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Blogging and Sponsorship and Openness

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the THIS-SPACE-FOR-RENT dept.

The Media 293

Jane_the_Great writes "In an article in the Wall Street Journal it is "revealed" that during the 2004 primaries, the Howard Dean campaign hired bloggers hoping that positive things would be said of Dean in the blogs. The news is from the horse's mouth." It's hard to believe that the WSJ is equating prominently disclosed campaign consulting with secret payments from the U.S. Government treasury to TV personalities in order to promote Republican policies, but they are. (Obeying media rule #1, "Both sides are equally bad", even if they aren't.) Nevertheless, there's an interesting, deeper issue: how transparent should blogging (and all media) be? How could transparency possibly be enforced?

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mop mop (1)

Cold Winter Days (772398) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367671)

mak tut baba

Re:mop mop (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367767)

YeeeeeeeaaaAAAAAAARGGGGGH!!!!

-- I'm Howard Dean, and I endorse this message.

michael (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367672)

Shut the hell up. You don't need to include your own little whining... err, editorializing... in your stories to spin things your way. Make a comment if you feel like it.

Michael: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367692)

Please shut your hole.

Thanks.

Re:C'mon Michael.... (1)

NoseBag (243097) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367812)

...don't mince words. Tell us how you *really* feel. We can take it.

Re:Michael: (1)

siskbc (598067) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368097)

To repeat the previous poster without being crass, michael, you can make your comments on the comment page. We really don't care about your opinions. At all. And they really aren't insightful enough to justify you ranting about the article on the front page.

Very transparent. (5, Insightful)

Solder Fumes (797270) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367702)

No clouding the motives there, michael, that's for sure. I guess the man just itches for a good 'ol flamewar once in a while, so why not start one right in the article post?

Re:Very transparent. (1)

Hank Reardon (534417) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367740)

Heh. Ya think?

Was he hired from Kuro5hin or something?

Re:Very transparent. (1)

momerath2003 (606823) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367754)

Once in a while? You mean every other story that he "writes"?

Re:Very transparent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367904)

Yup, this post was totally inappropriate.

Re:Very transparent. (1)

DietCoke (139072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368146)

That itch isn't due to a desire for flamewars, it's a side-effect of planting his lips too close to DailyKOS's ass.

journalistic standards (4, Interesting)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367705)

So, are they suggesting that Bloggers should be held to journalistic standards? Absolute rubbish. The journals that are given away freely here on /. are nothing but blogs. To even think that these should be bastions of journalism is just mind boggling.

Why not criticise People magazine, or the Enquirer? Same thing, I think. Even Jon Stewart of the Daily Show calls his show "fake news".

Re:journalistic standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367759)

Jon Stewart could hire Dan Rather when CBS cannes '60 Minutes' to get rid of him.

You think those bloggers might have responded yet? (3, Informative)

bharlan (49602) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367957)

Hmm, I wonder if those bloggers might have posted any response to this story? After all, they've only had 12 hours so far today. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/1/14/02014/6287 [dailykos.com] , http://www.mydd.com/story/2005/1/13/231623/665 [mydd.com] , and http://www.pandagon.net/mtarchives/004427.html [pandagon.net]

Re:journalistic standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11368118)

>> To even think that these should be bastions of journalism is just mind boggling. ...mind bloggling?

It can't be enforced (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367712)

It can't be enforced

because every source is biased (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368010)

Every source, no matter how impartial it claims to be, is bound to have some sort of bias.

The key to finding value in those sources comes from being able to identify the bias and interpret around it.

For example /. is "news for nerds who dislike microsoft and sco and hold apple on a pedastal", and with that in mind i can find useful stuff here sometimes.

Blogging doesn't need to be transparent. (4, Insightful)

Icarus1919 (802533) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367713)

When people stop going to a blog for information because they don't think the person tells the truth, or is otherwise misinforming them (purposeful or otherwise) then the blog will die. The process is self correcting. There are plenty of blogs out there that no one reads because it's a pack of lies or it provides no information. Blogs that are discovered to be propoganda machines will suffer the same fate.

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367758)

+5 insightful

Re:Blogging doesn't need to be transparent. (2, Insightful)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368031)

There are plenty of blogs out there that no one reads because it's a pack of lies or it provides no information.

