On the back of the news that Howard Dean’s campaign paid two pro-Dean bloggers for “consulting”, with the goal of influencing their blog posts, the Wall Street Journal reports today that this revelation:
shook the confidence of many people in the blogosphere
If this WSJ report was a blog posting, that line would have to include a link to supporting evidence. But it’s not a blog posting, so it doesn’t - and I don’t think the supporting evidence could be found anyway.
Let’s be clear, here: Both bloggers, who were openly pro-Dean long before his campaign started paying them “consulting” fees, disclosed on their blogs that they were employed by Dean. Why in the world this would shake anyone’s confidence in the blogosphere is beyond me. I could see it maybe shaking someone’s confidence in the two specific blogs involved, even though the bloggers fully disclosed their connection to the Dean operation. But beyond that, it gets a little crazy.
The nature of the blogosphere is that individual blogs are constantly subjected to an ongoing peer review. That’s how credibility is earned, undermined, and maintained. Through that ongoing peer review, blogs lose credibility and they gain it. To suggest that that self-regulation, that system of checks and balances that no boss or law has imposed - but that thrives anyway - undermines the blogosphere is bizarre. It’s one of the things the blogosphere does best, and with so few people trusting big media to get it right, I think it’s bloody cheeky - as they say here in London - for Wall Street Journal reporters to be writing unsubstantiated lines about “many people” having their confidence in the blogosphere shaken.
After all, who brought the news to light of the aims with which these two bloggers had been paid by the Dean campaign? Yep, that’s right - another blogger. (She thinks the WSJ line about shaken confidence in the blogosphere is dubious, too.)