Want Some Real Reporting, Conservatives? You’ll Have to Pay for It.

| September 27, 2009 | 24 Replies

It’s really easy to be an ace journalist for the Atlantic if you never leave your underground blogging lair. On the other hand, real journalists know how to pick up a telephone and make a couple phone calls before they start banging away on their keyboards.

Like the man himself says: Reporting ain’t rocket science.

I do want to take small issue with one thing Stacy wrote in this post.

My good friend J.P. Friere, formerly of The American Spectator and now with the Washington Examiner, likes to say that conservatives don’t need more Bill Buckleys, we need more Bob Novaks, and he’s right. (Although Hannah Giles in a thong is a lot easier on the eyes than Novak ever was.)

Well, okay. Granted, Hannah Giles in a thong or Hanna Giles in a miniskirt or Hannah Giles in a see-through swimsuit or Hannah Giles naked might bring the views, it still requires someone like Andrew Breitbart to put Hannah Giles out there where lots of people can see her and hear all those ACORN folks suggest how she might hide all the underaged prostitutes.

What conservatives need aren’t more Bob Novaks but more Andrew Breitbarts, Al Regnerys, and a George Soros or two. If conservatives with money would fund places for budding journalists to get their work in front of a decent-sized audience, there would be lots of Bob Novaks, Byron Yorks, Mark Hemingways, Matthew Vadums, and Stacy McCains showing up. Running a web site isn’t the hardest thing in the world to do, but it does take time. There are plenty of folks who could set up and run a site that does original reporting, but they have to have something approaching a credible budget not just to pay for the reporters but also to pay for their own time. It amazes me how much work we on the right get out of part-time and freelance writers but it should not be that way.


Charlie Crist, who will be a continual thorn in conservatives’ sides if he’s elected to the Senate, raised $4.3 million in just one quarter this year. That much money could fund a good conservative news site for at least five years, if not more like eight. Do you know how much good reporting we could get with a budget of just $500,000 a year? Think about it. Play with the numbers. You think I couldn’t land Vadum and McCain for 70 grand a year, plus add in Ace and Moe Lane for blogging power at the same amount? That’s only $280,000. Set aside fifty grand for tech stuff (hosting, design, troubleshooting) and advertising, another 60K for expenses (to pay reporters to go on the road and for freelancers), 60K for an editor, and 50K to me for supervising the whole operation and there you go. There’s $500,000 a year. And that doesn’t count any potential income the site might get from outside advertising, which you know it’ll get. As the site grows, the budget can creep up, but only for people who will add direct value to the site, but we add on as advertising revenues warrant the increase.

Divide $500,000 into $4.3 million. That’s how long I could run a hypothetical conservative news site with the money dunderheaded conservatives gave Charlie Crist in just three months. Meanwhile, Stacy had to rattle the tip jar so hard his teeth ached to get just a few hundred bucks to do some original reporting in rural Kentucky. That’s ridiculous.

Now, how many scoops will that buy you every year, Mr. Rich Conservative? Four? Five? How do you like the idea of Stacy McFreakingCain prowling Capitol Hill five days a week and writing until 5 AM? How about having Matthew Vadum on ACORN’s ass all the time? You want traffic numbers? Ace and Moe will bring you crazy traffic and you can be damned sure that Rush and Mark Levin will be reading the news they report on their radio shows. We won’t be without contacts.

A million hits in a year? Brother, that’s nothing compared to what a site with that much horsepower could bring in.

If you fund it, they will come. But there’s no sense whinging about the left-wing slant of the New York Times and the Washington Post so long as well-funded web outlets like the Huffington Post and Media Matters are the biggest dogs on the block. If you want honest, hard-nosed reporting from the right, you’re going to have to break out your wallets (or stop giving your money to losers like Charlie Crist).

UPDATE: Linked by The Rhetorician and Sister Toldjah. Thanks!

UPDATE 2: Carolyn is wondering who is funding Crist right now. whoever it is, they’re putting their money on the wrong horse.

UPDATE 3: Linked by the incomparable Dan Collins. Thanks!

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