|May 19, 2006||EDITORIAL ARCHIVES|
Sometimes, You've Received So Much Accolade For Being A Good Guy, You Don't Realize It When You've Become A Bad One. Let's Hope It's Only A Momentary Lapse.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
Since we began posting editorials about how many of the large progressive blogs are running a fraudulent Telecom ad aimed at undermining the pro-democracy Internet, none of those blogs running the ad -- to our knowledge -- have taken it down. (See www.buzzflash.com/editorial/06/05/edi06036.html, which has embedded links to all the editorials.) They appear to have decided -- alone or together -- to take a stand to defend the right of Telecom companies to undermine the freedom of the Internet through deception.
One of the leading blogs, Eschaton (AKA, Atrios, edited by Duncan Black), wrote a note earlier in the week on why it wouldn't take the ad down at that time. In his justification for running the deceptive Telecom ad, Atrios claims: "My ad policy is, roughly, accept any ad that is work safe (both the ad and whatever page it links to) and isn't at a glance advertising something obviously fraudulent (the blogads version of a Nigerian email scam)."
Yet, as we have pointed out again and again, the real "Save the Internet" site features the very ad in question as their "Big Lie of the Week." Now we may not be from Philadelphia, like Atrios is, but in Chicago "fraudulent" and "Big Lie of the Week" are synonymous. So, excuse us if we are a bit confused, particularly considering the stakes of bringing down the Internet as we know it.
Similarly, Josh Marshall, in yet another e-mail forwarded to us by a progressive Internet reader explained, in Marshall's latest iteration on Thursday, his decision to continue running what we call the "steal the Internet" Telecom ad this way: "We don't accept or reject ads based on political content. Rejecting an ad you disagree with because you believe it is deceptive, which i do, is just a backdoor way of rejecting it for political content. I hope you're not gullible enough to think we're sticking to this policy because of the price of one one-week duration ad. Josh"
As the writer of the e-mail to Josh Marshall responded: "You are admitting that you believe the ad is deceptive! Yet you refuse to take it off your site, thereby inviting readers to click on an ad you KNOW and BELIEVE to be deceptive. Consequently, you are violating a trust that your readership has with you. They expect honesty, truth, and facts from you. Yet, you won't reject the ad because to do so would supposedly violate some vaunted principal you have of not rejecting an ad for its political content? The only conclusion that can be made is that you owe more allegiance to your advertisers than you do your readers."
Marshall also wrote to the reader that he didn't request confidentiality from BuzzFlash, only that we wouldn't publish ALL his e-mails to us about this issue.
So, we won't post them all, but we will offer you an excerpt that is particularly odd considering what he later wrote the reader.
"Our ad policy states that we reserve the right to reject ads on the basis of appropriateness," Marshall e-mailed to BuzzFlash on Wednesday. "And over the last three years we've actually rejected a number of anti-Bush ads on that basis."
Uh, we are confused again, just as we were with Atrios. Fraudulent ads are obviously appropriate to Marshall, since he admits that the ads are deceptive. He won't reject ads for political content, he says, but he rejected "a number of anti-Bush ads."
Have we stepped into a progressive blog version of a Bush parallel universe?
Finally, we wanted to address, once again, the justification that some blog followers of the individuals posting the "seize the Internet" ads have used. They argue that no one reads ads anyway on these blogs. We already pointed out, in a prior editorial, that the corporations and lobbying groups that spent somewhere around $6.5 billion on Internet ads last year must be as dumb as doornails if no one reads the ads. Since American commerce is built on advertising, we trust that they put the billions of dollars into Internet ads because people do indeed read them -- and they do indeed work.
Second of all, the specific service that these high-trafficked progressive blogs use for ads, BlogAds, weighs in on this issue on their website. This is what they have to tell potential advertisers about why they should pay to post ads on the liberal blogs in question: "Combined, these [liberal] blogs receive more than one million page views per day from highly informed, dedicated, and influential liberals and progressives. Over 75% of the audience of these blogs either donated to or volunteered for a campaign in 2004. With a median income of $75K, and a median age of 40, readers of these blogs tend to be affluent and young. Click-thru rates also tend to be twice the typical online average."*
Allow us to repeat the last sentence: "Click-thru rates also tend to be twice the typical online average."
As we have noted from our first editorial on Monday, we are dismayed that many of the top progressive liberal blogs not only chose to run a definitively fraudulent ad aimed at privatizing the Internet and seizing it from the American people, we are appalled that most of them smugly continue to do so.
We have no interest in wounding the progressive blogs. To the contrary, they are sorely needed in the battle for democracy. They have been a vital force in disclosing the dishonesty of the Bush Administration. And they have created vibrant Internet communities and energized progressives.
But that is no excuse for running the Telecom "steal the Internet" ad. No excuse at all.
Sometimes, you've received so much accolade for being a good guy, you don't realize it when you've become a bad one. Let's hope it's only a momentary lapse.
Because the future of the Internet is at stake.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
*Not all the blogs on the BlogAds list are carrying the Telecom "steal the Internet" ad, either because the Telecom front group didn't choose to pay to post on their sites or like Alternet, they chose not to post the ad. In addition, we would hope that when the current ad period expires, the progressive blogs in question will finally eat humble pie and do the right thing and drop the ads.
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