November 26th, 2007
At least, according to Christopher Beam at Slate: he reviews questions from two recent Mike Huckabee conference calls, one for reporters and one for bloggers, and finds that the bloggers asked much more substantive questions. Looking at the list, the reporter questions often focused on the horserace rather than the issues: “Is the drop in violence in Iraq making it a less important campaign issue?” “What’s it like facing the Clinton political machine?” “Why aren’t you spending more time in Iowa right now?” By contrast, bloggers tended to ask about policy, often around relatively obscure issues, and eschewed the usual fluff.
Several of us noticed a similar effect during the Democratic YouTube debate this summer — citizens asked better and more substantive questions of politicians than had reporters or the moderator at previous candidate debates. Traditional media outlets often wonder these days why their audience is steadily deserting them — perhaps a part of it is that people really do look to politics for more than just entertainment, and when they want meat for dinner rather than cotton candy, they have plenty of places online to get a good meal.