Blogger Burn Out #3…a Continuing Conversation

(Third in a series about Blogger Burn Out (BBO) and the effective Future of Political Blogging. Part 1, Part 2 and Bob Geiger’s originating post.)

Hart has many good points in his reply to Part 2 about effective Political Blogger/Writer funding. (Hart’s post expands the conversation from a new Blog Owner Business Model to include the individual writer and Blog Owner in the same topic.) Here’s the two points that hit me the hardest:


[Blogging is]<> the cheapest media to put the word out with, and you’d think that someone in the Leftie Foundationsphere would understand how to finance blogging in the same or like manner that the Rightie foundations have supported and financed reliably “conservative” journalists for years now.

The use of non-profit, 527’s or businesses to support bloggers in an effort to impact the ‘conversation’ is a topic that has NOT been addressed in the Progressive/Liberal Foundation ‘World’…at least to my knowledge it hasn’t.

What a simple concept! We have hundreds of PAC’s, 527’s, Non-profits and private party businesses that could hire or somehow support blogging efforts.

The key concept is that blogging is more than Candidate Support. Most Campaigns have endorsed and acted on the concept of Campaign Bloggers many of whom are also Online Communication Directors.[The next step is to accept that the two positions are entirely different.]

So why haven’t we, the Progressive Bloggers and Foundation World, had that conversation?

I don’t know. Now that Hart has put it into print the concept seems obvious. So what tools do we have to spread the concept and conversation?

[That’s a REAL question. I’m asking for your input, DemDaily!]


That staffer is being paid to do the job, posting within the consensus ideology of that foundation. It may be a “charitable,” foundation (i.e. 100% tax deductible to the donor) but it can spread all the ideology it wants. Which is EXACTLY what the Heritage Foundation has done since the 1970s.

I wonder if the reason we, The Democratic Foundation/PAC World, haven’t grasped the implications of funded blogging/writing etc is that the concept is based in ‘long-term’/generational thinking?

My favorite public figure is, by far, Wes Clark. One of Clark’s central issues in policy communication is that his ideas, concepts and policies are, without exception, generational (very long-term) commitments. In a culture devoted to quarterly earnings statements and instant media it’s problematic whether long term commitments are viable.

The Conservative Right and the Wacko Religious Right, (I do not accept that the two are the same), avoided this issue by discussing the concept privately at meetings held regularly by the funding sources of the Foundations and PAC’s. There was no public discussion. The concept and resulting plans were created privately and funded in the same manner.

It’s a model worth considering.

We need research work on the model they’ve created, the Conservative Movement that, over a period of decades, overtook the Federal Government. I believe anything that successful is worth understanding. [And of course here’s another project that would benefit from funding.]

Perhaps the most effective action any DemDaily reader could take today is to post this topic on other blogs and email alert others to this series of posts. Please post replies as we need this conversation to continue.

The reality is that we need a new Blog Owner Business Model and we also need a new model of individual Blogger financial support. The two could be same in some circumstances. Or not.

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5 Responses to Blogger Burn Out #3…a Continuing Conversation

  1. Stuart

    Quite a few of the PAC’s already have their own blogs and some independent bloggers have gone to work for various PAC’s. I think the issue here is that there are a lot of small blogs that aren’t getting the recognition, traffic and support that the bigger blogs do. Key is finding a way to bring some revenue to smaller B and C list blogs.

  2. Pamela, I think you’re missing the bigger picture that Stuart sees: the generational thinking.

    I need to tell a story that was told me second-hand, by a realiable source:

    At the 1962 World Science Fiction Convention, Theodore Sturgeon was the Guest of Honor. And at one point, he found himself being shuttled in an elevator to the penthouse of a Chicago hotel.

    Upstairs were a group of very wealthy, very powerful men, who introduced themselves and offered him a business proposition:

    I’ve just bought the next president of the United States, Sturgeon was told, and we want YOU to write his speeches for him. We will pay you well. I don’t know if they described HOW well, but it was much weller than Sturgeon saw as a writer in fat times, it cannot be doubted.

