Blogger Payments No Kos for Alarm

A Wall Street Journal story and the invisible backhand of the blogosphere are attempting to make the publishers of Daily Kos and MyDD the liberal versions of Armstrong "No Bribe Left Behind" Williams:

Howard Dean's presidential campaign hired two Internet political "bloggers" as consultants so that they would say positive things about the former governor's campaign in their online journals, according to a former high-profile Dean aide.

There's no comparison between these situations. Jerome Armstrong stopped weblogging during the contract. Daily Kos publisher Markos Moulitsas disclosed his professional relationship with the Dean campaign from the moment it began, and did so prominently: Take a look at Daily Kos from June 2003 to see the disclaimer directly below the site's logo.

When the Journal declares breathlessly that the issue "shook the confidence of many people in the blogosphere," I wish they had named some of these delicate flowers.

Surely there aren't many people precocious enough to believe, as Jeff Jarvis apparently does, that webloggers are completely blind to the persuasive power of money.

(What other troubling revelations lie in store for such naifs? My employees laugh at my jokes even when they aren't funny. These pants make me look fat, but everyone is afraid to tell me. Size does matter.)

Political campaigns threw a lot of money at webloggers last year, mostly in the form of ads -- of course they were hoping to get a little editorial appreciation as a two-fer.

Taking ethical correctness to the point of ridiculousness, Roger L. Simon calls Moulitsas a hack for taking campaign money:

I never would accept money from any party or candidate to front for them on this blog. Of course that's easy to say because nobody ever asked me. Nevertheless, I thought the whole point of blogging is not selling out to anyone on your blog, not even an editor or a publisher. The minute you do that you might as well chuck it in.

Simon makes his living outside of politics and writes for National Review (describing its editor as an articulate spokeswoman). I can see why he defines integrity by his refusal to accept money from political entities, just as Bill Bennett defines immorality as every vice other than gambling.

Many webloggers write about subjects that relate to their professional careers. That's one of the best reasons to read them: Someone who spends 60 hours a week yoked to a compiler is a go-to source for coding insight. An NBA owner knows how the ball bounces.

A weblogger who works as a political consultant should not be expected to quit his job to prove his editorial integrity. Though as it turns out, Moulitsas did -- he doesn't need consulting gigs now that BlogAds drives a money truck to his house every month.

Unless you believe that an ethical weblog requires that its author stop making a living, the standard should be to disclose financially entangling relationships, not avoid them entirely. Let the readers decide if the dollars lining your pockets have turned you into a walking, talking infomercial.

Speaking of which, I give all of my books four stars.


Holy crikes. KLO is the editor? I thought she was the traffic and weather lady.

Anywho, I wound up at Kos' site because he was farting around with Dean. I thought it was kinda keen that some random guy on the Internet was involved in a presidential campaign. Go figure.

Finally! Someone has said it! I was going to blog it, decided not to, but that's because I hate Kos.

He didn't do anything wrong here. The difference is enormous between the government paying off an MSM columnist to spew their propaganda and Kos giving advice to the Dean campaign, all the while telling everyone he was doing it.

Hear, Hear!


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