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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A political blog is a common type of blog that comments on politics. In liberal democracies the right to criticize the government without interference is considered an important element of free speech. In other jurisdictions bloggers use the uncensored nature of the internet to bypass state controlled news media but as a result may find themselves persecuted.[1][2]

Political blogs are considered to have a stated political bias. Although professional journalists covering mainstream media news are often pursuing objectivity, political bloggers openly peddle their personal opinions. But according to a book published by Oxford University Press, research by Brigham Young University political scientist Professor Richard Davis found that most people who closely follow both political blogs and traditional news media tend to believe the content on blogs is more accurate.[3][4][5] The study also found that blog readers still get most of their news from regular news sources, but they suspect habitual bias. Data from this study is supported by the propaganda model. Stating political bias at the outset is therefore seen as being more honest.

Political blogs have many positive and negative ramifications. Whereas some political blogs offer new insight and accurate reporting, others openly commit libel and slander. Overall, political blogs encourage readers to evaluate their mediums. Above all, political blogs have unquestionably shaped the political arena including the voters and the political leaders.


Types of political blog

Most political blogs are news driven, and as such political bloggers will link to articles from news web sites, often adding their own comments as well. Some political blogs heavily feature original commentary, with occasional hyperlinks to back up the blogger's talking points. Many of these blogs comment on whatever interests the author, as befits the blogger's political leanings, personal knowledge base, and momentary interests. Arizona political blogger, Gayle Plato-Besley, credits the blogging medium as jumpstarting grassroots activism: "My column reaches local activists and concerned citizens. The readers and the writers become active participants in the political process."

One notable subspecies of political blog is the watch blog, a blog which sets out to criticize what the author considers systematic errors or bias in an online newspaper or news site — or perhaps even by a more popular blogger. These blogs occupy a niche market, although a scandal involving their chosen subject may elevate them to momentary importance.

Regional examples



These do not have the same notoriety as blogs in the United States for "breaking stories" or potentially ruining the reputations of politicians or journalists. They have also not generally attracted the same mainstream media attention which comes along with those activities, although in July 2007 the Murdoch owned The Australian used an editorial to attack the credibility of a number of blogs which had called into question the interpretations of opinion poll results by one of the paper's columnists.[6]


European Union

The European political blogosphere is very active. Beyond the official blogs of European Commissioners, you can also find a blogging platform dedicated to European political actors named Blogactiv. A full directory of European blogs can be found here and a dedicated search motor based on Google CSE here.


Probably the best known political blogger in Finland are Jussi Halla-aho, who has become famous for his texts that criticize immigration and multiculturalism, Green League politicians Osmo Soininvaara and Jyrki Kasvi, J. P. Roos, professor at the University of Helsinki, and Erkki Tuomioja (Social Democratic Party).[7] In May 2008 Finnish political blogger and extreme right activist Seppo Lehto was sentenced to 2 years and 4 months in prison on several accounts of libel, slander of ethnic groups and violating peace of religion in his blogs. Among the plaintiffs were court officials of his previous trials, left wing politicians as well as a prominent African resident of Lehto's home town Tampere.[8][9][10][11][12]


Israel's was among the first national governments to set up an official blog.[13] The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs started the country's video blog as well as its political blog.[14] The Foreign Ministry also held a microblogging press conference via Twitter about its war with Hamas, with Consul David Saranga answering questions live from the worldwide public in common text-messaging abbreviations.[15] The questions and answers were later posted on IsraelPolitik, the country's official political blog.[16]


Due to the strict media controls and censorship laws such as the Internal Security Act and Sedition Act imposed by the Malaysian government, the internet is often used as a form of media to circumvent the restrictions. On January 11, 2007, 2 Malaysian bloggers Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin Attan, were sued by the New Straits Times Press (NSTP), a government controlled newspaper.[17] The Malaysian court ordered Ooi to remove more than 10 postings on his blog that the NSTP claimed were libellous by January 17. Ooi is prohibited from republishing those postings in his blog or on the internet until the disposal of the defamation suit filed by New Straits Times Press (NSTP). The lawsuits are the first of their kind in Malaysia.