Nope, liars and opionists flourish in our society, they just have to be entertaining. Blogs that are full of lies and factless opinions will flourish if they present their case with flare and if their conclusions (logical or otherwise) are inline with the beliefs of the people reading the blog. Most people have lost their ability and desire to destinguish a valid argument and would prefer to be enterained by an outrageous rant and wild speculation. Facts, truth, and real uncertainity about a complex situation or issue is far too boring.

Silly rabbit, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11368040)

people don't want the truth. They want affirmation from a homogenious community that tells them they're a valued member. People LOVE propaganda. They're crying out to be lied to. Reason only wins out over large time scales on the order of decades and centuries.

Re:Blogging doesn't need to be transparent. (1)

Marvelicious (752980) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368052)

Riiiiiigghhtt... Hmmmmm, unless the visitors to said blog are like minded people who hear only what they want to... Your statement could be said of things like NPR as well, yet Limbaugh thrives. People like propaganda machines that support their opinion.

Re:Blogging doesn't need to be transparent. (2, Interesting)

CmdrChillupa (166635) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368066)

Theoretically you could hold the same thing up for any form of media: online, print, tv. If people stop reading or viewing it because they think it's untruthful ad sales go down and it dies.

I hold out CBS, Fox News and Michael Moore documentaries as examples that prove you wrong.

CBS did a story that was proven wrong. They apologized. The left still loves them, the right hates them now.

Fox News. Need I say more. The left still hates them, the right still loves them.

Michael Moore is really just in here to be a balance. Some think his stuff is true, some think it isn't. The left loves him, the right hates him.

There are plenty of media outlets that survive because the wacko leftists and rightists will support it because no matter how wrong it is it's inline with their beliefs.

au contraire (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368109)

The most popular blogs out there are mostly packs of lies. People like hardcore partisan blogs that will always spin their side as good and their opponents as bad. There are few (no?) blogs that take nuanced, case-by-case views of the issues, and support whichever side they think is right in each given situation.

Re:Blogging doesn't need to be transparent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11368111)

Blogs that are discovered to be propoganda machines will suffer the same fate.

What about Slashdot? It is a huge propaganda machine.

Re:Blogging doesn't need to be transparent. (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368156)

Everything you say about blogs applies to news organizations as well. So I guess they have no need for them to be transparent either? I don't think its unreasonable to ask that blogs/organizations to be forthcoming about their funding, just like when CNN says some entity is owned by the same company that owns them. While having a single biased source is not so bad, other people will start quoting it, assuming its "the truth". Pretty soon they all quote each other, and since they agree, they must be right. It usually starts with a crackpot writing an unsubstantiated book, but now blogs make this process far more efficient.

Sources please? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367724)

WSJ is equating prominently disclosed campaign consulting with secret payments from the U.S. Government treasury to TV personalities in order to promote Republican policies

Since I'm not a conspiracy follower, please provide some sources for this reference.

Re:Sources please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367831)

The issue of political payments to commentators has become hot following disclosures that the Bush administration paid a conservative radio and newspaper pundit, Armstrong Williams, $240,000 to plug its "No Child Left Behind" education policy.

That it was "treasury money" is pure michael.

Re:Sources please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367856)

Well, then, it must be true! Is his last name Moore by chance?

Re:Sources please? (1)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367962)

No.. it was treasury money, not Treasury money. It came from the treasury (wallet) of the US government. It specifically came from the budget of the Education Department, but they, like all Cabinet Departments, draw their funds from the treasury.

Gee, capitalization making a difference, who knew?

Re:Sources please? (4, Informative)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367859)

Columnist denying it. [townhall.com]

USA Today nailing him on it. [usatoday.com]

Washington Post doing the same. [washingtonpost.com]

FCC investigation into Armstrong Williams payola. [bloomberg.com]

Seriously, this is not a conspiracy; it happened. You can argue whether (as USA Today states) he was contractually obligated to be favorable towards vouchers, but he definitely took money to run ads on them... and immediately afterward, wrote columns favorable of the Bush administration's position on the issue. This would be *incredibly* questionable, in and of itself. If he took the money with an additional obligation of running those columns, it is quite possibly illegal.

