Why MyDD Isn't Free
by Matt Stoller, Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 10:22:23 PM EST
Hi, I'm dipping my toe back in the water here at MyDD for a brief moment. In June, Chris and I launched OpenLeft to explore politics in a more explicitly ideological direction. Since we left, Todd has come on board here, and Jonathan has really put his stamp on this place. I miss posting here, but it is a different place now, one that the two of them (and Jerome) have really created along with all of you. They took MyDD, which if I may say so was a great blog, and have made it simply indispensable.
Now, I could go on and talk about how awesome they are, but that's not the point of this post. Blogging the way they do, with 50K people screaming every day about how they are biased against one candidate or issue or another, while going on the road and doing interviews and constantly scanning the news, is hard. It's really damned hard. It's also incredibly fun, which is why they do it and why all of us are here and write diaries and whatnot. But it doesn't really pay the bills, and it's axiomatic of our society that there's no such thing as a free lunch.
The reason the corporate media is so shitty is because it's free. NBC and CBS and Fox News don't charge you anything for their content, because you are the product that they sell to soap companies and car companies and defense contractors. They don't really care about the truth and they certainly don't care if you know what the truth is, because the truth to them isn't very profitable. In fact, if NBC tells the truth about the war or the housing bubble, they may cost their defense contracting or financial services arm more money than they make in a whole year of advertising at CNBC. You are their product, so while their content is free, it comes at the cost of systematic lying.
Blogs are different, but they are not immune from the golden rule, that he who has the gold makes the rules. If you want Jonathan and Todd to be limited in what they can do, in the interviews they can get, in the places they can travel, then by all means keep them dependent on advertising from soap companies, movies, and progressive nonprofits. I can assure though that content on MyDD that you consume every single day will suffer in ways you will never notice, but that will be immensely costly to all of our understanding of politics and ability to affect change.
If you believe, as I do, that quality in content is important and that it is way more expensive in the long-run to consume lies for free than to pay for truth today, drop $50 in the kitty for Jonathan and Todd. Truth, like our democracy, is only sustainable if we fight for it, and sometimes that means investing in the people who are obsessed with bringing us news, content, and often original information with a deep sense of integrity.
Let's keep this institution growing and flourishing, and together we will change the country as fundamentally over the next thirty years years as we have in the last five.
So please, throw them some coin, and thanks for letting me come back for a moment.