Miller Center

Kevin Wallsten

Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

Political Blogs and the Bloggers Who Blog Them: An Analysis of the Who's, What's and Why's of Political Blogging

Wallsten photo

Kevin Wallsten is Assistant Professor of Political Science at California State University in Long Beach.

Despite the recent explosion in blogging, there have been relatively few empirical studies of the political blogging phenomenon. Wallsten's research project situated the role of political blogs in the American political system by addressing four sets of interrelated questions. First, who blogs and why? Second, do political bloggers use their blogs primarily as "soapboxes" (meaning they are expressions of personal opinions), "transmission belts" (meaning they simply provide links to websites or quote sources with little or no commentary from the blogger), "mobilizers" (meaning they are calls to action) or "listening posts" (meaning they elicit feedback from their audience)? Third, to the extent that these actors use their blogs as soapboxes for expressing their opinions, what is the content of this political expression? Finally, what impact are political blogs having on public discourse, mainstream media coverage and the policy making process? Taken together, the answers to these questions shed light on what the emergence of political blogs means for the quality and functioning of democracy in the United States.

Fellowship year: 2007

Mentor: Michael Schudson, Columbia University

Selected Recent Publications

"Racial prejudice is driving opposition to paying college athletes. Here’s the evidence." with Tatishe M. Nteta and Lauren A. McCarthy, The Monkey Cage, The Washington Post (December 30, 2015)

"Why American Catholics may not be persuaded by Pope Francis’s message on immigration." with Tatishe Nteta, The Monkey Cage, The Washington Post (September 27, 2015) 

"It’s time to end anonymous comments sections." with Melinda Tarsi, The Monkey Cage, The Washington Post (August 19, 2014).

Old Media, New Media Sources: The Blogosphere’s Influence on Print Media News Coverage.” International Journal of E-Politics 4, no. 2 (July 2013). 

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