December 12, 2004
THE CBS ATRIOS SMEAR that I mentioned earlier puzzled some people, including me: Why is CBS going out of its way to slam a left-wing blog?
But actually, on reflection, I think it makes sense. If you assume -- based on, you know, the unrelenting nature of their coverage -- that CBS is a left-leaning, Democrat-boosting network, and if you think (as a lot of people do) that the demographic for such is shrinking even as the number of outlets is growing in the blogosphere, then it makes sense. Who's a bigger rival for Dan Rather's audience: Atrios or Power Line? Daily Kos or Hugh Hewitt? (Fans of Frank Herbert's Dune will remember the scene where Paul Atreides eats off his neighbor's plate as an illustration of this phenomenon.)
On the underlying issue of bloggers' codes of ethics and the like, well, I kind of feel that my thinking is pretty well covered at considerable length elsewhere. But I do think that bloggers should disclose payments and support (at least beyond de minimis levels) from candidates and campaigns, and that the Daschle v. Thune guys should have disclosed the support they were getting. I don't think it would have mattered -- it's not as if there was any doubt which horse they were backing -- and it's only fair. (This, by the way, is the good thing about blogads, since it's pretty transparent where they come from. Thus I don't have to disclose the money I got from George Soros separately, since it came in the form of ad buys. Thanks again, George! It was much appreciated.)
I'm still waiting, of course, for CBS to turn ethical scrutiny on its constant pimping of Viacom projects attacking the Bush Administration. But then, I'm still waiting for CBS's RatherGate report, now well past its promised-by date.
UPDATE: Jim Lindgren has more thoughts on the missing RatherGate report.