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Does the GOP Pay Friendly Bloggers? 759

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the speculation-and-innuendo dept.
jamie writes "According to the conservative political journalism site Daily Caller: '"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." Or in some cases, it's the ads themselves: ads at ten times the going rate are one of the ways conservative bloggers apparently get paid by the politicians they write about. In usual he-said she-said fashion, Daily Caller finds a couple of obscure liberal bloggers to mention too, but they fully disclosed payment and one of them even shut down his blog while doing consulting work, unlike Robert Stacy McCain and Dan Riehl."
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Does the GOP Pay Friendly Bloggers?

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  • conservatives (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [erauqssemitelcric]> on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:20PM (#33356674) Homepage Journal

    why don't you understand how you are being used by the rich moneyed classes and corporate interests?

    if you ARE rich and moneyed or a corporate interest, congratulations on your successful manipulation of your larger herd of sheep

    • Re:conservatives (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DIplomatic (1759914) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:34PM (#33356940) Journal

      Protip: It is near impossible to change people's political ideologies, and it is completely impossible to change the ideology of people when you insult them.

      But I don't want to step over your point, which is accurate. The conservative's main voter base (blue-collar, working class, middle-americans) are the ones hurt the most by Republican policy. And yet they vote for the same policies time after time out of a belief that liberal politicians are immoral, or anti-jesus, or hate families or something.

      • Re:conservatives (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @01:10PM (#33357576)

        While the moral basis undoubtedly contributes I wouldn't underestimate the impact of fiscal policy. There's a reason why Republicans lose when they start spending money irresponsibly and a reason why they get a swing in their direction when they start campaigning about reigning in spending and try to paint the other party as big government. Blue collar middle class people understand working with limited resources so controlling spending rings true to them.

        In addition, because they don't have a lot they tend to be more conservative minded as in, they don't want to take big risks. Big risks sound good when you can afford the loss for a chance at huge gains, or when you've got nothing to lose, but when you're doing OK but a fuck up means you lose everything you want things to be stable and keep slowly grinding away to move up.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cowscows (103644)

          Fair enough, but it's amazing how short the memory of the population tends to be. The fact that a year of jawing about fiscal responsibility has somehow given the GOP the high ground after 8 years of them shoveling money down the drain is incredible. Doubly so when the party has not laid out any reasonable plan to actually reduce spending or raise revenues, and I find it amazing that there are so many people who take them seriously.

        • Re:conservatives (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dpilot (134227) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @01:57PM (#33358360) Homepage Journal

          Well at the moment they're campaigning on fiscal policy while at the same time urging that the Bush top-bracket tax cuts be made permanent. Plus during the last election cycle they were running on eliminating the top tax bracket entirely - putting ME in the same tax bracket as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

          I have a slightly different view...

          The inequity of distribution of income and wealth is at the highest point since the 1920's. I say simply this: The "ordinary economy", the part where people buy and sell goods and services, is broken. There simply isn't enough money in the ordinary economy for it to work right. As a side effect, there's too much fluid money in the "investment economy", so when too many investors rush into some sector or another, they generate a bubble. After all, inflation is too much money chasing too few goods, and that can hold for "investment goods" as well as real goods. Plus when too much investment money goes into some commodity or other, (like crude oil) that investment money can drive the price up regardless of the consumption-drive supply and demand.

          The economy will continue to be broken until more money moves into the ordinary economy.

          It doesn't matter if American executives, wealthy, elite, etc deserve every cent they have, and more besides.
          It doesn't matter if I'm "supposed" to surrender my middle-class status, take a 2/3 (or more) pay cut, and live on an Indian or South American style salary.
          It doesn't matter if the minimum wage should go away, the those people live on far less.

          The reality is that:
          American executives, wealthy, elite, etc spend very little compared to their wealth and income.
          I don't trust the long-term prospects of my job, so while I'm still comfortable, I'm not about to take out a loan for a big-ticket item.
          When you have to decide between food and clothing, or shelter and medical care, you do only what you have to, and what you can.
          None of this drives economic recovery.