None of those links prove anything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11368119)

It's all liberal hokum designed to cause controversy where there is none. I like how the liberally biased USA Today agrees with the liberally biased Washington post, but neither of them are revealing exactly who their sources are or how they got their information. Rathergate part II, anyone? We already know that Democrats and liberals will say anything and do anything to attack the republican majority. THe only question is how long with it be before this who "controversy" is uncovered as yet another fabrication by the elite liberal media machine.

Re:Sources please? (2, Informative)

torinth (216077) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367960)

He's obliquely referring to Armstrong Williams who owned the last week of non-tsunami news. The Department of Education gave him about $240,000 of taxpayer money to promote the No Child Left Behind program. Neither he nor the department disclosed this payoff while he received frequent airtime as an independent commentator and television host. Since we generally pretend that independent means "not paid gross sums of government money to promote government policy" there was a big stir when this news broke.

It's not a conspiracy, and very few on either side of the aisle have stepped up to defend him. His story is what has prompted current coverage of payoffs and disclosures.

Wow... it happens on both sides (5, Funny)

jhtrih (218203) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367727)

Amazing. My mind has just been blow. I though the democrats were the untouchable good guys, fighting the evil nazi republicans. Now I have no idea what to believe... must flip back and forth between Fox, CNN, and the BBC to understand how I should feel about this... and then blog about it...

SHUT THE FUCKING HELL UP, MICHAEL! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367733)

Slashdot is a million times more "for sale" than the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times, so how about you shut your hypocritical big mouth!!!!!

Manual for the Modern Slashdotter (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367738)

Manual for the Modern Slashdotter

Golden Rule: You must base your worldview entirely on Slashdot headlines. You must ignore the innaccuracy and editorial shortcomings of the Slashdot staff. You must buy into the groupthink of the comment threads. This is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE.

- Post the lamest, most obvious, and most unfunny jokes imaginable. They will be modded up "+5 Funny." Even Malda couldn't stand it any longer and made Funny mods not count toward karma.

- Everything involving Linux is flawless and perfect.

- Anything involving Mozilla is flawless and perfect. Ignore that Mozilla marks security flaws as "confidential" and keeps them secret. Ignore that this is something Microsoft is endlessly bashed for. Ignore that Firefox has had several severe security flaws, especially for a browser used by so little of the market (1% according to Google Zeitgeist).

- Whenever someone has a criticism of the current moderation system, refer to Taco's "future moderation system."

- You must lean left. You must obsess over George W. Bush and make Bush jokes whenever possible, no matter how irrelevant to the topic. In political articles, you must upmod anti-Bush comments and downmod independent or pro-Bush comments. Use the "Overrated" moderator whenever possible. Remember, Taco is going to fix this in "the future moderation system."

- Use the term "FUD" religiously in everyday conversation. When someone puts out something that disagrees with your worldview, call it FUD matter-of-factly as a way to dismiss the points it raises. Demonization is far easier than debating the issues.

- Whenever Linux Torvalds says anything, it is newsworthy and infallible. Linus does not make mistakes. When he says he doesn't bother looking at the source code of competitors like Solaris [slashdot.org] because he's not interested, herald it as the "wonderful attitude of Linus" even though such a comment coming from a Microsoft employee would get flamed as an example of their arrogance and closed-minded attitude.

- Believe articles like "Microsoft Violates Human Rights In China," based entirely on the idea that Microsoft is evil because Windows is used by the government there. Ignore the fact that China has its own custom Linux distribution called Red Flag Linux. Slashdot is unbiased and holy.

- Ignore that Slashdot is corporate-owned, by a company called OSTG that employs Rob Malda and makes money off selling OSS products. Ignore the conflict of interests in running a "tech news" site that coincidentally posts articles critical of competitors. Ignore that if Microsoft owned a tech news site that did the same, it would be criticized for it.

- Pretend that Linux is ready for the desktop, even though it took you two hours to set up your soundcard, mouse scroll wheel, and 3D card. Ignore that the real reason you refuse to acknowledge that Linux sucks on the desktop is because you don't want to diminish your sense of accomplishment in getting it up and running. Make sure to confuse this sense of accomplishment with the feeling that you have "more control" in a Linux system compared to a Windows system.

- Pretend there's nothing wrong with endless submissions accepted from Roland Piquepaille, who makes several thousand thanks to Slashdot linking to his blog that links to the original article, rather than Slashdot just linking to the original article and cutting out the pointless middle-man. It's okay for Malda to shrug it off as though Slashdot should never consider ethics or morals.

