You can learn a number of things—how sensitive bloggers are, how befuddled the mainstream media still is about them—from the reaction to this chart. Beltway Blogroll maestro Daniel Glover, one of the better diggers in the professional blogs (he chased down at least one story I've ripped off) was counting off all the bloggers who'd taken the plunge to work for political candidates; the New York Times thought this information was dynamite. Jim Webb bete noire John Henke makes an appearence, as does Crashing the Gate co-author Jerome Armstrong.
Most of the aggrieved are liberal bloggers— Atrios (who doesn't appear on the list as he's never worked for a candidate), Steve Gilliard, Whisky Fire. Their take: Why won't you all f-f-f-fade away? And don't try and dig what we all say? Atrios:
The consistency with which elite media outlets obviously fuck up news stories which I a) know something a lot about and b) are largely verifiable through relatively easy means doesn't make me very confident about their reporting on the stuff that I don't know anything about and therefore can't easily check.
It's a weird story—one of those things that's not notable for the news it contains (which everyone already knew) but how it packages said news. It starts with the premise that's there's something inherently newsy about connecting dollar signs to so-called activists. Well, is there? Most of the bloggers Glover scarlet-letters were completely open and disclosed about their choice to become hacks for the politicians who paid them. (Indeed, it's incredibly dishonest to lump people like Jerome Armstrong, who quit blogging when he was hired by Mark Warner, with Patrick Hynes, who mysteriously upped his bashing of Mitt Romney and only later was revealed to be consulting for John McCain.) And how is that any different or more interesting than enviromental activists or pro-life activists or journalists making the plunge to political campaigns?
The interesting story isn't the money but the more depressing way politicians are continuing to turn blogs into wings of the Red and Blue teams. As I wrote in a review of Armstrong's book (coupled with a review of Glenn Reynolds'):
In the progressive future of Crashing the Gate, blogs aren't going to demolish the old party system or remake Washington. They'll be one cog in a powerful "left-wing conspiracy" that will win the country back from the GOP. (The "conspiracy" phrasing is tongue-in-cheek.) Sites like Daily Kos, they promise, will do for Democrats what Rush Limbaugh did for the Republican Revolution. This is already manifesting itself on Kos, as the offices of Democratic politicians such as Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, Wisconsin Sen. Russell Feingold, and Michigan Rep. John Conyers post "diaries"— press releases plus earnestness and hyperlinks—for the consumption of the blog community. There's already an answer to this on the right at RedState.com, which often features diaries by Republican congressmen and conservative radio hosts. Traffic to both sites is growing healthily, at the cost of dividing much of the political blogosphere into left-wing and right-wing echo chambers.
There's no scandal there, and it's a little tiresome to close your eyes and wish that bloggers would rediscover themselves as nonpartisan truthsayers.