Saturday, March 04, 2006

My Koufax Vote for Best Blog

How in the world does one make their choice for Best Blog (non-professional) in the venerable Koufax Awards? With a whopping 114 initial nominees – before the voting narrows it to 10 finalists – how do you even begin to examine such a worthy lot and choose only one?

For me, I start by narrowing it down to the following sites that I try to read daily:
OK, that doesn’t help a lot. Instead of 114, I now have 16 blogs to choose from – all of which routinely leave me shaking my head and saying “why didn’t I write that?” It also leaves me with a choice that is much like lining up the 16 best (of thousands) of anything and saying “pick just one.” A fool’s errand to be sure.

I’ve also developed friendships in this list, which makes it even harder to evaluate fairly or to make a choice… So, after reminding myself that I was voting on a web award and not curing cancer or solving the problem of world peace, I made it much easier on myself by deciding that they could all, on a given day, be considered the best blog on the Internet.

So I expanded my criteria and, beyond good writing, insightful analysis and digging up things ignored by the mainstream media, came up with my deciding factor.

In the spirit of the Koufax Awards themselves, I decided to assume great content from all of my favorites and think more about who also helps build the community that we love. Who makes the rest of us better, gives deserving newcomers a chance for exposure and provides a resource that many of us toiling against the right-wing machine simply could not live without?

It’s Crooks and Liars.

There are a lot of generous people on my short list. Bill Scher at Liberal Oasis, Liz Smith at Blondesense, Brad Friedman of Bradblog, Dave Johnson of Seeing the Forest and Skippy at skippy the bush kangaroo all gave me far more than the time of day when nobody knew who the hell I was – and I’m sure they’ve shared equally with many, many others.

And Firedoglake is, well, Firedoglake – with the erudite, well-researched writing we’ve all come to expect from Jane and Christy.

But John Amato and Mike Finnigan at Crooks and Liars have a combination of the reach (in sheer numbers) to make a difference, coupled with the generosity of spirit to give unknown writers a chance and to put people on the map quickly. My site has grown incredibly in one year and, while I believe solid content had much to do with it, a good amount came from the exposure and opportunity provided by Crooks and Liars.

And how many other people have they done this for? How many other liberal web sites now exist and thrive because of the massive leg-up that Crooks and Liars can -- and does -- provide because of the giving spirit of its principals?

That’s why Crooks and Liars gets my vote. In athletics, there’s an old axiom that the true greats are the ones who are not only talented themselves, but who make everyone around them better.

In our blogging world, John, Mike and Crooks and Liars give us invaluable content while, in many ways, making the rest of us better.

At its essence, that is the intent of the Koufax Awards and what I believe makes them the Best Blog.