Carnival #7: The World Wide Blog
The story that attracted the most attention was the arrest of Egyptian blogger Alaa Abd El-Fatah. He was nabbed as part of a sit-in. Bloggers are among those pushing for democracy in Europe, and the arrest sparked concern in their the community.
Such arrests may explain why bloggers in nearby Saudi Arabia are wary of a new official blogging community. Instapundit Glenn Reynolds provided more information at MSNBC and also in his column at TCS Daily. And Alaa kept right on blogging from jail.
Blogging is just as unwelcome in others pockets of the world, according to a report released by Reporters Without Borders for World Press Freedom Day, which was May 3. VNU Network published a story on the report.
In Singapore, the Elections Department recently issued a reminder about a ban on political blogs and podcasts. China also is targeting "unhealthy" blog postings, even as its blogosphere is booming. The boom is substantial enough that copyright protection has become an issue of concern to some commercial blogs.
Despite the restrictions on blogs in Asian countries, citizen journalism appears to be increasingly popular there. Citizen journalism also is making strides, albeit slowly, in Europe.
Also on more positive notes, Taiwan has a few "blawgmakers," or lawmakers who blog, and blogs are so popular in the rest of the world that English actually is a second language in the blogosphere.
Here's more coverage about blogs from the past couple of weeks:
Government and politics
-- "Network neutrality" has become a hot-button issue for bloggers in recent days. The term describes a legislative effort to keep dominant Internet providers from charging higher rates to some customers for high-speed Web access.
My latest column at Beltway Blogroll addressed the ongoing blog swarm on the issue. I also posted an interview with Craig Aaron of the Save the Internet coalition, as well as blog entries on the apparent conflict between a free market and free Internet and on net neutrality as campaign issue.
The Washington Post published a piece on how some bloggers are attacking former White House press secretary Mike McCurry. The Digital Divide Network also blogged about net neutrality.
-- Word that the National Security Agency has been collecting the telephone records of millions of Americans prompted a rush of commentary in the blogosphere -- enough of it that the mainstream media took notice.
-- An employee of the Virginia government was suspended for blogging. My entry on the topic includes links to a few MSM articles. AP also covered the news.
-- Liberal blogger John Aravosis of Americablog wondered aloud whether he and his fellow Democrats should stop criticizing officials of their own party until after the election. The discussion that followed prompted coverage in the Post. Newspapers also recently have covered how blogs are changing political discourse, boosting the campaigns of underdogs, and influencing the news-reporting process and evolution of political rumors.
-- The concern that campaigns might hire bloggers to do opposition research on candidates surfaced in Minnesota.
-- The battle between Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Ned Lamont for the Democratic Senate nomination in Connecticut is generating lots of buzz, with Lamont being the favorite among liberal bloggers and Lieberman being their whipping boy. Even The Wall Street Journal has taken note of the race. The political impact of bloggers more broadly already has been sufficient for MSM outlets to write about the revolutionary potential of blogs in Campaign 2006.
-- Connecticut lawmakers cleared a "shield" law that aims to protect the sources of bloggers as well as journalists.
-- The Los Angeles Police Department started a blog last week, a development that has sparked both news coverage and commentary.
-- A cyber attack earlier this month knocked millions of blogs offline.
-- Robert Bluey, the editor of Human Events Online, and Tim Chapman, the new director of the Center for Media and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, organized what they promise is the first of a series of off-the-record meetings on Capitol Hill for conservative bloggers.
-- Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of Daily Kos penned an op-ed in The Washington Post about the presidential ambitions of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. He thinks she has "a Bill Clinton problem." Power Line thinks Moulitsas needed a better editor, and Christian Grantham said the logic in the article is "intellectually retarded."
-- Time magazine published a piece about the emergence of blog specialists on Capitol Hill. Matt Stoller of MyDD was flattered to have earned complaints from anonymous Democratic aides.
-- Carol Darr of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet continues to get press coverage for her views on what might happen now that bloggers have a broad exemption from federal campaign finance law.
-- Blogads released its annual blog readership survey, a development that merited a mention in The Washington Post.
