Blogging for dollars

October 31, 2006 at 11:10 am

Danny Glover has put together a terrific post in which he details the salaries of some of the web’s top bloggers.

First there was the Blogometer…

October 25, 2006 at 6:16 pm

…now there is the Rightometer.

UPDATE: Speaking of the Blogometer, Erick at Red State has a few issues to discuss.

National Journal taunts conservative ’sphere

October 25, 2006 at 9:15 am

I like this little challenge from National Journal (subscription only):

You know who they are, the “safe” lawmakers in each party who amass huge warchests and then sit on them, quietly refusing to help vulnerable colleagues publicly begging for cash. Names like Meehan and Shelby come to mind. Sorry, guys. That gig might be up. — In yet another sign of their growing influence, Dem bloggers are shaming unopposed House Dems into donating a combined $26M to Dem candidates. (Bloggers have also nudged cash-heavy WH’08 Dems like Bayh, who has $11.3M in the bank). The Washington Times presses the NRSC’s case today, noting that Shelby, who isn’t up ’til ‘10, has a whopping $11.6M on hand (he spent a total of $1.9M in his ‘04 campaign). Will the right’s less active blogosphere join the chorus? — The debate focuses squarely on House Dems and Senate GOPers, highlighting a bizarre truth about cong. campaign cmtes. While the DSCC and NRCC traditionally have little trouble raising money from members, the NRSC and DCCC have long equated such tasks with pulling teeth. Will faceless bloggers achieve what powerful colleagues have failed to do?

UPDATE: John Hawkins is all over it.

HOTSOUP.com

October 19, 2006 at 9:21 am

A new political community website has launched. Here is how they describe themselves:

This is about you. HOTSOUP.com was created by four Democratic strategists, three Internet entrepreneurs, two Republican strategists and one journalist. But it’s not about us …. It’s about you…. You will debate and discuss serious issues in a civil manner, coming together to make new friends, new contacts and find new solutions to the problems that our leaders too often ignore …

When united, blogosphere has sway

October 16, 2006 at 11:13 am

UPDATE: They created a public link to the story here.

Congressional Quarterly has a great piece today about the blogosphere’s role in passing the Coburn-Obama transparency bill. Unfortunately, the publication is subscription only. Here is the beginning:

When legislation to create an online, searchable database of federal spending was stalled in the Senate last month, a small community of civic-minded bloggers who supported the bill did more than just comment on the delay: They launched a drive to find out who was holding up the measure and helped to expose the senators, freeing it up for final passage and President Bush’s signature.

In doing so, the bloggers showed that their personal Web journals can do more than just feed scandals, dethrone wayward lawmakers or bring mainstream journalists to heel. They also showed they have the power to move a piece of legislation — without spending cash, buttonholing lawmakers or hiring lobbyists.

Writing in his own online journal, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., praised the bloggers for their cooperation on the bill, saying they had created “a new model for participatory democracy in action.”

If that’s true, it’s unlikely that the model will be replicated very often. In this instance, the legislation itself — ordering a new federal spending database — united citizen watchdog bloggers of all political stripes toward a common goal. More typically, bloggers who get interested in legislation usually employ their medium to argue with other bloggers.

Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a group started in January to work for greater government transparency, applauded the bloggers’ victory on the bill. But he acknowledged it likely was an uncommon case. “When you have a wider partisan divide . . . I doubt that the blogosphere will have any more impact than any other group,” he said.

The key is finding those issues that hit the sweet spot.

Does the political left own web 2.0?

October 13, 2006 at 8:53 am

Robert Cox thinks the left is on its way to making the internet their conservative talk radio equivalent:

But it’s not just Google’s media and financial muscle that benefits the left. Liberals run the leading blog search engine — Technorati. They run the leading blog software manufacturer — Six Apart. They invented two of the most important blogging technologies — Podcasting and RSS. The list goes on and on.

It may not matter who manufacturers your radio since all points on the dial are equally accessible and the choice is tiny compared to the number of Web sites, but on the Internet, where popularity is often directly proportional to technological acumen and popularity, once achieved, breeds more popularity, who builds what means everything.

Glenn Reynolds seems unconcerned, noting that the right doesn’t own the infrastructure for talk radio.

I think Cox makes some legitimate points. Sites like YouTube who seem to be yanking many conservative leaning videos that attract more than a few hundred viewers have a lot of power. Sure YouTube has the right to yank these videos, especially the ones that are copyrighted material. But the evil genius is in the selective nature of the targeting. The site is chock full of copyrighted material that does not get pulled…of late only the popular conservative videos have been canned.

