Feel the Pajamamentum!

It's a little-known fact that Pajamas Media—the ambitious blog news site launched by Roger Simon and Charles Johnson—still exists. In one week it'll celebrate its second anniversary, actually. I was reminded of this when I clicked an Instapundit blog ad promising me "the deepest of presidential dish" from David Corn and Richard Miniter and got sent to the PJM splash page. A click on the "videos" menu connects you to the Corn and Miniter page, which does look extinct, so I cast my eyes southward to PajamasXpress, an odd name for the site's celebrity blogs. And there was a new one:

Timecop's Senator Aaron McComb found a way to overcome the media's blacklist on celebrity opinions! Here he is, unleashed.

The new real democracy is online. Forget the pollsters. Hearing what individuals who do not make a living from pandering to one team or another, who do not need the assurance that their thinking is in accord with their colleagues of whom they’re either afraid of or need reassurance from.

Hence Bloggo ergo sum – first offering.

That was on October 29. Silver hasn't clicked "post" since then.

This is sort of interesting to observe in the wake of Ron Paul's 11/5 "Guy Fawkes" fundraiser. The last time webbies (on this site, anyway) paid attention to PJM was when the site juggled its guidelines to boost Ron Paul out of its presidential poll. What happened after that? No one voted in the straw poll. Anyone who wanted to predict that could have: The political blogosphere is littered with the decomposing corpses of top-down sites that buy a warehouse full of bottles and try, vainly, to generate some lightning to fill them with. Remember HotSoup? Of course you don't. Has anyone chased down you down, grabbed you by the lapels, and shouted "Brother, hear the gospel of Unity08"? Here is my guess: No.

I don't think there's a hard-and-fast rule for bloggy success, but the bottom-up phenomena have this way of overcoming their lack of structure and outperforming the stuff designed by the smart guys. More people are online than were in 2003, but the smooth personalized communities of the Barack Obama site and the John McCain site aren't generating nearly as much energy for those campaigns as the Howard Dean sites did or the sprawling RonPauloverse is for its candidate. (It doesn't help that McCain's page looks like he's running for shadowy world dictator.)

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  • ||

    PajamasXpress bloggers are celebrities? Other than Michael "Fascism wasn't so bad" Ledeen and Victor Davis "The Peloponnesian War explains why you should support the George W. Bush" Hanson are the only ones I recognize, and that's just because I used to read National Review. I guess if Paris Hilton can be considered a celebrity, these douchebags can as well.

  • ||

    Top Down = greatest chance of failure
    Bottom Up = greatest chance of success

    You know, there is something in here about Democracy and Nation Building but I am not eloquent enough to tease it out.

  • ||

    The political blogosphere is littered with the decomposing corpses of top-down sites that buy a warehouse full of bottles and try, vainly, to generate the lightning to fill them with.

    It never occured to me before - the top-down political-site model is just like the investor-driven dotcoms from about 1999-2001.

    Remember when people talked about "content" as if it was a commodity they could just stack up the warehouse?

  • ||

    OT: there's a big Ron Paul item on that "Jewcy Cabal" political blog linked to yesterday.

    He's gotta get out in front of this Nazi thing. It's not going to go away, and nothing says teh wacko like Nazis supporting you.

    No, it's not fair. Welcome to the big leagues.

  • ||

    RedState.com also has to be feeling pretty stupid right about now, after banning new members supporting the only Republican candidate who was actually causing new members to join their site.

  • Bingo||

    I used to read Instapundit quite a bit. However, ever since Glenn put all his chips on Thompson and blew off Paul his political commentary has really become dull and boring.

  • highnumber||

    Mr Weigel, Dave, if I may,

    I really enjoyed this post. Good work. You took something that was really nothing and made a very entertaining piece that got to a point. You're good at this blogging stuff. Keep it up.

    (I have no idea why I thought he might need encouraging, but I thought this was so good that I had to say something.)

  • TLB||

    One of the ways to obtain success in the bsphere is to tell partisan hacks what they want to hear. That pretty much explains the popularity of every pol blog out there.

    Of course, one top-down site that's been quite successful is HuffPost. I'm still trying to figure out why my take-off, containing gems like this didn't get any links from the cool kids. In fact, they linked to inferior sites doing something similar. Another thing is to play to the LCD.

  • ||

    Correct me if I'm wrong. Hit & Run would best be described as a top down blog. Reason Foundation---> Reason magazine---> Reason web site---> Hit & Run, award winning blog.

