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On All Those Rich Crooked Bloggers Who Live in the Daily Caller's World

Dan Riehl, Melissa Clouthier and others already ripped that ridiculous Daily Caller story to shreds yesterday, but I had a few comments of my own to add.

If you missed the story, it is titled, "True Stories of Bloggers that Feed on Partisan Cash," and here is the part that is most at issue:

"It's standard operating procedure" to pay bloggers for favorable coverage, says one Republican campaign operative. A GOP blogger-for-hire estimates that "at least half the bloggers that are out there" on the Republican side "are getting remuneration in some way beyond ad sales."

On those two statements, I call bullshit. I don't know who the anonymous "Republican campaign operative" and "GOP blogger-for-hire" are but I've been blogging since 2004 and I know many, many bloggers. I know some of them fairly well and I can confidently say there is no way that 50 percent of bloggers are getting paid (especially beyond ad sales) to blog. Maybe I move in different circles, but in the world of conservative political blogging that I live in, that is not the case.

Here is what I can tell you about what I've seen of bloggers since I started blogging in April of 2004. I can tell you about bloggers who work all day at a job to pay their bills and then come home and stay up to the wee hours to blog and get paid nothing for it. I can tell you about bloggers who pay out of their own funds for servers and blog design and to go to events they want to cover. They often go without other things, and sometimes anger their spouses by spending that money, to be able to blog. I can tell you about bloggers who would love to make enough money blogging to quit their day jobs and devote all their time to their blogs, but have not found a way to make it happen.

I think bloggers should be getting paid. Not by a candidate to say what they want them to say without disclosing a relationship, but I do think they should be getting paid for their work and I have been involved in discussions with other bloggers about some ways that might come about.

I have at times made money blogging by getting a percentage of ad revenue, but since I was part of a group blog most of the time I rarely paid any attention to what ads were even running and it never influenced my blogging. I have been paid by several publications over the years to write columns. I have been paid by a couple of candidates to work on their campaigns over the past few years, but I rarely blog during the same time I am working on a campaign (mainly because I don't have enough time) and when I do I go out of my way to disclose my association with the candidate and campaign, like I did this week.

Read Melissa Clothier's post on the Daily Caller piece at Liberty Pundits. She says much of what I would have said if I had not already read her saying it better. I worked on the same RNC project that Melissa cites (we actually became good friends while working together on it) and am on the same tech listserv she mentions. We did not get paid for it, but were happy to do it to give the RNC better insight into the blogging community.

I am not going to defend Dan Riehl point by point since he has already defended himself better than I ever could, but will say that anyone who knows Dan has to know he says what he wants to say. And does so forcefully (and sometimes quite crudely).

I've never taken money, in the form of blog ads or otherwise, to blog about a campaign or issue. I have been asked by people working for campaigns to blog about certain stories and have done it free of charge because they are things I would have blogged about anyway. As a consultant to campaigns I have asked bloggers to write about the candidates I've worked for. I have asked frequently, in fact. And I will continue to ask and to attempt to persuade them with my arguments for the candidate, rather than cash.

When the news about Tucker Carlson's blog project came out I was surprised because I'd never heard his name associated with blogging. Maybe he thinks over half of us are getting paid to say what others want us to say. Maybe if he knew a few more bloggers he, or Jonathan Strong who wrote the piece, could have asked a few of them and found out whether or not 50 percent were getting paid to blog. I read at Dan Riehl's blog that Strong graduated from college in 2006 and has worked as a congressional staffer and lives in Arlington. Maybe he doesn't know that most bloggers don't live in the DC area. Or even in California. I'd be glad to introduce him to a few dozen who won't make a dime.

I don't doubt that there are bloggers who have sold their credibility for money from rich candidates who are too stupid to realize that if they are worth electing there are people who will write about them for free. I don't doubt that there are consultants who are evil and crooked as well. But the majority of bloggers are not getting rich, and are not selling their reputations to the highest bidder. The fact that Daily Caller would publish such accusations with what appears to be little investigation or corroboration, tells me more about their credibility than that of the vast majority of conservative bloggers.

