What do you think of this InstaPundit guy? I had astrange encounter with him that I thought you mightfind humorous. I did.
InstaPundit wrote a column for somthing called TechCentral Station ( He linked to it from InstaPundit.com. That's how I found it.)
I won't get too far into the details of the argument he made in the piece -- basically he likened weblogsto CB radio in that they both were a response to government overreaching. You can check it out yourself. Anyway, what I found interesting was that he built his whole argument around the "fact" that Jimmy Carter has instituted the 55 mph speed limit. He called it "Jimmy Carter's 55 mph speed limit." Then he went on to say, "Like CB, [weblogs] may well vanish from public attention, if not from the actual world (plenty of CB radios still get sold, after all). And they'll probably be replaced, or absorbed by, new technology within a few years. But they're popular right now because people want to get around Big Media's stranglehold on news and information, just as Bs were popular with people who wanted to get around Jimmy Carter's speed limits. And, like Jimmy Carter, Big Media folks seem largely clueless about what's going on."
So I wrote an email to InstaPundit and told him that the speed limit was signed into law by Nixon and that it was law for 21 years -- only four of which were Carter years, and 14 of which there was a Republican in the White House. So what did InstaPundit do? I figured he'd take the whole column down, since it was clearly a load of hooey. But no! Without noting that he had made the correction, he changed the sentence that credited the law to Carter from "Jimmy Carter's 55 mph speed limit" to "Actually passed in 1974, but popularly identified with Jimmy Carter's 'moral equivalent of war'..." And he changed nothing else! He kept all that stuff about Carter this and Carter that. He kept the stuff about how the speed limit and CBs might have had something to do with Reagan being elected (nevermind that Reagan spent 8 years in office and the speed limit remained law the entire time).
Can you believe this? I don't know. I'm getting the idea the guy is a bit of a fraud. Even on his main site, InstaPundit.com, he's got updates to his original link to this column on TechStationWhatever, but he doesn't note that he made a crucial error in the piece and then corrected it. He doesn't say anywhere he made an error! He reminds me of some big media outlet that doesn't think it has to acknowledge its mistakes or be held accountable. I don't know Maybe I'm being harsh.
In fact, it's probably not too much of a stretch to say that this combination of resentment over Big Brother intrusiveness, coupled with the means of resisting those intrusions, laid the groundwork for the anti-government explosions of the 1980s. A lot of people used CB radio to evade the unpopular speed limit, and Carter wound up losing to Ronald Reagan, who preached individual freedom and deregulation. It's hard to know which way the causality runs here -- did CB make Reagan's election more likely, by fanning the flames of anti-bureaucratic sentiment? Or was it just an early indicator of that sentiment? Who knows?
But either way, it was something important. And so it is with weblogs. Like CB, they may well vanish from public attention, if not from the actual world (plenty of CB radios still get sold, after all). And they'll probably be replaced, or absorbed by, new technology within a few years. But they're popular right now because people want to get around Big Media's stranglehold on news and information, just as CBs were popular with people who wanted to get around Jimmy Carter's speed limits. And, like Jimmy Carter, Big Media folks seem largely clueless about what's going on.
UPDATE: In email, CCd to me, Instapundit claims he fixed the error. You be the judge.
I suppose this is similar to, "Saddam Hussein, popularly identified with the 9/11 attacks..."