    I do love being contrary on occasion.

  • TLB||

    craig: I don't think RedState.com is capable of understanding how stupid they look.

    P.S. I get a significant fraction of their traffic, and I have no other contributors and my site has never been mentioned in the MSM to my knowledge.

  • ||

    The Huffington Post is a good counter-example.

    In my humble opionion, its success stems from a lack of other top-down, consciously-liberal media outlets.

    The right has spent 30 years building up the Mighty Wurlitzer, as it's been called. Before the first blog was ever published, there were magazines, book publishers, "think tanks," radio shows and even GOPTV for the conservative looking for that message.

    When top-down conservative web sites appeared, they were replicating something that was already out there. In many cases, the sites were just the online presence of a pre-existing media outlet, so they were irrelevant.

    Top-down liberal sites, on the other hand, actually offer something new.

  • ||

    Good point at 1:58, J sub D.

    I'd say libertarians were in a position similar to liberals, in terms of there not really being much of a media infrastructure out there that appealed to them.

  • ||

    joe,

    Bingo. I think that that is a perfect analogy. Either Doherty or Welch had an article here about some money furnace that he worked for that laughed him out of the room when he suggested that they support content rather than try to create it. I don't think that I'm spoiling it by saying that it was not a happy ending for the investors.

    highnumber,

    Agreed. I've been thinking for a couple of weeks that I need to compliment Wiegel. His recent posts have a confidence and style that he didn't have before. I've had to scroll up several times to see who the "new" poster is cause I didn't recognize the tone.

  • iowan||

    Thread-jack alert!

    There was a minor uproar over the possibility that HRC and Co may have not tipped the staff staff at a Maid-Rite on a campaign stop in Iowa.

    The MSM was breathless over the possibity of this major faux pas by the democratic front runner. So someone felt compelled to call the waitress involved:

    Ms. Esterday said she did not understand what all the commotion was about.

    "You people are really nuts," she told a reporter during a phone interview. "There's kids dying in the war, the price of oil right now - there's better things in this world to be thinking about than who served Hillary Clinton at Maid-Rite and who got a tip and who didn't get a tip."


    And yet so many people think Iowans can't be trusted with starting out the election cycle.

  • ||

    "Hit & Run would best be described as a top down blog. Reason Foundation---> Reason magazine---> Reason web site---> Hit & Run, award winning blog."

    Many blogs are moderated or require membership and passwords. On those blogs, no discussion or arguments can ensue. So H&R is relatively bottom up. Sure, they provide the stimulus and a bit of analysis, then we all hit our caps buttons and scream Dondero. I still don't care for that, though.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Given that many discussions here quickly veer away from the write-up and the "moderators" don't seem to care that helps to create a sense of it being bottom-up.

  • T||

    Lamar,

    Would it make you feel better about the all-caps if someone went

    LAMARRRR!

    on occasion?

  • Syloson of Samos||

    J sub D,

    In other words, for the most part the commenters here control the interactions here the "moderators" don't.

  • ||

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's probably better for a site not to have ANY comment features (a la Lewrockwell.com, which just focuses on pumping out a lot of content) than to have a silly log-in-and-we'll-censor-you-on-a-whim model like PJM or Kos.

  • ||

    I'm with Matt. Either have almost completely open, non-registration comments like H&R where you have to be really, really obnoxious or impersonate a moderator to be perma-banned, or just have no comments at all.

  • Weigeloid||

    "It's a little-known fact that Pajamas Media-the ambitious blog news site launched by Roger Simon and Charles Johnson-still exists."

    You are so witty!

  • ||

    Reason.com is teh ghey!

  • ||

    It would be nice to be able to edit comments occasionally, though. Especially for us that like to fix our spelling errors.

  • dhex||


    Remember when people talked about "content" as if it was a commodity they could just stack up the warehouse?


    "yeah ok i got 37 crates of 'no u' and a few dozen extra boxes of 'lol fagz' as well as some irregular 'O RLY' sets from last season."

