Criticizing Democrats and Preaching to The Choir
by Chris Bowers, Tue Sep 05, 2006 at 08:55:24 AM EDT
The focus of MyDD is on elections, campaigns, and political infrastructure. As such, we are not an all-purpose news and current events resource that comments on whatever the latest big story is. I am actually regularly amazed at how people complain that MyDD has not posted on a subject that has basically nothing at all to do with our primary focus, but I have complained about that before. This is why we will focus on political advertising much more than we will focus on Iran, why we talk more about polls than we talk about health care proposals, and why we focus on lobbyist infrastructure than on what Paul Krugman recently wrote. If you are looking for regular commentary and analysis on the news of the day, there are dozens of blogs better suited to your desires than MyDD. Either TPM Café or the diaries at Dailykos might be your best bets. All good bloggers focus on areas of expertise, and as non-policy based political professionals, we focus on our areas.
It is important to keep the focus on MyDD in mind when complaining that we criticize Democrats too much, or that we are preaching to the choir. We are, instead, concerned, progressive, political professionals who are trying to help improve the functionality of Democrats and progressives when it comes to elections, campaigns, and political infrastructure. Given our goals, of course we are going to criticize Democrats more than Republicans, because we don't want to see Republican or conservative political infrastructure improve. We do want to see Democratic and progressive political infrastructure improve, so naturally we are going to spend a lot more time looking into what ways we feel it can improve. I also certainly do not think that this means we are preaching to the choir, because how Democratic and progressive infrastructure can be improved is both a hotly debated topic within Democratic and progressive circles, as well as a wide-ranging, ongoing, collaborative research project.
Despite their seeming divergence, both of the common criticisms of MyDD in particular, and blogs in general, that I mentioned above are actually similar. Both criticisms, seem to me to assume that all blogs serve exactly the same function as established news outlets. In this view, people turn to blogs for the same reason that they turn to any other media outlet: to hear the news of the day, and to receive commentary on that news from an at least somewhat diverse range of political perspectives (far-right and center-right, usually). Viewing blogs in this manner is useless, because it ignores the important ways that we are different from established media outlets, as well as what we are good at and what we are not good at. Here are what blogs can do well:
- Put pressure on the media and help alter conventional wisdom narratives.
- Agitate the politically engaged into higher levels of political activism.
- Change minds on a variety of topics over the long-term in the absence of media attention.
- Fill the void on specialized topics in the face of total market failure on those topics from established news organizations.