Recently, the New York Times announced that it was incorporating the liberal blog FiveThirtyEight, authored by Nate Silver. In response, Chris Bowers of OpenLeft has declared that amateur progressive blogging has died.
What evidence does Bowers cite for this proposition? Several liberal bloggers have taken paid jobs at professional sites like the Washington Post and Salon.Com. Also, other progressive blogs have become large professional and money-making operations. Finally, bloggers have used their blogging experience to obtain paid consulting positions, which they perform along with blogging. Ergo, the amateur liberal blog has died.
Ahem. There are many liberal bloggers who make little or no money from their efforts. Bowers' essay indicates a pesky problem within the liberal blogging community. Larger, more established blogs -- often those run by whites, men or heterosexuals -- are the only ones that get serious attention among many so-called liberals. Developments at these blogs supposedly represent the status of the blogging world at large. Therefore, if many or most of these blogs are chasing dollars and becoming professionalized, then amateur blogging no longer exists.
Well, there are many liberal bloggers, especially many who write on feminist, race and LGBT politics. Bowers' essay attempts to recognize the power of monied interests, but to make this point, he slights the efforts of people who represent diversity in the blog world.
Bowers laments the death of amateur progressive blogs, suggesting that liberals are being co-opted by larger institutions. Perhaps Bowers should read blogs outside of his comfort zone. Let me know if you need a list of suggested reading, Chris.