Public Nuisance

Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

Left Bloggers
Blog critics

Gryffindor House
Roger Ailes
AintNoBadDude
Americablog
Amygdala
Angry Bear
Atrios
Billmon
Biscuit Report
Body and Soul
Corrente
Daily Kos
Demosthenes
Digby
Kevin Drum
Electrolite
Firedoglake
Glenn Greenwald
Group Think Central
Hamster
Inappropriate Response
Mark Kleiman
Lean Left
Nathan Newman
Nitpicker
Off the Kuff
Pandagon
Politus
Prometheus Speaks
Rittenhouse Review
Max Sawicky
Scoobie Davis
Seeing the Forest
Sideshow
Skippy
Sully Watch
Talking Dog
Talking Points
TPM Cafe
Tapped
Through the Looking Glass
Washington Monthly
WTF Is It Now?
Matt Yglesias

Slytherin House
Gideon
Indepundit/Lt Smash
OTB
Damian Penny
Natalie Solent
Andrew Sullivan
Tacitus
Eve Tushnet

Ravenclaw House
Balkinization
Michael Berube
Juan Cole
Cronaca
Crooked Timber
Decembrist
Brad Delong
Deltoid
Donkey Rising
Dan Drezner
Filibuster
Ideofact
OxBlog
Sandstorm
Amy Sullivan
Volokh Conspiracy
War and Piece
Winds of Change

House Elves
Tom Burka
Al Franken
Happy Fun Pundit
Mad Kane
Neal Pollack
Poor Man
Silflay Hraka
SK Bubba

Beth Jacob
Asparagirl
Gedankenpundit
Kesher Talk
Meryl Yourish

Prisoners of Azkaban
Antidotal
Ted Barlow
Beyond Corporate
William Burton
Cooped Up
Counterspin
Cogent Provacateur
Letter From Gotham
Likely Story
Limbaughtomy
Mind Over What Matters
Not Geniuses
Brian O'Connell
Rants in Our Pants
Ann Salisbury
Thomas Spencer
To the Barricades

Muggles
A & L Daily
Campaign Desk
Cursor
Daily Howler
Op Clambake
Media Matters
Spinsanity

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Party Animals:
Clark Community
From The Roots(DSCC)
Kicking Ass (DNC)
Stakeholder (DCCC)


Not a Fish
Ribbity Blog
Tal G


Baghdad Burning
Salam Pax

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>

Tuesday, November 26, 2002
 
Cocoons

Instaman, Clueless, and various others are discussing Jim Cappazolla's decision not to link to any bloggers that link to Charles Johnson's controversial LGF blog.

Glenn's original item raised the issue in terms of internet 'cocoons', using the web to seek out only those opinions you agree with and filter out those you dislike. He thinks this doesn't happen generally in blogs, although by citing two examples of liberals engaging in it, he clearly implies that it is a leftist tendency.

Actually, I think that cocooning happens all the time in the blogosphere. To my knowledge, only 4 generally conservative sites blogroll me. Of those, one is defunct and one blogs almost exclusively about the Middle East, where there isn't much conflict between their strong pro-Zionist positions and my own. That leaves only two blogs, one of them more oriented to humor than to political writing, that write about US politics from a relatively conservative viewpoint and blogroll this site. Maybe the others just have better taste, but that doesn't seem to be a problem for liberal political blogs. At least 30 have blogrolled me.

This isn't universal, but it comes pretty close. Almost all left sites, mine included, blogroll quite a few liberals and fewer or no conservatives. Almost all right sites tilt their blogroll in the opposite direction. Without looking very hard, you can find popular sites on both left and right without a single contrarian position in their blogrolls.

There's nothing wrong with this, really. A blogroll is part of the blogger's content, and a blogger is no more obligated to put up a balanced list than to put up unopinionated commentary. But it is cocooning, it is very widespread, and it is pretty much equal on left and right. It really just reflects a natural tendency - reading opinions that confirm the rightness of our views tends to be more enjoyable than reading things which attack them, regardless of what those views are.

One of the important ways that the tendency to cocoon in blogs is counteracted is by linking. I sometimes read conservative blogs specifically to look for interesting articles that I can criticize or react to. I always link to bloggers and posts or articles that I'm criticizing. You don't have to take my word for what somebody says, you can check out the site yourself and see if I'm characterizing their positions fairly. That's a central part of blog debates, so I'm much more bothered by this post, which implicitly criticizes several bloggers without linking to them, than by Jim's boycott of LGF. Den Beste says:

When I took a look at what sites were actually listed there, most of the ones I recognized are best described as "the usual suspects", and there was a clear ideological similarity to them. Any site which links approvingly to Warblogger Watch, This Modern World, Ted Barlow, Tapped, Sullywatch, Shadow of the Hegemon, Smirking Chimp, Media Whores, Eschaton, and Counterspin Central is applying a distinct filter to the choices. (Which is RR's privilege, of course.) I also found links to Brian Linse, Patrick Nielsen Hayden (and Teresa), and Avedon Carol, none of which do I consider extremist voices.

Den Beste's phrasing implies, without quite saying, that the earlier group of blogs and sites he lists, are 'extremist voices'. Some of those sites are unabashed take-no-prisoners lefties, but that's a pretty strange characterization of Ted Barlow or Tapped. If Den Beste is going to make it or suggest it, he should provide the links so his readers (many of whom probably don't read a lot of liberal sites) can judge on their own.

Incidentally, with all this commentary on Rittenhouse Review's boycott, one site that may not be taking it seriously is RR. It took about two minutes going through links to find a blog still linked by RR which links over to LGF.



Site 
Meter