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Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Poe Distorts 'Bloggergate,' Ignores Breaches By Conservative Bloggers
Topic: Newsmax

An Oct. 18 NewsMax article by Richard Poe asserted that "left-wing bloggers" are being subsidized "with illegal Democrat campaign contributions, laundered through ostensibly 'non-partisan' non-profit groups." But he distorts reality and ignores similar Republican practices in order to support his so-called "Bloggergate." Poe writes:

The first evidence of Bloggergate emerged in January 2005 when the two most prominent left-wing bloggers on the Internet — Jerome “The Blogfather” Armstrong of MyDD and DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas Zuñiga — both admitted to getting cash from Howard Dean's presidential campaign.

In fact, as Slate points out, Armstrong didn't blog for the six months that he was on Dean's payroll, and that Moulitsas "posted a somewhat grumpy disclosure on his site's front page during the same period." Slate adds: "If the two men were journalists, those disclosures would be woefully insufficient. But Armstrong and Moulitsas aren't journalists. Nor does having a blog make someone a journalist."

Further, Poe fails to mention that conservative bloggers have been "getting cash" from Republican campaigns as well. As we've noted, in 2004, two bloggers in South Dakota were paid a total of $35,000 by the campaign of John Thune, a Republican who was running for Senate. But unlike Armstrong and Moulitsas, neither provided any disclaimer on their blogs during the election that they were on Thune's payroll. Yet somehow, that's not "Bloggergate"-worthy as far as Poe is concerned.

Poe then wrote that "Republican blogger Michael B. Brodkorb of Minnesota, assailed by piranha-like swarms of leftist bloggers, revealed that his tormentors were on the take." But Poe doesn't mention that Brodkorb was "assailed" for a Bloggergate-like offense: while serving as a consultant for Senate candidate Mark Kennedy, Brodkorb used his blog to promote Kennedy's campaign and that of other Republican candidates for whom he consulted (but did not disclose to his readers) despite a previous assertion that he would not do so.

Poe also tries to smear the Center for Independent Media, the funder of the website that exposed Brodkorb's conflicts of interest (and which once shared office space with Media Matters, my employer). Poe described the CIM this way:

Because CIM fellowships expire after three months, CIM "fellows" are always on the hot seat. If CIM is satisfied with the blogger's performance, it will renew his fellowship. Otherwise, it will not. Plainly, CIM bloggers have much to gain if they toe the party line — and much to lose if they fail to satisfy their benefactors.

Poe offers no evidence that the CIM coerces its bloggers into "toeing the party line," as he suggests. (Also note that Poe has described the CIM-funded bloggers as "on the take" while Brodkorb was the victim of "piranha-like swarms" who merely pointed out that he was similarly, if not more egregiously, on the take.)

Left unsaid is how the CIM compares to similar organizations on the right, such as the Young America's Foundation's National Journalism Center and Accuracy in Media's American Journalism Center (link currently busted).

Posted by Terry K. at 2:36 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 3:03 PM EDT

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