I think Talking Points Memo is the most important content-based website in the world. I mean that literally.
Talking Points Memo is carrying the water for an awful lot of institutions in this country, such as:
1. Reporting-Most websites and commentators can only attempt to provide perspective on facts and coverage of politics and policy. TPM now has reporters that work on staff, making TPM both a commentator and and driver of the stories. Their work has been instrumental in uncovering numerous bad acts by the Bush Administration, including the current (and most damaging) US Attorney scandal, but also the New Hampshire phone jamming scandal, Abramoff, Foley, Katrina, the Nigerian Uranium documents, among others. So many to choose from. TPM has been asking a lot of questions the mainstream press never got around to. But that’s not all they are doing…
2. Truly New Media-Now they are doing their own newscasts, as seen on the post below. Pay attention to the production values in that clip. It looks like a newscast in the way it uses the graphics, but it takes the time it needs to develop the point. The overwhelming advantage TPM has and uses is that they know their audience can keep up with the story, so they don’t shy away from the complexity or detail. Yes, show us the Monica Goodling emails! And speaking of those emails, do you know who first found that email in the DOJ document dump #2?
3. I did-Well, truth be told, I can’t prove that. But I can tell you I found that Goodling email in the document dump not more than 10 minutes after TPM first posted the URL to the documents, with an invitation to all TPM readers to start sifting through the pile. Think about that. Think about all the things our media has turned a blind eye to in the last eight years, all the things they missed in the first place because they didn’t ask. Do I trust those people to catch all the angles on a document dump, or do I trust TPM readers? I have to be honest, I was somewhat moved after spending about 30 minutes reading the stuff late one night last week. I felt like I had just participated in something historic, a new frontier for distributed power, politics, journalism, and the internet all in one, and all in real time.
4. And let’s not forget, shall we, the fight TPM is fighting. Think about all the corruption, all the fiascoes, and all the complicit, bewildering media coverage of the last eight years. Amazon’s a great website, fine, but TPM ensured a Democratic Senate. No question in my mind about that.
Besides the newspaper, it is the only website I read every single day. And if I miss a day, I read every word of the archives. I personally think Josh Marshall is a media empire waiting to happen, and seeing the clip I posted below convinces me of that more than ever. And given that, I wanted to mention that TPM is having a fundraiser, this time to specifically raise money to add reporters to cover Capital Hill.
There are a lot of worthy causes out there. Waaayyy too many. But I have a hard time thinking of any single entity that is doing as much good for this country (and sadly, the world) as TPM is. And given that they are still a very small operation, and given how large a thorn in the side of the Bush Administration they have been, I have to believe they are still susceptible to “unforeseen hardships”, like an IRS audit, a Patriot Act-enabled computer seizure, or a hurricane. So I’m thinking every little bit will help.