A few years ago an organization of Democrats that wanted to reengage the party in civic engagement sprung up in New York. They talked a lot about the club houses Democrats used to have and the concept of civic engagement. Democrats getting into the day-to-day business of their community.
Of course, that was a lot easier to do when patronage jobs were common in politics, but their point was well taken by me. Politics and being political is too removed from day-to-day, parties need to reengage the common.
Anyway, one of the the things the Blue Tigers didn’t talk about (I think they’re gone again, their website is down) is the old parties and their use of media. Many newspapers, especially pioneer newspapers during the first explosion of media in the early 1800s were extremely partisan:
By 1835 papers had spread to the Mississippi River and beyond, from Texas to St. Louis, throughout Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and into Wisconsin. These pioneer papers, poorly written, poorly printed, and partisan often beyond all reason, served a greater than a merely local purpose in sending weekly to the seat of government their hundreds of messages of good and evil report, of politics and trade, of weather and crops, that helped immeasurably to bind the farflung population into a nation. Every congressman wrote regularly to his own local paper; other correspondents were called upon for like service, and in some instances the country editors established extensive and reliable lines of intelligence; but most of them depended on the bundle of exchanges from Washington, Philadelphia, and New York, and reciprocally the city papers made good use of their country exchanges.
Holy cats, if that doesn’t sound like the worst, most base description of blogs, I don’t know what does. But, that doesn’t really matter because it just shows that blogs are simply replicating an older form of media.
Lately, we’ve been talking about (here and here) the future economic nature of journalism. I think one of the futures is direct partisan support for partisan online publications. Think of a direct subsidy from Democrats to horsesass.org to subsidize coverage of the legislative session.
I’m not sure it would ever occur to the actual party organization to subsidize a partisan journalist, especially since the thought of even starting their own blog was so foreign just a little while ago. But, it would be interesting to see as the old media outlets around town dry up, whether liberal and conservative donors start realizing there’s going to be a vacuum there and that they can fill it with some good ol’partisan journalism.