February 11, 2007 [LINK / comment]

On the credibility of bloggers

Recent controversies in Virginia politics (see HERE and HERE) have brought into sharp relief the question of bloggers and their credibility, which varies considerably. Here are the criteria that I go by when assessing new blogs that I come across, in rough order of importance:

As for the first criterion, I have always felt that if a person is afraid to put their own name by what they write, their opinions don't count for much. Now, if a highly reputable blogger cites someone who is anonymous, I will pay attention, figuring he or she must know the other blogger's identity. That calls attention to the unsavory nature of the blogosphere as a vast hierarchy of social cliques, each of which whispers insider secrets to each other. I detest such things. Some bloggers have come partly "out of the closet," but are for whatever reason still a little shy. Obviously, I've been completely open about who I am and what I stand for from the very beginning -- which was almost five years ago. Now that's "incredible"!

I attach the highest value to the opinions of Donald Sensing, Andrew Sullivan, Victor Davis Hanson, Daniel Drezner, and Glenn Reynolds, in that order, more or less. All are conservative, and most of them are scholars or experts in military affairs and/or national security. Glenn is so busy linking to so many items every day that he doesn't spend much time expressing his own opinions much anymore. He is less of a fan of Andrew Sullivan than he used to be, feeling (as I did for a while) that Sullivan was overhyping the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo torture issues. Having just finished Sullivan's fine book, The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How To Get It Back, I am more impressed with his intellectual honesty than ever. Stay tuned for a book review...