In recent years it has gain traction as the leading form of alternative media available for the public to voice out dissent and criticism against the Malaysian Government. One example of the use of political blogs is the successful organisation of a pro-democracy rally, 2007 Bersih Rally which managed to gather over 40,000 participants although it was declared illegal by the ruling Government.

New Zealand


These blogs are a combination of news-based and issue-oriented blogs. The only difference is that they focus on many different issues and present both news and analysis. In Pakistan, a major obstacle to this type of blogging is the threat from different political organization to whosoever writes against them. This threat acts as self-censorship to many bloggers. But there are people who are not afraid.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a country burdened with a civil war going for a period of more than 30 years. This highly politically conscious nation is the home for some of the most widely read political blogs in Asia.


Political blogging in Sweden has been recognised as a potential political force since the spring of 2008, when protests against a proposed new surveillance and intelligence law (the so-called FRA law) within the blogosphere contributed to putting the issue on the top of the news agenda in Sweden and forced the Government to make concessions in order to win support for its proposal in the Swedish Parliament. Debates surrounding issues such as data privacy, copyright, file-sharing and the surveillance society have continued to be influenced by the blogosphere to a high degree. Political blogs operated on a professional basis include Politikerbloggen which is syndicated by TV company TV4 and which includes gossip, news, analysis and opinion pieces. A site focusing only on the presentation of opinion pieces is Newsmill.


In Switzerland, Direct Democracy has a long tradition. Direct Democracy can be defined as a form or system of democracy giving citizens an extraodinary amount of participation in the legislation process and granting them a maximum of political self-determination. The origins of Switzerland's modern system of Direct Democracy with formalized opinion polls and frequent referendums lie in the experimental phase of democracy in the 19th century when Switzerland was surrounded by monarchies on the European continent that showed little to none enthusiasm for democracy. Political blogging in Switzerland shows a wide variety of political opinions. A well known political blog in Switzerland is Daily Talk

United Kingdom

Many political blogs in the United Kingdom frequently publish articles, rumours and news from various angles, often with a general anti-establishment bias. Among the many influential UK bloggers are Iain Dale, Tim Worstall, Harry of Harry's Place and Guido Fawkes.

Although the influence of political blogs on the government is growing[18] this has been accompanied by criticism of their content. A former leading adviser to the government has criticised their anti-establishment nature for fuelling a "crisis" in politics stating that there should be more emphasis on working together to solve problems rather than making hostile and conflicting demands on politicians. Bloggers are blamed for encouraging citizens to remain in a "perpetual state of self-righteous rage", behaving like "teenagers" who are "increasingly unwilling to be governed but not yet capable of self-government."[19] The director of the Press Complaints Commission has called for a voluntary code of conduct similar to that governing newspapers and magazines due to the current lack of redress for those angered by their content.[20]

United States

While many countries have political blogs, the influence of such blogs on political discourse is most prominent in US politics. Political blogs in the US, either published in the bloggers' own domains or interest-specific blogging platforms such as Blogster, often have an open and well-defined liberal or conservative bias.

The first major scandal that blogs participated in involved remarks made by then U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, when the senator remarked that U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate Strom Thurmond, who ran on a segregationist platform in 1948, would have made a good president. The continued attention of bloggers, such as Josh Marshall, kept the story alive and drew media attention not only to the event itself, but Lott's previous comments along the same lines and association with groups like the Council of Conservative Citizens.[21] Research by a Brigham Young University political scientist, Richard Davis, found supportive data that also suggests political blogs have become an echo chamber that extends the shelf life of news stories.[3]

Political blogs attracted further attention as a result of their use by two political candidates in 2003: Howard Dean and Wesley Clark. Both gained political buzz on the Internet, and particularly among bloggers, before they were taken seriously as candidates by traditional media outlets. Joe Trippi, Dean's campaign manager, made the Internet a particular focus of the campaign. Both candidates stumbled in the end, but were, at one time or another, thought of as front runners for the Democratic nomination. Senator John Kerry, the eventual Democratic nominee in 2004, maintained a blog on his own campaign site, as did his opponent, President George W. Bush.

