Today, the Wall Street Journal’s Political Diary covered the Dakota Blog Alliance convention, at which I gave the keynote address last Saturday:
There are two political wars being fought in South Dakota these days. One is between Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and his GOP challenger, John Thune. The other involves an eclectic collection of Internet bloggers who are cranking out copy on the Senate race because they say the “lamestream” media is doing such a poor job of covering it.
Over the weekend, bloggers took a leaf from the state’s populist farmers of the 19th century and issued their own manifesto aimed at the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader, a Gannett paper they say has a print monopoly on statewide coverage of politics. The cheeky document accuses the Argus-Leader of “a pattern of chronic political bias” and of treating outside critics “with hostility.” Noting that the paper is highly profitable, it calls for management to hire an ombudsman and more political reporters so the Senate race will be adequately covered from all sides.
Don’t expect to read much coverage of the petition in the Argus Leader itself, although the bloggers appear poised to have the last laugh. In a slow but sure demonstration of the power of the market, more and more South Dakotans are turning to the Internet for their political news.
Congratulations to Jon Lauck, Jason van Beek — two great guys, by the way — and their colleagues in the Dakota Blog Alliance. If it’s populism you want, you needn’t go farther than the blogosphere, in South Dakota and elsewhere.