-- An advertising agency dropped its lawsuit against a Maine blogger after plenty of bad publicity over the suit. The case made a blogosphere hero of one Orlando, Fla., lawyer who helped defend the blogger.
Blogger Bill Hobbs, who lost his job for blogging, shared some thoughts on the Maine case, as did Instapundit. But Reynolds also reminded fellow bloggers that they are not immune from libel law.
-- "Blog rage" has been a hot topic in the MSM these days, what with all the vitriol from lefty bloggers directed at journalists like Jonathan Chait of The New Republic and Richard Cohen of the Post. Greg Sargent of The American Prospect tackled the issue, and Duncan Black of Eschaton responded.
CBS News added its thoughts on the Cohen flap and on the idea of blogs as a noise machine. Political Gateway reacted to the latter post. And the Prospect offered advice on "How To Avoid A Blog War."
-- Some bloggers think all the anger directed at them from the MSM is evidence that traditional media outlets feel threatened by the newcomers. But Jon Friedman of MarketWatch said they needn't feel threatened because the MSM still rule.
Maybe that's because so many people think you can't trust blogs. But the QandO Blog argued that blogs aren't supposed to be a trusted news source anyway.
-- Columnist Molly Ivins thinks it's a shame that bloggers are "breaking more toward opinion than journalism." She doesn't endorse the notion of credentialed journalists but does argue that bloggers should be able to write about a basic car accident before they get to cover a presidential campaign.
-- A prediction from an editor at a London newspaper: Most blogs "will disappear unnoticed, and frankly, unmissed by the world."
-- While the MSM continue to vent about blogs, they also continue to adopt them. The latest examples: blogs at a South Carolina newspaper and an auto blog at Consumer Reports. Some foreign correspondents are blogging, too, and more papers are welcoming content from bloggers. NBC News4 in Washington also just started a "Meet the Bloggers" feature for bloggers in Washington, D.C.
-- BBC issued staff guidelines to its bloggers.
-- One journalist thinks his colleagues can learn from bloggers how to "hat tip" the work of other writers. And another says freelance writers should consider blogs as a way to showcase their writing.
-- Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post advised magazine editors not to put their content behind subscription walls. Huffington, meanwhile, was profiled for her work in quickly creating a successful group blog.
-- The suspension of an ABC News producer over an opinionated e-mail that was exposed at The Drudge Report has one commentator wondering whether bloggers are contributing to the chilling of free speech in the MSM.
-- Plagiarism appears to be as much a problem in the blogosphere as the MSM. Some of them are good at exposing plagiarism by others, as happened in the recent case involving Raytheon CEO William Swanson.
-- Bloggers were out in force to cover E3, a conference of the videogame industry.
-- Liberal bloggers helped push a book by own of their own to the top of the charts.
-- Blogs can be a great way to foster business partnerships. They also can earn bloggers points toward redeemable gift cards at partners of Gather.com.
-- "Work Matters" columnist Cheryl Bean addressed the rights of both employees and employers when it comes to blogging. Some folks don't think Intel should be paying an employee to blog. The blogger bravely put the question to his readers.
-- Defending business brands is becoming increasingly important in the blogosphere.
-- An executive at Six Apart, a top blog software firm, touted business blogs. And the newspaper in Bradenton, Fla., noted the emergence of business blogs there.
-- AOL plans to launch a blog/social network to compete with MySpace. MySpace, meanwhile, continues to get bad press because of people who abuse the service.
-- Too many children reveal too much personal information on blogs -- and too many parents aren't aware of that behavior. But some people are trying to educate families about the dangers in the blogosphere.
-- On the flip side of the coin, blogs can serve as an aid to school course work. At least one university president also has found some value in blogging.
-- "Skypecasts": The next wave in the blog revolution? Or is it video blogs?
-- The National Basketball Association fined team owner Mark Cuban for comments he made at his blog.
-- Other recent stories have covered religious blogs in general, Jewish blogs in particular, medical blogs, and entertainment blogs focused on shows like "24" and "Grey's Anatomy." Mothers also are frequenting blogs.