Monday, December 04, 2006

Straw Blogs

A Serious Journamalist gives those mercenary bloggerses the bidness, leaving the rest of us to wonder where our sugardaddies are.

You might think that with the kind of rhetoric bloggers regularly muster against politicians, they would never work for them. But you would be wrong.

Over the past few years, bloggers have won millions of fans by speaking truth to power — even the powers in their own parties — and presenting a fresh, outsider perspective. They are the pamphleteers of the 21st century, revolutionary “citizen journalists” motivated by personal idealism and an unwavering confidence that they can reform American politics.

But this year, candidates across the country found plenty of outsiders ready and willing to move inside their campaigns. Candidates hired some bloggers to blog and paid others consulting fees for Internet strategy advice or more traditional campaign tasks like opposition research.

Funny, the Bullshit Moose, recently hired by Senator Droopy Dog after some 18 months of hagiographic puff pieces (and zero contemporaneous disclosure), does not appear on this comprehensive list. I, for one, am shocked.

Look, I am all for full disclosure when one of our virtual Thomas Paines is getting bankrolled by someone they're talking about. I think it would also be helpful to know about every possible conflict of interest the Legitimate Media might conceivably have, so that we can understand the level of conditioning that goes on when million-dollar anchors show up at the same society functions as the people they cover in their nightly readings of prepared news scripts.

I think the spirit of probity is worth crawling up everyone's ass with a microscope and reporting every polyp. Otherwise, you know, we might have to wonder why, say, Katie Couric feels the need to inflict the likes of Rash Limpballs or Crazy Columbine Dad on unsuspecting viewers.

Perhaps an ethics panel is in order. We should really get to the bottom of all this. For the children.

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