Ed at Captain’s Quarters has commented on the breaking story about certain of our South Dakota blog friends’ paid relationship with the John Thune campaign. Ed’s reaction?
Am I angry about this? Not especially. Neither site pretended to present an unbiased look at the race — DvT overtly supported John Thune from the start of the blog. (Like Pat, I didn’t read SDP.) Now that the payments have been disclosed, the bloggers have to answer to the marketplace, and I suspect they will suffer a marked loss of readership — which is the only coin of this realm. The free market of ideas works similarly to any other free market; if the supplier can’t be trusted, people find a different supplier.
Ed and the other Northern Alliance guys have been talking up this subject as they guest host for Hugh, discussing a CBS article that has responded by calling for greater regulation of the blogosphere.
The RMA’s own Joshua just called in and asserted the point that the blogosphere is a self-regulating entity. If people are offended or angered by what the South Dakota blogs did, they’ll stop going.
The NARN guys are calling CBS’s call for regulations a violation of First Amendment free speech. I think this is a common sentiment among bloggers, at least on the center-right side of the spectrum. I’m prone to believe most center-left bloggers would agree.
So now that we’ve learned the blogs South Dakota Politics and Daschle v. Thune were receiving funds from the Thune campaign, some readers must be wondering… what about that now-defunct RMA group blog that was covering the Senate race here in Colorado? Were those RMA guys on the take from the Coors campaign?
While it should be obvious, but maybe it isn’t, I must say clearly and definitively that Salazar v. Coors was an amateur endeavor. No nickels and dimes came the way of Mount Virtus, for sure. The answer to the above question, in short: NO.
But there’s some food for thought left out there… will Colorado Republicans find a way to make such shrewd use of the Internet? Has the revelation made about the South Dakota blogs transformed our understanding of how political campaigns and blogs can and should work together? Is the element of surprise gone? Has something been compromised?
These are just early formative thoughts. I expect the discussion of these issues and other related ones will soon flow through the RMA and many of its allies. What do you think?