Blogging for pay??? Say it ain’t so!


Uncle Volodya says, "We're wise to 'em, ain't we, Comrade?"

The Russian Flag, as it appears to adults

Well, that was fun; let’s do another one! How about this disingenuous and selective analysis? According to the author, a “network” of (so far) 38 Russian bloggers has been paid to write positive posts about the Moscow Police. She goes on to suggest you ignore the “false analogy” to the U.S., which is another way of saying America’s practice of trying to influence public opinion through blogs is not the same thing at all. Paying somebody to say they like a particular product, she says, is quite different from paying a blogger to say the police “don’t crack skulls”. 

Is that what these blogs are saying? There is no evidence offered which suggests bloggers are whitewashing police crimes or pretending violence doesn’t happen. The article (which La Russophobe simply copied and pasted in its entirety) says bloggers were invited – for pay – to write positive “puff pieces” about the Moscow police.  The angle that they’re being used to paper over police violence – which, when it occurs, is presumably reported in other sources that have a much wider circulation – is a typical unsupported intuitive leap for this loopy basket case. 

But that’s not what really interested me. La Russophobe wants you to ignore what the linked reference says about blogging-for-bucks in the USA. Let’s not. Let’s take a look at it.  According to the Wall Street Journal, nearly as many Americans make their living as bloggers as do Americans practicing law. About 1.7 million bloggers in the U.S. profit from their work, we are told, and of those nearly a half-million do so as their primary source of income. What were those 38 Russian bloggers supposedly getting? Around $63.00 for the first post, and $31.00 for each successive post? Be pretty hard to make a living at that, what? 

Again quoting from the reference regarding blogging for pay in the USA, “Less and less of our information flow is devoted to gathering facts, and more and more is going toward popularizing opinion.” That sounds considerably more ambitious than being paid to say you love Proctor & Gamble’s new shampoo, wouldn’t you say? Well, how much money are we talking, here? “Bloggers can get $75 to $200 for a good post”. And Russian bloggers are maundering on about how nice the Moscow Police are, for $31.00 a post? Guys, get with the now; maybe you could actually make a living at it if you knew your own worth. Try $75,000.00 a year for a median income as a paid blogger. 

I’m not sure that accurately expresses what it is about the La Russophobe post that annoys me; it’s the typical (for her) implication that Russians are engaged in something underhanded and sneaky, which Americans would never do simply because Americans don’t do sneaky underhanded things. 

Is that an accurate representation of fact, do you think? Once again I must bless the George W. Bush presidency – which was so sneaky and underhanded it might as well have been called “Sneaky & Underhanded R Us” –  for providing so many graphic examples of its dedication to spin and message control even unto breaking the law and beyond.  Check out this memorable example, in which conservative columnist Armstrong Williams illegally accepted nearly a quarter-million in taxpayer money for making Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program look like something other than the pig’s ear it was. In case you thought about going with the former president’s opinion that this practice was not illegal, you should know that the General Accounting Office (GAO) said it was. Let me see; who to believe…..a known knee-jerk liar, or a bunch of lawyers who are paid to know what’s illegal and what’s not. Boy, tough call. It’d be slightly less a mockery magnet if that were the only example – but it’s not. The GAO ruled the Bush government also broke the anti-propaganda laws when it disguised promotional spots on federal drug policy and the new Medicare prescription-drug policy as TV news segments. 

America has always been a can-do nation, unsatisfied with the status quo. Sometimes this extends to increasing the grip advertising has over public opinion. Not contented in merely seeding the news with policy plugs disguised as investigative journalism, some prominent American media outlets simply hire extremist bloggers to write the news. It’s worth noting that nutbar former blogger Marc Thiessen defended waterboarding, and uses a personal yardstick rationale that says, “If you’re willing to try it, it’s not torture”. No, I’m not kidding.

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