Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Texas Iconoclast tackles Texas politics, media and culture from the center-right

My venture into the blogging world started in 2005 after I interviewed Charles Kuffner of Off the Kuff and Kevin Whited/Anne Linehan of blogHOUSTON for a KTRK article (I was actually using my full name as a byline back then).  Both blogs have loyal followers and lots of influence on Houston and Texas issues.

Now a new chapter opens for Whited as he starts a blog with Evan of Perry vs World and Cory Crow of Harris County Almanac (and Lose an Eye, It’s a Sport before that).

I chatted with Whited and Crow over email about Texas Iconoclast, which they describe as a review of Texas politics, media and culture from a center-right perspective. The site officially launched a few weeks ago.

Why did you start Texas Iconoclast and what will it cover?

Cory Crow: For me, Iconoclast was all about filling a hole in Texas political coverage. To avoid the old "liberal bias" cliche I think that what you see from Texas MSM is a statist view of the world where there's no government solution that can't find a problem to attach itself to. Iconoclast was designed to counter that. Hopefully it will be done with with wit, and some unique insight.

Kevin Whited: I'm pretty sure you've heard my lament that so many political bloggers cover national politics, and so few cover local and state. I've talked to various right-bloggers for a long time about doing a group blog focused on Texas, but we just never achieved critical mass... until recently.

I think what you're going to see from us is a unique perspective on Texas politics.... and sometimes the journalists who cover Texas politics. You'll see a defense of the idea of limited government, and respect for the social mores of Texans (broadly speaking), and promotion of Texas as a place of opportunity and innovation. You might see us complain a little if those perspectives are poorly represented in MSM reporting, or if the statist perspective is overrepresented.

Why are there two separate blogs (morning roundup links and lengthier commentary)?

Kevin: As we were tossing around ideas for the site, we spent some time discussing the sorts of sites WE found most useful. The ones that came up frequently were aggregation/curation sorts of sites. For me, sites like Real Clear Politics and Brothers Judd get my day started -- and in Texas, Texas Tribune's morning roundup and Jason Embry's roundup for the Statesman. We decided to front our project that way -- but with our political perspective. We thought it made more sense to break out longer commentary in its own place.

Cory: The round-up is designed to be just that, a daily link blog of most of the news that's news in Texas. The blog is the place where the editors (Evan, Kevin and myself) can go long-form on issues, elections, etc.

What has the reaction been?

Kevin: Good so far. I think it's harder than ever for new blogs to get traffic, but we seem to be picking up some interest from some of the other state bloggers, and some journos and some think tankers. That's encouraging.

Cory: So far, fairly positive. I'm not sure of the exact count of unique visits, but I know it's growing. So far our commentary has been productive as well.

With your other blogs, are you going to run out of time/material?

Kevin: Time always seems to be the enemy! As material goes, I think that could potentially affect Cory and Evan a little more than me, as they've written a lot -- and smartly -- about state politics for a long time on their own blogs, whereas I've done much less.

Cory: I doubt it. Harris County Almanac is primarily Houston/Harris County centric and I rarely venture into other topics. Plus, that blog is more based on humor and sarcasm while Iconoclast is more serious in nature. One thing I've learned, there's always PLENTY of stuff to blog about.

Anything else you want to add?

Cory: I encourage people to comment, and to send us links that we might miss. Also, if anyone has something that they think needs to be addressed from a center-right perspective they can always drop us a line. We hope this grows over time into something people of all political stripes can use, even if they don't always agree with us.

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