Are Canadian Bloggers Pussies?

Siri Agrell asks, in Maisonneuve, are Canadian bloggers pussies? Why aren't they breaking stories? Where's the aggressive hard-charging political commentary? What about hypercriticism of the traditional media? Why, for god's sake, hasn't a blogger been able to topple Mike Duffy ... or Peter Newman ... or even Adam Vaughn?

    "... [Blogger Catherine] McMillan worries that [existing poltical blogs penned by MSM columnists] �where established journalists and politicians may stretch their legs and their influence, but rarely push the envelope�are seen as the most the medium has to offer. �The thing I find about these guys is that they�re very thin-skinned. They get in to pissing contests with each other�and about all they have is insider gossip. I couldn�t care less about gossip out of Ottawa,� she says. �I turn to blogs because I�m a dissatisfied media consumer ... why the hell would I read Norm Spector or Paul Wells or Antonia Zerbisias? I�m already reading blogs because [the media are] not doing their jobs.�

    But the real hindrance to Canadian blogger influence may be the Canadian public. Even when the media does jump on board a brewing scandal or circle at the scent of blood, real political outrage or consequence rarely materializes. Janke points out that bloggers followed the Gomery Inquiry religiously, following up and investigating leads dropped in testimony, and encouraging the dissemination of Brault's leaked testimony despite threats of prosecution. The result, he says: a stronger-than-ever Liberal government and a speaking tour for Paul Coffin.

    Just as the expansion of the US blog empire has been infused by that country's bred-in-the-bone love of frontier justice and overnight celebrity, the Canadian blogging community seems to have adopted their nation's polite, self-deprecating modus operandi.

    The reluctance to get dirty or to circumvent the �proper� channels of political recourse is as endemic of Canadian political blogs as it is ingrained in Canadian libel laws. ...

    "In Canada there's an assumption that if you say something nasty, it's false," [Toronto lawyer Julien Porter] said.

    So even when individual politicians do open themselves up for critique�visiting their long-time lovers in Paris when they should be responding to an international crisis for example, or using daddy's money to pay their campaign workers�Canadian blogs might not dare to say anything and Canadian readers might not care if they do.

    "The reason the transformation may not be visible is that we're seeing a withdrawal in general from political interest," Jesse Hirsh, an expert in open source intelligence, said of the blog lag in Canada. "People are just saying 'Fuck it.' It's the nature of the Canadian public. We don't care."

    Siri Agrell is a Toronto-based reporter for the National Post who reads blogs but doesn't have the nerve to write one."

Of course, by penning this story Agrell has guaranteed that he will hit every blog in Canada. Even if we can't generate continued anger about political malfeasance, Canadian bloggers can't be faulted for our experience at introspection and self-flagellation.

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