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Year of the blog

"Year of the blog" Continued...

Similar conversations are taking place across the evangelical segment of the blogosphere (including at worldmagblog.com, one of the most-read evangelical blogs), but they are far from monochromatic. Evangelical Outpost, a popular Bible-based blog, tackles politics and social issues from a conservative perspective, while Rob Asghar, an evangelical Democrat and former Muslim, is the blogger behind the more liberal Dimestore Guru. In Iraq, blogging soldiers gave an inside account of life in a war zone, while freedom-loving Iraqis, such as the three brothers behind Iraqthemodel.blogspot.com, write about their liberation in sharp contrast to doom-and-gloom mainstream reporting. Such bloggers are often professionals who conceal their real names, fearing reprisals from terrorists or Saddam loyalists. But their blogs are receiving up to 200,000 visitors per month, according to a United Press International report, and represent the first attempts at a free Iraqi press in modern times.

Not only nationally oriented blogs have an influence. In South Dakota, local blogs took on Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in his reelection bid. Their scrutiny of his record and their championing the cause of his opponent, Republican John Thune, made him the second Senate leader to be brought down by bloggers.

In Vermont, Timothy Cook, a military physician now in private practice, became fed up with the liberal newspapers in his state. Convinced that native Vermonters are more conservative than the state's current leadership, he started DefytheHerald.com, a website designed to counter the propaganda put out by the state's major newspaper. That blog now serves as a meeting point for state conservatives, and spinoffs from it deal with other liberal Vermont newspapers.

The blogosphere now offers soapbox space to everyone who cares about public opinion. Start-up is cheap and blogging technology is easy to master: "It is a marketplace of pure ideas," Mr. Hewitt says, "and not just a medium for the elite. It's no longer necessary to persuade anyone to be allowed to persuade anyone."

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