Free Markets, Free People

Political Blogs preferred for their opinion

There’s a very interesting survey out from the Pew Research Center that looks at the media – both old and new – in just about every way possible.  Per Pew, 44% of people now receive some bit of news on line or on their mobile device each day.  The revolution in news gathering preferences is being driven by thirty-somethings who came of age during the rise of the internet.  Older folks continue to prefer traditional means of gathering news and opinion.

But I found one of their charts on the preferences of regular audiences to be fascinating.  Included in the chart was a category for “political blogs”.  And, per the chart, they are preferred over such media majors as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today for opinion. 



That says to me the genre has established itself as I think it should be viewed – blogs are commentaries on the political scene as the blogger views it and that includes his or her ideology and political biases.  Bloggers aren’t shy about making known what their ideology and biases are and I think that is actually attractive to readers because they can filter the content as they feel necessary. That’s reinforced by the higher numbers found among those of the talk radio and opinion TV genres.  Whereas other more traditional outlets have a tendency to at least pretend  some level of objectivity – even in their commentary.  I’d suggest, given the numbers, that bit of spin isn’t selling well and that for the most part they’ve been relegated to the hard news portion of the information gathering process.  If someone wants to know what happened, they go to more traditional media outlets.  If they want to know what to think about it (or to reinforce what they think), they seek out opinions.  Blogs, it seems, have very successfully established themselves in the opinion area of that process.

There’s a lot more to digest in the survey, much of it which makes clear the trend toward on-line news gathering isn’t a trend or fad.  Traditional media outlets who peruse the results should be able to quickly figure out the Darwinian choice they’re presented – adapt or die.  But for political blogs, at least at this point in the media evolution, seem to have found their niche.



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10 Responses to Political Blogs preferred for their opinion

  • I personally hate blogs that don’t allow comments.
    I mean, who died and made them important enough to only do a monologue ?

    • I dunno. Sometimes its refreshing. Like Instapundit with comments just sounds wrong. Ace without comments would be dull. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

  • A growing trend, McQ.  Blogs are coming into their own, and that is a function of people LIKING information.
    How many opinion pieces can you recall in the recent past where Collectivists deplored “too much information” flying around out there?
    It’s like when they deplore there being “too much democracy”.

  • Daily Show and Colbert for views and opinions – scoring as higher or as high (respectively) as NPR?    Not sure if that’s an interesting and sad reflection on the poll respondents, or NPR.
    And Maddow?  Olbermann?    spews and op-onions in the mid to (very) high 30% range?   well, it does say views and opinions I guess…..and doesn’t question the accuracy of the views or the worth of the opinions….

    • And Maddow? Olbermann?

      An epigraph for our times appears in Jonathan Franzen’s new novel “Freedom”: “The personality susceptible to the dream of limitless freedom is a personality also prone, should the dream ever sour, to misanthropy and rage.”

      Of course, any witness to the Weathermen would already know this.

    I really don’t think you can draw that inference from that chart since it’s breaking down the reasons for consulting those sources.  If 64% of the 274 respondents use CNN primarily for headline news, that necessarily reduces the fractions for the remaining factors.  And since we don’t know the amount of overlap between 274 respondents who use CNN as a source in any capacity and the 307 who visit political blogs, I’m not sure you can draw any particular conclusion about the relative worth of  either source.
    As to NPR, all I draw from the chart is that it has reasonably even appeal accross all purposes.
    I am curious about the spikes for Rachel Maddow and Political Blogs under Other/DK though.

  • Superficial news “In Depth”?

  • Isn’t it interesting that the percentages of those watching MSNBC is much larger than the relative proportions of the viewing audience for these programs.  O’Reilly 44, Hardball 42 when O’Reilly has at least 2X the viewers.

    • Hardball 42, Olbermann 39, Maddow 33 … Both Maddow and Olbermann fight it out for top viewed show, but for some odd reason here, Hardball rates better with Pew.   Is it that more people just leave the TV running while Maddow and Olbermann are on, but more people actually listen to Hardball ?   .. very odd.

      • I don’t think that means “more”. I think it means when they tune in they’re looking for or expecting opinion, not “news” or “entertainment”, etc.