Conservative bloggers assisted in President Bush's 2004 re-election by criticizing a CBS 60 Minutes story in the final weeks of the general election campaign, which purported to have new evidence of favoritism toward Bush during his National Guard in the 1970s. Blogs such as Little Green Footballs and Powerline raised questions about the authenticity of CBS's documents, which were followed up by traditional media, until CBS admitted the documents could not be verified and retracted the accusations. This incident not only fed into conservative claims of "liberal media bias," it also helped to defuse questions about Bush's Guard service as a campaign issue.

A significant instance of political blogs influencing politics occurred during the 2006 Virginia Senate campaign. In that campaign, S. R. Sidarth, who is Indian-American and was acting as a "tracker" for challenger Jim Webb's senate campaign, was sent to video record incumbent republican Senator George Allen during campaign stops. During one such campaign stop, Sadith recorded Senator Allen calling him a "macaca". The term refers to a species of monkey, and is regarded by some as an ethnic slur. The video was posted on the popular video-sharing site YouTube. The story was picked up by local media, and then by national media, due to heavy attention by blogs such as the liberal blog Daily Kos. The media attention has been widely cited as a key reason why Senator Allen was defeated by now-Senator Jim Webb. One consequence of the macaca event was to end Senator Allen's presidential ambitions. In addition, the defeat of Senator Allen was enough to give senate democrats a one-vote senate majority when the 110th Congressional term began.

Political blogs have also had drastic implications on political leaders themselves. Some political leaders have greatly benefited from broad audience base the internet provides. One such example is Howard Dean of Vermont, who raised unprecedented campaign funds via the internet through the use of grassroots blogs and his own website. On the contrary, some politicians have greatly suffered due to the increased exposure political blogs provide. Former United States President George Bush was frequently followed by blog sites online. In other cases, political blogs can serve as comic relief and are seemingly harmless to government officials.

Notable American political blogs and bloggers

See also


  1. ^ Connor, A. (2005), Not just critics, BBC News, 20th June 2005. Retrieved on 29th November 2006.
  2. ^ Egypt arrests another blog critic, BBC News, 20th November 2006. Retrieved on 29th November 2006.
  3. ^ a b (2009), Political blogs more accurate than newspapers, say those who read both, Brigham Young University.
  4. ^ Davis, Richard. (2009), Typing Politics: The Role of Blogs in American Politics, Oxford University Press.
  5. ^ Glover, Daniel. (2009), The Axis Of Liberal Media Bias, AIM, 13th May 2009.
  6. ^ The Australian editorial
  7. ^ Markku Huusko: Halla-aho ei ole netissä yksin, Uusi Suomi, 30.11.2008
  8. ^ "Törkykirjoittelu netissä toi tamperelaismiehelle linnaa". Aamulehti. 2008-05-30.  
  9. ^ "Nettiherjaukset toivat vankilatuomion". STT (Keskisuomalainen). 2008-05-30.  
  10. ^ "Nettiherjaukset toivat vankilatuomion". STT (Talouselämä). 2008-05-30.  
  11. ^ "Nettiherjaukset toivat vankilatuomion". MTV3-STT (MTV3). 2008-05-30.  
  12. ^ "Seppo Lehdon nettisivuista jälleen rikosilmoitus". STT-IL (Iltalehti). 2008-06-23.  
  13. ^ Israel Video Blog aims to show the world 'the beautiful face of real Israel', Ynet, February 24, 2008.
  14. ^ Latest PR venture of Israel's diplomatic mission in New York attracts large Arab audience, Ynet, June 21, 2007.
  15. ^ Battlefront Twitter, HAVIV RETTIG GUR, The Jerusalem Post, December 30, 2008.
  16. ^ The Toughest Q’s Answered in the Briefest Tweets, Noam Cohen, The New York Times, January 3, 2009; accessed January 5, 2009.
  17. ^ Ooi, Jeff (Jan. 18, 2006). Bloggers sued in Malaysia. Screenshots.
  18. ^ Wheeler, B. (2006), Battle of the conference blogs, BBC News, 15th September 2006. Retrieved on 29th November 2006.
  19. ^ Wheeler, B. (2006), Web 'fuelling crisis in politics', BBC News, 17th November 2006. Retrieved on 29th November 2006.
  20. ^ Voluntary code for blogs 'needed', BBC News, 28th November 2006. Retrieved on 29th November 2006.
  21. ^ Gill, K. "How can we measure the influence of the blogosphere?," WWW 2004, New York. (pdf)


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