Please redistribute this at will.

Re:Wow, well said. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367880)

Of course I may be personally somewhat biased since I have a couple of decades experience in software/systems development in both small and large companies. Lifetime experience means nothing.

How many seconds before your post gets modded down out of view? 3...2...

Thanks for saying out loud what so many of us think.

But what if... (1)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367952)

- You must lean left.

But what if your... well... you know... thingie... leans to the right?

Re:But what if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11368021)

its supposed to lean to the right, that way when the rest of you leans to the left you stay in balance and not fall over...

Re:But what if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11368042)

That means you're right-handed.

Re:But what if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11368082)

But what if your... well... you know... thingie... leans to the right?

Left, right, it doesn't matter. As long as you are 12 years old (or younger) you'll be on Michael Sims' "special naked friends" list.

Re:Manual for the Modern Slashdotter (1)

bwcarty (660606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368025)

Post the lamest, most obvious, and most unfunny jokes imaginable. They will be modded up "+5 Funny."

Metamoderation be damned, but seeing the parent modded up to +5 Funny (it's 1:Funny now) would be hilariously ironic.

Re:Manual for the Modern Slashdotter (1)

Swamii (594522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368173)

Don't worry, Slashbot mods and owners will mod this thing down to -1 flamebait page before you can say 'censorship'.

Re:Manual for the Modern Slashdotter (1)

brianconnolly (828461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368068)

nothing is ever as good as it seems and nothing is ever as bad as people say it is. moreover, conspiracy theories rarely pan out and sweeping generalizations about, well, anything are, in most cases, a bad idea.

Amen (1)

Swamii (594522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368134)

Wow, finally some clarity and truth here at Slashdot. Well said, you hit the mark on several points including Slashdot's 'follow the leader' mentality, be secular or else, be anti-Republican or else, be running Linux or else, be running Firefox or else, you pointed out the obvious Roland connection, the hypocritical unethical nature of Slashdot and slashbotters, you pointed out, damn well if I might add, how people here don't argue based on facts but on biases and prejudices.

Amen man, good to see some truth posted on this site for once.

Re:Manual for the Modern Slashdotter (0, Offtopic)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368151)

I wish this wasn't AC, because this compares with Luther's 95 Theses [spurgeon.org] although on a much smaller and completely insignificant scale. This post is dead on and deserves to be modded as insightful.

It was transparent (4, Informative)

gtaluvit (218726) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367739)

Markos addresses it Here [dailykos.com]

He was transparent about it and kept a constant reminder about it at the top of the page. Hardly close to the Williams scandal.

They don't equate them (4, Insightful)

moebius_4d (26199) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367746)

In fact, the WSJ article explictly makes the same point - that in one case, governement funds were used (although there is a mention that the funds may have been used for media buys and not as direct compensation.)

So that's a big difference in the conduct of the payers: one used tax money and the other used political contributions. But it makes little or no difference in the ethical lapse of the payees - people who represent themselves as presenting their honest opinion and who are taking money from one of the parties about whom they opine.

We wouldn't think a stock analyst could be unbiased if he was on the payroll of one of the companies he reviewed, even if he'd been favorable before he got on the payroll and continued to be so afterwards. Why is Markos any different? A political opinion writer secretly on the payroll of a campaign is an ethical problem, slice it however you want.

Re:They don't equate them (4, Informative)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367909)

Markos was different because it wasn't secret; he openly admitted he was on payroll, and even had a disclaimer at the head of his blog.

Re:They don't equate them (4, Interesting)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368060)

Except that Markos said he wasn't being wasn't for policy, but for "technical [dailykos.net] " consulting.
But for the record, I will not discuss my role within the Dean campaign, other than to say it's technical, not message or strategy. I will also not discuss any of my other clients, including their identities (I have non-disclose agreements to which I must adhere).
However, according to Zephyr Teachout [blogspot.com] the money wasn't paid to Kos for any technical consulting, but to buy his loyalty.
On Dean's campaign, we paid Markos and Jerome Armstrong as consultants, largely in order to ensure that they said positive things about Dean. We paid them over twice as much as we paid two staffers of similar backgrounds, and they had several other clients.

