Sunday, July 17, 2005

The view from the left and the right

I am the writer of a niche blog. Indeed, writing in English about Venezuelan politics can be seen as an exercise in folly: who could really care that much when already California is population wise bigger than Venezuela and Miami Florida GDP probably compares favorably with Venezuela's one. The amazing number would not be how few readers one might have, but that one actually has readers. Granted, with our oil reserves and the price of oil happily lurking at 60 USD per barrel, some people must on occasion land on such a blog. But as a writer of a niche blog, one wonders what effect one has elsewhere, really. So, in an exercise in futility I decided to check out what the "main" blogs say about Venezuela.

In a totally unscientific experiment I went to the page of The Truth Laid Bear which has a counting system that rank blogs, according to traffic and people linking to these blogs. I took the top 10 as of today. The result below:

Higher Beings
1.Instapundit.com (2910)
2.Michelle Malkin (2331)
3.Daily Kos: State of the Nation (2167)
4.Power Line (1935)
5.Captain's Quarters (1833)
6.small dead animals (1827)
7.lgf: declear the crudase and be unite (1649)
8.the evangelical outpost -- Culture, politics, and religion from an evangelical worldview. (1627)
9.1st-Private-Krankenversicherung.com (1612)
10.Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall (1561)



The numbers are a representation of the pages linking to them. The "Higher Beings" is, well, the name of the category for the top ten (yours truly somehow manages to be an "adorable rodent" which considering what I wrote above, is not bad at all).

Then I applied, whenever possible, the word VENEZUELA in the search engine offered at the respective blogs.

The first an easiest result is for #9, in German, no search, and cannot read it anyway. I thought about taking in #11, Eschaton (1493) (Atrios) but when I saw that there was no search engine I could find there, I decided to operate on 9 blogs only.

To simplify, again based on a perfectly unscientific method, I divided the blogs among right or left according to the advertisement that appeared, or their self declared orientation. No investigation as to how far left or right is the blog.

The Left

Only two blogs out of 9 are from the left, 3, Daily Kos and 10, Talking points (though adding "searchless" Eschaton would give 3 out of 10, still surprisingly meager in the Internet wars).

The results for Daily Kos are difficult to evaluate as the search engine picks up comments, articles and what not. Most comments are of the nature "as long as Chavez sticks a finger in Bush's eye, I will support him!". But some, too few perhaps, show definitely some knowledge. For example at recent texts, a certain shockwave, concerned that Bush might send the marines to secure Venezuelan oil fields still writes:
I do not like Chavez at all. At best he is a populist demagogue, but he is not a fool.

Joshua of Talking points #10, an otherwise thoughtful and interesting writer, is rather disappointing when we see his search results. Several commentaries but all focused on the US role in Venezuela around April 2002. Not much inquiry as to why the April events, what happens in Venezuela. Just what was the role of the US there. And as later inquiries to this day have not been able to prove anything more than talk and encouragement from the US to overthrow Chavez then, this does not appear. Forgotten topic?

The Right

Should the right fare better on Venezuela as this one is an avowed enemy? Let's see.

The evangelical site (#8) has really only one post where Chavez is quoted as suggesting that Bush should kneel in front of the Pope. Obviously, not really interested in Venezuela.

The Canadian entry, Small Dead Animals, has Kate wondering once about who produces oil (so Venezuela figures by coincidence) and poking fun at election observers in the "fewer fail-safes than in Venezuela [elections]". We can see that awareness of Venezuelan electoral problems is seeping through! But still, no interest for Venezuela

Captain's Quarters, at #5, has no search engine but a foreign affairs section. Thus using there the "find" feature, I could see two articles on Venezuela, one on Venezuela arms purchase to Spain (quoting Barcepundit) and another one on Chavez pseudo assassination attempts. Interestingly not a single Venezuelan source although the articles are rather complete. But I know that Barcepundit checks with the locals....

With Power Line (#4) we find a certain amount of hits from their search engines, but most on oil needs and beauty pageants.

Little Green Footbals has a whopping 25 hits just from entries, some totally irrelevant but some totally to the point such as on Miguel exposing the photoshop montage of pseudo revolutionary crowds. The advantages of multi hand blogs? By the way, once upon a time a reader sent me a comment that appeared in LGF where someone was saying that I was way to the left to be taken seriously. Put that together with some of my reader that say I am way to the right....

This brings us to Michelle Malkin, the number 2 today. There are several entries about Venezuela from her search feature, and one can note that she is looking at the supporters of Chavez in the US such as Medea Benjamin from Code Pink, apparently a paid off agent of chavismo according to some sources. I have to say that Michelle might be onto something there.

But the number one, shows why he is number 1. Instapundit with about 60 entries over the last three years demonstrates that he has been keeping an eye on Venezuela and on a variety of Venezuelan topics at that.

Conclusions?

None of course, this is for fun. Not even as to whether the left is more or less interested by Venezuela. Most on each side, as seen on the comments to the posts, only care as to whether it favors or hurts Bush... That there is only two left wing blogs is only a reflection of ratings, not of political interest.

But one cannot fail to be impressed for example about the Karl Rove story which in Venezuela has not made more than a ripple and which is overflowing in so many US blogs. Of course, in Venezuela chavismo makes Karl Rove looks like the dream ethicist.... It remains that on the top 10 posts, only one, and of all of them arguably the one closest to the thoughtful center, is the one that values enough the importance of Venezuela for the US to drop by on occasion but regularly to observe our misery.

Venezuela is indeed only a blip on the US public opinion radar and my blog a niche blog as a reader once told me.

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