“It’s standard operating procedure” to pay bloggers for favorable coverage, says one Republican campaign operative. A GOP blogger-for-hire estimates that “at least half the bloggers that are out there” on the Republican side “are getting remuneration in some way beyond ad sales.”
In California, where former eBay executive Meg Whitman beat businessman Steve Poizner in a bitterly fought primary battle in the campaign for governor, it sometimes seemed as if there was a bidding war for bloggers.
One pro-Poizner blogger, Aaron Park, was discovered to be a paid consultant to the Poizner campaign while writing for Red County, a conservative blog about California politics. Red County founder Chip Hanlon threw Park off the site upon discovering his affiliation, which had not been disclosed.
But while Red County’s Hanlon expressed outrage at Park’s pay-for-blogging scheme, questions arose about his own editorial independence when it emerged that Red County itself had been taking money from the Whitman campaign.
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.
The money is ostensibly for advertising, yet by conventional measures the numbers don’t add up. According to Quantcast, Red County reaches around 125,000 unique viewers per month. Two new media industry experts confirmed that, given such a readership, Whitman’s ad purchase is “ridiculously” expensive, surpassing the going market rate for such ads by 1,000 percent or more.
On the Republican side of the aisle, political campaigns are just one big gravy train, meanwhile George Soros still hasn’t sent me a fucking check. Dang.
Meanwhile, lefties can’t even get Democrats to advertise on liberal blogs. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with this picture?
Obviously we’ve all known for years that some conservative bloggers are on the GOP dole; it’s also been rumored that the Republican Party and conservative organizations pay people to comment on blogs. I haven’t been able to verify if that’s true; of course a big chunk of my comment spam is paid commercial crap, selling jewelry and casino vacations and other nonsense. It stands to reason that conservative organizations would do likewise.
Anyway, $15,000 a month? Holy crap. Compare that to the $3 to $5 per 300-500 word article sweatshop pay which according to Craigslist, MediaBistro, Demand Studios, etc. is the going rate. So while right-wing Christian billionaire Phillip Anschutz’s Examiner.com throws a few pennies in writers’ tin cups, apparently we should all go straight to GOP candidates and rake in the big bucks.