  • GILMORE||

    I used to live on the upper east side of manhattan, on the same block as Ron Silver. I bumped into him as he was coming out of a deli once, spilling his coffee, and I quickly covered my ass by going, "Oh my god, I'm so sorry professor Dershowitz! Let me buy you another." I think he was amused to be referenced by his best role. When I passed him on the street time to time he'd make wiseass remarks at me. Nice guy. I met Sam Neil at the Met once, and tried the same gag, but it sorta backfired. I shook his hand and said, "I would have liked... to have seen...Montana..." He was annoyed, said something like, "Yes, well I'm in King Lear in the park this year you know..." I think he had a case of Patrick Stewart syndrome or something. Great stage actor only known for cheesy pop roles. Whatever.

    Siver Bullet. Thats fucking hilarious. Who's the metaphorical werewolf? Coors will probably sue him.

  • ||

    I still say Freerepublic is the worst. Those tools banned me after about two comments and then deleted the comments. I think I said something about how we shouldn't nuke mecca or something and their radar went off.

  • ||

    I feel a weird deja vu coming on - didn't we have this top-down, bottom-down discussion recently, and conclude it with a sophistic circle of how to determine who is a troll?

  • Jesse Walker||

    the "moderators" don't seem to care

    If you look closer, it's easy to trace the tracks of our tears.

  • ||

    I was referring to the orientation and content of the sites themselves as being "top-down" vs. "bottom-up," not whether they allow comments.

    Reason Online was created and funded by the Reason Institute to be an expansion of their dead-tree message machine. It wasn't Nick and Tim and Jacob deciding it would be fun to start a blog, with nothing to support it but the quality of their own content.

    I'm not hatin', btw. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just a different model than how, say, Eschaton got started.

  • ||

    The blogs that are really obnoxious to me ware ones like LGF where there is no dissenting view. This creates a dangerous feed-back loop with the rhetoric becoming more obnoxious and extreme. The joes, Johns, and yes even the Dan T.'s and Eric Donderos here serve the purpose of stopping that from happening.

  • ||

    Silver Bullet. Thats fucking hilarious. Who's the metaphorical werewolf? Coors will probably sue him. - GILMORE



    I'd like to see what the owners of The Lone Ranger think about that.

    (Yes, I remember this commercial.)

    Kevin

  • ||

    "Would it make you feel better about the all-caps if someone went...LAMARRRR! on occasion?"

    Yes. It already feels better. Can you say it all piratey?

  • ||

    Many blogs are moderated or require membership and passwords. On those blogs, no discussion or arguments can ensue. So H&R is relatively bottom up.

    Point taken, SoS. It does lead to perhaps the funniest blog in the interverse. There are humor sites that ain't even close.

  • ||

    LAM-AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!

  • ||

    http://www.reason.com/blog/show/112898.html

    Funniest Hit and Run thread of all time.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Jesse Walker,

    If you look closer, it's easy to trace the tracks of our tears.

    Sorry about that. ;)

  • ||

    joe,

    Ah, yes, the Big Terror thread. A classic.

    Thank you for using Big Terror :)

  • Episiarch||

    I used to live on the upper east side of manhattan, on the same block as Ron Silver.

    GILMORE, which block is that? I was at 84th and York. I used to see Abe Vigoda, the stepmother from Strangers With Candy, and some others, but never Ron Silver.

  • ||

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's probably better for a site not to have ANY comment features (a la Lewrockwell.com, which just focuses on pumping out a lot of content) than to have a silly log-in-and-we'll-censor-you-on-a-whim model like PJM or Kos.

    You're comparing PJM with Kos on comment censoring? I take it you've never posted on either.

    Kos's site uses a modified Scoop system -- comments CAN get troll-rated into oblivion (although I think you can set your settings to see them), but the people who can troll rate aren't that common and it's not done terribly often.

    As for out-and-out bannings, the last set I remember that was official (not troll-rating you to invisibility unless you elected to read it, but outright removed the post and kicked you off the site by the owner) was a bunch of 9/11 conspiracy nuts, which came with a complete post on why he banned them and why he'd keep banning that particular subset of crazy.

  • ron||

    haha, ron silver. his best role was as himself in heat vision & jack starring jack black and owen wilson!

  • Fluffy||

    Pssst! I'm going to let you in on the secret as to why the right-wing blogs like Pajamas fail - it's because they don't understand what a website is for.

    Websites to exist to generate page views. Period. All the content on the website has one aim and one aim only - to generate page views. If you can broadly direct those page views to serve an end you have in mind - like to get people to buy things, or to subscribe to your ideology - then you're doing OK. But the one thing you must never, ever do if you want to be successful is do things to decrease your page views.

