Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Capitol Hill Blue - A Review

Web site: www.capitolhillblue.com



Background


This is Doug Thompson's site. He has worked as a journalist, as a congressional staff member, and as a lobbyist. Evidently this gave him more than a little distaste for Washington, since the site's motto is "Because nobody's life, liberty or property is safe while Congress is in session or the White House is occupied." The current site was formed in 1994; he claims it to be the oldest surviving internet news site. True or not, it's been around a long time by world wide web standards.


Discussion


While the site does have some news links and various op-ed pieces, far and away its greatest attraction is Thompson's "Rant". Very appropriately named, Thompson rails against the inbred corruption of both Congress and the White House.


While the rants are fun to read, what makes this blog-like site stand out is that he has a lot of Washington connections and sources that give him inside information. He's pretty good about verifying what he hears, so he comes up with stuff that's hard to find elsewhere and is usually reliable. He talked about the warrantless NSA spying well before the NY Times did, and similarly the declining atmosphere in the White House due to Bush's ill temper long before it was discussed by Newsweek. He recently quoted Bush as having said that the Constitution "is just a goddamned piece of paper" - pretty good stuff. It seems that White House aides like to talk to him - probably one of the few ways they can let off some steam. No wonder Rove is getting obsessed with leaks.


Amusingly enough, he was embraced by the right wing when Clinton was in office, and the left wing now. He claims to be a centrist.


Summary




Overall : Very good, but very limited.


Analysis: Thompson's understanding of the machinations and corruption in Washington is excellent. He doesn't stray too far from this, which is the area where he has the most expertise.

News: OK - some news links, but nothing out of the ordinary.


Bias: Extreme anti-Congress/White House bias, but for the right reasons. Not partisan in that he hates the Democrats and Republicans equally.


Pros: There's sometimes information here that is hard, if not impossible, to find elsewhere. Besides this, the Rant can be fun.


Cons: Non-Rant pieces on site are hit-or-miss. Some good, some terrible. The Rant itself can be a bit of a, well, rant.

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