          If the American executives, wealthy, elite, etc had a little less, it would make no difference to their lives. Their egos would take a slight bruising in their investment portfolios.
          If I had more long-term confidence in my job, I'd finance a car. My 12 year old Ford is a little long-in-the-tooth, and getting to be unreliable.
          If someone deciding between food and clothing had more money, he'd buy both.

          This isn't principle, it's pragmatism. Notice that I haven't really said anything about who deserves what, though there is a tone to what I've written. It's just a simple matter of what it takes to make the economy work. Until money "moves down" the economy will continue to be in the doldrums. But unfortunately there's no acceptable way to "move money down", because that's "wealth transfer" and thereby evil. Of course when wealth transfers up, as has happened faster since 1980, that's "natural" and "good". But we've transferred so much money up, that those below haven't got enough to make the economy work, any more.

          The other side of this is that Obama did nothing to fix this problem. None of what he did did a thing to affect the distribution of wealth and income in the country. Perhaps running the printing press for the stimulus and bailouts has "created" extra cash, though all things told, I'm not sure that more of that money really went "down" with the stimulus than went "up" with the bailouts.

          Nor am I entirely against supply-side solutions - they have their place. It's just that supply-side solutions aren't universally applicable, and this is one place where they're not. I'll moderate that a bit, and say that I'm in favor of incentives for small businesses, even at this point.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DavidTC (10147)

            Amen.

            We could argue about who 'deserves' what, and it's pretty easy to point out all the ways in which the government is deliberately designed to make money go upward, but that's not the issue at all.

            To have a functioning economy, people must have money. All people, or almost all.

            For a decade, people got less and less money. Wages were the same, more people were out of work, and inflation continued to happen, so everyone got poorer.

            Luckily, they could all borrow endlessly, because that works forever...o

        • Re:conservatives (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Coryoth (254751) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @01:59PM (#33358408) Homepage Journal

          While the moral basis undoubtedly contributes I wouldn't underestimate the impact of fiscal policy. There's a reason why Republicans lose when they start spending money irresponsibly ...

          Yes, Reagan got crushed in '84 after all that irresponsible defence spending that ballooned the size of the government like never before. And then, after the Star Wars debacle, his planned successor in Bush Sr. was again crushed at the polls in '88. And even then they didn't learn their lessons, with Bush Jr. starting an unnecessary war in Iraq that cost billions. Naturally he was promptly heaved from office in 2004 as one would expect.

      • Re:conservatives (Score:4, Insightful)

        by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @01:51PM (#33358260) Homepage

        The conservative's main voter base (blue-collar, working class, middle Americans) are the ones hurt the most by Republican policy.

        That combines a couple of mis-perceptions of the Republican Party base.

        First off, most conservative politicians do a good job of protecting agricultural subsidies, which appear at least like they benefit farmers. They also do an excellent job of protecting military pork based in their districts. There are a lot of blue-collar middle Americans who's jobs depend on their conservative representatives. If your town's economy depends on building missiles to be used in Iraq, someone like Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul threatens your livelihood. So at least by all appearances, folks like Bob Dole did look out for rural blue-collar interests. (That they robbed everyone else in order to do it, and otherwise ruined the economy, is besides the point.)

        Secondly, blue-collar rural folks aren't as much the Republican Party base as Republicans like to project. The real base has historically been suburban upper-middle-class white men. For instance, the key group of Reagan's rise to power wasn't rural folks at all, but Orange County California. What the Republicans have been able to do historically in rural areas much more effectively than other areas is put out the idea in rural communities that urban people are their enemies and that any public spending programs benefit urban people at the cost of rural people. (In fact, the exact opposite is true.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by blair1q (305137)

        The GOP's real base are rich people who want to stay rich and don't care who they fuck over to do it.