While they ended up also providing useful advice, the initial reason for our outreach was explicitly to buy their airtime. To be very clear, they never committed to supporting Dean for the payment -- but it was very clearly, internally, our goal.

It was basically all message.

Still pales in comparison to what Armstrong did.

Re:They don't equate them (2, Informative)

Mike Markley (9536) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367949)

... Except that if you read the rest of the article, it wasn't particularly secret.

Mr. Moulitsas said they were paid $3,000 a month for four months and he noted that he had posted a disclosure near the top of his daily blog that he worked for the Dean campaign doing "technical consulting." Mr. Armstrong said he shut down his site when he went to work for the campaign, then resumed posting after his contract ended.

Re:They don't equate them (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368037)

which is EXACTLY what the dept. of ed shill should have done.

what really worries me is that the dude thinks he didn't do anything wrong.

Re:They don't equate them (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368053)

The WSJ wa sall in favor of Hitler and Mussolini - "Good for business".

They are in favor of lay-offs and Unemployment - "Good for business".

michael (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367751)

It's hard to believe that michael is prominently inserting his own views into stories he posts on Slashdot in order to promote a personal agenda, but he is. (Disobeying editor rule #1, "Leave your political bias out of it") Nevertheless, there's an interesting, deeper issue: how horrible of an editor is michael? When will his reign end?

But hang on... (1)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367764)

Surely bloggers that are willing to accept payment from a candidate would support that candidate and say 'good things' about them anyway.

I may not be from the US, but if I were I would certainly not be a Bush supporter and it would take a very large sum of money for me to publicly support Bush, far more than the value of my 'blogged opinions'.

It doesnt sound very well thought out to me.

not about result but motives (2, Informative)

feelyoda (622366) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367768)

This is interesting because it doesn't matter what Daily Kos thought it was getting into with an advisory roll. The Dean folks intended to get good, free press from it, and milked the blogs. Read more about it here [instapundit.com] .

For those who think the issues with the Dept. of Education paying off a journalist are new, it was actually more common under the Clinton administration, and equally bad.

Re:not about result but motives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367913)

Shhhhh....

The world was perfect under Clinton #1.

In 2008, the world will once again be perfect under Clinton #2.

Despite her pretty obvious and well known disdain for the "commoners", she will no doubt fight for "our rights online" to download all the britney spears videos and hollywood dvd screeners we want!

Re:not about result but motives (3, Insightful)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368079)

For those who think the issues with the Dept. of Education paying off a journalist are new, it was actually more common under the Clinton administration, and equally bad.

I hadn't heard this before - do you have any news links about it? That's not intended as disbelief or criticism, I seriously would like to read more about it.

Re:not about result but motives (1)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368136)

For those who think the issues with the Dept. of Education paying off a journalist are new, it was actually more common under the Clinton administration, and equally bad.
--


If you're going to throw out a charge like that, you should back it up. Evidence?

Politics (4, Interesting)

gmajor (514414) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367771)

Thank you, Michael, for going out of your way, and out of the story's way to point out Republican "badness". (That was a sarcastic remark)

Why can't the same be done for liberal-biased articles from the NY Times that get posted on Slashdot? Or why can't Michael Moore writeups highlight his twisting of the truth?

Yes this is flamebait, but so is the article writeup.

No, it is not. (0, Offtopic)

Concern (819622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368067)

We have to learn a new vocabluary in this country, or we will never be able to talk about fairness and accuracy properly.

What appears to be evolving in the crucible of American politics is a startling robust form of doublethink. Conservatives have unquestionably mastered it; it's not clear if other political groups are for the moment less able or less willing.

Fox News is a propaganda organization; it is so biased as to basically redefine the concept of bias in the U.S. media. But how does it defend itself? By exclaiming that it is the most fair, and the most balanced. In fact, by going even further accusing everyone else of bias.

This kind of audacity is more associated with religious figureheads and communist states. But regardless of who is using it most effectively this week (and believe me, I am cynical about all American professional politicians, regardless of professed ideology), the problem is that the approach is sound, and based on good cognitive psych. It exploits a weakness in the way people think and reason. In layman's terms, it short-circuits the brain. Sadly, vehemence and a threatening posture do figure deeply into the calculus of our decision-making.