    That's why the Ron Paul incidents at Pajamas and at RedState and at FreeRepublic prove that the people running these sites are morons. All those Ron Paul people coming to your site to post comments = page views. All your regular audience members yelling at the Ron Paul people to shut up = page views. Driving the Ron Paul people away = no page views.

    There's a lot of evidence out there that successful sites that include message boards have staffers that troll their own boards - because people love to yell at trolls, so the boards stay very active, and the active boards bring people back. And these sites had genuine, organic activity occurring on their sites that was building their audience, both pro- and anti-Paul, and they freaked out and drove it away.

    Dopes.

  • ||

    I'm grinning and clapping my hands like Peter Griffin.

  • ||

    There's a lot of evidence out there that successful sites that include message boards have staffers that troll their own boards

    I knew it. Dan T is secretly a reason staffer!

  • ||

    I knew it. Dan T is secretly a reason staffer!

    And the corn syrup enthusiast?

  • Episiarch||

    I knew it. Dan T is secretly a reason staffer!

    But who?

  • ||

    Your first clue is that Dan T. spelled backwards is T-Nad.

  • GILMORE||

    Episiarch | November 9, 2007, 2:57pm | #

    I used to live on the upper east side of manhattan, on the same block as Ron Silver.

    GILMORE, which block is that? I was at 84th and York. I used to see Abe Vigoda, the stepmother from Strangers With Candy, and some others, but never Ron Silver.


    Har har. Yeah, thats the general hood. Whats the name no one uses for it? Yorkville? I was at 88th and 3rd = silver lived across the street in the tower above the Lowes theatre, 87th & 3rd... Wynona Rider lived nearby too. She was so easy to spot because she wore giant sunglasses and fishermans hats and carried a parasol...like, so overkill trying not to be noticed that she stood out like a crazy anorexic bag lady, which in a sense she is. I would yell, "Hi Wynona!" whenever I saw her just to make her more paranoid.

    There was this bar down the street...89th and 2nd? Called the Auction House. No name on the front. Plush interior, chez lounges etc... there were always 3-4 drunk Yankees/Rangers in there making a stink. This is where David Wells got his screw on most nights before games. If he looked hungover on the mound, thats usually because he was.

    The upper east sucks, but dude, York avenue sucks even worse :)
    You had to hike uphill every day to get to the subway. Viand Diner, represent! The only places in the area I dug were that diner, Heidelberg, Schaller-Weber, etc. That little-germany block. It opens the film "Marathon Man". Clever use.

  • ||

    Manhattan is a sad museum of its former self.

  • Episiarch||

    The only places in the area I dug were that diner, Heidelberg, Schaller-Weber, etc.

    Yeah, Heidelberg is cool. There was a Japanese place across the street call Sesumi which was very good.

    You had to hike uphill every day to get to the subway.

    But they say they'll build the 2nd Ave. subway any year now. Right?

    I was walking up Madison one day with my girlfriend at the time, who was HOT (she was a model), and we walked past Matthew Broderick walking his little dog. He turned to look at her like a slack-jawed yokel (you would expect a smoother move by a celebrity, but I guess being married to Jennifer Grey would mess you up) and almost got hit by a car. I laughed and laughed.

  • Episiarch||

    Manhattan is a sad museum of its former self.

    That's actually an excellent description, though I would modify it to "Manhattan is a sad, even more crowded museum of its former self."

  • ||

    This is sort of interesting to observe in the wake of Ron Paul's 11/5 "Guy Fawkes" fundraiser.

    And let's not forget that Sunday is Veterans Day and the next RON PAUL 2008 money bomb. I'm a veteran and I'll be donating. If your a veteran or know a veteran, or ever had a veteran bum a cigarette off you, or maybe just think of veterans with the same soft warm disposition as kittens. Maybe you'd like to contribute to the candidate that receives more financial support from our troops than all the others put together.

    That would be RON PAUL 2008

  • ||

    "haha, ron silver. his best role was as himself in heat vision & jack starring jack black and owen wilson!"

    Ron Silver seems to have cornered the market for "evil NASA person" roles !

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zptdkXbGG48

  • ||

    Well, the site the Neo-Cons at Pajamas Media use to determine their candidates, "Real Clear Politics" switched their list of candidates to just 3 of the Democrats, but they added Ron Paul to the GOP side. I wonder if Pajamas Media intends to add Ron Paul this week. If so, he's going to win their polls once again.

