Patterico's Pontifications


Did Blogs Defeat the Amnesty Bill?

Filed under: Immigration — Patterico @ 6:02 pm

The Wall Street Journal says blogs played a central role in defeating the amnesty bill. Allah begs to differ, pointing to blogs’ relatively low readership numbers.

I think Allah has a good point — but he underestimates the influence blogs have amongst powerful people in media and government.

I believe that well-written and insightful blogs can have an influence beyond that reflected by our admittedly pathetic hit counts. Reporters and politicians’ staff members monitor the better blogs for an indication of how the public feels. People e-mail posts to friends and relatives. And because the Internet is everywhere, you never know whom you’re going to reach.

It would be foolhardy for blogs to take all the credit for any major political occurrence like the defeat of amnesty. But blogs’ signifiance should not be unduly downplayed, either.

15 Responses to “Did Blogs Defeat the Amnesty Bill?”

  1. Reporters and politicians’ staff members monitor the better blogs for an indication of how the public feels.

    Yes — some blogs. Red State, Powerline, etc. The ones I named in my post. The rest of us are background noise.

    Allah (179258)

  2. My guess is that people who read and comment at blogs are also prolific emailers and telephone callers – especially to Congressional representatives and Senators. I know I am.

    DRJ (31d948)

  3. At core, the bill was defeated because Democrats abandoned it, so I think the actual cause was that Democrat senators found that their own Democrats were against it. I don’t think that blogs or talk radio accounts for the Democrats’ opposition.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)


    208 million Americans are now online

    and Zogby also has some ininteresting info on the topic.–zogby-poll-most-americans-say-bloggers-and-citizen-reporters-will-play-a-vital-role-in-journalisms-future/

    He says that 40% of Americans use the internet as their top source of news and info.

    Don’t count the blogosphere, out just yet, boys and girls. ;O)

    With online networking ‘devices’ like Digg, Delicious, Twitter, Facebook, etc, the word spreads, and quickly. Forevery hit, there maybe a dozen more who may be reading read you have to say.

    Warren Bonesteel (f4120d)

  5. I think it might be enlightening for politicians to read (not someone else doing for them) the top 15 or so left/right blogs regularly, along w/the comments section to grasp that ‘real’ people not only think but even have relevant thoughts and views on current issues of importance. It might benefit them greatly, sort of eavesdropping on America… This ascendancy of technology should be a tool wielded more powerfully and effectively by the politicians given its reach.

    Of course this all becomes moot if the politician doesn’t care what the citizens think.

    Dana (89a181)

  6. I’ll give Allah credit for not making more of hotair than it is in relation to its influence. I didn’t expect that from him. Many of their members/posters feel they are on a mission for Malkin and read little else.

    Diversity in ones sources is always a good thing.

    voiceofreason63 (36badf)

  7. Agreed, it’s not how many people read blogs that counts, but who’s doing the reading. Quality, not quantity.

    DubiousD (440aee)

  8. I just wish that the boneheads in DC would come up with a good bill that actually secures the border and implements an effective employment verification requirement. If they did that, then I’d have no huge problem with amnesty for people who have been here for more than four years, provided that they’ve been obeying all of our other laws, and provided that they agree to pay a sufficient penalty so that they will not become a drain on our already-strained social security and medicare systems.

    The GOP ought to come up with such a draft bill. Ted Kennedy asked the opponents of the bill what we are for, and he should get a straight answer.

    Andrew (08ba2c)

  9. It’s not the amount of readers the blogs have, its what those readers do. If you have 4k a day here and those readers each talk about what they read here to their friends and so on, you have technically reached a more massive amount of readers than you thought.

    Without the blogs, talk radio wouldn’t have jumped so hard into the mess and then it wouldn’t have been defeated. I think talk radio is what ‘killed’ it, but the blogs got it down and hurting by word of mouth if nothing else.

    Lord Nazh© (899dce)

  10. I think radio, TV, and print also pick up on what the blogs are talking about and steal…er, use it, so their influence is optimized by the type of readers as well as the numbers.

    And from my activist days, I know that any organized political effort is appreciated by pols–and angry, efficient political efforts are feared. They figure one letter equals a hundred people who feel the same. Multiply that by a thousand for a blog?

    Patricia (824fa1)

  11. We are bloggers, hear us roar…

    On the subject of the power of conservative blogs, Patterico links and quotes the Wall Street Journal and Allah at Hot Air, before opining himself: [W]ell-written and insightful blogs can have an influence beyond that reflected by our admittedly pathet…

    BeldarBlog (72c8fd)

  12. It’s not how many read you, it’s who reads you. I don’t get all that many visitors a day, but a commentor over at Tim Blair once referred to me as a “(Moderately) well known conservative blogger.” If I’m (moderately) well known, I’d hate to see the traffic relatively unknown bloggers get.

    Alan Kellogg (4cd060)

  13. I suggest that what defeated the amnesty bill was people knowing enough about its background and substance to complain. How much this was from blogs vs talk radio vs other I’ll leave for others to research and ponder.

    Kennedy and McCain led a small group in isolation, outside of the normal and transparent process of going through committe first, to write a major piece of legislation with the hope it would be passed “without any political rancor” (or whatever McCain’s phrase was). In other words, “Just pass it because we said so, you can read it later.”

    Senator Kennedy had a major role in the last two major immigration bills, roughly 20 and 40 years ago. It may be that “third times the charm” and you get “three strikes before you’re out”, but no one has said those apply to the Senate.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  14. The bill was full of holes. We saw what was in it, which was very different from what the proponents were saying it would do. Sheer folly for senators to believe they could be that condescending to those who elect them to office and not get slammed. We reached the “enough is enough” point.

    Agatha (fec594)

  15. I used to rely on newspaper and newsmagazine articles for facts on issues like immigation. Without blogs, I wouldn’t have had sufficient relevant information with which to make a judgement on the Bush/Kennedy initiatives.

    As it was, I wrote Senators on cloture, and joined the immigration-reform group FAIR. I suspect that this sort of indirect blog-effect is fairly common in instances where journalists align with the political elite to favor one position and denigrate another.

    AMac (0230e8)

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.0659 secs.