Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Saturday, January 15, 2005

An Outsider's View

A lot of the current lefty blogosphere brouhaha about bloggers and the Dean campaign is too inside-baseball for me, but I sense that's part of the point. Seems to me it's not just a matter of "if you lie down with dogs you wake up with fleas," it's that so many famous and wanna-be-famous left-leaning political bloggers want so badly to be On The Inside and Important Newsmakers and, well, anything other than just ordinary citizens behind keyboards - and what's wrong with that? that's democracy in action in its purist form, after all - that they'll leap at the chance to hobnob with the political glitterati. And then they'll cry foul when an issue is made out of their associations. Now, obviously there's no equivalency between a blogger working with a political campaign (and letting all his or her readers know about it) and a television commentator taking a six-figure cash gift of taxpayer money to specifically flog a government program (and not disclosing that transaction), and the reactionary-rightie bloggers and TV pundits insinuating such equivalency are idiots and deserve to be ripped new ones. And I'm enjoying the ripping as much as anyone who has no real emotional stake in how this shakes out but kinda-sorta knows some of the parties involved because I read their blogs.

But at the same time, it seems to me that it becomes more difficult to objectively distance yourself from political goings-on when you become a willing part of those proceedings, via taking any money from any politicians (including accepting ads from them) whilst being a political blogger. If it's not right when They do it, it's certainly not right when We do it. Yet another reason to stay away from the idea of Making Money Through Blogging - as long as one can blog for free via Blogger or MSN Spaces or whatever, there's no need (other than personal greed) to accept or request money from anyone for blogging. And thus, no possible conflicts of interest can arise. But hey, what do I know, I'm just one of those unnoticed outsider-type political-and-cultural bloggers who does this as a hobby.

Addendum: And yes, I realize that all this discussion means They've won again. They're experts at distracting from the real topic (a pundit illegally taking 5-figure taxpayer money to promote a government program) via misdirection, and the left blogosphere's self-obsessed echo chamber has again played right into their hands, wasting energy going on the defensive when that shouldn't even be the issue. Also, August has it correct, straight on down the line.