The National Journal’s “Beltway” blog, which has a blogroll full of conservative and far left sites, believes it’s spotted a new trend: “The Return Of The Partisan Press?” (As Glenn Reynolds writes, “Was it ever really gone?” My answer’s here, for what it’s worth.) The Beltway’s Danny Glover writes:
The Washington Independent went online a week ago yesterday (the official launch is next month), but don’t let the citizen journalism outfit’s name fool you. Politically speaking, it is no more “independent” than sister blogs funded by the Center for Independent Media.
The Washington branch, led by high-profile journalists like former washingtonpost.com editor and writer Jefferson Morley and former New York Times editor Allison Silver, joins a rebranded Independent News Network that includes the Colorado Confidential, Iowa Independent, Michigan Messenger and Minnesota Monitor. The Washington Independent gets funding from the Better World Fund, Arca Foundation, Open Society Institute, Park Foundation, Quixote Foundation, Rockefeller Family Foundation, Sunlight Foundation and Surdna Foundation.
All five publications in the network are independent only in the sense that they involve bloggers who work independently of mainstream media outlets. According to Wikipedia, the center’s mission is to fund sites “that report news from a progressive perspective.” In other words, the goal is to train an army of liberal bloggers who can infuse their opinions with actual reporting.
“We agree with CIM’s vision of citizen-driven journalism serving as a critical principle of our democracy,” Ellen Miller of the Sunlight Foundation wrote at SunSpots. “We have a hunch that the new enterprise might just shake up the media establishment.”
It’s a novel idea whose concept hearkens back to the colonial days of the American press, when journalism was a partisan pursuit. [As opposed to today?–Ed] The question now is whether the right, always behind when it comes to political and media innovation on the Internet, will try to organize a similar operation or cede this new media battlefield to the left.
I’m not sure if I’m following his point, as the Washington Times has been publishing a conservative Washington paper since 1982. Town Hall, NRO and the Weekly Standard have also been on the Web since the mid-1990s. And since the rise of the Blogosphere after 9/11, loads of journalists have gone on the record to declare their biases, as well as those of their employers.