It’s now conventional wisdom that the political blogosphere has been pretty thoroughly professionalized, but James Joyner points out something I hadn’t quite noticed:
These things are no doubt happening, especially on the left. Barbara O’Brien‘s observation that “The evil MSM seems to pick up 50 Erick Ericksons for every one Nate Silver” is just bizarre.1 I can’t think offhand of a truly conservative amateur blogger who has been bought out in the manner of Mickey Kaus, Kevin Drum, Matt Yglesias, Ezra Klein, Glenn Greenwald, Steve Benen, Dave Weigel and others who have had hobby blogs bought out by major media sites or ideological think tanks and gone full time. Megan McArdle is the closest I can think of but she was already a professional journalist, writing for the Economist, by the time anyone had heard of her.
So why is this? There are political magazines and political think tanks on the right. Why haven’t they hired a bunch of successful hobby bloggers instead of developing their own in-house talent? Why is it that Glenn Reynolds, Erick Erickson, Michelle Malkin, Charles Johnson, and the Powerline folks haven’t been hired as bloggers by a magazine or think tank? Is it because conservative magazines didn’t want to hire outsiders, or because they made offers and conservative bloggers weren’t interested?
1In fairness, I suspect that Barbara was thinking less here about bloggers and more about talking heads and columnists, where conservatives seem to get hired at a pretty good clip.