After quite a few years of giving it away for free – it being content – internet sites are now demanding the financial security of
marriage subscription fees. After years of watching you play the field, more and more sites want you to settle down and tie the knot with the mainstream media.
The Wall Street Journal has been hiding their most informative, well-reported articles behind a paywall, but lets anyone read their right-leaning OpEd pieces. The Baltimore Sun lets one read twenty articles per month for free, but it is hard to find a good article in the Sun with only twenty attempts. The New York Times also allows a small number of hits per month, but at least most of their articles are worth reading. I get emails with special offers from the NYT every week. I’d like to get the weekend paper subscription, which includes internet browsing, but they don’t deliver to my house in PA. I’m not poor, but the Great Recession still weighs on my mind, so I’ve held off from all sorts of long term obligations.
Last week Josh Marshall announced that Talking Points Memo was looking for eligible partners. Probably 80% of my online acquaintances derive from my years of posting and commenting at the TPM Cafe’. The Cafe’ was a stimulating place for liberals that felt ignored by the mainstream media’s fascination with conservatism. But the well-meaning people that essentially began socializing there were very attractive to the sort of trolls that feed off discord. Marshall eventually closed the Cafe’, and regulars left for Dagblog (already started by Cafe’ regulars) or a few new sites like Once Upon a TPM, which was renamed to Once Upon a Paradigm. Others started their own personal blogs.
Now Marshall has announced TPMPrime, which sounds a bit like the old Cafe’ and has clarified that the new membership section will cost about $50 per year. The idea of a site with good discussion and reasonable moderation is tempting, but again, the idea of another long term financial obligation is not.
So to defray costs I am announcing Donal Prime. Employees of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Baltimore Sun and Talking Points Memo are encouraged to contribute to the running of this blog. The rest of you can keep reading for free.