Dayton v. Kennedy

Returning Senator Mark Dayton to the Ranks of the Idle Rich in 2006

3/02/2005

TBFKADVK in Pequot Lakes Echo

O.K. So it ain't The Gray Lady. Still, it was fun to see this write up on TBFKADVK in the Pequot Lakes Echo.

Wednesday, March 2, 2005
10:21 AM on Wednesday, March 2, 2005
Political Notebook: Blogs coming into their own


A new medium is becoming one of the most talked about elements of modern politics, and at least one major campaign is taking notice.

Weblogs, or blogs, are online journals that publish running commentaries on the day's or week's events. Their contents can range from personal diaries to in-depth investigative reports, and political campaigns across the country in the last election cycle realized their power.

For the first time in Minnesota, a "blogger" was an invited journalist to travel with and report on a Senate campaign. Blogger John Swon of "The Blog Formerly Known as Dayton Versus Kennedy" spent three days last week travelling with Rep. Mark Kennedy as he criss-crossed the state making his bid for the U.S. Senate.

"It was like being on someone's family vacation," Swon said. Swon was one of six people on Kennedy's campaign motorhome, and the only member of the media. "They didn't really keep me at arm's length about anything. It was a very odd situation to be in."

Swon is one of three contributors to the first blog dedicated to Kennedy's senate campaign. Blogger Gary Miller started the "Dayton v. Kennedy" blog last fall under the presumption that the race would be between Kennedy and incumbent Sen. Mark Dayton. After Dayton said he wouldn't seek a second term, Miller and the two other contributors were left with an irrelevant name. Currently the blog is called "The Blog Formerly Known as Dayton Versus Kennedy," (TBFKADVK) though they are actively searching for a new name.

Miller started the blog last September after meeting radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, who also penned the premier book on blogs, "Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World." Miller had been reading blogs for over two years and was a big fan of the "Daschle v. Thune" blog, which covered the race between Sen. Tom Daschle and Rep. John Thune in South Dakota. When Miller decided to start his own blog, he wanted to run something similar, so he chose a race that hadn't even started.

"I felt, 'I'm going to own this race,'" Miller said.

The blog is a running list of commentary, links to news articles on the race and first-hand reporting, with no qualms about whom they support.

"I was very concerned about the ethics of doing this. I'm obviously a supporter of Mark Kennedy...but you don't want to compromise yourself," Swon said.

Swon said he tries to be as objective as possible. If Kennedy were to do something egregious, Swon said he would report it, as any journalist would.

In the case of the "Daschle v. Thune" blog, blogger Jon Lauck was criticized for accepting $27,000 as a consultant for Thune's campaign. Miller said TBFKADVK has not received any payment or guidance from the Kennedy campaign.

"We're trying to walk a fine line here," Miller said. "Credibility and independence are the currency of the blogosphere. We don't want to be a tool for the Kennedy campaign."

"The Blog Formerly Known as Dayton Versus Kennedy" can be found at http://daytonvkennedy.blogspot.com/

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