Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Omnibus New York Times/Danny Glover/National Journal Issue)

Yes, they trash their reputations yet again.

Danny Glover partially blames the New York Times's editors for the fiasco: "[The] section on disclosure... was dropped.... The nuanced points I made about disclosure got lost in the process.... Bloggers in general have handled the disclosure issue very well..." Avoid the passive voice, Danny!

Glover hastens to reassure his readers that in spite of what virtually everybody I have talked to about his article thinks, he "neither states nor implies that anyone, candidates or bloggers, is 'corrupt'.... Candidates have the right to pay for Internet advice, blogging, etc., and bloggers have a right to be paid for that work..."

Mendacity or incompetence? Micah Sifry reports, you decide. My guess is mendacity on the part of the New York Times's editors, and incompetence on the part of Danny Glover:

Micah Sifry: Glover's Low Blow on Bloggers | Personal Democracy Forum: [T]oday's New York Times Week in Review, which has a giant 3/4 page charticle by Danny Glover of National Journal titled "New on the Web: Politics as Usual."... Glover sets up a straw man--that all political bloggers are contemptuous of the political establishment, outsiders, "revolutionary" even--and then... [produces] a list of bloggers who went to work in 2006 for political campaigns: Jerome Armstrong, Abraham Chernilla, Peter Daou, Jule Fanselow, Lowell Feld, Jon Henke, Aldon Hynes, Patrick Hynes, Scott Shields, Aaron Silverstein, David Sirota, Tim Tagaris and Jesse Taylor.

[Glover] goes further, essentially arguing that these political bloggers are for sale.... Hence the "politics as usual" as the subtitle.... First problem: Like a lot of other commentators, Glover treats political bloggers as a monolith... all filled with disdain and contempt for the political establishment. "You might think that with the kind of rhetoric bloggers regularly muster against politicians, they would never work for them," he writes, setting up his straw man.

But this is patently silly. Peter Daou... worked for a year on the Kerry campaign. How anti-establishment is that? Tim Tagaris... did a stint at the DNC. Republican blogger Patrick Hynes... is a senior account executive with a Republican consulting firm.... Second problem: Glover makes a big deal over the fact that "Few of these bloggers shut down their 'independent' sites after signing on with campaigns, and while most disclosed their campaign ties on their blogs, some--like Patrick Hynes of Ankle Biting Pundits--did so only after being criticized by fellow bloggers." Note those quote marks around the word "independent."

That's the "for sale" charge, and unless Glover can cite more evidence... he's... smearing... good names.... I've written him.... Glover replies....

The... chart... section on disclosure... was dropped... nuanced points I made about disclosure got lost in the process....

Michael Brodkorb of Minnesota Democrats Exposed was attacked by liberal bloggers this year for not disclosing his work for campaigns.... I mentioned Brodkorb in my initial article.... He was dropped from the Times chart....

Bloggers in general have handled the disclosure issue very well and I acknowledged as much by saying "most disclosed their campaign ties on their blogs."...

While I never said all political bloggers are self-styled revolutionaries, that clearly is how the most prominent bloggers, their proteges and their readers see themselves. I suppose you could make the argument that Peter Daou doesn't belong in that bunch....

I also would add that you are being unfair in characterizing my piece for the Times as an "attack" piece.... My article neither states nor implies that anyone, candidates or bloggers, is 'corrupt' because of ties between the two. I don't believe that. Candidates have the right to pay for Internet advice, blogging, etc., and bloggers have a right to be paid for that work -- or to do it on a volunteer basis, if they so choose.

I do think it's interesting that some bloggers made a name for themselves by fighting the establishment and billing themselves as revolutionaries but at the same time are willing to work for campaigns....

[T]wo comments on [Glover's] email. First, it's interesting that he admits that the only other blogger he knows of who failed to disclose his political campaign ties was a Republican, Michael Brodkorb. Too bad that his Times oped leaves the reader with the sense that some unknown number of these mostly Democratic bloggers listed were hiding something.

Second, I guess it's clear that Danny thinks he's discovered something big--revolutionary bloggers going to work for the Man--but... this is a straw man.... What is a big deal is the implication that this makes them corrupt. Danny says that he doesn't believe that. Fine. Take a look at the graphics.... We've got a line that goes from "blogger" to "candidate" to "payments" to "excerpt" (i.e. the favorable writing of said blogger, with no clarity about whether it was on the candidate's blog or on their own blog, and if proper disclosure was made). And at the end of that line, in the top right corner of the page where you can't miss it, is a big dollar sign.

This is unfair, and it's too bad.

UPDATE: Lots more good commentary on this here on Pandagon (who points out that Jesse Taylor, one of the bloggers named by Glover, had given up ownership of that blog before he joined Ted Strickland's campaign), on BlueJersey.com (by one of my favorite grad students, Xpatriated Texan, who defends blogger Scott Shields from Glover's implication that he had failed to disclose his work for the Menendez campaign), and on Steve Gilliard's News Blog.


UPDATE: Daniel Glover writes that Micah Sifry's piece is "a thoughtful response.... Though I disagree with Sifry, I commend his entry as the best rebuttal to date I've seen to my Times piece." Glover does not say what he disagrees with in Sifry's analysis, or why.

SECOND UPDATE: Glover says at http://beltwayblogroll.nationaljournal.com/archives/2006/12/a_followup_piec.php that the only comments he has "deleted have been laced with vulgarities. We have had problems in the past with Moveable Type rejecting comments (including some of my own) for reasons that we've never been able to figure out." Between 9 and 10 AM EST 7 comements were added to Glover's update article. Between 10 and 11 9 comments were added. Between 11 and 12 EST 0 comments have been added.

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