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December 09, 2004


Bolie Williams IV

The scary part about all this is how regulation of news media/blogs is assumed to be non-controversial. In other words, as long as they self-regulate, the government doesn't have to step in, but if the self-regulation fails, then OF COURSE the government will step in.

That whole "no law" thing in the First Amendment seems pretty strong to me. Everyone needs to step back and reconsider the whole idea of "regulating" the media and what that means...

Bolie IV

The Towering Barbarian

Very true. As for the question of ethical lapses within the blogosphere my response would be "Probably true somewhere and so what?" When last I looked there were 30,000+ bloggers. My belief is that out of any random group of 30,000+ people you are going to find a few who are as ethically challanged as Dan Rather. That's why you don't limit yourself to one blog any more than you limit yourself to one newspaper. A light shined upon the cockroachs is always a good thing - It's as legitimate for the MSM to keep blogs honest as it is for blogs to keep the MSM honest in that regard - but if the MSM is using this to try to suggest that they have higher standards my only response would be a horselaugh. ^_~

Appalled Moderate

I think there may be a McCain-Feingold issue here -- as the blog might be construed as a political advertisement. I think this illustrates the problem with McCain-Faingold more than it reveals problem with the Blog.

Look, in a blog, bias is usually obvious, even if the reasons for it aren't. If folks are wearing their bias on their sleeve, I don't see the problem with it. It gives the reader the tool to process the information (or simply ignore the blog.)


I am in 99.9% agreement with "Appalled". My only reservation - I thought McCain-Feingold applied specifically to broadcast ads, not, for example, print ads. I suppose one might argue that blogs should be covered under televison rules, but I can't imagine that would get far.

But as I said, I agree that the CBS reporter must be thinking about McCain-Feingold. I excerpt this:

“The question is: What are the appropriate regulations on the Internet?" asked Kathleen Jamieson, an expert on political communication and dean of the Annenberg School for Communications. “It’s evolved into an area that we need to do more thinking about it.

“If you put out flyers, you have to disclaim it, you have to represent who you are,” Jamieson said.

Flyers? I did not know that.


"Just who has access to the mysterious Federal Election Commission documents that have come into the possession of The Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the National Journal, and CBS?"

I thought all of that FEC stuff was public record. Am I wrong on this?



So explain the role of "blogads" in this issue? If you've got a pro-liberal blogger who accepts advertising from a liberal candidate is that something that has to be specifically explained?

Appalled Moderate

I would think any regulations would address direct payments from campaign to blogger that are not disclosed to the reader as a "paid advertisement". I cannot imagine them being more expansive than that, because McC-F has demonstrated itself ineffective with respect to non-campaign organizations. (Otherwise, FEC would have been able to attack MoveOn and the SwiftVets -- something they didn't do.)


"My guess is that where the blogosphere might fall short is in investigatory resources."

Could not disagree more. As the Rather story demonstrates - while no individual blogger has the resources of a CBS, in the aggregate the investigatory resources of the "Blogosphere" dwarf the collective MSM.


Chris, re FEC docs being public record - I would have thought so, but maybe these news services skipped some customary disclosure lag (or maybe they just read them, which anyone could have done, but who does?)

Appalled, re regs on blogads - are there reports out there disclosing CBS ad revenue from the two campaigns? How about the NY Times - what did they receive from MoveOn?

Or, if they don't report ad revenue, why should a blog?

Consulting fees on the other hand, are problematic. It would almost be like Paul Begala appearing on Crossfire while consulting to Kerry. Wait - make that "undisclosed" fees.

Ice - I couldn't disagree more with your disagreement on RatherGate. Powerline broke the original forgery, and several blogs did yeoman work expanding that theme (Bill at INDC comes to mind).

However, IIRC, most of the rest of the unraveling was accomplished by ABC News and the WaPo. For example, ABC kept digging up witnesses who disputed the documents (the wife, the son, the secretary). I think it was ABC that got the forensic experts for CBS to admit that they did not trust the docs.

Ryne McClaren

Do you know what I wish?

I wish that someone (ANYONE!) would ask the *other* bloggers who covered the S.D. race -- and who all blogged just as hard and fast as Lauck and Van Beek but with none of the campaign pay or media accolades -- what they think about the whole thing.

Or it could just be that I feel this way because I was one of those guys slaving away with no pay.

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