One of the most frequent complaints I receive from commenters is that I spend more time criticizing Democrats than Republicans. This complaint is an interesting counterpoint to an oft-voiced complaint about the blogosphere by our deriders: namely that we are an echo chamber and / or that we preach to the choir. While I will not presume to speak for other blogs, when it comes to MyDD, I actually feel that both complaints are off target.
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:
Blogs and the netroots are able to influence low-information and moderate information voters indirectly through these means but, generally speaking, if you want to reach a large number of relatively disengaged people fast, don't go through blogs. That is what the established media is for. If blogs served the same purpose, then I could see the complaints that blogs spend too much time preaching to the choir, and / or the complaints that progressive blogs spend too much time criticizing Democrats. However, that is not out purpose, and endlessly targeting swing voters is not the end all, be all of politics anyway. Before people lodge complaints against blogs, they should keep in mind what blogs in general, or any given blog, is trying to actually accomplish. To view us through any other lens is both unfair and inaccurate.