Monday, August 9, 2010
The Dog Days of Blogging
Bloggers and those who leave comments seldom have anything nice to say about anyone or anything, but that's okay. No one wants to be thought the political equivalent of a sports writer and get accused of being a homer or sucking up to power, so complaining becomes an art form with criticism and sarcasm flow freely upon public institutions and public figures. Sometimes it appears to be jaundiced cynicism, and sometimes it appears deserved commentary meant to correct the errors and improve things for the polis.
There are signs that bloggers and their readers might not really care, much less be up to the real responsibility of government and public affairs. Take, for example, the two best news sources in Northwest Arkansas -- the Fayetteville Flyer and Ozarks Unbound. Both have recently provided information about openings on Fayetteville city boards and commissions, including those on Environmental Concerns and on Tree and Landscape. How many reader comments on the Flyer? None. How many reader comments on OU? Zip. What about the upcoming races for City Council? Ozarks Unbound has an informative article with zero comments, tied with nada on the Fayetteville Flyer article.
Does the dearth of reader response reflect a lack of interest in public service, or is actually getting involved not worth the time to comment? An article on chicken wings drew 23 comments on the Flyer, so that gives you some idea about their readers' relative hierarchy of interests. But it is not just the wired kids who seem disinterested in political involvement. The only contested race for county office this fall in Benton and Washington Counties is a race for Washington County Assessor, where seeking a sinecure is far more central than implementing ideology of government. Meh.