August 17, 2005

Left and Right Bloggers Military Service Survey

An oft heard accusation is that of chickenhawk being leveled at supporters of the Iraq War who have no prior military service. Bloggers with no prior military service are called members of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists on almost a daily basis by Markos Mulitsas' Daily Kos, himself a veteran of the U.S. Army. The phrase is used to shorten discussion about the war by making a personal attack and delegitimizing the person's credibility. It is easy for you to be for the war when you are not fighting it, is the crux of the chickenhawk argument.

The Right has no identity phrase to delegitimize left-wing bloggers' anti-war stance equivelant to chickenhawk. But we on the right often resort to other personal attack tactics. Although we have no phrase to wrap the idea in, there is a glaring suspicion to many on the Right that many on the Left never served in the military because they hate it and our soldiers. They are against the Iraq War, we think, because they are against all war and the military men that fight them.

Using the TTLB Traffic Rankings as a guide, I sent e-mails to the top bloggers of both the Left and Right and asked them whether or not they had served in the military and, if they had, in which branch?. Group blogs which had not clear main blogger were not sent e-mails. This tended to weed out more Left leaning blogs than Right leaning blogs. Blogs that seemed to focus on pop-culture or other non-political issues were also excluded. Further, while the response rate was nearly 100% from conservative and libertarian bloggers, it was much lower from those who were more liberal. This can probably be explained by my personal relationship with many on the right. If any of you can get responses out of other top bloggers on the Left, I would appreciate your help.

I had hoped, for methodological reasons, to include the same number of Left and Right leaning bloggers. I will continue to update this list as more data becomes available. It should be noted that not all of the Left-leaning bloggers took a clear early stand against the war in Iraq. Further, a few bloggers responded but asked that I keep the information confidential.

The number on the left is the TTLB Ecosystem Traffic Ranking between August 16-17. If there are mistakes in the list they were unintentional so please let me know by dropping me an e-mail.

Top Left Bloggers
(1) Markos Zunigas (Daily Kos)--Yes, US Army
(11) Tony (Crooks and Liars)--no military service
(13) Ana Marie Cox (Wonkette)--no military service
(16) Kevin Drum (Washington Monthly)--no military service
(32) Norm Jenson (One Good Move)--Yes, National Guard
(24) Jerome Armstrong (My DD)--no military service
(39) Taegan Goddard (Political Wire)--no
(46) Tom (Tbogg)--no military service
(43) Amanda Marcotte (Pandagon)--no military service
(55) Adrew The Poorman (The Poorman's Cafe) -- no military service
(73) Steve Soto (The Left Coaster) -- no military service

Top Right Bloggers
(6) Glenn REynolds (Instapundit)--no military service
(7) Charles Johnson (Little Green Footballs)-no military service
(9) Michelle Malkin (Michelle Malkin)--no military service
(14) Tom of Scared Monkeys (Scared Monkeys)--no military service
(14) Red of Scared Monkeys (Scared Monkeys)--no military service
(20) Ed Morrissey (Captain's Quarters)--no military service
(21) Dan Riehl (Riehl World View)--Yes, Air Force
(31) Eugene Volokh (Volokh Conspiracy)--no military service
(36) Kevin Aylward (Wizbang)--no military service
(43) Wretchard (The Belmont Club) - no military service
(47) Roger L. Simon (Roger L. Simon)--no military service
(51) John Hawkins (Right Wing News)--no military service
(57) James Joyner (Outside the Beltway) - Yes, US Army
(58) Kim du Toit (Daily Rant)--Yes, South African Army
(59) Rusty Shackleford (The Jawa Report) -- no military service
(63) Matt at Blackfive (Blackfive) -- Yes, U.S. Army
(69) John Cole (Balloon Juice)--Yes, U.S. Army
(71) Greyhawk (Mudville Gazette) --Yes, still active duty
***Top 100 (Name Withheld)--no military service
***Top 100 (Name Withheld)--no military service
***Top 100 (Name Withheld)--no military service

While the N of the survey is too small to produce a statistically significant regression model, there are a few noteworthy observations from the initial round.

Of the 11 bloggers who responded from the Left, 2 of them--or 18.2%--had been in the military.

If you just look at the top 12 bloggers from the Right, none of them had served in the U.S. military.

However, of the top 21 bloggers who responded from the Right, 6 of them--or 28.6%--had been in the military.

The further down the TTLB Ecosystem rankings you go among bloggers on the Right, the more likely they will have been to have served in the military. The further up the TTLB Ecosystem Traffic Rankings you go among bloggers on the Left, the more likely they will have been to have served in the military.

So, among the top bloggers on both the Left and Right, only a minority have ever served in the military. Are bloggers on the Left draft-dodging haters of the military? There's no evidence to suggest that. Are bloggers on the Right warmongering chickenhawks eager to send others to war but not face that risk themselves? There is certainly no evidence to suggest that either.

Moreover, among top bloggers at least, it would seem that bloggers on the Right have a slight advantage in terms of numbers who have seen active military duty. There is no basis in reality, then, to the widespread accusation that the Right bloggers are members of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists.

I will update this post later as more information becomes available.

UPDATE: John Donovan of the Castle Argghhh posits this interesting hypothesis: I suspect, Rusty, the deeper you go into the smaller blogs, the greater the difference becomes

A number of others suggest doubling or tripling the sampling size for the same reason.

Judging from the response in the comments and my e-mail, my hunch is John is right. This is a testable hypothesis. Any one who would like to help me gather these data please drop me a line.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:50 PM | Comments |