I go out of my way to read both sides of the fence on Political blogs. Doing so has taught me an important, if not a little disheartening lesson. To illustrate this lesson let me give you a quote from Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly...
EVEN GEORGE WILL.... We've past the point at which this can reasonably be described as foolish. Now, conservative apoplexy about the non-existent drive to reinstate the "Fairness Doctrine," is just annoying. George Will, who one might expect to know better, devoted 740 words in a nationally syndicated column to railing against a legislative initiative that no one seriously wants or expects to pass.
<George Will Quote>
I haven't the foggiest idea what compelled George Will to write such nonsense. It's not only ridiculous, it neglects to mention to the reader that no one is seriously trying to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.
Now, I pick this topic because I think most bloggers, conservative or liberal, are against the fairness doctrine (a bill that would try to legislate equal time from every TV, radio and presumably Internet source). So it serves as a "non-political" jumping off point because the fairness doctrine is not my point.
My point comes from this quote, easily found through Google and easily verifiable, from House speaker Nancy Pelosi (from Newsbusters.org)...
"Do you personally support revival of the ‘Fairness Doctrine?'" I asked.
"Yes," the speaker replied, without hesitation.
I also found equivalent quotes from other politicians such as Diane Feinstein, John Kerry, and others.
Now my point is not to take a side in this. The truth is either side could be true. On one hand I've shown some verifiable quotes that show members of the House and Senate voicing support for the Fairness Doctrine. But on the other hand those quotes could just as easily be explained away as political posturing to a liberal base that hates Talk Radio.
After all, there is no active bill or even debate about reinstatement of the fairness doctrine and none of the above quoted people are scheduled to present one.
So both sides could be right. My point though, long in coming I know, is how these bloggers talk past each other. Blogs and other social media are often described as "a conversation" but the simple truth is that no conversation is actually taking place. More like people shouting to their followers on opposite sides of a building.
If there was "a conversation" wouldn't they at least address each other's points. You don't have to agree with a point to address it. In fact, in an actual conversation you go out of your way to address other's points so that you can then refute them (there by strengthening your own argument).
I like blogs, I have a blog, I read blogs more than most. But saying they're a conversation is intellectually dishonest. More importantly, it stops people from having an actual conversation which is exactly what the world needs more of right now.