Oh, Nooooooo!

by Little Miss Attila on August 23, 2010

There are conservative bloggers who have made hundreds of dollars once in a very long time by consulting for campaigns!

Actually, a little of this stuff does sound like it crosses the line of insufficient disclosure to readers. But the general tone is hysterical, and the slam on Dan Riehl is ridiculous. I don’t even see how you would measure that figure of “50%” of us getting money under the table. And Dan’s “hundreds of dollars” from the RNC?—that’s payola? A single project for a few hundred bucks, disclosed to Riehl’s readers the other bloggers involved at the time makes him dirty?

I usually like the stuff they put up at Daily Caller, but whatever it is they are smoking today—well, I want some.

I would love to make some sort of a joke here about how we’d sell out if anyone were freakin’ buying, but the fact is, the vast majority of us actually wouldn’t do that if it meant lying to our readers—by commission or omission. And most of us can barely pay our fucking rent.

For salaried (or even decently compensated) writers at a funded enterprise like The Daily Caller to begrudge us a little gasoline money, or a few extra boxes of packaged macaroni and cheese, is just honestly quite galling.

(The link to Riehl World View above goes to Dan’s roundup on this. I’m still too upset to read it all right now.)


o this day I still haven’t had any RNC ads running on the site. That’s part of the temptation to do this [take payola for blogging] by the way: There are professionals in politics who draw a decent and stable salary for the work they do for the cause, but bloggers are expected to do it for free, to be volunteers; that everyone will save on costs by getting free media in the blogs.

Which works out nicely for everyone… except bloggers.

This causes resentment. I got annoyed when the Tea Party Express kept asking me to promote Joe Miller. I know they all get paid — they’re professionals. But instead of buying an ad and paying me, they just wanted me to promote their fundraising for Miller.

I didn’t push Miller the first day they asked because of that annoyance. But the second time, I realized what I was doing: I was taking out my resentment at the you-do-this-for-free conservative organizations against a very good candidate I would otherwise support, just because I was annoyed that it had been decided I was Mr. Cheap Date.

So I promoted Joe Miller, as I should have on Friday; I endorse him enthusiastically and without reservation.

But there was distortion here due to money: I didn’t promote him on Friday because I was annoyed at the Tea Party Express. . . .

I don’t know really how all of this is going to shake out. I do know that organizations like Tea Party Express and the RNC and National Republican Trust and all the other cash-raising ventures have to stop treating bloggers like all we are is a free media opportunity or else sometime in the next year there’s going to be a die-off of half the major independent blogs as everyone just finally gives up and gets it through their head that it’s time to grow up and get a real job.

These free media opportunities are not going to remain opportunities forever. Either it’s not going to be free or this particular media isn’t going to exist.

. . . The reluctance of the Money Guys to embrace the internet as a legitimate, and potentially professional, communication medium is creating these moral hazards: If a guy [Ace, successfully fighting off a temptation to take “blogola”] who’s not making any kind of money at all is offered three hundred bucks to write a post he might have (might have) written anyway, it’s really increasing the chances he’s going to sell himself on the idea that it’s okay to do so.

This still looks to me largely like an attack by funded New Media types on those of us who are unfunded, and it’s in pretty poor taste.

UPDATE II: The Other McCain takes two bites at the nonremumerative apple, and concludes:

[T]he problem isn’t bloggers hustling for a few extra bucks here and there. Rather, the problem is these big-money ”New Media consultants” who collect six-figure incomes for doing little more than sending out e-mail press releases. There ought to be some way to eliminate the middle man so that bloggers aren’t starving while the consultants get rich.

Which takes us back to the original problem: a lot of the private doners who should be helping bloggers out prefer to send their money to people who wear suits every day, rather than “pajamas” (or, in my case, tank tops). Ace refers to the fact that some of ’em like to give to publications that include print, so they can hold something tangible after they send the checks. But the desire to have the money go to expensive suits, or expensive ink/paper, or expensive offices, or expensive graduate degrees, constitutes an old-fashioned tendancy to trust the container to properly describe the thing inside it.

Everyone wants to judge a book by its cover, and the deep pockets within the Republican and free-market-oriented establishment are looking at the wrong kinds of covers. They are out of touch.

And I concur with Ace and Dan: the rightosphere, the way it exists now, is unsustainable. We cannot continue to do it all for free. This brain trust will die unless it gets massive infusions of cash.

I want it to be disclosed cash, above-board cash. Cash that doesn’t involve deception of our readers. Cash that we handle as well on the micro level as the foundations and publications do at the macro level.

Personally, I hope it’s cash that I don’t have to dress up for too often.

But it’s cash that we must have if we are going to survive.

{ 1 trackback }

What if the conservative blogosphere went on strike? — Cynthia Yockey, A Conservative Lesbian
August 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Stacy McCain August 23, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Also, Joy, consider the factor of it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. As I said in one of my posts, the GOP prefers to hire kids right out of College Republicans and — as the Abramoff scandal demonstrated — being someone’s CR buddy when you’re 22 can translate to big bucks down the road.

Whereas most of us content-provider types weren’t fanatical partisans back in the day and only as full-grown adults did we decide to start writing about politics. There are no scholarship programs for Middle-Aged Conservative Writers. So if you’re not a senior editor at National Review by the time you’re 30, don’t even bother with it.

Hell, when I was 30, I was still a Democrat. And when David Horowitz was 30, he was still a Commie.


Little Miss Attila August 23, 2010 at 6:47 pm

I was no longer a Commie at that age. I called myself a socialist, but I think I was just a “welfare capitalist”–someone who felt that heavily restributionist policies could be made to work.


ponce August 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm

“There are conservative bloggers who have made hundreds of dollars once in a very long time by consulting for campaigns!”


“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.”



Little Miss Attila August 23, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Oh, for crying out loud, Ponce. Try to either read the article or read my post, rather than juxtaposing little bits of each, out of context.

Wasn’t context important to you guys, mere weeks ago?


pounce August 23, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Perhaps you’re just too subtle for us simpletons, LMA.

I thought you were trying to downplay the fact that some of your comrades are on the take.

I think it’s time for a simple loyalty oath be required of right-wing bloggers:

“I swear I haven’t received any payments for favorable coverage.”


Brad S August 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm

All I’m going to say about this little fracas (if you can call it that) is this: Someone is providing Tucker Carlson and Neal Patel seed money to run the Daily Caller. And that someone has a keen understanding of what needs to be done to competitors, even in the Conservative Movement.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: