I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Blog news

Beginning next Thursday, February 8, this blog will be moving to Salon, where it will be a featured front-page blog (full access to Salon is available by subscribing or for free, by clicking through an ad to obtain a 24 hour day pass). I will also be a Salon Contributing Writer and will write (at least) one feature article per month. I am very excited about this move. It will substantially increase the readership and enhance the visibility for the blog, and I think Salon is the ideal venue for both blogging and for writing. A few observations about the move:

(1) Other than some design changes (actually, design improvements), the content of this blog will remain exactly the same. The first term I negotiated with Salon was complete editorial freedom -- no editorial interventions, no topic "assignments," and no content, length or topic restrictions. I can post when and how frequently I want, and I have access to post 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and posting is immediate. In essence, Salon wants to publish this blog, not some modified or constrained version, and so I have exactly the same freedom to post there that I have here.

(2) The principal motivation in moving is that the move will immediately result in a substantially increased readership for the blog, along with enhanced visibility generally. As easy as it is to forget, there are still substantial numbers of politically engaged people who do not read blogs, or who read them only periodically.

The influence of the blogosphere is growing inexorably, and I think it is still in its incipient stages, but blog readers are still a subset of political readers generally. While the Salon readership overlaps to some extent with the blogosphere, there are large numbers of Salon readers (as is true for most magazines) who don't read blogs, and blogging there will simply enable me to be read by more people.

There is also still some lingering (albeit diminishing) bias against people who are "just bloggers." In some eyes -- myopic ones -- writing principally for your own blog is credibility-limiting. That is changing and should change more rapidly (since, as I've said before, I think the best and most reliable political writing and analysis is found, with rare exception, in the blogosphere), but that bias persists and can still be somewhat limiting.

Anyone who expends the substantial amounts of time and energy required for daily political blogging believes, I'd say almost by definition, that the more people who are exposed to what they write, the better. I think that objective will be fulfilled in multiple ways from this move.

(3) A significant factor in moving to Salon was how positive my previous experiences have been in writing there. I have guest blogged for Tim Grieve on two occasions and written numerous articles over the last few months. The editors there are excellent and the suggestions they make are always intended to improve, not dilute, what one writes. And they are committed to publishing unique and consequential content which many other media outlets probably would be too timid to publish. Juan Cole writes for Salon with some regularity, and last December he said on his blog:

See also Editor's picks for 2006, ten articles that include my "Israel's Failed-State Policy."

Consider subscribing to for the coming year. Much of what I've written there in the past year would not have been published by most other magazines.

In addition to Cole, Salon regularly publishes Sidney Blumenthal, Joe Conason, Gary Kamiya, and Tom Tomorrow's This Modern World.

(4) My principal concern about moving the blog was that I did not want to remove the blog or myself from the blogsphere. I think the blogosphere is and will continue to be the venue for the most vibrant and important political writing and I would not be interested in any arrangement which included the cessation of my blogging.

But several bloggers have made similar blog moves -- most notably Kevin Drum to Washington Monthly and Andrew Sullivan to Time (as well as Mickey Kaus to Slate) -- and it did not create any sensation that they were somehow blogging "outside" of the blogosphere. Access to my Salon blog will be free (albeit with the requirement of watching a short ad once per day for non-Salon-subscribers). There will also be a link left at the top of this Blogspot page to the new Salon blog. Since what I am writing is still a blog in every sense, I became convinced that blogging at Salon rather than at "Blogspot" would not create some sort of wall of separation (psychological or otherwise) between my blog and the blogosphere.

(5) One of the most valuable aspects of blogging is the Comment section. Almost all bloggers say that, and I think most, if not all of them, mean it. One of the prime advantages which bloggers have over mainstream journalists is the collective aspect of blogging. No matter how much one knows about a topic or how much expertise one has developed, there is always going to be someone who comes and adds something which the blogger did not know. For the same reason, bloggers' mistakes -- large and small -- are corrected almost instantaneously, and any credible blogger eagerly acknowledges those mistakes, corrects them quickly and clearly, and thereby is constantly perfecting what is written.

This post by Atrios from a couple of weeks ago really illustrates this dynamic perfectly. Atrios responded to a post by Time's Jay Carney which contained a clearly erroneous statement about Clinton's approval ratings which Atrios pointed out. He linked to the documentation demonstrating Carney's error. But then, within a short time after Atrios posted, several of the Eschaton commenters came and pointed out three additional, clear errors in Carney's post which Atrios did not originally include. He then added those commenters' points to his original post, which then became a virutal dossier of significant factual errors plaguing Carney's short post.

Having a high-quality comment section is almost like having a vast team of researchers and analysts constantly at work on every topic, which is why so many of the posts I write include, and sometimes arise from, something said or found by a commenter here. There will be instantaneous and unrestrained commenting at the Salon blog, just as there is here, and so I hope, and expect, that the quality of the comment section will remain the same (and even be enhanced by what will undoubtedly be new commenters from Salon).

The last post here will be on Wednesday. I will leave a post that will remain at the top with a link to the Salon blog. I really appreciate the great support from readers and from other bloggers which I've received since I began blogging just a little over a year ago, and I'm definitely looking forward to blogging in an exciting, new environment.

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