        So they manipulate the stupid, who in this country happen to be blue-collar white males who listen to country music and believe Jesus will usher them into Heaven, to vote for Conservative candidates, who proceed to pass laws that favor the rich people against everyone else, including the voters they conned.

        The Democrats actually believe the things they run on, and since it's not so carefully constructed the

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Rolgar (556636)

        I vote for the Republicans on economic and social policies. I'm white collar earning a little under 50k, so I'd probably benefit according to your comment.

        I just don't see how I'd benefit on an economic level though. Would I have more money? Maybe, but so would everybody else like me, which would only serve to drive up the prices of the things everybody in my economic class would buy (houses in my price range, inexpensive cars, food, clothes, paying for education expenses, etc.).

        My analysis of the health ca

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by BobMcD (601576)

        But I don't want to step over your point, which is accurate. The conservative's main voter base (blue-collar, working class, middle-americans) are the ones hurt the most by Republican policy. And yet they vote for the same policies time after time out of a belief that liberal politicians are immoral, or anti-jesus, or hate families or something.

        A couple points in this charged and juicy statement...

        1) Those blue-collar folks work for the rich white men the Republicans represent. They know, and know it damn good and well, that if you make the fat cat suffer, he takes it out on them. This doesn't impact those in the breadlines as much, but the working man feels it, and feels it hard. Given every viable opportunity, the owner's take home pay will never decrease, taxes be damned. He'll just pay himself more, or up his lease rates to his shell compa

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bmajik (96670)

        The conservative's main voter base (blue-collar, working class, middle-americans) are the ones hurt the most by Republican policy. And yet they vote for the same policies time after time out of a belief that liberal politicians are immoral, or anti-jesus, or hate families or something

        Supposing for a moment that I agree with you (I don't, but let's put that aside):

        Perhaps the sort of people who vote for republicans beleive that republicans will try to enact policies which are inline with their own sense of w

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:21PM (#33356684)

    Seriously this is news? The Bush administration pre-packaged a propaganda piece on their Medicare changes for news stations to run unedited. The Ministry of Information is alive and well at the GOP.

  • Yawn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Captain Splendid (673276) * <capsplendid@gm3.1415926ail.com minus pi> on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:22PM (#33356704) Homepage Journal
    Conservative activist welfare is not news - just Google Richard Mellon Scaife.

    Short version: The Old Guard thought they were losing the culture war (damn hippies!), so they ponied up cash, endowments, entitlements; set up think tanks and commissions in order to control spin that never really existed in the first place.

    And here we are today, with the fruits of that labour being the shallow end of the Teabagger nonsense.

    Ain't rich people grand?
  • Gee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Snodgrass (446409) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:23PM (#33356722) Homepage

    What a balanced and unbiased summary. I will be sure to read the linked article and participate in what will certainly be a level-headed and thought-provoking discussion.

    • Re:Gee (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:27PM (#33356790)

      It actually is a fair and accurate summary of the article. I know, it's Slashdot and we're all a little shocked, but it is.

      Whether or not you think the article is fair, maybe that's another story.

    • Re:Gee (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @01:04PM (#33357466) Homepage

      Ok, let's for the sake of argument say that there's a campaign going on between two candidates, John Davidson and David Johnson. An investigative reporter has discovered boatloads of evidence that John Davidson's campaign has committed massive fraud. He's done similar investigations of David Johnson's campaign and found nothing remotely similar.

      Now, what's the best course of action for our intrepid gumshoe reporter and his editor?
        A. Reporting on the facts known about John Davidson's campaign (with an appropriate amount of space given to Davidson's rebuttal),
        B. not reporting on the fraud at all to avoid the appearance of bias against Davidson's campaign or bias in favor of Johnson's campaign, or
        C. reporting on the fraud and implying that Johnson is quite possibly engaging in the same sort of thing, despite investigation showing that this is untrue?