There was another story in the same news cycle yesterday about Philly requiring bloggers to purchase a $300 business permit. For most bloggers, including most conservative bloggers, that would not only wipe out any money they made blogging, but would put them in negative territory. Bottom line is if you want to get rich blogging, you'd do better to follow the Tucker Carlson model than the Dan Riehl one.

Update: When I wrote about hearing about Tucker Carlson's blog project, I was referring to back before the Daily Caller was launched, when I first heard anything about the project. Before that when I heard Tucker Carlson's name I thought of MSNBC, not blogging. And the Daily Caller isn't a blog -- it is an online magazine -- although Jim Treacher is there and he is a great blogger. Some other good bloggers write for DC, too. It's just too bad they weren't assigned to this story.

Crossposted at LorieByrd.com.


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Comments (23)

Seems like the Daily Caller... (Below threshold)

Seems like the Daily Caller is doing some of that 'projection' again.

The fact that nobody has co... (Below threshold)

The fact that nobody has confessed to you that they are being paid is to proof that the practice doesn't exist.

In fact, there is evidence that the practice is on-going.

"It's standard operating procedure" to pay bloggers for favorable coverage, says one Republican campaign operative.


"A GOP blogger-for-hire estimates that "at least half the bloggers that are out there" on the Republican side "are getting remuneration in some way beyond ad sales."

If one of the Wizbang bloggers was on the take would they tell the rest of you?

Of course not. You'd kick them off the site instantly. This practice can only exist in the shadows. Likewise, no self-respecting blogger would "confess" to this practice.

And I don't believe any of the bloggers at Wizbang is on the take. I don't think the GOP would donate a small Slurpee to any of the bloggers on this site.

Was it amature hour there w... (Below threshold)

Was it amature hour there when that was written?

Option 1: There is a massiv... (Below threshold)

Option 1: There is a massive, coordinated, and widespread conspiracy to cook all of these candidates' books to hide such payoffs (else someone might have, I dunno, caught on).

Option 2: There is massive, coordinated, and widespread conspiracy by all of these candidates to simply lie on their disclosures.

Option 3: This widespread practice of paying off what I can only assume are the same group of more influential bloggers has gone unnoticed by groups that breathlessly tear apart disclosures looking for just this sort of thing.

Option 4: Simply another lighting of the moonbat signal.

Dane, the word is "prove" n... (Below threshold)

Dane, the word is "prove" not proof. Such childishness.

Of course the left wants to have the right prove a negative. Which cannot happen. The only "proof" would be for this person to identify him or herself with evidence of the money transfer. Of course that will not happen.

I do know that mainstream reporters hang out with liberal politicians. We see it all the time. And of course, Journolist, which is a group of "reporters" and bloggers that make an effort to stay on the same liberal message. Dane, the left is lame, the MSM is lame and of course I just proofed that you are lame. ww

Excellent point, ww.<... (Below threshold)

Excellent point, ww.


No need to say any more.

PROOF: "One pro-P... (Below threshold)

PROOF: "One pro-Poizner blogger, Aaron Park, was discovered to be a paid consultant to the Poizner campaign while writing for Red County, a conservative blog about California politics. Red County founder Chip Hanlon threw Park off the site upon discovering his affiliation, which had not been disclosed."

PROOF: "Poizner's campaign was shocked to learn of the arrangement, apparently coordinated by an off-the-reservation consultant. For Park, though, it was business as usual. In November 2009, for instance, he approached the campaign of another California office-seeker -- Chuck DeVore, who was then running for Senate -- with an offer to blog for money"

PROOF: ""I can be retained at a quite reasonable rate or for 'projects,'" Park wrote in an e-mail to campaign officials. In an interview, Park defended himself by claiming, "nobody has any doubt which candidates I'm supporting," and noting that his blog specifies which candidates he "endorses."

