Carnival of Ohio Politics 2.0
I dislike the name, but I love the concept.
Paul Miller of Northwest Ohio Newshound founded it, and now he is leaving it (as well as blogging in general), all as explained in this farewell post. The Carnival was meant as a weekly roundup of the best Ohio political blogging from all points of view, and I always appreciated being invited to participate. There was a period of time when I submitted citations to posts regularly.
I stopped doing that very much because I never quite regarded the Carnival as a truly neutral vehicle. Paul is (was) an excellent blogger, but his viewpoint was decidedly right wing. Although I genuinely appreciated Paul's effort to reach out to liberal bloggers for inclusion in the weekly Carnival, right-wing bloggers always predominated there, and I often felt that Paul's breezy description of the posts was slanted in a subtle way. (I often sensed a hint of incredulity about the subjects of my posts.) Whether my perception was accurate or not, it was simply hard to accept that the venue was neutral when the sole host was partisan.
Now, Paul has given us who remain in the blogosphere a tremendous farewell gift. He has turned over the Carnival of Ohio Politics to a team of four bloggers, all of them good at what they do, who reflect a range of political perspectives. I respect all of them, and my sense is that they will conduct the Carnival in a fair and nonpartisan manner. The four new hosts - Ben of The Keeler Report, Jill of Writes Like She Talks, Lisa Renee of Glass City Jungle, and Pho of Pho's Akron Pages - have given the Carnival of Ohio Politics a new internet home, and they have solicited blog posts for a new edition tomorrow.
Last year, when ten Ohio political bloggers were hosted by Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) at the ODP 2006 State Dinner, the main point he made in our brief face-to-face conversation was that bloggers should not be content to "preach to the choir," but should reach out to a broad audience and try to engage readers with different points of view. I believe in that goal, and I regret that there has not been much serious effort to get there. This is why the new Carnival of Ohio Politics is so exciting to me. It holds out the promise of breaking down the echo chamber, of promoting genuine debate among bloggers with divergent partisan leanings.
I still don't like the name. It isn't a carnival. And I guess I just never learned to love the smell of rotting straw and stale peanuts. Oh, well, you can't have everything.