Still, to Cox’s larger point. I think he is right to be worried in so much as the great geniuses of the web 2.0 world — the technological pioneers of this new frontier — are largely liberal. Conservatives need their own web wizards out there building new technoligies, or at least more of them.

But even absent that development, I see some hope in the very nature of the blogosphere. It does not take a web wizard to run a political blog. I am exhibit A.

As long as individual citizens are continually able to self-publish without censorship there will be a caucaphony of conservative voices holding sites like YouTube accountable. Even liberal run sites are not immune from the occassional blog storm. After all, as these sites grow, they will have shareholders of all political stripes. They will have PR teams too that want to put the best public image out. In sum, their will be ways for them to be held accountable as long as conservative bloggers have voice.

More on yesterday’s government 2.0 panel

October 5, 2006 at 9:08 am

Federal Computer Week writes about the panel here, while Mark Tapscott who was on the panel gives his thoughts here. Tapscott captured a particularly good quote by fellow panelist Rebecca Carr, a journalist who writes for Cox News:

“As a traditional print journalist, I have to say I was amazed at the power of the bloggers. I couldn’t get over how effective they were at holding this government accountable. And what you see oftentimes in Washington is this caste system. And if it’s not in The New York Times or The Washington Post, it doesn’t matter.”But suddenly I was seeing that it didn’t matter that I wasn’t in the Times or the Post, my stories were being posted on their [Porkbusters.org and TPM Muckrakers] web sites or being mentioned on their web sites and they were actually carrying the ball further. I think in tandem we exposed a questionable practice of holding up legislation at the 11th hour for reasons I still don’t know. “

UPDATE: National Journal’s Tech Daily covered the event too.

UPDATE: Right Angle covers the panel, and so does Beltway Blogroll.

Government 2.0

October 4, 2006 at 2:56 pm

This afternoon Heritage hosted a lively panel of bloggers and others to talk about the significance of the passage of the Coburn/Obama transparency in government bill. The panel included Justin Rood (TPMmuckraker), Bill Allison (Sunlight Foundation), N.Z. Bear (truthlaidbear.com), Mark Tapscott (Washington Examiner/Tapscott’s Copy Desk) and Rebecca Carr (Cox News).

The panel talked about the formation of right/left coalitions and the potential for future cooperation, the power of the blogosphere to check government, the virtues of S. 2590, the rapidity with which the blogosphere can mobilize itself and much more.

Be sure to watch the program here.

OMB turning to bloggers for help

October 4, 2006 at 8:39 am

The Washington Post:

Call it the Office of Management and Blog-it.

The Office of Management and Budget is turning to bloggers for help in pushing the OMB’s government reform plans after last week’s success of its pet project, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, also known as the Coburn-Obama bill.

Today at 12:00 at Heritage a panel of bloggers and media types will assemble to talk about the passage of the Coburn-Obama transparency bill:

Over the summer a coalition of conservative and liberal bloggers formed to support legislation championed in the Senate by Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Barack Obama (D-IL). The Federal Funding Accountability Act promised to create a “google for government” resulting in more open and more transparent government. Finally, the taxpayer would be given the power to track the often shadowy shifting of federal funds in regard to grants and contracts. On September 26, President Bush signed S. 2590 into law and, in so doing, awarded a united blogosphere its first major policy victory. Join us as a panel of bloggers and journalists explains how the blogosphere was able to push a once-stalled piece of legislation across the finish line.

You can watch the webcast here.

Government 2.0

October 2, 2006 at 9:38 am

On Wednesday at the Heritage Foundation, I will host a panel of bloggers and journalists who helped push the Coburn/Obama transparency in government bill over the finish line. If you are in the area, please consider joining us.

Here is the blurb from the event:

Over the summer a coalition of conservative and liberal bloggers formed to support legislation championed in the Senate by Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Barack Obama (D-IL). The Federal Funding Accountability Act promised to create a “google for government” resulting in more open and more transparent government. Finally, the taxpayer would be given the power to track the often shadowy shifting of federal funds in regard to grants and contracts. On September 26, President Bush signed S. 2590 into law and, in so doing, awarded a united blogosphere its first major policy victory. Join us as a panel of bloggers and journalists explains how the blogosphere was able to push a once-stalled piece of legislation across the finish line.