PROOF: "In December of 2009, Red County received $20,000 from the Meg Whitman campaign, which has sent the site $15,000 a month since then. The money is ostensibly for advertising, yet by conventional measures the numbers don't add up. According to Quantcast, Red County reaches around 125,000 unique viewers per month. Two new media industry experts confirmed that, given such a readership, Whitman's ad purchase is "ridiculously" expensive, surpassing the going market rate for such ads by 1,000 percent or more."

PROOF: "Ad purchases at above market rates are a common means by which some campaigns seek to influence bloggers, according to numerous campaign operatives and bloggers. Bloggers, aware of this, have begun to request improbably high rates on their own. Florida political blog Shark-Tank.net, which reaches about 15,000 viewers per month, is asking campaigns for $3,200 a month for a large banner ad. For that same price, an advertiser could purchase similar space on political blogs reaching over 1 million readers each week.

Watch as Dane flails wildly... (Below threshold)
Sky Captain:

Watch as Dane flails wildly about, making accusatory statements yet providing no actual links...

Yet Dane has said NOTHING about Journolist...

I have been blogging for ye... (Below threshold)

I have been blogging for years and have never made one red cent doing it. I wouldn't even begin to know how to go about it and I'm a pretty damned smart woman!

I'm getting really sick of the slog up I-95 every morning to work in the District and slog down I-95 or on the VRE ever evening to go home. It makes me day over 12 hours long. I would love to make enough to supplement my social security so I wouldn't have to do this any more but, sadly, no go!

I have a feeling that most of the bloggers I know (and many of them are personal friends by now - cherished friendships begun and nourished in the Blogsphere) make a few pennies here and there but nothing worth mention!

It is so much more comfortable to paint conservative bloggers with the liberals-for-sale brush of the other side of the coin! They suspect us of that which they do themselves! Most right wing bloggers I know are people of some character who wouldn't permit themselves to be bribed! So Dane, stuff it up your - well you know what I mean!

"Yet Dane has said NOTHING ... (Below threshold)

"Yet Dane has said NOTHING about Journolist..."

I'm sure he believes it was all 'a vast right-wing conspiracy'.

As Ron White observed, "You can't fix stupid".

Too many words have been wr... (Below threshold)

Too many words have been written about this story. All any right blogger needs to say is the following:

"If I really wanted to make money blogging I would join the professional left"

*click* "dial tone"

"Watch as Dane flails wi... (Below threshold)

"Watch as Dane flails wildly about, making accusatory statements yet providing no actual links..."M

Hey idiot - the link is in Ms Byrd's article.

Proving you can lead a Republican to information but you cant make them think.

Dane, if "at least half" th... (Below threshold)

Dane, if "at least half" the bloggers were on the take, why the hell can't you (rather, the anonymous dipshits you treat as gospel) name more than one?

That asshole was found by campaign finance reports. If it was so widespread, why can't some enterprising soul go digging and find another one?

You seem to have plenty of time. Go fetch, boy!


Hey Dane, I can prove what ... (Below threshold)
Nine Fourteen:

Hey Dane, I can prove what you believe is flawed. Who did you vote for in 2008? And what has transpired since?

Case closed.

Ouch! JT, that hurt but was... (Below threshold)

Ouch! JT, that hurt but was necessary. Dane hates it when he finds he is shooting a gun with blanks. Just noise. No pay off. ww

12:As Dane goes do... (Below threshold)
Sky Captain:


As Dane goes down, he tries the tried-and-true liberal debating tactic - personal attacks.

Going to comment on Journolist, Dane?
Or do you have some more personal attacks to conduct?

Note that I have not done ANY name-calling, I leave that to those who do not know how to debate. Dane is such an example.
Otherwise, Dane would be naming bloggers who are "on the take".

So Lorie writes a post abou... (Below threshold)

So Lorie writes a post about a Daily Caller story sounding fishy... and Dane's proof that it isn't fishy... the article in question.

