I began tracking the maleness of this media last spring while I was a visiting fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy. An intrepid graduate student created a spreadsheet of the top 90 political blogs. A full 42 percent were edited and written by men only, while 7 percent were by women only. Another 45 percent were edited or authored by both men and women, though the “coed” mix was overwhelmingly male. And, not surprisingly, most male bloggers linked to male bloggers.
This is certainly in line with my experience, but it does raise the obvious question — not is the progressive political blogosphere male-dominated, but compared to what is it male-dominated? To the congress? To the political media? My sense is that the progressive political blogosphere, though more male than the general population or the Democratic Party’s voting base, is less male-dominated than is the “traditional” liberal pundit class. I don’t, however, have actual data on this.
I suspect that Garance Franke-Ruta does have the data and I’d be interested in seeing that kind of comparison. When you see something relatively new like the blogosphere it’s inevitably going to be touched by broader social currents, including the ones that disadvantage women, but imperfect though it may be is it a step forward or a step backwards? Goodman acknowledges that her column “is the kettle of the MSM — mainstream media — calling the pot of the netroots male” but it would be nice to actually know the breakdown.