Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Memeorandum is a fabulous site that shows links between news articles and blogs; as well as links from blog to blog. In its description of itself, it says: The Web is humming with discussions on politics and current affairs. memeorandum is page A1 for these conversations.

On the hypothesis that what people talk about is a good indication of what they think is important, I have done a little mini-study of which blogs link to what particular stories for the purposes of discussion.

One of the things I notice when I go to Memeorandum is what stories the Right vs. the Left blogsphere are linking to. Obviously, there is quite a bit of overlap on various stories, but it has also surprised me how certain stories are peculiarly "left", while some are "right". (And, of course, there are blogs that are in the middle, too!)

It is extremely revealing, I think, to discover what is interesting to one side or another. Sometimes, it even gives a sort of general overview to the relative priorities of each side....

One caveat to the tables below. If you were to go and check on the few "left" bloggers when they comment on a story that is predominantly "right", you will often discover that they are critiquing or trying to debunk what they consider the "spin" of the other side of the blogsphere; or the "spin" of the story itself -- and vice versa.

Just to give one example of this: In the first table regarding the Zawahiri letter to Zarqawi, one of the lone "left" blogs there, Left I on the News suggests the following:

On the day when a new poll reveals that 59 percent of Americans think U.S. troops should withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible, the U.S. government suddenly decides to release the text of an alleged letter, allegedly captured last summer, which purports to be advice given by Ayman al-Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. And conveniently, the advice is all about how Zarqawi should attempt to establish Islamic authority over as much of Iraq as possible after the Americans are expelled, thereby providing a fresh justification for why the U.S. shouldn't withdraw..

I would describe this "analysis" as incredibly paranoid, and based on the over-arching premise that everything the Bush Administration does is to manipulate the American people and lie to them. The use of the words "alleged" memo; "purports to say", "allegedly captured", suggests a cynicism and paranoia so complete as to be totally disabling to the intellect.

OTOH, the one of the few "right" blogs, commenting ont he Judith Miller testimony, the Strata-Sphere, does not dismiss the news article out of hand, but offers a different explanation of the points presented in it. It is, perhaps, wishful thinking (although I happen to agree with AJ's analysis), but it cannot be considered paranoid or summarily dismissive of the facts.

Feel free to check out what sites say what (the examples above listed in the tables below were extracted from Memeorandum at 5:25 pm on October 12, 2005). The links change very often, so this is just one particular snapshot of blog/news "conversations;" See if what people are talking about suggests anything to you about priorities.

Here are two important stories about Iraq:

And here are two stories that focus on the possible fallout of testimony in the Plame case:

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