The argument on the left is a business model argument.
It is an argument between the industrial, scaled, business model of broadcasting, centrally-controlled, and the new business model of open source.
This is a point many engaged in the argument, like Chris Bowers of MyDD, still fail to understand.
The open Internet has given new voices the chance to be heard by a nationwide, even a worldwide audience. It has given them the obligation to engage with that audience, in ways traditional media never has. We are measured every day in this medium, by the number of our readers, by their feedback, by our response to that feedback. Our words are measured, our business decisions are measured, 24-7.
This is not true in other media. This is not true in broadcast-oriented politics. Newspapers once looked only at reports on circulation, or at letters mailed to their offices. Otherwise, reporters listened to their bosses. All were insulated from the hoi-polloi. If you had crappy journalism in your town, you lived with it — or moved.
This is true regardless of your politics. Michelle Malkin has become a
leader of conservative thought because of the blogosphere. The National
Review has found new relevance because of the blogosphere. Who had ever
heard of Glenn Reynolds before the blogosphere?
It is interesting that the world of politics has benefitted most from
blogging, because this has, in the past, been a world without a
distinct business model. Basically the only way you could get in was
through a sponsor — a billionaire, a corporation, a politician, an
institution. Without such sponsorship you were an amateur, a crank.
No more. Now your work can lift you to the heights. You, too, can
become a talking head. And those who used the traditional route to
power, no matter their politics, are upset over this.
It’s a shame, in a way, that no one on the right has been able to
manipulate this business model yet. We might learn from that. But the
fact is that a whole new Democratic Party has been built in the last
four years, from the ground up, around America, using this open source
Without the Internet, some of it might have happened. But it would have
happened in a very different way. I think Hillary Clinton would have
had an easy path to the 2008 nomination without the Internet. I suspect
Howard Dean would have been nominated, and been crushed, without the
Internet. But we’ll never know.
The world is as it is. The world of politics now operates based on open
source principles. The gate to power has been crashed. The world of
journalism increasingly operates based on open source principles.
Despite the lack of money in it. The world of music is in the process
of being transformed. So is every other industry where the power of
thought is important, and the cost of disseminating thought is a
That transformation, in most areas, has barely begun. But it’s important to note who brought us to the ride.
It wasn’t Richard Cohen.
Think of it, instead, as the open source principle in action.