The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Tucker Carlson Says, ‘Hit the Tip Jar’?

Posted on | August 23, 2010 | 38 Comments

It was kind of weird to see myself quoted in a Daily Caller story with the headline, “True stories of bloggers who secretly feed on partisan cash“:

Conservative blogger Robert Stacy McCain complains that politicians aren’t purchasing more advertising on blogs. “Advertising buys good will,” he says.

That complaint was in response to something reporter Jonathan Strong told me, and which he reports in his story:

In December of 2009, Red County received $20,000 from the Meg Whitman campaign, which has sent the site $15,000 a month since then.

Do the math. That adds up to about $125,000 — an insane sum to pay for blogging, which Strong implies was a quid pro quo, since Red County bumped an anti-Whitman blogger from its site.

We’ll let others debate the ethics of such transactions. What I see here is an example of several different problems with the Republican Party’s approach to New Media. As I explained to Strong, it would have been a lot smarter for Whitman to “spread the love” around the blogosphere, perhaps by buying Blog Ads (my rate is $25 a week) or Google AdSense placements.

If the Whitman campaign wanted to put all its eggs in one basket, however, why not throw $20,000 into the “Southland Fundraiser” idea that Joe Fein at Valley of the Shadow suggested? Bring several bloggers to L.A. for a weekend event that would combine New Media outreach with a joint fundraiser for candidates and the state party. However such an event was structured — seminars about online activism, meet-and-greets with candidates, etc. — it would serve many purposes, especially putting California “on the map” with conservative bloggers.

That kind of “more bang for the buck” approach is one I’ve discussed often with other bloggers — including my buddy Jimmie Bise Jr. of Sundries Shack – and yet it seems impossible to get people to listen. The strategic payoff of Rule 2 is to spread the linky-love around and build up the newer and/or smaller blogs, so that the conservative ‘sphere has a broader reach and a deeper base.

Most conservative bloggers are part-timers, for whom a couple of hundred dollars a month would be a godsend. Trying to “monetize” Web traffic is a notoriously difficult task, and even successful full-time bloggers aren’t exactly “farting through silk,” to borrow P.J. O’Rourke’s colorful phrase. You’ll notice that Professor Glenn Reynolds hasn’t quit his day job, and Ace of Spades isn’t lighting Cohibas with $100 bills.

I’m not the only blogger quoted in Jonathan Strong’s story:

“Riehl World View” readers might be interested to know that Riehl is not simply a blogger, but also a paid consultant to the RNC. In an interview, Riehl said he was paid an amount in the “hundreds of dollars” for writing a strategy document on how the RNC could better reach out to bloggers. Riehl said his motivation for defending Steele was to aid the Republican Party, and that he didn’t disclose his consulting work because, “I didn’t see it as having anything to do with my views.”
“I never made enough money to be bought,” he said. . . .

Dan Riehl is from New Jersey, as I often point out, and my advice to anyone who asks about him is always, “Don’t f— with Dan Riehl.” I’ll leave it to Dan to judge whether Strong has ignored that advice, but there’s something else that Strong quotes Dan about:

If it appears that conservative bloggers are more likely to take campaign money than their liberal counterparts, there may be a reason. According to Dan Riehl, conservatives can’t rely on the infrastructure of foundations and think tanks that supports so many liberal bloggers.
Riehl has made it a goal to mobilize conservative benefactors and organizers to establish a funding infrastructure mimicking what the liberal “netroots” created during the Bush years. “They did it the smart way,” Riehl says.

Dan’s comment about the relationship between conservative institutions and the blogosphere deserves a post of its own, but I’ll briefly say this: There is a notable tendency of all organizations on the Right to hire buttoned-down, strait-laced College Republican types. There is a glaring disconnect between these GOP clonebots and the conservative blogosphere, which tends to attract hell-raisers, wild cards and loose cannons who don’t like being told what to say and do.

I’ll leave that little lecture for another time, however, as it now appears that Dan Riehl isn’t very happy with the Daily Caller:

Straighten your bow-tie, jerk. You look like a fool to me from here.

Read the whole thing, and please: Hit the freaking tip jar!

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Comments

  • Jeff

    that Daily Caller article looks like link bait for Huffo and Kos …

  • Jeff

    that Daily Caller article looks like link bait for Huffo and Kos …

  • http://Radiopatriot.wordpress.com Andrea Shea King

    I’m scratching my head trying to figure out how I wasn’t on “the Payroll”…

    Stacy, you weren’t asked either???

