Heather Parton, aka the blogger many of us know and love as Digby, will on Tuesday be granted a prestigious honor. She’ll be receiving the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism. The award is named after the great labor leader Sidney Hillman.
In my view, there is no blogger more deserving of this award than Digby. She’s been blogging just about every day for over 11 years now. She possesses a wealth of knowledge and wisdom about politics — she has forgotten much more political history than many of us will ever know. She is basically right about everything, in case you haven’t noticed.
She opposed the Iraq War back when many other pundits (including a certain recent Hillman award winner) were claiming that opponents like her were traitorous fifth columnists.
And she was warning about right-wing extremists back when other liberal pundits were portraying the liberal bloggers as demagogues who were being too mean to conservatives. Now some of those pundits are themselves bloggers, who have no compunction whatsoever about loudly denouncing the right.
During the contentious 2008 Democratic primaries, she also tried to tell progressives that, at the end of the day, there wasn’t all that much difference between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and that we’d better off if we banded together to make demands from the candidates instead of engaging in pointless, bitter fights amongst ourselves. It’s a pity no one listened to her.
Digby’s created or popularized many memes — the Village, reaching for the smelling salts, clutching one’s pearls — that have been picked up by the rest of the left blogosphere. She’s had a significant impact on the way other well-known liberals think about politics and the right. Paul Krugman, who has clearly been influenced by her, referred to her as “the blogger Digby — who is, by the way, one of the best writers you’ll ever encounter, on or off the Internet.” Back during the 00s, James Wolcott wrote, “Digby’s blog is a Paul Revere gallop through the pitched night of the Bush years.”
Lots of smart people go to her for feedback and advice on their work. I’ve noticed her name in the acknowledgements by books by the likes of Rick Perlstein and Chris Hayes. Glenn Greenwald credits Digby with inspiring him to start blogging. Digby has certainly been an inspiration and a role model for my own work.
Digby does yeo-woman’s work in informing her readers about many of the most important political stories going on every day. She has long called attention to the dangers of tasers and cases of police abuse and misconduct. Her increasing focus in recent years on economic inequality issues and the threat posed by the national security state have been particularly welcome. She has become one of my major go-to sources of information — probably number three or four after the New York Times, Facebook/Twitter, and a listserv I check frequently. I don’t know what I’d do without her.
Another thing that Digby does that she doesn’t get enough credit for is her tireless fundraising for progressive political candidates through BlueAmerica. She doesn’t just critique the system; she does her best to support people who can bring about the kind of change we so desperately need.
In some ways, what I’m most impressed by about Digby is that she does this every damn day, usually posting multiple times, and that the quality is so good. Unless you’ve tried it, you have no idea how hard that is to do. Our own Ed Kilgore is one of the few people who does such high-quality work on a daily basis, but of course he gets paid for it and has weekends off. Politics, especially, is often so depressing to write about, and political bloggers have tended to have a high burn-out rate.
I’m thrilled to see Digby has finally been recognized in a big way. Many less talented folk who started out as bloggers have gone on to steady, lucrative gigs, but for whatever reason — perhaps it’s her choice — Digby hasn’t. But that also speaks to her virtues. She’s fiercely independent and there’s something wonderfully un-bought-out about her.
Since she’s the best daily political writer in America, an honor of this sort is the least we can do for her. Congrats to Digby and to the Hillman people for making such an awesome choice.
Now and forever: What. Digby. Said!