      The truth isn't always balanced or unbiased, and hiding a truth that may have a biased effect is introducing a lie of omission.

  • by Cylix (55374) * on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:23PM (#33356732) Homepage Journal

    This article is completely fabricated by the liberal crazies.

    No one would pay some hippy bloggers for friendly reports or statistical analysis on reader responses.

    This is just another countless example of how the democrats want to confuse the populace on popular issues. Issue such as, should you vote for this republican or the other republican. There are also non-political issues as stake such as which is the better music genre.... country or western. (We have both kinds of music here)

  • Yeah, right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:24PM (#33356740) Homepage Journal

    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.''

    And the bullshit meter goes off the scale! Half of the intersection between the sets of "Bloggers" and "Republicans" are being paid for their postings? Yeah, sure they are.

    Even if the GOP (or the Dems for that matter) are dumb enough to pay for that kind of coverage, who cares? Advertising has become much more subversive lately anyway, and often times you have to try pretty hard to figure out if what you're seeing is even an ad or not.

    Daily Caller finds a couple of obscure liberal bloggers to mention too, but they fully disclosed payment and one of them even shut down his blog while doing consulting work

    Ah, what kind and honest people all liberals must be, and especially their bloggers and politicians!

    Careful there, your bias is unzipped.

  • Probably but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomcircuit (938963) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:25PM (#33356766) Homepage

    That's small potatoes compared to outright fraud.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Michigan-Tea-Party-party-looks-like-real-astroturfing-Freep-calls-for-criminal-probe-101383014.html

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I've seen more instances of astroturfing for the Dems - here in Central GA, there have been several instances of people being paid to show up and hold signs at Dem rallies. Which are usually pre-printed beforehand. Tea Party signs seem to more often be handwritten.
  • by Anon-Admin (443764) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:27PM (#33356812) Journal

    I would not have expected Slashdot to have a story like this but oh well!

    MSNBC is telling us how the Tea Party is raciest and the designated tours of Washington DC are designed to avoid black areas.

    Fox has had show after show about two new books on how Obama has circumvented the Constitution and sold us down the river.

    All I have seen on CNN is how the markets are collapsing and everything is circling the drain

    Personally I think we should send Washington, as well as both the parties a simple message

    YOUR FIRED! Clean out your desk and get in the unemployment line like the rest of US!

    It really is time for some new blood in Washington.

    • by strangelovian (1559111) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:53PM (#33357270) Homepage
      The simplest method of cleaning house in DC would be for millions of enraged citizens to simply surround the capital with pitchforks, firearms and signs reading "GTFO Now!" and give every politician 24 hours to evacuate. This is direct popular action that routes around media spin machines, the punditocracy, political engineering, voter fraud, etc. The old, tried and true methods of political action are still the best, imo.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rednip (186217)

      It really is time for some new blood in Washington.

      Oddly, I hear that same message on the news every election cycle (Particularly loudly when Democrats are in power).

      Instead of just repeating slogans and talking points, why don't you take a look at the positions of each of the candidates who are available (and have a reasonable shot) and then make an informed decision.

      if you have a business, do you just blindly hire someone til it seems right?

  • Summary misleading (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:28PM (#33356818)

    The summary suggests that pay for bloggers is more a conservative phenomena than a liberal one -- ie "at least half" conservative bloggers are paid as opposed to "a couple of obscure liberal bloggers". While this may or may not be true, this is not what a fair representation of what the article says. From the article:

    "
    On the left, many of the once independent bloggers are now employed by, or receive money from, liberal organizations like Media Matters, the Center for American Progress and Campaign for America’s Future.

    Some critics allege that the funding sources have distorted the once vibrant voice of the liberal blogosphere, discouraging dissent in favor of staying “on message” to help President Obama and Democrats in Congress pass their legislative agenda.

