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BLOGGERGATE: Unfolding Scandal or False Alarm?

by Richard Poe
Sunday, October 12, 2003

1:58 pm Eastern Time
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NewsMax Bloggergate Story

NewsMax ran a slightly edited version of my October 11, 2007 Bloggergate story on October 18, 2007. The NewsMax version appeared here.

BLOGGERGATE: A 7-Part Series
Hillary, Soros and the Blog-for-Pay Scandal that Never Made the News

Bloggers Take Democrat Bribes, October 10, 2003

BLOGGERGATE: Unfolding Scandal or False Alarm?, October 12, 2003

BLOGGERGATE: Media Matters Implicated in Blogger Payoffs, October 10, 2006

The Hillary-Soros Axis, October 5, 2007

BLOGGERGATE: Hillary Leads Army of Paid Bloggers, October 11, 2007

Hillary’s Paid Bloggers, October 22, 2007

Hillary Planned Bloggergate in 1995, October 29, 2007



It appears that the Bloggergate scandal is fizzling out, almost as fast as it erupted.

Bloggers raised a hue and cry when an October 8 article in The Hill reported that, “[Howard] Dean has done other things to maximize his online fundraising punch, like reinvesting money into expanding donor lists and paying `bloggers’ or professional Internet surfers to keep the enthusiasm up on his website.”

Paying bloggers?

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal‘s Best of the Web blog siezed on that phrase, assuming that it meant corrupt bloggers were being paid covertly, under the table, to laud Democrat candidate Howard Dean.

“Many bloggers, of course, genuinely are independent commentators, but there’s no easy way of knowing which ones are on the take,” he wrote.

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit approached the issue more cautiously, however.

“Really, I think the story that everyone’s so excited about is being misconstrued,” Reynolds opined on October 9.. “I think Dean’s paying Matt Gross [to run his campaign blog], just as Clark is paying Cam Barrett. I don’t think the story’s about sub rosa payments to bloggers for good treatment.”

Now Taranto appears to be backtracking. On Friday, he linked to blogger Ed Cone, who writes:

The blogging scandal that wasn’t.

Lots of blogging goin’ on claiming that this article says the Dean campaign is paying independent bloggers for their kind words. Suspects named in various blog commentary range from Oliver Willis to Glenn Reynolds.

Not so, says Dean blogger Zephyr Teachout. “We have one paid fulltime blogger, that’s Matt Gross. I am a paid staffer, I blog sometimes, but mostly do online organizing.” She says nobody who is not a staffer gets paid to blog for Dean.

I also asked Alex Bolton, the staff writer at The Hill who wrote the article, if he meant to imply that any blogger other than those appearing on the Dean campaign weblog is getting paid by the campaign. “No,” said Bolton. “I meant people contributing to Dean’s own site.”

Oh.

So let me get this straight. One of Dean’s junior staffers denies any hanky panky. Fine. That’s to be expected. More importantly, The Hill‘s reporter Alex Bolton, who broke the story, also denies any funny business on the part of Dean’s people. But of course Bolton only knows what Dean’s people tell him.

Personally, I’m going to reserve judgment. The fact is, if Bolton’s source at Dean headquarters accidentally leaked something to Bolton that he wasn’t supposed to leak, Bolton is not necessarily the ultimate authority on how to interpret that slip of the tongue. Bolton’s interpretation may well be unnecessarily charitable, and Taranto’s first reaction to the report may have been spot on.

But, okay. Let’s not belabor the point. I’ll stand down on Bloggergate… for now.

NewsMax Bloggergate Story

NewsMax ran a slightly edited version of my October 11, 2007 Bloggergate story on October 18, 2007. The NewsMax version appeared here.

BLOGGERGATE: A 7-Part Series
Hillary, Soros and the Blog-for-Pay Scandal that Never Made the News

Bloggers Take Democrat Bribes, October 10, 2003

BLOGGERGATE: Unfolding Scandal or False Alarm?, October 12, 2003

BLOGGERGATE: Media Matters Implicated in Blogger Payoffs, October 10, 2006

The Hillary-Soros Axis, October 5, 2007

BLOGGERGATE: Hillary Leads Army of Paid Bloggers, October 11, 2007

Hillary’s Paid Bloggers, October 22, 2007

Hillary Planned Bloggergate in 1995, October 29, 2007


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  1. […] One obvious method is to buy favorable coverage. Hillary’s boast carries a strong implication that she has subsidized bloggers. Regular readers of Poe.com will be reminded of Bloggergate — a little-known, but ever-burgeoning, scandal which we have followed on this blog since 2003. (1) […]



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