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Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1416560104
ISBN-10: 1416560106
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Award winning journalist Boehlert (Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush) introduces the new generation of political muckrakers who took the 2008 presidential campaign-and old guard, by-the-numbers reporting-by storm. From the banner names of newly minted powerhouse The Huffington Post to the vitriol dished out by established liberal outposts like The Daily Kos, Boehlert presents a Web's-eye-view of the American left's grand reawakening. The netroots, as they became known, "literally kept the lights on during a very dark period for liberals"; prominent blogger Digby puts it more bluntly: "The Internet became available just as American politics turned bat shit crazy." That craziness only accelerated through the presidential campaign, including the polarizing campaign of Hillary Clinton, Obama calling small-town Pennsylvanians "bitter," and the entire shock-and-awry VP candidacy of Sarah Palin. Boehlert also examines the use and misuse of social networking sites like MySpace, and some seismic changes in televised news (including mainstream media's biggest new star, unlikely MSNBC news host Rachel Maddow). Blogger Markos describes his site as "a place for passionate activists, not conflict-averse weenies"; Boehlert illustrates that ethos well in this opinionated, impossible to put down narrative, chronicling with cagey insider detail the failures of copycat reporting and the inspired citizen-journalists picking up the slack.

Review

"Eric Boehlert's book, Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press, is a tour de force about the rise of activist political blogging that deftly describes the rise of political blogging in the Bush Era. It takes the issue of political blogging and its effect on politics and journalism seriously and provides many first person accounts of how it came about." -- TalkLeft

"If you're interested in the political blogosphere and the netroots in general, Eric Boehlert's Bloggers on the Bus is a great read....[A] terrifically readable and carefully reported book. Highly recommended." -- Mother Jones

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (May 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416560106
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416560104
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,710,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By L Goodman-Malamuth VINE VOICE on May 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having devoured Eric Boehlert's previous book, "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for George W. Bush," I wasted no time in buying and reading "Bloggers on the Bus." This seminal book confirms my belief that Boehlert is one of the most incisive and accurate media critics writing today. He is perhaps uniquely well-positioned to document how election coverage has adapted (or not) to a 24/7 news cycle, and to detail what a substantial role bloggers have played in this seismic shift.

Like millions of other news junkies, my reading habits now include a wide variety of political weblogs along with MSM articles and broadcasts. In this book, Boehlert demonstrates that during the 2008 Presidential primary season, the candidates' innovative use of all forms of cybercommunication transformed electoral politics forever. Even before 2008, bloggers who posted video and audio links influenced campaign results, as George Allen learned when his use of a racial epithet at a Virginia campaign stop--recorded and posted online--probably cost him that state's Senate seat in 2006.

Bloggers have made an enormous improvement in the amount and accuracy of information available to the electorate. The ranks of bloggers comprise many of today's savviest and most eloquent writers on electoral politics. It's impossible to think of elections now without, say, pre-YouTube Internet video pioneer John Amato of Crooks & Liars, pollster Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com, the communities posting at firedoglake, DailyKos, TalkingPointsMemo, ThinkProgress, and Boehlert's own base at the media watchdog site, Media Matters, to name only a few.

The sheer luxury of space that bloggers enjoy allows their postings to include much more information than in traditional print journalism.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By aubreypub on June 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've been reading the blogs for about ten years now. Have been reading some of them like Glenn Greewald since almost the beginning. This book has a lot of satisfying"inside baseball." For an avid blog reader it's a must. Boehlert provided lots of background on bloggers I take for granted. Good info on all my favorites. I think it would also be interesting for a non (political) blog reader. Boehlert is an engaging writer who tells the story of how progressive/liberal/left wing blogs came to prominence to rival right wing talk radio and significantly affected the 2004 and 2008 elections. There are many interesting stories in the book. One of the most interesting tells how local bloggers vetted Sarah Palin for the rest of the country. Highly recommend.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Karl Frisch on May 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I congratulate Eric Boehlert on the release of this book and must let everyone know that it's an excellent read. I'm about half way through it and have to say it's quite a compelling look inside the netroots revolution. If you enjoyed Boehlert's last book, Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush, you'll love his latest.

[...]
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. Stilwell on September 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I won't have enough space to critique this properly but I'll try to be brief. This book is primarily about the 2008 Democratic Party Primary between a woman and a Black man. The author favors Obama devoting 12 chapters to liberal blogger support for him. Two chapters refer obliquely to the apparent existence of conservative bloggers and Sarah Palin. The last half of the last chapter claims that Obama side-stepped the blogger community and single-handedly rewrote how to use the Internet to raise funds for political campaigns.

The writing style is very much like a blog. Childish, random thoughts jumbled together incoherently. Each new character introduced is supposedly downtrodden and humble yet sentences later we hear that the character has been in politics since age 2, the family has a history of politics extending 10 generations, the character selflessly donated $50K to the cause, and blogged 14 hours a day for months for free. Oh, and lived a Forest Gump-like lifestyle with a dash of illegal behavior that should get them arrested. None apparently had to ever pay bills. Clearly these super humans aren't ordinary or maybe the author lies an awful lot. Dates contradict regularly, names change from page to page. Blogger rankings also rankle since you never know who is reading and if they are residents of America or not. It's difficult to take it all seriously.

In one chapter, Obama doesn't even know what social networking is and has to attempt to buy a Facebook group of 160K users managed by a fan for a year but in a later chapter, he supposedly hired a Facebook founder a year earlier to attract volunteers by creating a Facebook group? Surely a founder would have known how to do this?
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