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Defining Political Bloggers

There is a debate going on at MyDD about the treatment Jerome Armstrong and Matt Stoller received at from the DNC at the Association of State Democratic Chairs candidates forum. It gets a bit warped right off in the comment section as contact information for one of the "mean" state chairs is given, and readers are encouraged to contact him. Fortunately that side topic is shouted down by most commenters.

About the meetings, Jerome notes:

There's praise for the internet here, rejoicing over the small donor, and they're using new-fangled words like netroots and blogosphere, but dem' bloggers that drive the leading edge of the battle, that raised millions for candidates and the DNC? Don't come, you're not really welcome.

And it's not just in DC, as most of these ED's, VC's and Chairs from the states seem to think. Nevermind the bizarre disconjunct of their kicking us out while they eye the DNC coffers from the internet's small donor with greed. Put aside their praise for Terry McAuliffe having figured out how to hook up 2 million new activist small donors, while they kick out the activists that help make it happen. We want to hear what they are going to do to reform the DNC inside the states, because it's inside the states, not just in DC, that this reform needs to happen.

How parties define bloggers, or how bloggers define themselves in relation to parties is at issue. Are they unpaid (or in the case of some liberal bloggers this year - paid) campaign help, or are they media?

The problem, especially on the left, is that the big liberal blogs have become and will probably continue to be mini-fiefdoms where fortunes are made and broken. Smart candidates already vie for the attention of the the top liberal blogs. When a candidate is "adopted" does the blog become an extension of the candidates PR machine? Is objectivity lost? Clearly this is a debate that will fester until the 2006 midterm elections.

My preference is the "media" model, beholden to no campaign. If that means not being invited to insider meetings where no press is allowed, so be it. Most campaigns of the future will have their own blogs, if I want to read campaign press releases I'll know where to go...


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Comments (10)

How would you say it works ... (Below threshold)

How would you say it works on the right?

Kevin, it isn't really fair... (Below threshold)

Kevin, it isn't really fair to say "or in the case of some liberal bloggers this year - paid." Bloggers on the right also were paid by a candidate. Case in point, the South Dakota race that ousted Daschle. There hasn't been anything put forth that contradicts this fact that I've seen. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Fair enough. I'd not reall... (Below threshold)

Fair enough. I'd not really seen that, but I don't doubt it. By and large I think the liberal bloggers are farther down the path on getting money for their efforts - not that there's anything wrong with that in my book...

Kevin,You right-wi... (Below threshold)


You right-wingers are always complaining about people making money for things they do. Oh wait.

Kevin:I agree. As a... (Below threshold)

I agree. As a lawer and political consultant, I try to avoid writing about clients all together, but if the occasion arises, I always make a point of disclosing the relationship up front. Biased blogs based on profit are all well and good, but I'd prefer to be an independent voice so when Bush screws up I can blast him and, in the meantime, criticize the lefties.

Bloggers advocate out of th... (Below threshold)

Bloggers advocate out of their partisan leanings. An honest blogger, however, recognizes argument faults on both sides of the divide, patches and develops them and in the process raises the level of debate.

More here: www.politicalthought.net

- Whatever the truth is it ... (Below threshold)

- Whatever the truth is it didn't work this time and it will probably fair even worse the next. The more you sell out the less usefull you can be in any regard....-

(from: "An evening with the pragmatic stoics")

Make Millions people if you... (Below threshold)

Make Millions people if you can...
Just don't screw people and always maintain your freedom to say what you mean.

They day that the gestapo breaks down your door for what you say is the day that either the Right or the Left has gotten too powerful!

We all know what'll happen then...

There's that time honored a... (Below threshold)

There's that time honored and accepted standard that defines an amateur as someone not accepting/receiving money/income from their efforts, while once you begin generating income from your work/efforts, you are no longer amateur, but professional.

I realize that that's most often applied and used to define sports participatory behaviors, but the rule does apply to blogging: if you're not engaging in accepting a salary or fee through your 'blogging' then you're a free agent (a few changes here to the rule, since "amateur blogger" is a bit of a cruel permutation of issues), a blogger without dues or obligations other than your own sense of morality and social values to guide how you behave on the internet, and that affects how you purpose your site.

However, once you start accepting a fee or agree to a salaried or consultant relationship with ANYone, including, most especially, political groups, individuals, parties, then you're no longer an independent but an employee. Or a consultant, about whom certain ehtics apply similar with only a few modifications to a salaried position as to loyalties and general ethical relationships.

I'd say that blogging is forging new ground as to what it means to be a participant in society, and within that society (especially in the U.S.), what it means as an aspect of the political process.

Because, we all have loyalties of the personal kind, set into motion by our own preferences. Once those preferences and affected loyalties include payments (a salary, a consultation fee or fees), then the situation changes.

I don't have a problem in that mix with bloggers who accept paid advertising, since there's an understanding by most at present that a paid advertisement does not represent an editorial, per se, statement by a site, an author (although it can, I realize, up to a point unless there are disclaimers and/or refusals to a relationship based upon objectionable or contrary content to a site's editorial perspective, but that again indicates an individual's free choice, not a requirement by a third party employer as to site content and behavior)...

My only problem so far with some bloggers is that they don't disclose who they accept money from and under what terms. Small gifts and efforts to support are one thing from other bloggers and other sites and sources, but once a blogger accepts a financial relationship from a political party or other individual, or business, or multiples of those, and does not disclose any relationship/s involved, they not only mislead readers but they appear to be doing so intentionally.

I wasn't aware that some liberal bloggers were paid to, um, 'blog' -- seems like a violation of all things acceptable by everyone concerned, unless there's a clear disclaimer and/or policy of relationship made public on all the site pages. Without the disclosure, the site is corrupt as to content and that standard I apply to anyone, everyone, of all political perspectives.

About conservatives (us "rightwing" people here) having a problem with liberals making a profit, no, that's not -- not at all -- the problem. The problem is when someone misleads others about making a profit, or not making a profit, and from whom they are making that profit, as to publishing written/visual opinion on the internet.

There's also a problem crea... (Below threshold)

There's also a problem created through the misperceptions of others, as to volunteer efforts by some. The Weblog Awards are a great example of just how problematic some person's misperceptions can be, when there's an attempt to deride the freely contributed efforts of others to a cause or project, by misapplying political organization to the volunteer efforts.

Which discourages many persons from volunteering on projects, which is a sad statement as to the effects that SOME people can have on others...and, in effect, illustrates a political process at work in and of itself, and that is to discourage participations in and about political efforts that some oppose. Opposing the volunteers involved and ridiculing them, attempting to shame and embarrass them for their participation as volunteers, can and does, in effect, work to defeat a political process by those who oppose that process.

So, my individual response to that is: expose those who behave that way, and show their shameful behavior for what it is. I believe that that's also a reflection of social morality, when there's a concerted response by various non related, non coordinated individuals to do just that: expose those doing the damage as happened during the Weblog Awards, also.






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