    Indeed, many of the groups now employing liberal bloggers meet with White House aides for a weekly strategy session on Tuesday afternoons organized by the group Common Purpose. It was here that Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel famously told independent-minded liberals that they were being “fucking retarded” for straying from the party line.
    "

    More balance in the story summary would help everyone appreciate how the influence of money on independent media sources is a general problem, not a partisan one.

  • by drsmack1 (698392) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:30PM (#33356866)
    As I see it, the average reader should only care if the person writing the blog is writing things they don't believe in exchange for pay.

    If someone self-identifies as a "Conservative Blogger" then I would expect that most of their readers are also conservative.

    No one can force a person to read their blog. If what they have to say does not resonate with enough readers, the problem takes care of itself.

    The whole idea of "exposing" these sorts of things smacks of avoiding the arena of ideas and reveals a lack of confidence in one's positions. Trying to paint conservative bloggers as paid henchmen is more about smear-tactics than trying to inform people.

    This is just providing pre-justification for ignoring criticism and your own responsibility to back up your positions in the face of dissent.
  • by BobMcD (601576) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:30PM (#33356874)

    Question: "Does the GOP pay friendly bloggers?"

    Answer: "Does anyone NOT pay friendly bloggers? And if not, how stupid are they?"

    How many of us regulars here can honestly say we've never encountered a paid shill right here on this little corner of the web? There are agents from Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, and the US government. We encounter them all the time, and they're always easy to spot. If you think this is unique to this one website, you're insane.

    So I say again, welcome to slashdot - or indeed the Internet - you must be new here...

  • What do you think? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by babboo65 (1437157) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:34PM (#33356944)

    I could start by simply asking "Is water wet"?

    It would be far easier to say, "Yes, and so do the Independents, and the Liberals, and the Democrats, and the Republicans, and the Socialists . . . " Get the point? Of course any group with an agenda to popularize is going to sponsor / pay a blogger to say friendly things.

    It's no different than advertising - it's no different than a billboard or a web ad.

    It's a fools mission to try and argue this or to even belabor it with any discussion. If you don't see that the liberal agenda is popularized by the liberal media, and likewise a conservative agenda, and so forth you are sadly mistaken. No matter how you slice it it comes down to a propaganda machine. The media and advertisers try to push and pull your opinions in any way they can to sway your decision. If they can cause even the slightest shift in your POV they have been successful. So don't be surprised by it.

  • Ah Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NetNed (955141) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:34PM (#33356946)
    And democrats would never resort to such questionable tactics [freep.com] would they?

    Here's a news flash, both sides suck and neither represents the general voting public. If the fanboy idiots of the political world would just realize that, we'd all be better off.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by evilviper (135110)

      And democrats would never resort to such questionable tactics would they?

      Note that the Democrat (not plural) in question was thrown out by other Democrats for his fraudulent tactics. Republicans? Hell, they'd probably have made the guy chairman.

      Here's a news flash, both sides suck and neither represents the general voting public. If the fanboy idiots of the political world would just realize that, we'd all be better off.

      There's a medication out there that kill 1% of the people that take it, and another th

  • by h00manist (800926) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @12:46PM (#33357136) Journal
    I believe that is the new name for the profession that I saw the other day in a jobs-and-careers magazine. Basically lots of companies are hiring people to "manage" what people say about them online. If that doesn't involve any funny business, I want a citizenship and passport from Disneyland, where we live.
  • by jackpot777 (1159971) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @01:54PM (#33358308)
    With the breaking news in the last 24 hours that the dangerous radical Saudi financing the 'Ground Zero' 'Mosque' through a series of charities was none other than the largest non-Murdoch shareholder of Fox News [huffingtonpost.com], is there a connection to any of these blogs and Alwaleed Bin Talal, the man Fox News itself says funds radical madrasses all over the world? Do any of these blogs have connections to members of think-tanks and PACs like The Heritage Foundation or FreedomWorks? Secretive organizations which appear often on a news channel funded by this same Saudi money that many on Fox News openly question may have financial ties to Iran?

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