget that they can be used as a platform for spreading exceptionally nasty lies about leading politicians, an offence for which the perpetrator has, we might further observe, consistently refused to apologise to his readers.

Perhaps most tragically of all, political blogs sometimes induce people to take on inappropriate online personae, for example, by assigning names to their weblogs which will tend to render them figures of fun in the wider community of those who read and write on blogs. (There are probably other disadvantages, too, but I’ll get on with some work now instead of trying to catalogue them all.)

Does anyone take this self-important piece of political flotsam seriously?

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