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Brief: 'Secret Senator' Outing Show Blogs' Political Clout

Blogosphere demanded--and got--a head count that revealed who was blocking one bill

The blogosphere isn't to be trifled with. Some companies have learned this lesson the hard way, and politicians have, too. Serving notice that they'll be a force in coming elections, bloggers led a charge last week that brought the outing of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R.-Alaska, as the "secret senator" who placed an anonymous hold on a bill requiring the government to create an online, public database of federal spending.

Blogs Of The Beltway

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Blogs aren't new to politics. But what makes the Stevens' revelation different is how the blogosphere--led by PorkBusters and TPMmuckraker, demanding that all senators say whether they anonymously blocked the bill--has become intertwined with the establishment. None other than Bill Frist--yes, Senate majority leader, presidential hopeful--took it up in his own blog. "I am calling on all members, when asked by the blog community, to instruct their staff to answer whether or not they have a hold," he wrote.

There's a point in time when a technology becomes mainstream. For blogs and the blogosphere, the tipping point has arrived when a social phenomenon morphs into a tool of Beltway operatives.

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