Book Review: "Blog" by Hugh Hewitt

So I just finished reading Blog by Hugh Hewitt, and I wanted to mention a few things about the book.

First of all, Hewitt has packed a lot of information into this book about the blog universe and ecosystem, and provides mostly good advice and analysis to his intended audience: managers and executives. However, the big stumbling point of his book is that the concepts are so entwined with his right-wing ideology that he risks alienating about half of his readers.

He does a great job of explaining the power of the blogsphere, and more importantly, the reasons and mechanisms behind that power… but the 50% of readers that don’t think John Kerry was the antichrist and George W. Bush is a president acting as a direct hand of God will be so put off by certain passages that it will be difficult for them to really get his points about blogs.

A good example would be his explanation of why blogs are marginalizing mainstream media. First, he talks about how people are tired of the left-leanings of outlets like CNN and the network news organizations of ABC, CBS, and NBC. OK, so this is a topic that could be argued– whether or not there is a bias to the left there could be debated, and clearly there’s a reasonably good argument there. However, he uses Fox News as an example of people consuming an unbiased news source, which will alienate… uh… pretty much any thinking human being who has ever seen Fox News. (Whether you think they are correct or not shouldn’t influence your opinion of whether or not they are biased.) This makes it tough to choke down his CORRECT assertions about why people are turning to blogs and other non-mainstream sources for their news. It’s tough to ignore, and it reduces the value of the book because it’s so hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. (And so hard to concentrate on the good points because you’re still focused on mentally arguing the ideological craziness in the last paragraph.)

Anyway… it’s generally a good book, and worth reading for anyone interested in the big-picture ramifications of blogging, but you have to brace yourself for some serious ideological slant. It’s too bad, because the content in this book deserves a better presentation: one that doesn’t pre-suppose any particular political leaning to get through. I don’t want to be forced to drink so much Right-Wing Kool Aid in order to learn about blogging. (I should also say that it would be JUST as off-putting if it were LEFT-wing Kool Aid.)