February 4, 2005

Live Blogging

Why wait for the next day to comment on the State of the Union when you can blog in real-time?

During President Bush’s State of the Union address this past Wednesday, many political bloggers chose to post their comments about the speech in real-time during the event rather than wait for the conclusion of the speech. This phenomenon, referred to as “live blogging,” often consists of entries that are nothing more than one sentence reactions to television coverage or snide comments made about various audience members.

Although a Pew Internet and American Life data memo from January showed that voters for John Kerry were slightly more likely than voters for George W. Bush to read political blogs, commentators from many different sides of the political debate took the opportunity to weigh-in on the speech as it was happening. Blogs for Bush posted a list of pro-Bush sites that were “live blogging” during the event and GOPBloggers, consisting of Matt Margolis and Kevin McCullough, provided their own version of blogging play-by-play.

Meanwhile, the progressive Center for American Progress provided (almost) real-time quotes from Bush that they claimed were inaccurate and research that backed up their objections. Fellow hosts of CNN’s Crossfire, Paul Begala and Robert Novak, posted their own interpretations of the night’s events and other bloggers, such as Wonkette, used the opportunity as a chance to take humorous shots at many of the lawmakers involved.

Many bloggers feel that the role of live blogging, and blogging in general, is to provide alternatives to the perceived monopoly of information delivered by traditional outlets of television and newspapers. By delivering their opinions instantaneously and without editorial hierarchy, bloggers have the ability to express their unfiltered opinions prior to more traditional commentators. As the editors of Tech Central Station argue, “This process begins to free citizens from the monopoly on information and opinion once held by mainstream media outlets. No longer do you need to rely on Larry King and a gang of CNN producers or the New York Times’ reporters and op/ed page writers for framing and analysis of issues.”