When you see through it, you realize it's an extraordinarily cynical trick. The problem is that many, many people are confused by it. In fact, much as Orwell observed, the lie is embraced especially well by people who know, on some level, it is a lie. These are many of the people who, for instance, engage in revert wars in Wikipedia over the Fox News entry.

It is the human's great strenght and weakness: we are fully capable of lively psychological engagement with paradoxes and contradictions.

In order to prevent societal free-fall, it will be necessary for each of us to learn to see through this kind of technique, call a spade a spade. To not be confused or intimidated by hypocrisy, in other words.

-1, Flamebait (1)

Leo McGarry (843676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367775)

I hereby moderate this story -1, Flamebait. Also, due to bad posting from Michael's subnet, he's hereby banned from posting any articles for 48 hours.

Re:-1, Flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367988)

Please exit the gene pool before we're forced to chlorinate it to take care of you.

Blogs... (1)

sidepocket (817256) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367777)

are only good for gadget news and celebrity nip slips.

The word republican isn't in the article (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367782)

The issue of political payments to commentators has become hot following disclosures that the Bush administration paid a conservative radio and newspaper pundit, Armstrong Williams, $240,000 to plug its "No Child Left Behind" education policy.

They didn't equate anything to anything.

What the fuck are you on, michael, and do you ever just keep your dipshit flamebaiting comments to yourself?

Your hero Dean turned to intellectual dishonesty and media manipulation to prop up his campaign. Imagine that. You and your fucking moral relativism. Lesser of two evils. Blow it out your ass.

And Democrats like Rather make up the fucking news to try and overthrow the president.

Guess what, the American people saw through all of it. That's why Bush is the president, and Kerry and Dean don't even qualify as footnotes in American political history.

Re:The word republican isn't in the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367851)

Your hero Dean turned to intellectual dishonesty and media manipulation to prop up his campaign.

All politicians do this.

Competition (1)

dannytaggart (835766) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367788)

There are literally, millions of blogs out there. The only enforcement needed is competition, which can be much fiercer in the blog world than in traditional media. Honest blogs are trusted, dishonest blogs are dumped.

Re:Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367877)

This sort of faith is mysterious. How is that any different from saying the most popular view is true?

Re:Competition (1)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367994)

Anyone charismatic can get a following of believers... the blogosphere's no different. People seek out others who agree with them.

All that having more blogs out there does is makes more places for various nutjobs to hang out.

Biased Bias (5, Insightful)

Concern (819622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367799)

We have to learn a new vocabluary in this country, or we will never be able to talk about fairness and accuracy properly.

What appears to be evolving in the crucible of American politics is a startling robust form of doublethink. Conservatives have unquestionably mastered it; it's not clear if other political groups are for the moment less able or less willing.

Fox News is a propaganda organization; it is so biased as to basically redefine the concept of bias in the U.S. media. But how does it defend itself? By exclaiming that it is the most fair, and the most balanced. In fact, by going even further accusing everyone else of bias.

This kind of audacity is more associated with religious figureheads and communist states. But regardless of who is using it most effectively this week (and believe me, I am cynical about all American professional politicians, regardless of professed ideology), the problem is that the approach is sound, and based on good cognitive psych. It exploits a weakness in the way people think and reason. In layman's terms, it short-circuits the brain. Sadly, vehemence and a threatening posture do figure deeply into the calculus of our decision-making.

When you see through it, you realize it's an extraordinarily cynical trick. The problem is that many, many people are confused by it. In fact, much as Orwell observed, the lie is embraced especially well by people who know it is a lie. These are the people who, for instance, engage in revert wars in Wikipedia over the Fox News entry.

It is the human's great strenght and weakness: we are fully capable of lively psychological engagement with paradoxes and contradictions.

In order to prevent societal free-fall, it will be necessary for each of us to learn to see through this kind of technique, call a spade a spade. To not be confused or intimidated by hypocrisy, in other words.

Re:Biased Bias (1)

Major Lame Brain (844217) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368072)

Amen. Well written. Thanks. Loved the Orwell reference too. I guess Fox News is the Ministry of Truth.

"the media"? (2, Insightful)

wankledot (712148) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367802)

For fuck's sake, blogging is not "the media" any more than me telling my friends about the CD I just bought is "the media." Am I the only person who puts absolutely no stock in what some schmuck on the internet has to say? Or at least, take it with great big grains of salt?

