California Blogs

CALIFORNIA BLOGS….The fastest way to unite the blogosphere is to write an article about blogs. It will inevitably be taken as an insult of some kind.

Case in point. A week ago the LA Times ran a long article titled “The New Faces of the City.” Its subject was Los Angeles-based blogs, and it struck me as fairly dull. In fact, I don’t remember even getting all the way through it back when it first appeared.

But Cathy Seipp did. And she was pissed:

Kinder-hearted people than me have been fretting lately about the impending loss of 85 editorial jobs at the Los Angeles Times. But I’d up the number to include anyone who had anything to do with the unbelievably lame cover story on the L.A. blogosphere in the Dec. 1 Calendar Weekend, including the editors responsible for it.

This was followed, ironically, by a complaint that the article characterized political bloggers as writing “intense, phlegm-flecked rants.”

Now, I happen to think that Cathy’s spittle-flecked rant missed its mark pretty widely with its complaint that the article focused on small, low-readership blogs instead of the more popular LA-based sites. I don’t buy it. Big blogs already get plenty of ink, and there’s nothing wrong with shining the spotlight somewhere else for a few moments. Besides, the article was plainly focused on blogs that are written by Angelenos about Los Angeles. Little Green Footballs may be written by an Angeleno, but it’s not about Los Angeles. So it didn’t get mentioned. What’s the problem?

On the other hand, Cathy does have an idea for the assignment desk that ? suprisingly ? I’ve never seen anyone take up at the Times or anywhere else:

You’d also have no idea that since the post-Sept. 11 explosion of political blogs, L.A. has been the capital of the [political] blogosphere. But The Times ? which has a sorry tradition of ignoring trends in its own backyard ? has been missing that story from its beginning.

This is true, although I’d argue that the capital is California, not Los Angeles. Past and present Golden State big hitters in the political blogosphere include Daily Kos, Volokh Conspiracy, Little Green Footballs, Calpundit/Washington Monthly, Hugh Hewitt, Steven Den Beste, Huffington Post, Kausfiles, and Crooks and Liars. And as Cathy points out, proto-blogger Matt Drudge got his start out here too, as has train-wreck-in-the-making Pajamas Media. By most measures, California has about a quarter of the most trafficked political blogs in the country.

Why? How is it that California, 3,000 miles away from the main nerve of American politics, has so damn many popular political blogs? Is it because California is 3,000 miles away from the main nerve of American politics? The Times could do worse than assign someone to try to figure it out.