    Something definitely wrong with this picture.

  • http://Radiopatriot.wordpress.com Andrea Shea King

    I’m scratching my head trying to figure out how I wasn’t on “the Payroll”…

    Stacy, you weren’t asked either???

    Something definitely wrong with this picture.

  • http://liberalsmash.blogspot.com/ paul mitchell

    Dang, I dutifully link TOM all the time and I can’t even get a link on the sidebar, and now you tell me that there are people getting PAID for blogging?

  • http://liberalsmash.blogspot.com/ paul mitchell

    Dang, I dutifully link TOM all the time and I can’t even get a link on the sidebar, and now you tell me that there are people getting PAID for blogging?

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  • http://lonelyconservative.com Lonely Conservative

    I noticed that the Daily Caller article linked to your old blogger site.

  • http://lonelyconservative.com Lonely Conservative

    I noticed that the Daily Caller article linked to your old blogger site.

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  • http://theothermccain.com Robert Stacy McCain

    I noticed that the Daily Caller article linked to your old blogger site.

    I noticed that, too. Meh.

  • http://theothermccain.com Robert Stacy McCain

    I noticed that the Daily Caller article linked to your old blogger site.

    I noticed that, too. Meh.

  • http://pointofagun.blogspot.com/ Dave C

    A similar story was ran a little over a year go.

    Mostly about how Bloggers easily earn $70,000 a year or so..

    they didn’t name any names though.

    http://rsmccain.blogspot.com/2009/04/dont-believe-blog-hype.html

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124026415808636575.html

    http://pointofagun.blogspot.com/2009/04/bloggers-and-big-bucks.html

  • http://pointofagun.blogspot.com/ Dave C

    A similar story was ran a little over a year go.

    Mostly about how Bloggers easily earn $70,000 a year or so..

    they didn’t name any names though.

    http://rsmccain.blogspot.com/2009/04/dont-believe-blog-hype.html

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124026415808636575.html

    http://pointofagun.blogspot.com/2009/04/bloggers-and-big-bucks.html

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  • http://www.killtruck.wordpress.com KillTruck

    As opposed to Riehl’s temper tantrum this was actually helpful. It seems like he just doesn’t like The Daily Caller from the jump. I do, largely because they will criticize the right.

    I’m not going to pretend to be a big enough deal to have any insight on blogging for money. I will say the most important thing I’ve learned about political blogging in the 2 years I’ve been doing it is that I never, ever want my livelihood to depend on following daily politics.

    It seems like a rule of thumb should be if you had proof a lefty was using the same tactics what would you say in your blog about it?

  • http://www.killtruck.wordpress.com KillTruck

    As opposed to Riehl’s temper tantrum this was actually helpful. It seems like he just doesn’t like The Daily Caller from the jump. I do, largely because they will criticize the right.

    I’m not going to pretend to be a big enough deal to have any insight on blogging for money. I will say the most important thing I’ve learned about political blogging in the 2 years I’ve been doing it is that I never, ever want my livelihood to depend on following daily politics.

    It seems like a rule of thumb should be if you had proof a lefty was using the same tactics what would you say in your blog about it?

  • William

    But Stacy, if a Conservative candidate threw money your way, I would only respect them more!

    No, much better to send me a thousand “Ra-ra!” letters and bumper stickers and surveys. That won’t make me completely doubt my funds are being usefully spent, especially when I send it to out of state candidates.

  • William

    But Stacy, if a Conservative candidate threw money your way, I would only respect them more!

    No, much better to send me a thousand “Ra-ra!” letters and bumper stickers and surveys. That won’t make me completely doubt my funds are being usefully spent, especially when I send it to out of state candidates.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.wordpress.com Bob Belvedere

    Stacy wrote: Most conservative bloggers are part-timers, for whom a couple of hundred dollars a month would be a godsend. Trying to “monetize” Web traffic is a notoriously difficult task, and even successful full-time bloggers aren’t exactly “farting through silk,” to borrow P.J. O’Rourke’s colorful phrase. You’ll notice that Professor Glenn Reynolds hasn’t quit his day job, and Ace of Spades isn’t lighting Cohibas with $100 bills.

