Saturday, May 20, 2006

Blog Watchers

Once the mainstream media discovered that blogging was becoming an exceedingly popular and noisy phenomenon, two things began to happen. One was the sudden emergence of blogs written by journalists and posted on their employers' web sites. The other was the development of columns devoted to reading and parsing the various "big-time" blogs of non-journalists. Most of the time, journo-blogs are nothing but columns that could and would have been printed if certain linguistic elements were cleaned up. And most of the time the blog reviews are nothing but not-too-subtle digs at amateurs who audaciously question the status quo of the culture and the media.

Most of the time, but not all of the time. Tim O'brien of the Minneapolis Star Tribune is a pleasantly surprising exception to the rule. His column "The Blog House" in today's STrib does a good job at surveying the conservative blog response to the Emperor's immigration speech and then ends the column with a section that could very well have been written by a blogger.

Last month, we took a look at the time of day that Michael Brodkorb of Minnesota Democrats Exposed was posting to his blog. For the month of March, the former research director for the Minnesota Republican Party -- who claims his blog "is not created, endorsed, sponsored, or authorized by any political party, candidate, or candidate's committee" -- posted 31 times on weekends, 47 times between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m., and 167 times between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Friday, generally considered work hours. The tally for April was 71 posts during the workday, 35 after hours.

His employer -- Weber Johnson PA, a public relations firm that has represented the Minnesota Republican Party, Sen. Norm Coleman, Rep. John Kline and Gov. Tim Pawlenty -- apparently doesn't mind an employee spending a big chunk of his workday posting and launching attacks against candidates and political parties opposing former (and current?) clients of the firm. It's almost as if it were part of his job description.

Oh, my!

Nicely done, Mr. O'brien.


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