Congratulations to Powerline, Blog of the Year 2004

TIME Magazine named George Bush Man of the Year, not surprisingly a rather controversial choice. Here’s their instant poll:

And it named Powerline the Blog of the Year, an award Hugh Hewitt amusingly compares to TV program of the year in 1940, for Rathergate. TIME does some good reporting and writing in both the Bush and Powerline pieces; this from the latter:

If you haven’t read one, it’s hard to describe what makes blogs so special. There’s just something about the rhythm and pace of a blog that feels intuitively right. You don’t have to sit through fake-cheerful news-team chitchat or wade through endless column inches. It takes about 20 sec. to read a typical blog post, and when you’re finished you’ve got the basic facts up to the minute plus a dab of analysis and a dash of spin. If you’re not satisfied, you can click the link for more. If you are, you can go back to checking your e-mail and jiggering your spreadsheets or whatever you do for a living. This is news Jetsons-style. If it were any neater and quicker, it would come in a pill.

The appeal of Power Line goes beyond convenience. It even goes beyond the charisma of the people who run it and the relative sharpness of their political commentary. Blogs tend to be biased and openly partisan in exactly the way most mainstream news sources aren’t. Blogs aren’t objective, and they don’t pretend to be. When you read Power Line, you feel as if you’re part of a community, a like-minded righteous few. It’s as if you’ve stumbled on a sympathetic haven in the lonely, trackless wilderness of the Internet. Blogs like Power Line feed a need to belong. “We get a ton of e-mail from people all over the country expressing gratitude for what we do,” says Johnson.

How can a blog that caters to the right, the political majority who in fact run this country, make Republicans feel as if they’re part of a proud, persecuted minority? The villain here isn’t the political opposition. It’s the left-leaning Mainstream Media, a looming specter that is vilified so routinely on Power Line, it’s referred to in shorthand as the MSM. “My view,” Johnson says, “is that the mainstream media has acted as a means to obscure, as a kind of filter, a lens that makes it impossible to understand what’s going on in reality. We try to provide something that brings people closer to reality.”

“If you’re a liberal, what do you need blogs for?” Hinderaker asks, only half-joking. “You’ve got the New York TIMEs.” This kind of tough talk inspires a misty-eyed loyalty on the part of Power Line’s conservative following. “No one is as surpassingly adept at picking up on stories the MSM ignores,” a fellow blogger wrote about Power Line, “and which the average Joe can viscerally identify with.”

Speaking of Rathergate, it’s pretty funny that TIME’s programming automatically capitalizes that group of letters, so they get the NYT wrong. Don’t forge any memos, boys!

Congratulations to Powerline for their many contributions to America and journalism in 2004.

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