Tucker Carlson’s $3 million vanity project, The Daily Caller isn’t going to be around much longer if it continues to print garbage like this as news. Jonathan Strong sallied forth today to smite the right-wing blogosphere a mighty blow, perhaps because his boss took a bit too much heat for his week-long JournoList transcriptions. Unfortunately, the only mighty blowing that occurred was Strong’s journalistic chops, and boy oh boy did they blow. Here’s his headline:
True stories of bloggers who secretly feed on partisan cash
To the credit of Strong, who I hope did not hurt himself when he grunted out this pile of journalism, he found just enough “true stories” to warrant the use of the plural. That is, he found exactly two stories of bloggers who “secretly” took partisan cash.
Of course, one of those bloggers doesn’t anymore, which limits the number who “feed” — present tense — to one. So perhaps his headline is a big, fat lie. I’ll let him slide on it because it’s a misdemeanor compared to the journalistic felonies he commits in his article.
Katie Couric once described bloggers as journalists who gnaw at new information “like piranhas in a pool.” But increasingly, many bloggers are also secretly feeding on cash from political campaigns, in a form of partisan payola that erases the line between journalism and paid endorsement.
“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.”
Did you see that “many” right there? Strong never does support that assertion. He doesn’t even cite “many” bloggers in his article — I roughly counted five or six that he mentioned or quoted and only one more he tried ineffectively to finger paint with the blogola charge. So where are these “many bloggers” who are sucking down the GOP-geld. Mr. Strong does not say. Heck, he doesn’t even try to say.
I will tell you folks this right now. Jonathan Strong’s anonymous sources are full of crapola. I have been blogging for over six years. I know several people who have worked, and still work, for Republican candidates, prominent members of both the House and Senate, and the Republican party itself. None of them have ever offered me so much as a penny for any coverage, whether pro-GOP or anti-Democrat. It has never happened. Now, I admit I don’t have traffic numbers that make people drool, but I’ve been around. I have a pretty healthy network. If there was some filthy, filthy partisan cash floating around, I would have been touched by at least a little bit of it. But no, it is not at all “standard operating procedure”.
But let’s look at the second anonymous catapult-load of slime that Strong passes off as good info. His source says that half the right-wing bloggers are getting paid under the table by unknown Republicans campaigns and operatives. Really? Half? Tens of thousands of right-leaning bloggers out there and Strong seriously thinks that half of them “at least” are on the take?
I don’t really think Jonathan Strong is dumb but…well, wait. Yeah, I do think he’s dumb. It doesn’t take a Woodward or a Bernstein to figure out that the big bloggers — Ed Morrissey, Allahpundit, Ace, Glenn Reynolds, Jim Hoft, Matt Lewis, The Anchoress, Michelle Malkin — would have shown some sign of this flood of partisan lucre, but none of them have.
This bears saying again. Not one of the heaviest-hitters in the right-wing blogosphere got so much as Ace? Not Ace, not Ed Morrissey, not even the most-accomplished tip jar rattler in the blogosphere. Folks, if the heavy hitters in the blogosphere weren’t getting even a Shakey’s Pizza gift certificate, you can be darned sure that the GOP wasn’t showering the rest of us with the sweet, sweet blog cash.
Strong could have made his life much easier by sending out a few e-mails. I’m sure Ed or Michelle or Ace would have taken a few minutes to answer his questions about this, but he apparently didn’t even do that ridiculously obvious bit of journalism before he hit the “send” button. Nope, he put his trust in a couple of anonymous sources and let it ride.
More the fool, him.
So, with his thesis propped up by a couple stale pretzel sticks (the Red County stories are old, you see), Strong goes on to his real prize, the twelve point buck of his story, Dan Riehl.
Dan and a few other bloggers took on a little project for the RNC a little while back. The committee wanted to get involved in the whole strange world of new media and Dan’s an expert. So they asked him to write a report, explaining the strange new world of blogs and Twitter and Facebook and how it could get involved. Dan even went to far as to attempt a little matchmaking between some bloggers and the RNC. He did that last bit on his own and it didn’t amount to anything. The report earned Dan a few hundred bucks. Other bloggers who volunteered to help the RNC didn’t get anything (not even, so far as I know, a bit of public thanks).
There you go. There’s your tawdry story of secret partisan feeding. Oh, and by the way, Dan wasn’t working in secret. Plenty of folks knew what he was doing, in the blogosphere and the RNC. Strong couldn’t even get his big reveal to fit his ridiculous premise which means his story is worse than bogus; it’s slimy.
The Daily Caller’s story is worse than bogus; it’s slimy. Jonathan Strong has made a nasty insinuation that a lot of people, including me, are doing something unethical and wrong. He has no proof for it and I’m asking him right now for a complete retraction.
It’s possible he’s too busy to do it. Taking calls from anonymous sleaze-merchants is time-consuming. So in that case, I’ll take care of writing the retraction for him. And in the best tradition of right-wing bloggers, I’ll write it for free.
UPDATE: As it turns out, my friend Ron Coleman coined the term “blogola”. I give him due credit for the clever invention! Ron’s a sharp blogger who is not under the thumb of the Republican Paymasters either, so you can read him with confidence.