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A rifle in one hand, a laptop in the other. Behind the scene with pro-gun bloggers

"Cowboy Blob" and other online commentators fill the press box at the National Rifle Association convention.


Sen. John McCain speaks during the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Phoenix on Friday.

Matt York/AP

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While many old-school beat reporters stayed in New York or Washington this weekend to write about conventional political and social events, the pseudonymous “Sebastian” live-blogged GOP head Michael Steele’s fiery speech from the press box at the National Rifle Association convention in Phoenix.

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With some 55,000 readers a month, Sebastian, an “IT guy” from Pennsylvania who writes the blog, is part of a contrarian gang of gun bloggers attending the 2nd Annual Second Amendment Blog Bash here.

But here's the real news: In the press box, bloggers outnumbered national reporters by a good margin. And officially, nearly 50 bloggers -- compared to 100 mainstream print journalists -- were accredited by the NRA press office to attend the 138th annual convention.

Experts say that ratio at a major national news event featuring a panoply of GOP stars -- including John McCain and Mitt Romney -- presents a stunning affirmation of the rise of a mix of both partisan and fiercely independent and sometimes downright cranky “New Media,” marking its growing power to not only cover breaking news, but set the tone for political policy -- and, in the case of Second Amendment rights, even the direction of the NRA itself.


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