Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pg. 99: David Perlmutter's "Blogwars"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: David Perlmutter's Blogwars: The New Political Battleground.

About the book, from the publisher:
Political blogs have grown astronomically in the last half-decade. In just one month in 2005, for example, popular blog DailyKos received more unique visitors than the population of Iowa and New Hampshire combined. But how much political impact do bloggers really have?

In Blogwars, David D. Perlmutter examines this rapidly burgeoning phenomenon, exploring the degree to which blogs influence -- or fail to influence -- American political life. Challenging the hype, Perlmutter points out that blogs are not that powerful by traditional political measures: while bloggers can offer cogent and convincing arguments and bring before their readers information not readily available elsewhere, they have no financial, moral, social, or cultural leverage to compel readers to engage in any particular political behavior. Indeed, blogs have scored mixed results in their past political crusades. But in the end, Perlmutter argues that blogs, in their wide dissemination of information and opinions, actually serve to improve democracy and enrich political culture. He highlights a number of the particularly noteworthy blogs from the specialty to the superblog-including popular sites such as Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, Powerlineblog, Instapundit, and Talking Points Memo -- and shows how blogs are becoming part of the tool kit of political professionals, from presidential candidates to advertising consultants. While the political future may be uncertain, it will not be unblogged.

For many Internet users, blogs are the news and editorial sites of record, replacing traditional newspapers, magazines, and television news programs. Blogwars offers the first full examination of this new and controversial force on America's political landscape.
Among the praise for Blogwars:

"David Perlmutter brings the analytical bent of a scholar on the phenomenon of blogging. As a lover of news as well as the new, he also brings a fan's passion to the subject. I am most grateful for both the scholarly perspective and the fan's passion."
--Scott. W. Johnson, powerlineblog.com

"Would blogs really matter that much, and if so would they alter the American political system for the better or worse? David Perlmutter, a professor of journalism at the University of Kansas, has plunged into cyberspace as both a researcher and blogger to look for answers...For readers unfamiliar with the political-blogging terrain, his book serves as a worthy introduction."
--Boston Globe

"David Perlmutter 'gets' the blogosphere in a way that few outside observers do, going beyond the tired arguments about whether bloggers are damaging the civil debate by their partisanship and volume, about whether nonprofessional journalists and pundits should have a say in that debate, and about whether the phenomenon is just a flash in the pan. Perlmutter recognizes what these new media-blogs, YouTube, social networking sites-bring to the table: a reinvigoration of the public side of the public debate, a real and profound demonstration of the political process."
--Joan McCarter (mcjoan), Contributing Editor, DailyKos

"Perlmutter's Blogwars is an impressive primer on the politics and political implications of the blogs and the blogosphere."
--Kathleen Jamieson, University of Pennsylvania

"Books on blogs by bloggers vastly overstate their case and overpromote their cause. David Perlmutter, however, puts blogs in the proper perspective, giving an insightful and highly useful account of how blogs actually are changing American politics as a new tool in a growing arsenal of weapons for political operatives and pundits."
--Erick-Woods Erickson, Editor, RedState.com

Read more about Blogwars at the Oxford University Press website.

David D. Perlmutter is professor and associate dean for graduate studies and research at the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications, University of Kansas.

Learn more about David Perlmutter and his work at his faculty webpage, at PolicyByBlog, and at the blog of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas, which he edits.

The Page 99 Test: Blogwars.

--Marshal Zeringue