    Get ready to be licensed and tax.

    I think it safe to say in these Progressive Times, that this idea will metastasize out from Philly.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.wordpress.com Bob Belvedere

    Stacy wrote: Most conservative bloggers are part-timers, for whom a couple of hundred dollars a month would be a godsend. Trying to “monetize” Web traffic is a notoriously difficult task, and even successful full-time bloggers aren’t exactly “farting through silk,” to borrow P.J. O’Rourke’s colorful phrase. You’ll notice that Professor Glenn Reynolds hasn’t quit his day job, and Ace of Spades isn’t lighting Cohibas with $100 bills.

    Get ready to be licensed and tax.

    I think it safe to say in these Progressive Times, that this idea will metastasize out from Philly.

  • http://moelane.com Moe Lane

    “There is a glaring disconnect between these GOP clonebots and the conservative blogosphere, which tends to attract hell-raisers, wild cards and loose cannons who don’t like being told what to say and do.”

    I have been trying like hell to figure out which category of the three *I* fit into, and failing miserably. :)

  • http://moelane.com Moe Lane

    “There is a glaring disconnect between these GOP clonebots and the conservative blogosphere, which tends to attract hell-raisers, wild cards and loose cannons who don’t like being told what to say and do.”

    I have been trying like hell to figure out which category of the three *I* fit into, and failing miserably. :)

  • http://knappster.blogspot.com Thomas L. Knapp

    Every “mainstream journalist” who complains that bloggers may be making money takes home a paycheck himself.

    The difference between those “mainstream journalists” and bloggers is that most bloggers are very honest and straightforward about their beliefs and goals, while “mainstream journalists” hide behind a barricade of false “objectivity.”

    Not one “mainstream journalist” writes as honest and straightforward a five-point lead as The Other McCain does when he claims to just be reporting the news. When he’s purveying opinion, he makes it clear that that’s what it’s doing instead of trying to surreptitiously bury that opinion in factual claims where it might be taken as fact a la “mainstream journalism.”

  • http://knappster.blogspot.com Thomas L. Knapp

    Every “mainstream journalist” who complains that bloggers may be making money takes home a paycheck himself.

    The difference between those “mainstream journalists” and bloggers is that most bloggers are very honest and straightforward about their beliefs and goals, while “mainstream journalists” hide behind a barricade of false “objectivity.”

    Not one “mainstream journalist” writes as honest and straightforward a five-point lead as The Other McCain does when he claims to just be reporting the news. When he’s purveying opinion, he makes it clear that that’s what it’s doing instead of trying to surreptitiously bury that opinion in factual claims where it might be taken as fact a la “mainstream journalism.”

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  • Estragon

    I agree it would be far more efficient and effective for Whitman to have spread the money around the conservative blogosphere, through ad buys and just outreach. But it takes more time than writing the one check . . .

    Also, are we certain blog love is all Red County delivered to Whitman? Perhaps they acted as her agent to spread money around, or maybe they did online oppo research or dirty tricks? Maybe they were supplying her $15,000 a month coke habit, and threw in the blogging for free?

    Or maybe one of its owners is Meg’s campaign manager’s brother-in-law who really needed the income to move out of his sister’s house . . .

  • Estragon

    I agree it would be far more efficient and effective for Whitman to have spread the money around the conservative blogosphere, through ad buys and just outreach. But it takes more time than writing the one check . . .

    Also, are we certain blog love is all Red County delivered to Whitman? Perhaps they acted as her agent to spread money around, or maybe they did online oppo research or dirty tricks? Maybe they were supplying her $15,000 a month coke habit, and threw in the blogging for free?

    Or maybe one of its owners is Meg’s campaign manager’s brother-in-law who really needed the income to move out of his sister’s house . . .

  • http://theothermccain.com Robert Stacy McCain

    Also, are we certain blog love is all Red County delivered to Whitman?

    We are not certain, but if there is an innocent explanation, I’d certainly like to see it.

  • http://theothermccain.com Robert Stacy McCain

    Also, are we certain blog love is all Red County delivered to Whitman?

    We are not certain, but if there is an innocent explanation, I’d certainly like to see it.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.wordpress.com Bob Belvedere

    The Red Country situation is disturbing.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.wordpress.com Bob Belvedere

    The Red Country situation is disturbing.

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