Taking progressive new media to the next level

TAKING PROGRESSIVE NEW MEDIA TO THE NEXT LEVEL…. As you may have heard, Matt Cooper has joined Josh Marshall’s TPM team, and will help cover the Obama administration for the new site, TPMDC. I think this is great, for a variety of reasons.

First, I was the weekend guy at TPM for six months in 2007, and I’m delighted to see the TPM powerhouse continue to grow and expand. Second, Matt Cooper started his career in journalism right here at the Washington Monthly, and we’re always delighted to see the magazine’s alumni do so well.

And third, today’s TPM announcement reinforced a point we’ve been kicking around for a few weeks. The Weekly Standard‘s Michael Goldfarb, who used to also blog for the McCain campaign, recently complained that the right lacked an “equivalent outlet” to offer TPM-like reporting. To revive the Republican Party, Goldfarb said, conservatives will need “the kind of online infrastructure the Democrats now have in place.”

Responding to this, Matt Yglesias explained, “The issue … isn’t that the right doesn’t have an outlet equivalent to TPM or other progressive sites. There are tons and tons of conservative media outlets, most of them with a web presence…. What the right lacks are people with the skill to do the job.”

To that end, two major new media outlets have each made a major hire in recent weeks.

* TPM Media hired Matt Cooper, a 20-year veteran of political journalism and former White House correspondent for Time, to be a Washington correspondent.

* Pajamas Media hired Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, an unemployed, unlicensed plumber, to be a war correspondent in Israel.

“What the right lacks are people with the skill to do the job.”

When conservatives wonder why the left seems to enjoy a new-media advantage, this should be a helpful hint.