Re:"the media"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11368167)

You still buy CDs?

I'm Shocked! (2, Insightful)

yipper (159272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367805)

Hasn't it always been the case that the
guy with the ink/camera/microphone/blog
gets to write whatever he pleases.... including
what will make him some $$?

That's the beauty of the first amendment.

Re:I'm Shocked! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367920)

Sure, that's Michael Moore's creedo...

Sounds good to me! (2, Insightful)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367810)

I think being paid to promote something in a public forum is a great idea!

Provided I'm the one being paid, of course...

Anybody who thinks weblogs, in general, convey useful information is an idiot; they're like newspaper columns with no editors.

hey michael (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367835)

Guess what: the article DOESN'T equate them. They in fact specifically point out the difference between campaign funds and government funds.

Christ... You'd be fired from a high school paper.

Michael (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367845)

You are an asshole. Please do us all a favor and kill yourself.

Ummm.. . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367848)

They weren't "secret" US government payments.

A more important question is how much money did slashdot get from the Dean campaign to setup politics.slashdot.org?

What's the difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367852)

What's the difference. If your opinion is swayed by a hipster blogger, it's time to look in the mirror.

How could transparency possibly be enforced? (1)

tsalaroth (798327) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367866)

How could transparency possibly be enforced?

Easy. With shady guys wearing black and grey uniforms, wearing insignias in the style of two bolts of wotan on their shoulder.

Transparency needs to be with the government, not the media. If someone's stupid enough to listen to "Fox News Live" as if it were unbiased fact, they deserve what they get.

Unfortunately, that also means we deserve the president they vote for.

Re:How could transparency possibly be enforced? (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367973)

Your right. More people should have been listening to the bastions of truth at CBS news.

For example, I have in my posession a .pdf from 1938 that says that Truman and Hitler were boyfriend and girlfriend!

Dear Michael, (1)

Shut the fuck up! (572058) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367872)

Shut the fuck up!

Will shill for cash! (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367873)

I'll support just about anything.

Re:Will shill for cash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11368057)

CmdrTaco? Is that you?

Slashdot's own standards are pretty low too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367885)

Slashdot posts blogs as legitimate articles....then bashes blogs for not being transparent. Then tommorow we will see a new blog followed by Slashdot bashing it's own practise. Brilliant folks!

Re:Slashdot's own standards are pretty low too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367908)

Actually you'll just see repostings of the same article again and again as the editors forget that it was already posted...

Roland Piquepaille (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367914)

Is there any kind of an arrangement behind the scenes between Roland Piquepaille and the Slashdot editorial staff? Judging by the comments that get posted whenever Slashdot links to Roland's blog, I'd say there's a lot of people that would like to see some transparency in this area. Does Roland Piquepaille provide any "sponsorship" payments to Slashdot?

Re:Roland Piquepaille (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367946)

It's a personal sponsorship of michael via sex for posting.

rule #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367943)

RE: (Obeying media rule #1, "Both sides are equally bad"

YES!!!

democrats are bad...

republicans are bad too...

politics is too important to be left to the politicians..

Not from the horse's mouth. (1)

abb3w (696381) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367954)

While neither group's conduct is appropriate, equating the two indicates that the news source is further back on the horse.

Ok, here it goes. (4, Insightful)

CashCarSTAR (548853) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367982)

Here's the story. Not in an exactly, but roughtly chronological order.

Kos and Jerome run MyDD. Endorses and is are VERY avid supporters of Dean.

Dean's campaign hires MyDD to do various technical consulting of various types.

Jerome, who starts to blog for Dean stops his own site. Everybody pretty much goes over to Kos' site, and Kos lets it well known that he does consulting for Dean. Nobody in the community (and DailyKos is a political version of Slashdot. It's a community site) cares.

Skip ahead a year and a half.

Zephyr Teachout (lead blogger for the old Dean campaign) is upset that the ethical people are taking all the money and bribe taking out of political blogging and writes a slash piece in the WSJ accusing Kos and Jerome of not being corrupt ENOUGH.

What Kos and Jerome did is basically equivilent to what Gabe and Tycho do over at PA, getting paid for various side projects, a lot of whom they endorse/give good reviews/whatever. Is there any problem with that?

Of course not.

