Progressive Blog Digest: a daily must-read

One of the structural advantages currently enjoyed by the right wing is its capacity to coordinate attention on whatever topics Roger Ailes and his minions have decided will be most helpful to their cause. The Blue team enjoys no comparable coordination mechanism.

To some extent this reflects basic differences in political ethics and personality between the two sides: a liberal, as is well known, is someone incapable of agreeing with himself. Or, to put it more generously, liberals, wisely fearing epistemic closure, seek out sources of divergent views rather than dittoing some liberal version of Rush Limbaugh. Still, the lack of coordination is a structural weakness: it means that important news that would help move public opinion in a Blue direction can get buried, while the latest Breitbart fraud is certain to dominate the blogosphere and cable news for days on end.

For some years now, Nick Burbules has been running the Progressive Blog Digest, which despite its modest name actually covers the professional media as well. Burbules lacks the self-importance of the typical blogger; he keeps his own editorial content to a minimum and focuses on accumulating valuable links. I’ve never visited without finding at least one story I’d missed but was glad to know about. It would be a good thing for the country if PBD were as widely read as – let’s say – Instapundit.

If you’re a news junkie, I’d say: Bookmark PBD. Subscribe to it. Tell your friends.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

9 thoughts on “Progressive Blog Digest: a daily must-read”

  1. The meme that the difference between liberal and conservative coordination is based on ideological or personality differences is utter nonsense. The right delivers a coordinated message because it is the party of the rich, and money buys people. The coordination of the right is the result of an ever-growing army of professionals who work diligently at well-paid jobs to create, spread, repeat and reinforce a web of messages in support of the power of money. There are many right-wing news outlets that pay very well for skilled professionals who will do as they are told; there are no daily news outlets that are owned and controlled by liberal ideologues.

    Liberals have no coordination because they have no access to money. Unions at one time played a counter-balancing role, but unions are now poor and can barely perpetuate their own existence. The government at one time hobbled the naked power of money but it no longer does so.

    So please, don’t tell us that the right does a better job of coordinating messaging because liberals are uncertain in their beliefs. The right does a better job of coordinating because well-paid operatives will work hard under orders year after year.

  2. to add to Bloix, I also hate the tendency of liberals to congratulate themselves on their open-mindedness.
    I’m not sure it’s true at all, and I know conservatives who are convinced of their own open-mindedness. Doesn’t make it true.

  3. (Klieman): “…liberals, wisely fearing epistemic closure, seek out sources of divergent views rather than dittoing some liberal version of Rush Limbaugh. Still, the lack of coordination is a structural weakness…
    One word rebuttal: JournoList.

  4. > One word rebuttal: JournoList.

    There’s a grain of truth to that comment; a very very tiny grain to be sure, but it does exist.

    OTOH, it was recently revealed that Peter G. Peterson has spent $1 billion to influence elite opinion in his quest to destroy Social Security; perhaps Malcom you could point me to the (former) member of Journolist who had and has spent similar sums (up to and including purchasing the direction of all of the Washington Post’s coverage of Social Security issues) on building “liberal” influence? [liberal is in quotes because one can hardly call Joe Klein, as just one example, liberal].

    Cranky

  5. (Kleiman): “The Blue team enjoys no comparable coordination mechanism.
    (Malcolm): “One word rebuttal: JournoList.
    (Cranky): “There’s a grain of truth to that comment; a very very tiny grain to be sure, but it does exist.
    There are larger factors than Journolist involved in State-worshipful message coordination. 1. Polls and studies of political donation regularly find university faculty on the socialist end of the free marketeer—socialist continuum, if the median voter defines the middle position. J-schools select and train journalists. 2. Colleges of Education faculty are, in my exerience, more inclined to government solutions to resource allocation questions than to market-oriented solutions. These people select and train K-12 teachers, including Secondary Social Studies teachers. Governments spend a lot promoting the pro-government line.

  6. Yes, JournoList is a means for spreading left-wing propaganda. Also, too, ACORN is going to steal the 2012 election. Really, is there any reason that we have to put up brain-dead buffoons?

  7. Bloix, I have to question your claim that “Liberals have no coordination because they have no access to money.” It wasn’t Senator McCain who out-raised President Obama in 2008.

    Even notwithstanding that one data point, your claim is empirically incorrect. Both the left and the right have access to tremendous amounts of money. Take a look at this list of top donors for 1989-2010: (http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php)

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