The New Blue Media

How Michael Moore, MoveOn.org, Jon Stewart and Company Are Transforming Progressive Politics

The penetrating—and entertaining—story of the rise of a new generation of liberal media figures, from Jon Stewart and Michael Moore to Moveon and the Blue Blogosphere

“When future historians come to write the political story of our times, they will first have to review hundreds of hours of a cable television program called The Daily Show. You simply can’t understand American politics in the new millennium without The Daily Show.” —Bill Moyers

Is a new progressive era in American life in the offing? Only time will tell, but journalist Theodore Hamm’s sharp, acerbic book suggests that a new progressive media has already arrived. Satirical, hard-charging, and unapologetically progressive, this new media movement is both reinvigorating old forms like late-night TV and documentaries and inventing new forms like the blogosphere.

In a breezy, accessible style, The New Blue Media traces the rise during the Bush years of new media stars: the news-saturated satire of The Onion, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report; the polemical assaults of Michael Moore and Air America; and the instant-messaging politics of MoveOn, Daily Kos, and the netroots. With the exception of Air America, all of these new media outlets have found commercial success—marking, says Hamm, a new era in liberal politics.

Does this new media matter? In 2004, both Michael Moore and MoveOn became major players; more recently, the influence of the netroots sparked an upheaval within the Democratic Party, when Connecticut’s Ned Lamont almost defeated former vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman in his campaign for the Senate. Taken as a whole, the New Blue Media are shaping both the style—and in many cases the substance—of twenty-first-century progressive politics.