  • ||

    Epi: No objection here. I had to get out of that place. I kept telling myself it was a wild and crazy place even as all the wild and crazy people became predictable and sane, probably myself included.

  • ||

    but I guess being married to Jennifer Grey would mess you up

    ...especially if your wife is Sarah Jessica Parker! Ah, but think of the possibilities -- Dirty Dancing meets Sex in the City!

  • Episiarch||

    Epi: No objection here. I had to get out of that place. I kept telling myself it was a wild and crazy place even as all the wild and crazy people became predictable and sane, probably myself included.

    Everybody thinks it's a wild and crazy place when they come there as an aspiring writer/dancer/actor/trader/whatever, or to get out of their dinky hometown. Then they realize it's not but they can't leave because then they won't be cool anymore. So they stay, bitter and sick of the crowds and hassles.

  • ||

    http://www.reason.com/blog/show/112898.html

    Funniest Hit and Run thread of all time.


    joe, did you really have to? Now I'm going to go there.

  • ||

    joe, thank you very much. I thank all H&R posters who ad-libbed a comedy thread for the ages! Stuff like this is priceless,

  • ||

    Who was the funniest/most outrageous troll of all time on H&R? One-off trolls can be included.

  • ||

    Jersey McJones?

  • ||

    Jersey McJones?

    I'd say, from my days as a lurker, immigration realist has him beat.

  • ||

    The early Dave W was quite amusing, before he started impersonating moderators and wishing for the beheading of other commenters.

    Though, I'm not sure he was a troll, since all the evidence indicates he was sincere in his disturbitude.

  • Guy Montag||

    PM covered the PV1 Scott Thomas Beauchamp/TNR/Franklin Foer thing pretty extensively.

    Are you a one-issue reader Dave? :)

  • S.A. Miller||

    I'm going to let you in on the secret as to why the right-wing blogs like Pajamas fail

    Really? Pajamas Media has failed? Looks to me like the site up, running, and full of paid advertisements.

    According to their Advertiser Information page Pajamas Media has a higher Nielsen Net Rating than Salon.com, Chicago Sun-Times, The Washington Times, TheHuffingtonPost.com, and Dailykos.com.

    In fact, it says they are only behind Drudge and NPR.

    I guess if Weigel and Fluffy don't pay attention, you don't exist.

  • ||

    Everybody thinks it's a wild and crazy place when they come there as an aspiring writer/dancer/actor/trader/whatever



    Wasn't the last time people thought the upper east side was wild and crazy sometime in the '40s? Greenpoint in the early '00s, now that was good times. Enough trust fund kids moving in to find good dealers, but cheap enough rents to have all kinds of weird-ass Polish after-hour clubs.

  • ||

    There's a lot of evidence out there that successful sites that include message boards have staffers that troll their own boards - because people love to yell at trolls...



    So, which one of the reason staffers plays Joe?

  • GILMORE||

    Lamar | November 9, 2007, 3:45pm | #
    Manhattan is a sad museum of its former self.


    I think you are projecting a bit, maybe

  • ||

    It's a little known fact among people who hang out on blogs that 95% of adults in America don't know what blogs are, don't care what blogs are, and would think anyone who hangs out and posts regularly at blogs are complete dorks. This doesn't bother me a bit - I'm a librarian, after all. But when I hear bloggers and blog afficionadios cracking snide about the supposed sad lack of relevancy/page views/merit/coolness of other blogs, it's like listening to one fanboy laughing at another fanboy because the second fanboy doesn't realize what a dork he is. It's the first fanboy that elicits my pity, you know? It's like a regular commenter here once posted - I don't remember who it was, and I mean no offense - who mentioned that he was in college before he realized that his Star Trek expertise did not, in fact, make him cool among his peers.

    I read Reason and Pajamas Media more than any other blogs. Both informative, wide ranging, entertaining, not too hackly partisan one way or the other. Reason's comment threads rule over all others, of course. But I find the bloggers at Pajamas quite worth reading. If I ever get a hankering to read a television producer's take on foreign policy or a movie star's ideas about economics, I'll head over to Huff Po. If I ever need a profanity thesaurus I'll click on a Kos diary.

    Otherwise, I find that the writers at Reason - and yes, at Pajamas as well, excepting the occasional celebrity - seem to actually know what they're talking about, even if I don't always agree with their conclusions.

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