In a Wired article, Paul Boutin writes that Glenn Reynolds’ InstaPundit.Com is the most visited blog in the world, because it “focus(es) on important facts and phrases that don’t make the headlines.” I’m not trying to compete for most visited blog in the world, in fact I’m still not even sure what I’m trying to do with this blog, but I thought it might be worth checking out InstaPundit to see what makes a blog number one.
After checking it out, my first thought is that I want some of whatever Boutin is smoking. He may be correct about InstaPundit’s popularity ranking (although I’ve got serious doubts about anybody’s ability to accurately rank website traffic). But it’s ludicrous to suggest that it’s because Reynolds is providing unique content.
Like many blogs, Reynolds does a certain amount of patting himself on the back, and pointing out others who are patting him on the back. I suppose a lot of the blogosphere is a massive mutual admiration network, with so many of the popular bloggers spending more time praising each other than writing anything new.
And, after digging through that dreck, there is a lot of “focus” on issues that are being hashed to death everywhere else, e.g. Bush’s National Guard duty (or lack thereof), and Kerry’s intern(al) affairs. Reynolds spends a lot of time talking about how Bush’s controversy isn’t worth talking about, but Kerry’s is. I think he has some sort of murky explanation for his double standard; rather than quibbling with him on that, I’ll just say that I halfway agree: neither issue is really worth talking about. There’s no need to go back 30 years to make comparisons between Bush and Kerry. Bush has committed enough impeachable offenses in his three years in the White House that it really isn’t worth digging back into his past. Let’s “focus” on what he’s still doing to our country, and the world.
Reynolds makes no attempt to conceal his obvious bias (neither do I, but I’m not calling myself “InstaPundit” and bragging about being the most read blog in the world). I suppose even a law professor is entitled to some personal bias, but his total lack of logic in defense of that bias is disturbing when one considers that he’s “educating” future lawyers, many of whom will become legislators and judges. One would hope these students would be getting rational guidance from someone whose logic is better than:
“I have a question on this WMD thing. So, apparently we are now concluding that Hussein did not, in fact, have a huge stash of nuclear weapons aimed at New York and Washington DC. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? It means that the thing the administration wanted to prevent was, in fact, prevented.
Reynolds didn’t write that himself; he lifted it from Andrea Harris’ blog, but he follows it up with an approving “You’d think”. This kind of logic is the subject of jokes told by first-graders (at least that’s when I heard it). A boy says he’s whistling to keep away bears, and when told there are no bears around, he says “See,it’s working.” We destroyed Iraq to prevent Saddam from having WMDs, and when told he had none, Harris says “See, it worked”, and Reynolds thinks this is a brilliant deduction. And he’s training the next generation of lawyers. Maybe at least a few of his students will have heard the same jokes I did in first grade and realize that Reynolds may be missing a few brain cells in the logic area.Reynolds reminds me a lot of Rush Limbaugh. And Limbaugh is also extremely popular. And neither is because of brilliance. It’s from feeding their audience what they want to hear, over and over. If this is the secret to being number one, I’ll keep my low rank.