While bloggers were a novelty at the DNC in Boston and were less of a story in and of themselves during the RNC, the quality of commentary and the number of breaking stories during the RNC show that bloggers are starting to hit their stride. The toppling of Ed Schrock, two-term Republican congressman from Virginia, after investigative reporting from a blogger showed the growing political power of citizen journalism. The use of blogging technology during protests and also from delegate phonecams on the convention floor show that this pushbutton publishing technology is filling an important journalistic niche.
The convention wrapped up as first President Bush spoke and then Senator Kerry, in an unusual move, followed from a campaign rally in Ohio. Bloggers at the convention formed into two primary camps: mostly conservative RNC credentialed bloggers, writing from Blogger's Alley in the Felt Forum, outside the main convention hall, and a group of mostly liberal bloggers that gathered at The Tank, a performance space in midtown Manhattan. Of course, there were many other bloggers from all over the country who were adding to the conversation. Top stories from the final day of the convention include:
- Democrats divided?That's what Dick Morris wrote, in the New York Post's opinion column. " In an incredibly striking contrast, Bush voters are united on virtually all the questions that divide the Kerry vote. So Bush can advance his agenda with impunity while taking aim at Kerry voters who are antagonized by their candidate whenever he has to choose a position." Not all liberals agree. Lambert from Corrente wrote, "If Kerry can get people to listen and think, Bush is toast."
- Zell Miller challenges Chris Matthews to a duel Chris Matthews had a heated exchange with Zell Miller after his speech Wednesday night. Here's the clip in Windows Media Format. Media Bistro has more details, and ongoing commentary on the Miller speech is here.
- Word frequency analysis The New York Times reports via an interesting graphic the frequencies of different words used during the DNC and the RNC. Micah L. Sifry performs the same analysis on Bush's acceptance speech.
- President Bush's speech Similar to the DNC, Conservatives went quiet after the final speech of the convention, but the Technorati Attention Index™ showed a burst in anti-Bush postings after the speech ended. this is probably because of the "satisfaction effect" - that conservatives are happy with the climax of the convention, while liberals are so unsatisfied, they are vociferously blogging. William Saletan commented after the speech, "The 2004 election is becoming a referendum on your right to hold the president accountable." Dave Winer wrote, "I'm glad Kerry responded to the Republicans. Maybe it's time, though, to consider a new format, where they do a Democratic talk show, with Mario Cuomo, Wesley Clark and James Carville reviewing the Republicans. They require serious rebuttal. Don't pretend they're going to roll over and let the Dems win. Fight fire with fire. It's good that Kerry has shown his anger. It's not good that he trailed off into his standard incoherent stump speech."
- George Bush's National Guard Service questions Two important updates in the George Bush Alabama National Guard story - Salon reports on the widow of a Bush family confidant who says that Bush did no National Guard service in the spring of 1972. And Ben Barnes, the former Texas official who says he pulled strings to get George W. Bush into the Air National Guard will be appearing on 60 Minutes.