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Carol Platt Liebau - Columnist

Carol Platt Liebau is editorial director and a senior member of the editorial board. She is an attorney, political analyst and commentator based in San Marino, CA, and has appeared on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN, Orange County News Channel, Cox Cable and a variety of radio programs throughout the United States. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Carol Platt Liebau also served as the first female managing editor of the Harvard Law Review. [go to Liebau index]

Finger on the Keyboard, Toe in the Water
Stepping Into a Brave New Medium
[Carol Platt Liebau] 10/4/04

It’s easy to confuse being conservative with being hopelessly old fashioned. Both terms suggest a certain un-trendiness – loving Pride and Prejudice as a fourth grader, when everyone else is reading Judy Blume. Or being a devotee of Cole Porter’s music at college, in an era when INXS was the “cool” group (ponder, if you will, the culture clash between “You’re the Top!” and “You’re One of My Kind”).

Admittedly, there’s an upside to being un-trendy: One escapes a lot of transient cultural silliness (it’s hard to argue that anyone looked good wearing Madonna-like bustiers and crosses during the ‘80’s). But on the downside, one can also become a “late adapter” to a phenomenon that’s less a trend than a wholesale transformation.

With every passing day, it becomes more evident that web logs (“blogs”) represent not just a trend, but a radical transformation in the way Americans are coming to obtain and process information. In a sense, they are the modern equivalent of the handbills popular in America’s earliest days, with one huge advantage: Rather than having to publish hard copies and then distribute them by hand, writers of all kinds can basically post their thoughts on a global bulletin board for everyone to read.

The blogging phenomenon represents a drastic democratizing of commentary – anyone who can afford a computer can engage in debate through the written word, without having either to persuade a newspaper to offer employment or else find a printing press of one’s own. And it’s fundamentally meritocratic: Good blogs will generate traffic and attention; bad ones won’t. Readers will decide whose commentary deserves pride of place in the marketplace of ideas.

Just as 1960 was the year of television – when visual differences at Kennedy and Nixon’s first debate played a key role in the election’s outcome – it’s not too much to call 2004 the year of the blog. Indeed, it was the sharp eyes and cleverness of bloggers at and that quickly discredited the forged documents CBS presented in what many believe was an attempt to influence the outcome of this year’s election.

Every new phenomenon needs a patron saint. The blogosphere’s has been radio talk show host and author Hugh Hewitt, blogging’s earliest and most eloquent proponent. His book In But Not Of advised young readers to “Start and Maintain a Web Log (Blog)”; at present, he is finishing a new book on the rise of the web log.

Clearly, and for the better, blogging’s here to stay. So with the encouragement of Hugh Hewitt and others, this “late adopter” has decided that it’s time to join in. For almost a year now, the staff at CaliforniaRepublic has been most generous in allowing me to post on this site’s blog – and I look forward to continuing to do so.

But I have also started my own blog at Please visit, comment and enjoy – both here at CaliforniaRepublic and at the new blog. Two-way communication is central to any worthwhile transaction in the new marketplace of ideas.

As it turns out, even the un-trendy, conservative and old-fashioned needn’t be outdated. CRO

Columnist Carol Platt Liebau is a political analyst, commentator and editorial director based in San Marino, CA. Ms. Liebau also served as the first female managing editor of the Harvard Law Review. Her web log can be found at

copyright 2004


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