Thursday, August 09, 2007

More on Mostly Male Netroots

There’s still a lot of talk in the wake of YearlyKos about the issue of white male bloggers being the loudest voices of the netroots movement.

In addition to my colleague Adele Stan’s take and that of Shireen Mitchell of Digital Sisters, Inc., now syndicated Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman has written about it.

Netroots is mainly for men

Last week, these progressive political bloggers not only attracted 1,200 to Chicago for the Yearly Kos convention, but made it a designated stop for seven out of the eight Democratic candidates.

Nevertheless, there is another, less flattering way in which broadband has followed broadcast and the liberal political bloggers mimic the conservative talk-show hosts. The chief messengers are overwhelmingly men - white men, even angry white men.

I began tracking the maleness of this media last spring while I was a visiting fellow at Harvard's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. An intrepid graduate student created a spreadsheet of the top 90 political blogs. A full 42 percent were edited and written by men-only, while seven percent were by women-only. Another 45 percent were edited or authored by both men and women, though the 'coed' mix was overwhelmingly male.

Yes, this is the kettle of the MSM - mainstream media - calling the pot of the netroots male. In fairness, half of all 96 million blogs are written by women. But in the smaller political sphere, what is touted as a fresh force for change looks an awful lot like a new boy network.

---Rachel Joy Larris

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