So Dane cites the bogus cla... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

So Dane cites the bogus claims about 50 percent of bloggers being on the take as proof that it is happening? Then cites, what, one example? Two? Maybe if there were only 4 conservatives bloggers in the world that would serve as proof, but in the real world, there are many, many, many, many times more bloggers blogging for free than there are bloggers taking payola, or even being paid legitimately. As I said in the piece, I don't doubt that there are some crooked jerks. Sure there are. They exist. And there are stupid candidates who think the only way they can have anything positive written about them is to pay someone to do it. But 50 percent? Widespread? No way, no how. How many conservative bloggers are there? Hundreds? Thousands? For the math challenged, you would need to get the total number of bloggers and divide it by two to get that 50 percent number. Show me that many bloggers taking payola and I'll reconsider.

Dance cited the Republican ... (Below threshold)

Dance cited the Republican operatice who said it is common practice to pay off rigt wing bloggers

"It's standard operating procedure" to pay bloggers for favorable coverage, says one Republican campaign operative.

and cited the Republican blogger who says 50% of the right wing bloggers are on the take

"A GOP blogger-for-hire estimates that "at least half the bloggers that are out there" on the Republican side "are getting remuneration in some way beyond ad sales."

as proof that the problem is real. These are Republican sources.

Apparently some right wing bloggers who aren't worth 25 cents don't like the fact that they are among the worthless 50% (in the view of the GOP).

Sad. Very sad. Better luck in 2012.

And there are stupid candidates who think the only way they can have anything positive written about them is to pay someone to do it. But 50 percent? Widespread? No way, no how. How many conservative bloggers are there? Hundreds? Thousands?

No, the "A"list is under 100. They aren't talking about the soccer moms and pissed off conservatives and right wing Coulter and Limbaugh wannabees who "blog" - they are talking about the real bloggers, Lori. You're forgiven for not knowing the difference.

"So Lorie writes a post ... (Below threshold)

"So Lorie writes a post about a Daily Caller story sounding fishy... and Dane's proof that it isn't fishy... the article in question."

Isn't it amazing what Ms Bird left out of her article?

She left out all of the facts behind the accusation.

She just waived her hand and declared it isn't so - without even enumerating what facts were behind the story.

What facts, Dane?H... (Below threshold)

What facts, Dane?

Here, I'll repeat them:

1) One blogger was caught, thanks to campaign finance disclosure laws, getting payola.

B) The Daily Caller says some anonymous douchebag claims, with no evidence, that "at least half" the right-wing bloggers is getting payola.

III) You're desperately clinging to those two facts as if they actually supported the (possibly nonexistent) anonymous douchebag's assertion.

Please note where I am mistaken, Dane. And while you're at it, please cite another blogger besides the one mentioned by name in The Daily Caller piece who's been caught taking payola. As I said, if "at least half" are taking it, you should be able to cite at least one more.

And before you start naming names, Dane, go and brush up on libel law.


It looks like the safest co... (Below threshold)

It looks like the safest course of action when reading blogs, as when reading any news source, is to read with skepticism. Don't believe anything from any source until it's been confirmed by one or two other sources.

I have been blogging off an... (Below threshold)

I have been blogging off and on for over 10 years now. In 2005, I began taking sponsored posts, most of which pay roughly $5.00 or so. In all this time, I have taken ONE sponsored post regarding politics, and it was from a non-profit organization asking people to show-up to some meeting -- and it was a Dem party thing. Aside from that, 100% of these sponsored posts are from companies who are selling products/services.

I'm not a "top" blogger -- my blogs have never had the PR that commands hundreds of dollars for ads of any kind, and they get a few thousand hits per month, combined -- nor am I a political blogger, but I still see many of the sponsored posts offered these bloggers, and I can honestly say that I have NEVER seen a Rep.-based sponsored post. Of course, I haven't been looking, but the point is that this story is 100% bullshit.

I don't even think you *can* pay bloggers to post for a candidate, can you? Obviously, politicians commit crimes all the time, but I'm pretty sure we fall in the "equal time" category... right? Besides, if these were offered in a marketplace setting, a LOT of bloggers would have seen them. Could some politician pay a blogger outright to promote him? Sure. Does it happen very often? I honestly do not think it does.

Either way, this story is just propaganda, and I am not a Republican.






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