Capitol Offense: Fairness

Today, I’m going to give you a brief rundown of the personal policy I have on linking to other blogs. That may sound like a mundane topic that no one would care about, but I’ve come under criticism several times recently on the topic and I wanted to set the record straight.

Here are the basic details. I went back over the last month and ran the numbers. In the past 30 days, I have put 56 posts on the FPC blog that link to 75 other blogs. Here are the blogs I’ve linked to and the frequency of how often I’ve linked to them.

South Florida Daily Blog 40
FLA Politics 25
Bark Bark Woof Woof 19
Conceptual Guerilla 14
Generation Miami 13
Pushing Rope 12
Blast Off 11
Blue Herald 2.0 11
Eye on Miami 11
Progress Florida 9
Miami-Dade Dems 8
Radio or Not 8
The Spencerian 8
Why Now? 8
ReidBlog 7
Equality Florida 5
Talk to Me 5

4 each: Flablog, Florida Citizens for Science, GusWatch, Incertus, Re/Creating Tampa, the 13th juror, and Wildwood Preservation Society,

3 each: Dan Gelber, Natch Greyes and Pensito Review.

2 each: the Brewster Report, Deep Something, Florida Netroots, Florida Young Democrats, Fried Gator, madfloridian, Progressive Pensacola, Ranger Against War, Southern District of Florida, and Sunshine Statements.

1 each: the Bilerico Project Florida, Deb on the Rocks, Morning Martini, Political Bloviation, Rated “R” Revolution, the Seminole Democrat, Smashed Frog, the Union Librarian, Unprogrammed, the Worley Blog, and the Ybor City Stogie.

I do try for diversity in linking, in terms of a variety of blogs, a variety of viewpoints, a variety of parts of the state and demographic diversity. The last two are a bit harder, though, because bloggers, especially in Florida, have a tendency to be more likely to be white males who live in more urban areas. That being said, the geographic location is relatively fair, although Central and South Florida have more links because they have more people, thus more blogs. Demographically, the links above represent 64 links to women authors, 25 to gay writers, 15 to people of Hispanic or Latino descent, one self-identified redneck and 11 to a DFH. Florida’s progressive blogosphere has long had a shortage of African American bloggers — the only regularly-posting black blogger that I’m aware of is Nadine Smith at Equality Florida (although I might have found a new African American blogger yesterday in Central Florida). These numbers are all certainly undercounted, though, as many bloggers don’t openly identify themselves by race, ethnicity, gender or sexuality.

Here are the national blogs I’ve linked to and the number of times.

Daily Kos 17
Down With Tyranny 14
Open Left 14
Media Matters 13
MyDD 10
Pam’s House Blend 11
The Democratic Strategist 5
firedoglake 3
Think Progress 3
AMERICAblog 2
The Huffington Post 2
Orient Lodge 2
Politico 2
Scholars & Rogues 2
Swing State Project 2
TPM 2
Black Boys Report 1
The Campaign Manager 1
Culture Kitchen 1
e.politics 1
Frameshop 1
Jinxi Boo 1
Maplight 1
New Mexico FBIHOP 1
The Public Record 1
Raw Story 1
True Slant 1

Linking to national blogs comes in several categories. Number one is sites that discuss Florida politics (Daily Kos, Down With Tyranny, MyDD, Pam’s House Blend), two is sites that provide key information on fighting conservative misinformation (Media Matters, Think Progress), and three is progressive/Democratic strategy (Open Left, the Democratic Strategist). Diversity is also important. I linked to, at a minimum, 16 posts by women, 13 posts by openly gay bloggers, 3 by African Americans and 2 by Hispanics. The numbers are probably higher, that’s just what I can tell off the top of my head from people who openly identify themselves by these categories.

All of these links, by the way, are only part of the picture. Many of the posts I put up that link to other blogs are reposted elsewhere, including FLA Politics, Progress Florida, Facebook and other blogs, including a number of national blogs from time to time. Furthermore, FPC has a family of other blogs that are specific to individual candidates, legislative bodies or issues. Each of those blogs also links regularly to other blogs that are on the same topic. Some of the bloggers that I link to at FPC only a few times, I link to much more frequently at places like Florida Speaks (our national blog) or the Hate Agenda (our blog fighting LGBT prejudice and discrimination). Also, the FPC blog is open to anyone who is a progressive, liberal or Democrat and wants to post at it. In the last month, seven others have posted to the site and this includes a total of 16 posts by women, 12 posts by gay authors, 3 by rednecks and 6 by DFHs. Also, none of this includes the Twitter #followfriday post on the blog which lists the profiles of every Florida blogger I know of on Twitter, as well as the other tweets and retweets that include other bloggers.

That being said, there are some clear biases in my linking policies, some of which are completely legitimate. First off, I don’t generally link to people who don’t have an RSS feed. I look at over 300 blogs a day and I don’t have the time to visit them individually. I set them all up in my Google Reader. Blogs that don’t have an RSS feed don’t get into my reader, obviously, and I rarely see them, just out of practical considerations, unless others link to them. Because Florida Progressive Coalition is a state-level blog, there is also a heavy focus on posts that address state-level politics or are of direct interest to Floridians in a practical sense. Florida Speaks is focused on national politics and our other blogs each has a specific focus that guides what it links to. I don’t link to local politics as much simply because I don’t know as much about local politics around the state and because there is a much more limited audience for those posts. I do have a tendency, in my What’s Going On series to really hit on hot topics that lots of bloggers are talking about, so someone who doesn’t touch on those topics is less likely to get linked to. I do also have a affinity for people who either are eloquent or funny. Finally, frequent posters get more links, as do regular features on a blog. South Florida Daily Blog has a series of regularly-featured posts that come up almost daily and there are 3-4 of them and they deal with Florida. I link to most of them, that’s why SFDB is my most linked blog. Group blogs, with multiple posters, also tend to post more frequently (like FLA Politics or Progress Florida), that’s why they get lots of links. Some good blogs, like Be Think or Clean Up the City of St. Augustine, Florida, get few links on the FPC blog because they don’t produce much original content of state-level interest. I do, however, link to them frequently on the other blogs (Florida Speaks and MicaNotes, respectively) because they do hit the themes of those other blogs more often.

So there is some insight to how the process works and my thinking behind it, along with some statistics on how well I do in an average month. It’s a system far from perfect, but it works pretty well for me and I think the results are about as positive and fair as they can be.

I’m Kenneth Quinnell and I approve this message.

Read more on Florida politics at the Florida Progressive Coalition blog (http://flaprogressives.org) and the Florida Progressive Coalition Wiki (http://quinnell.us/sspb/wiki/). You can check out any of the Florida blogs mentioned in this article by checking out the sidebar on the FPC blog.

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One thought on “Capitol Offense: Fairness

  1. [— the only regularly-posting black blogger that I’m aware of is Nadine Smith at Equality Florida (although I might have found a new African American blogger yesterday in Central Florida).]

    Actually you’ve done better than you think, Kenneth. ReidBlog is written by a blogger who is both black and a woman! Have a great weekend and thanks for the links!