    Sturgeon said that at the time he understood it to be Ronald Reagan. Again, the story is second-hand.

    He told the gathered cabal, “But I don’t agree with your politics.”

    They said, “That’s all right. You can influence the speeches with your writing.”

    Mr. Sturgeon, believing this to be fundamentally impossible and chilling, made the most graceful exit possible, for you don’t insult people like these.

    The point is: the understanding of how VALUABLE words were in the purely rhetorical battle of politics was understood by the Righties in ’62, but while they have carefully cultivated their ideas, and their means of disseminating those ideas from that day to this, when the “ideas” represented are often nothing more than a UNIFIED bellowing of today’s propaganda point.

    But they have valued their words, and paid for them, and we haven’t. And see the result.

    The blogs represent an opportunity to unleash a guerilla army of bloggers into the ideological lock-step of their machinery. We don’t want to hate them so much that we BECOME them (the great error of the DNC through the ’90s). But we want to oppose their rhetoric, with GOOD rhetoric of our own.

    The bloggers are, like the speechwriters, the armorers of the battle of words that a committment to democracy equally commits us to.

    The whole “campaign hires a blogger on staff” to churn out happy news about the candidate fundamentally misses the point. We are actually taking good bloggers OFF line as campaigns “buy” them in that way.

    What we need is a fertile loam of rhetorical armorers to counter the endless vile hate campaigns that will be springing up all over the land for the spring primary and the fall campaign of 2008.

    Again: there are a lot of talented bloggers out there, and if ‘grants’ could be made to ‘increase the diversity of thought’ to promising bloggers, and let them go, I think that would be not only the antidote to the West Wing fax machine, but could really start several dialogues regarding policy.

    The point is that we don’t honor our words, and we don’t see why we need to plant the seeds of a generational Democratic majority. The money is there. It just isn’t being channelled into the right places.

    Blog owners, blog writers or blog posters? Well, all of the above. It serves an immediate and an ongoing need. Words ARE, contrary to some thought, important. And wordsmiths are NOT — no matter what amateurs may proclaim — in any great or bountiful supply.

    We need to pay our writers.


  3. Hart

    I get what Stuart was saying, we’ve discussed the whole money issue over and over actually and our heads are still spinning trying to figure it out.

    I was trying point out that some PAC’s are utilizing bloggers for hire and some of this (creating PAC’s) has already been done if I am not mistaken by the bigger bloggers (A-List bloggers).

    Now we’re left with the 2nd and 3rd tier bloggers who are struggling to have a voice and be heard. How do we 1) compete with the high traffic blogs that link amongst themselves and continue to feed their own and 2) how do we get a share of the funding.

    There’s no reason our talents should be utilized and compensated. A lot of what are we have been seeing is why pay when these “bloggers’ will do it for free mentality and and now the smaller bloggers who are working just as hard as the bigger bloggers are getting burnt out.

    So ideally we need to pool our resources, band together and create a way to make this equitable and useful for all.

    I get so much email daily from PAC’s, politicians, etc that want me to wirte about stuff, it’s ridiculous. Much of it is unsolicitated. We’re all feeling the crunch of being overloaded. For me, I’m balancing in effect 2 online businesses with this blog and my business and 3 websites.

    The moeny definitely needs to be channeled differently. I think a lot of bloggers agree on that.

  4. I still don’t think you’re hearing me.

    Mostly because your response doesn’t actually deal with any issue that I raised, but only restates the narrow focus of your prior comment.

    Right now, what’s being roused and/or raised, when we were talking about thinking outside the box is mostly stuff inside the selfsame box.

    Which hasn’t led us anywhere, so far.

  5. Hart

    I do understand. Yes we need to pay our writers. The money isn’t being channeled properly. My point was some of what you and Stuart have suggested has already done with larger blogs and bloggers. Next comes the trickle down to do something for the smaller blogs and bloggers.