Still Ranting After All These Years

Capitol Hill Blue celebrated its 11th birthday Saturday. We didn’t break out the cake. I’m on a diet. We didn’t open a bottle of champagne. I don’t drink. Instead, we did what we do every day. Put out the best non-partisan news site we can on an Internet dominated by bias and propaganda.

It ain’t easy. Getting up in the pre-dawn hours seven days a week and putting out this thing called a news web site is, and mostly always has been, a one-man operation. I started one morning 11 years ago while sitting in my den at home and have been the chief cook and bottle washer ever since.

From time to time, others came in to help but they soon tired of the pace and moved on. Putting out a news web site 365 days a year is part love, part indentured servitude and a whole lot of insanity.

I no longer remember what motivated me to sit down at the keyboard and crank out a single web page of commentary on October 1, 1994. Perhaps it was insanity. In those days, most people didn’t know or care about the Internet. Blogs, the current net rage, didn’t exist. Matt Drudge still sold t-shirts in the CBS Studios gift shop in Hollywood.

Yet I kept cranking out those one-page commentaries each week for the rest of 1994 and, in 1995, took the web site daily, which meant getting up at 5 or so to write it and put it together.  I still had a day job back then and that job required flying hither and yon for at least 250 days each year. Hotels didn’t have high-speed Net connections and putting Blue together each morning meant suffering through incredibly-slow connections in Manila or even finding a connection in Kalispell, Montana.

Blue thrived in those early days because Bill Clinton had just started his scandal-ridden second term and we were there to report every juicy tidbit of a President who couldn’t keep his stories straight or his pants zipped.

Our many investigations into Clinton’s missteps brought us an underserved reputation as a “conservative web site.” The right-wingers on FreeRepublic loved us and invitations to appear on conservative talk shows flowed in. We declined most, explaining that we weren’t conservative or right-wing. We were just journalists practicing the belief that it is the role of a journalist to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

Those partisans who embraced us so openly overlooked our frequent stories about the mistakes of the GOP-led Congress. We were, they cried, “one of them,” which amused us because we didn’t want to be one of anybody. On the left side of the aisle, partisans of a different stripe called us every name in the book.

Then Clinton’s term ended and yet another liar took up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania. We went after him with the same zeal and the right-wingers got pissed, calling us “traitors” or “part of the left-wing media conspiracy” that they said was out to get any and all Republicans.

But those shrill, lame brained partisans who see the world through party-covered glasses never got the point. They still don’t. Capitol Hill Blue hasn’t become the oldest surviving political news site on the Internet because it kowtows to any political belief or party propaganda. It survives, and continues to grow, because we follow the story wherever it leads and we don’t give a damn what party line it crosses.

We apply the same standard to everyone – right or left, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. No one gets a free ride or a free pass. If a government leader does something right (which in our current state of government disarray is not often), we report it. More often, we report what they do wrong because that’s what government excels at these days.

One of our first stories in Capitol Hill Blue in October 1994 concerned the ethical lapses of Democratic Speaker of the House Tom Foley. He lost election that year. In later years, we would report on ethical lapses by Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. He resigned.

We don’t give a damn if the subject of our story is Democrat or Republican. Never have, never will. And we also don’t give a damn if what we do pisses off partisans from any political stripe – Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or whatever. We don’t care what partisans think. Never have, never will.

Capitol Hill Blue is a web site for those who use their brains as more than a receptacle for political party propaganda. Always has been, always will be.