US cabinet secretaries start blogging

Now even cabinet members of the US President are blogging.

Two of them, Health and Human Service Secretary Mike Leavitt and Homeland Security Sec. Michael Chertoff have recently started blogging in their departments’ official websites.

Here’s a portion of the Yahoo!-Associated Press report on this:

Leavitt says he writes every blog entry himself, often late at night in hotel rooms when he is traveling. He is concerned that his entries are too long; on Aug. 20, he wrote 2,444 words about his trip to an orphanage in South Africa.

Chertoff began blogging in September so he could “open a dialogue with the American people about our nation’s security.” Chertoff comes up with an idea for a blog entry, then someone in the department writes it, and Chertoff heavily edits it, said Jeff Ostermayer, a department spokesman who oversees the blog.

One of the benefits of blogs is the opportunity for people to interact with government officials, said Michael X. Delli Carpini, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

But when public officials are blogging, “you’re seldom going to get a different point of view or an inside story,” he said.

Public officials usually are promoting policies and not offering honest reflections of what is going on, Delli Carpini said. The key to a successful blog is to make sure the information in the blog is honest, accurate and serving a public purpose. “The very same technology that can make things more democratic can also be used for manipulation and propaganda,” he said.

Will this happen in the Philippines? Or will blogs be used to further to dodge issues, to obfuscate matters and conceal scandals as the current Arroyo administration is wont to do?