I’m reading this book right now for a class. It’s about start-up businesses. In an early chapter, the author describes the difference between slogans and mantras. The title of this post ought to be the mantra for all bloggers from now on. Because it’s true.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article about candidates buying up ads on political blogs. Or strategically placing them, depending on how you choose to view it. It’s an important development in blogging. It seems like I say this every election cycle now, but the next one (2008, in case you didn’t know) will be the biggest ever for blogging (obviously). And in Nevada, we have the wonderful situation handed to us by the DNC — the February Caucus. As a result, Nevada political blogs will be making a bit of scratch from the candidates as they prepare to woo Nevada voters to sway their way and give them a boost into the primaries.
Also as a result, a disturbing trend has developed in the world of Nevada blogs. It seems like some people view this caucus business as some sort of entitlement or something. It became like a mini-theme here for a while. It started when Taylor Marsh got all annoyed because Hillary didn’t buy an ad. Then Myrna decided that she, too, was too cool not to have one. It finally subsided when Taylor got hers and Myrna conceded her status as not top tier. Except it didn’t stop there entirely. The WSJ picked up on the whining and quoted Taylor Marsh in that article linked above as being “a little annoyed” about not getting an ad. Hold on a second.
Let me get this straight. Bloggers should be taken seriously as a form of media and a legitimate contributor to the conversation, right? I think so. But to complain because a political candidate neglects to buy an ad to support you is a ludicrous stand to take. It really is. Look at the questions it raises. If they buy the ad, are you going to cover them more favorably? If they don’t, will you cover them less favorably? If they buy the ad after you complain, how will that look? Newspapers take heat from people because of the cozy relationships they seem to have with advertisers. But that’s also because they are considered corporate media. As a corporation, it’s their duty to their stockholders to make a profit, so it is only natural (unfortunately) that compromises must be made at the expense of the best news coverage possible. I’m not saying that it happens regularly, but that the possibility exists. If blogs are the foil for newspapers — the independent media, if you will — why would anyone even begin to complain that they aren’t getting theirs?
Frankly, I think it’s an ugly moment in Nevada blogs. I’ve seen what they charge, and if they’re willing to either sell themselves for $65 (or less) or roll out the “no respect” card, then they stop being an important part of this new media movement and they become an outsider to the establishment desperate to get in the door. That’s pretty embarrassing. Maybe they’re fine with it, but I’m not. Of course, it did get one of them into the Wall Street Journal. Maybe that ad will be worth more now with all those hits. Delusion wins.