Austin Cassidy was an unlikely father of the greatest minor-party news site in the history of the Internet. After all, he was and is a Republican, and a thoroughly moderate one at that. He even supports John McCain for president!
But maybe that’s why the old Third Party Watch site was so great. As someone without a stake in the in-fighting between radicals and reformers (LP), theocrats and paleocons (CP), or socialists and progressives (GP), he was able to provide “fair and balanced” coverage of the third-party world — and not in the FoxNews sense of the words, either.
In time, Austin added several contributors, most of whom were libertarians or CPers (few leftists ever seem interested in joining TPW, but they were welcomed by Austin, and we welcome them at IPR), and thus the site’s flavor changed, but not necessarily in a bad way. Austin was the rock to which TPW’s credibility and balance was anchored. Who has ever had a bad thing to say about the guy?
But all great things come to an end, and eventually, Austin had to move on. He sold the site to Stephen Gordon, former political director of the Libertarian Party, and everything seemed to be all to the good. At first, it appeared that Gordon was making TPW into an even better site than it had been under Austin.
This didn’t last long, of course. Opinions vary, and I’ll stick to the facts in this post — that’s going to be a hallmark of IPR’s coverage. But suffice it to say, rancor between libertarian factions increased once Bob Barr, for whom Stephen Gordon had been working behind the scenes, officially jumped into the LP race. Things went downhill from there, and fast. Finally, today it was announced that Gordon had played the role of real-estate flipper, and turned Third Party Watch for a quick profit. The new owner, Richard Viguerie immediately set about restricting the once-free and open atmosphere at TPW, and apparently fired many anti-Barr columnists. It was clear to many of us that TPW would no longer be a suitable home.
I am not alone in embarking on this course. Thus far, here is a list of individuals who’ve agreed to contribute to IPR:
- Thomas L. Knapp
- Darcy G. Richardson
- Trent Hill
- Fred Church Ortiz
So now you know that IPR aspires to be like the old Cassdian TPW — but better. How IPR will be different, and thus better, is not yet set in stone. We welcome the suggestions of our readers.
The first major issue is whether or not to require registration for commenting on blog posts. IPR’s pioneering contributors are not of one mind on this, but I thought we should try things out with registration, and see how it goes. Silence would be the ultimate condemnation of my case, so if you think registration is a good idea, please leave a comment saying so! And please feel free to offer any other suggestions you might have.