Monday, May 01, 2006

Bloggers to be part of Liberal renewal

Public Eye Online's Sean Hollman had Mark Podlasly, a member of the Liberal Party's renewal commission, on his radio show recently and Podlasly indicated bloggers may soon be playing a bigger role in the process, and that the commission will be looking to the Liblogs group for ideas.

Podlasly's role on the committee is to see how the party can make better use of the Internet. According to Hollman, Podlasky said the committee is considering "blogger conference calls" as a way for the party to reach out to Liberally-minded bloggers.

These are certainly interesting ideas, and I'll be interested to see how it all plays out. I think the party does need to make better use of the Internet, and reaching out to bloggers, as other parties have done with some success, is a good idea.

I think though that as bloggers are taken more seriously by the politicians it may be time to reconsider the role bloggers play, and will be playing, in the political process in the future. What will be the price of access, and are bloggers to be journalists or just another arm of the party communications apparatus?

I imagine the blogsphere will continue to have a little of both. I've always tried to take a somewhat journalistic approach with my writings, which is perhaps natural given my day job, but I've always been one to believe that telling truthiness to power isn't disloyal, but in fact takes a special kind of party loyalty.

While cheerleading has its place, such people tend to lack credibility, and therefore influence, and so I doubt they would be the bloggers that parties are trying to reach. The bloggers I most regularly read across the spectrum, from people like CalgaryGrit, Cerberus and TDH Strategies on the Liberal side to Political Staples on the Conservative side, aren't afraid to admit when their party is wrong and call their leaders to task when necessary, and try to maintain some intellectual honesty. That's why I read them, blind partisanship quickly becomes boring.

I guess my question is this: if parties and bloggers are to become closer, will bloggers in the future be afraid to bite the hand that feeds them? And how will the parties react when bloggers chomp down?

The federal Liberal's renewal commission will be "considering and recommending" the organization of "blogger conference calls" where party politicians reach out to Grit bloggers. This according to the commission's Internet policy chair Mark Podlasly.

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