Progressive Inertia

What was that?Maybe it isn't just my imagination after all. I thought I'd noticed Arianna Huffington steadily climbing the popularity ladder while Michelle Malkin lost ground on Technorati's upper-echelon list—Instapundit, too, seemed to be low on the scale—but I didn't want to automatically assign social-barometer status to the apparent trend. After reading the Left builds power base in the blogosphere article on The Guardian's site, however, I'm beginning to think that what I had semiconsciously noted is no transient aberration.

As its title and army of bloggers growing in strength and confidence subtitle suggest, the article has to do with the rise of left-leaning blogs. Evidently, there was a small meeting of bloggers last week in Harlem, and former president Bill Clinton was at the center of it.

To be bathed in the famously energising glow of the former president's attention is an unfamiliar sensation. Ever since blogs took off in America three or four years ago, the running has been made by writers and editors from the right such as Andrew Sullivan, Michelle Malkin and Glenn Reynolds, the law professor behind InstaPundit. Liberal sites were confined to the role of second cousins.

If Technorati's list is any indication, those second cousins may be taking over the family. Today The Huffington Post is in fifth place; as I recall, it occupied slot number seven about a week ago. By comparison, Malkin's blog is in 13th position, and Reynolds trails in 17th place. Naturally, all are enviable positions in the blogospheric scheme of things, but when you're so near the zenith, every rung on the popularity ladder represents a significant change in readership.

More to the point, the blogs in question embody ideological differences that translate—especially now—to political trends in our corner of the world. If Joe's Blog is about the latest tech toys and its readership increases twofold, you've learned something about market trends. But when the same happens to our political blogs, the lesson may be of historical significance. From now on, when I think I see movement in the corner of my eye, I'll pay closer attention.


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