Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Red Herring Time

When "journalists" agree to accept payments from the Bush Administration in return for favorable press, the scandal dies out quickly. When Sinclair Broadcasting decided to air an anti-Kerry "documentary" in critical swing states just before the last election, coincidentally while asking the Bush appointee running the FCC for approval to expand their network, the story disappeared.

Why is everyone so concerned with possible campaign payments to bloggers, and why does this story keep getting play?
On Bloggers and Money
Some Seek Disclosure Rules for Web Sites Paid by Candidates

By Brian Faler
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, May 3, 2005; Page A19

You could almost hear the blogosphere sigh with relief earlier this spring when federal election officials indicated that they did not plan to crack down on bloggers who write about politics.

The Federal Election Commission, which has been considering issuing new regulations on a range of political activities on the Internet -- and was said by some to be contemplating taking a tough stance on the online commentators -- revealed in late March that it intends to be much less aggressive than many had feared. But now some observers are wondering whether the FEC is not being aggressive enough when it comes to one category of bloggers: those who take money from political campaigns.
The big difference between bloggers and the infamous "mainstream media" is that a reasonable and prudent web surfer expects bloggers to express opinions while the "mainstream media" (except Faux Fox News) tries to be neutral. This is why one should always check a blogger's sources - they're usually grinding their favorite axe.

It doesn't matter to me whether bloggers are getting paid for their opinions as I don't confuse opinions with facts. I don't care whether a newspaper's Editorial page is blatantly partisan because the owner fires any editor who disagrees. I care very strongly, however, if their NEWS coverage gets slanted.

The Bush Administration issued partisan "news releases" which were aired as "news" by supposedly neutral, fact-checked television stations. They claimed this was perfectly legal. Why, then, regulate bloggers?

Can it be that by making a big enough stink about individual's behavior, the big players hope to sidetrack the discussion? Tune in to the Red Herring Report tonight for details...


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