Iranian Blogging

Posted: 17 June 2005 in other folks
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I love all sorts of blogs. I like the blogs devoted to bringing attention to the fun and freaky (Davezilla), the tech-based, cutting edge and sometimes silly (boing boing) and the personal journal (Just Off Center). So when CNN stops droning about the same stories they’ve been covering all day and cuts to the “Inside the Blogs” segment, I generally perk up.

The feature is a part of Inside Politics and is usually hosted by two women, one with a British accent, and covers the controversial, frank, and sometimes pithy remarks streaking out from the blogosphere every day. Usually it’s the same old muck. Someone doesn’t like Rumsfeld. Someone else thinks Secretary Rice looks like a dominatrix in her black knee-high boots and long black jacket. Someone is reporting from Iraq (in this case, it’s nearly always a quote from Baghdad Burning). Someone has gotten the inside edge on the issue of the day, often blog related (people getting fired for blogging) or America’s human interest obsession du jour, Terry Schiavo, Michael Jackson. Or, like today, a hot political ripple, namely elections in Iran.

CNN is fairly careful not to provide comment on the value of the posts, but a casual web search will tell you that bloggers who have been covered are often surprised to see that the thoughts they wrote while crunching cereal clad only in their underwear are being treated with weight (bonus gravity complements of the accented delivery). I enjoy the segment for the break it gives me from the relentless recitation of today’s headlines during my workday and also for the recognition (and resulting validation) it lends the blogging world.

While you can rely on the Post, the Times or the Trib to provide relatively balanced stories that are usually checked out, sourced and vetted (with some memorable exceptions), you can rely on blogs to provide color and reality in places where journalism doesn’t have or can’t have a voice. Or, in a place like the States, requires a degree (read money) and experience to get even a non-byline foot in the door. In places like Iran, Americans only can catch a glimpse of what there is access to, what their government is interested in us knowing, what our papers have a budget to pay for and what our own government is allowing us to see. I know that isn’t a popular view, but I think it’s all too true.

So when CNN profiles the blog of an Iranian riding with a taxi driver who reports that he doesn’t plan to vote and why, who has captured an inside glimpse of the regime (however biased), who is writing boldly and without censure, I feel confident blogs are permanent and useful. Frankly, I get little tears of freedom in the corners of my eyes. Yeah, you have to read with a skeptical eye, knowing that this is one person’s version of the truth. And yeah, there is a lot of bias, bogus, and unreadable drivel out there, but there are spots of light if you can find them. Shame on you CNN for not providing a daily list of the blogs covered on Inside Politics.

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