Friday, September 14, 2007

The Power of 9th Tier Bloggers

I picked up the term "9th tier blogger" from Ann Althouse's recent smackdown of Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo. Marshall was comparing Osama bin Laden's recent ramblings to the incoherence of "9th tier" bloggers and drunken bagmen. To which Althouse replies:

Why the snobbery? Plenty of bloggers with small audiences write very well and convey subtle thinking. How liberal-minded is it to look down on people with less traffic?
Not very, though lots of lefties like Marshall do it (like some of the readers of C.H.S).

But on to my point: I do like the idea of the 9th tier blogger, and I think it'd be a mistake to underestimate the skill and power of potentially millions of everyday political writers across the blogosphere.

I mention this with reference to my new "
Blog Watch" series. In the comments to my intial post, Goat suggested that:

We know they are idiots why advertise for them by linking to them? I prefer to try and advance conservative thinking than spend my time debunking and analyzing lefty fools, they debunk themselves when they open their mouths or hit the keyboard.
In later comments Goat came around a bit to the value of debunking the anti-everything-ism of the contemporary left, and we've since exchanged a few e-mails discussing various ways to approach this project.

Goat's not the only commenter here who'd rather not have a thing to do with these despicable types, and I can understand why (they're relentlessly vicious in their attacks, for one thing). But I wanted to add another important point on the relevance of this project.

Particularly, I don't want conservative bloggers to underestimate their power. Sure, there are lots of blogs rings and so forth out there, and many of these networks provide substantial checks on the lefty nutjobs in cyberspace. Plus, many of the top conservative bloggers - like the guys at Powerline or Michelle Malkin - have had a huge impact on American politics.

But the little guys can have a big impact too. To the best of my knowledge (not to mention my Sitemeter), I'm still a pretty little guy in the right-wing blogosphere. But here and there I've picked up very high-level links at blogs and news aggregators like
Memeorandum and RealClearPolitics.

It's also very encouraging to get feedback from people out around the web, many of whom I'd never expected to reach. Here are a few examples, in no particular order:

* When I wrote about the suicide of local teenager Kristin Helms after an Internet relationship gone horribly awry, Kristin's mother, Danielle Helms left a heartfelt comment of thanks and blessings after reading the post and the well-wishes of some of my readers (and here's the link to Krisin's commemorative page).

* When I wrote on
Governor Bill Richardson's disastrous appearance on Meet the Press in May, De'on Miller visited to set the record straight on statements Richardson made regarding her son, Aaron Austin, a New Mexico Marine killed in Iraq (check De'on's blog here).

* Also, when I wrote on
Colin Kahl's research article on civilian casualties in Iraq, the author left comments critical of my interpretation of his research, and the exchange in the comments is a model example of civil discourse in blog post comment treads.

* Finally, in January I wrote on Toys-R-Us' first baby of the year contest. It turns out that the company disqualified the parents of Yuki Lin, the initial winning baby, because one of the parents was in the country illegally. I later received comments from Albert Yang, who had a hand in forcing Toy-R-Us to award $25,000 to each of the families whose babies were born at midnight on January 1, 2007.

I think these examples illustrate the significant reach and substantial effect 9th tier bloggers can have. I haven't knocked a network news anchor off his perch, but I'm pleased with some of the feedback, in any case.

In the coming weeks and months, I'll be posting more entries to my "Blog Watch" series. I hope other bloggers among the 9th tier will also join in and challenge hardleft discourse and irrationalism when they see it.

I don't expect to change any minds among radical America-bashers. Yet, I do know that I've had readers from across the country and around the world - in Czhecoslovakia, South Africa, and China, for example - who have never left a comment, but may have nevertheless found some of the posts here influential.

So, thanks again to
Goat for helping me clarify whatever modest goals I might have for my blogging. I send out words of strength and encouragement to those who might be inclined in their work to smack down the anti-Americans when they see them.

Never underestimate not only the power of your words, but also the importance of writing them.

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