Whoa whoa whoa! (2, Insightful)

sterno (16320) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368029)

Yes, Dean hired bloggers. One of the bloggers they hired stopped writing his own blog during that time. The other blogger continually posted on his original blog saying that he was salaried by the Dean campaign.

So let's not blow this out of proportion folks. If they had concealed what they were doing, that would be an entirely different beast. They met the basics of journalistic integrity, revealing that they were in fact being paid for their work.

Read more about it here [salon.com] .

Boy, oh, boy (1)

Jim_Callahan (831353) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368032)

Man, Dean really screwed up on THAT judgement call.

(good laugh on this one, heh)

"Both Sides are Equally Bad" Cartoon (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368034)

This was covered pretty well I think by one of Simpson's political cartoons: http://idrewthis.org/2004/bothsides.html [idrewthis.org] . Its sadly accurate.

IMHO disclosure should be law (1)

digitalgimpus (468277) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368065)

Yep...you got that.

This isn't intended to start a freedom of speach flame... want that? Don't bother replying. Pure opinion here...

preface
I was asked just today to provide links to a commercial website, who apparantly feels either my google pagerank is beneficial to them, or they feel I get enough traffic to help them. Did I do it? Absolutely not.

I get a few of these.

Why don't I?
I don't think it's ethical. I base my blog on myself. I consider it a reflection of me. Anything I post, I believe in. I post sources I trust, things I find interesting, beliefs I hold, ideas I want to share.

If I don't believe, trust, rely on it... I don't post it.

why a law?

Because the media is growing. Bloggers are clearly part of the information fabric of our world. And that's not changing. IMHO if your sponsored by someone, it should clearly be stated. Same if you talk about your employer.

A simple "(my employer)", or "(sponsor)" covers it perfectly.

Fark has also been said to link to stuff that's it's paid for. No clue if that's really true or not (though sometimes I do question).

IMHO we should hold the net to the same standards... were geeks, we believe in the net to it's full potential (I know I do).

Slashdot does it all the time. They link to a NewsForge article.... they say that.

Conclusion

It's the only way to make sure people view the internet as a somewhat legitimate news source. We don't allow it on the air, or tv, or in print. Why allow it online? Accurate information is essential the the internet's viability as a useful medium.

This isn't a hard concept either. If you recieve a kickback, or have a relation to another site.... note it clearly.

That is the difference between a reputable website, and one that isn't.

Important distinction. (5, Insightful)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368092)

The Dean campaign used their money to pay bloggers. The bloggers fully disclosed the payment.

The Bush administration used your money (assuming you're a USian) to pay off Armstrong Williams. Williams didn't disclose a thing.

This whole tempest in a teapot is an attempt by the right to blur the issue by creating some kind of he-said/she-said equivalency.

Don't fall for it.

Distinguishing between reporters and commentators (1)

rainmayun (842754) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368107)

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer had a discussion on the declining trustworthiness of the media [pbs.org] in various opinion polls. Turns out that they think the public either cannot or chooses not to distinguish between reporters who report facts and pundits & commentators who offer opinions. They also pointed out that a lot of so-called reporters (the Anderson Coopers, Christiane Amanpours, Wolf Blitzers... recognizable names from CNN, Fox News, etc.) have gone out of their way to inject opinion into what they report.

I think this trend can be found throughout all media. I understand blogs to be purely opinion-based; I would not rely on them for any pure factual reporting. Same can be said of Armstrong Williams, although that says to me more horrible things about the Bush administration than it does the media. The media has always been a tool for manipulation by politicians and governments, even here in the land of the "free press". Ask Valerie Plame how she feels about it.

Uhhh... (1)

Sheepdot (211478) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368144)

What they did was equivalent to paying someone in the media for some consulting time so he/she could explain how best to do press releases. Then the person in the media mentioning it to those that view their "show".

Granted, it's not a huge deal, but I imagine liberals would be throwing a tizzyfit if it was Bill O'Reilly consulting the Republicans. I don't really see conservatives giving crap about two bloggers drumming up support for their favorite candidate, who they happened to also work for. The only people who would get upset about this are pompous liberals.

Is there something wrong with me if I don't see a problem with what these two bloggers did?

Media Matters (1)

JoshG (1514) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368178)

http://mediamatters.org/ [mediamatters.org] is a good place to start if you are interested in just how twisted our "unbiased" media has become.
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