The Politics of Blogging (or Should Bloggers Be Paid to Blog For Political Candidates?)

Filed as News on June 20, 2006 9:11 am

I promise not to make my entries here revolve around politics, but when the shoe fits, I say wear it! The story is a’brewin surrounding Markos Zuniga from Daily Kos and compadre Jerome Armstrong from myDD, in which Armstrong was hired as a “consultant” to Jim Jon Corzine gubernatorial campaign in New Jersey. As it turns out, there is a virtual dovetail between Kos’ writing and Armstrongs, one that would appear on the surface to be, as Outside the Beltway’s James Joyner puts it, a” symbiotic relationship”.

Peeling back the onion a bit, we see that there seems to be a rather symbiotic relationship between Armstrong’s consulting business and the blogging activities of his Crashing the Gates co-author Markos Moulitas Zuniga. Clients of Armstrong’s consulting business, including rather netroots unfriendly candidates like Mark Warner, strangely seem to capture Kos’ fancy and get ringing endorsements.

I don’t want to get into the politics of all this. However, if bloggers are to be seen as credible sources, it would seem to me that being transparent in endorsements and dealings should be a natural requirement. Even outside of the political realm, advertisers, sponsors and such seem rather shady and disingenuous at times.

Take Tris Husseys entry last month which talks about sponsored posts and aggressive monetization of blogs – getting paid to be favorable to a product or company.

For the “sponsored post” or “paid placement”, the same thing goes. Just because you pay me, doesn’t mean you’ve bought me. I won’t sing the praises of you or your product. Frankly, you don’t want that really. I’m of no value to you, as a place for your ad or information, if no one is reading me anymore.

In politics, and other areas of blogging, having that transparency means more trust. What’s the old saying: If it looks like you’re hiding something, you probably are?

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  1. By JD Arney posted on June 20, 2006 at 5:31 pm
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    How is Mark Warner unfriendly to the Netroots? He threw a party at the YearlyKos convention. And he’s a popular democrat in a southern state, that alone makes him attractive as a presidential candidate to the netroots.

    I just read the Outside the Beltway post, and I’m still having trouble understanding the problem. Armstrong stepped away from MyDD and has always disclosed who he’s working for, and Markos has always disclosed his consulting work as well. What’s the problem exactly? That Markos is endorsing candidates that Armstrong is working for that he normally wouldn’t endorse? That’s never going to be anything more than someone’s opinion.

    The Blog Herald seems to enjoy taking on liberal bloggers under the guise of “credibility”. If this is really meant to be an unbiased site on news concerning blogging then you might want to reconsider how you handle political blogs. There are constant errors, omissions, and hints of corruption from right wing bloggers (hell, email me, I have an interesting story on Outside the Beltway and how they tried scamming BlogAds), but they never seem to end up on The Blog Herald.

    I think you guys need to reconsider how you handle reporting on political blogs.

  2. By Aaron posted on June 20, 2006 at 5:33 pm
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    You obviously don’t read the entry, or rather you read what you want to read. The issue wasn’t Kos, or Armstrong, or liberal bloggers. The issue is transparency. If you want me to pull out my political agenda, I certainly can do so, but since that was not what this about (and I did say that), then you’re apparently just a “seminar caller”.

  3. By JD Arney posted on June 20, 2006 at 5:47 pm
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    Aaron, I know your political agenda, I’ve read your political blog. You’re one of those rightward leaning people who like to claim independence, got it.

    I think the transparency issue is just a cover for an excuse to trot out your political beliefs quite frankly. Although I did address Markos’ and Armstrong’s transparency in my first comment, which you seem to have missed.

    Ha on the seminar caller insult, I had to google that to figure out what it meant. This was meant as honest criticism, and I’m honestly sorry if you’re taking it in some other fashion.

  4. By Aaron posted on June 20, 2006 at 5:50 pm
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    Ah, it doesn’t matter to me. You can criticize my motives. Have fun. And yes, I know you addressed Kos’ and Armstrong transparency. But it seems you were the one that missed the point. This isn’t about Kos or Armstrong. They were mere object lessons.

    But nonetheless, it’s a valuable disagreement. I don’t mean to make light of it.

  5. By JD Arney posted on June 20, 2006 at 6:00 pm
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    I guess that’s what I don’t get then. I think Kos and Armstrong have been transparent, which is why it seems odd to me that you’d pick them for an object lesson.

    And thanks for taking the criticism in the spirit it was intended.

  6. By Aaron posted on June 20, 2006 at 6:10 pm
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    A blogger *has* to have thick skin, especially on the Blog Herald. ;)

  7. By Washington Canard posted on June 20, 2006 at 6:27 pm
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    Not to be a pedant, and I realize this is a not a political site, but… the governor of New Jersey is named Jon Corzine, not Jim.

    And I’m willing to be corrected, but I’m pretty sure Armstrong never worked for Corzine — you may be confusing him with Matt Stoller, who currently blogs at the Armstrong-founded MyDD.

  8. By Matt posted on June 20, 2006 at 10:51 pm
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    Disclaimer: I’m a registered Republican.

    Disclaimer: I’ve had FOUR martinis and I’m in NYC. So I’ll debate politics in the AM.

    Matty “Martini” Craven

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