TheCenterLane.com

© 2008 – 2018 John T. Burke, Jr.

Where’s Mine?

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April 13, 2009

Lately, I’ve been receiving blog comments wherein the writers tell their hard luck stories about the current recession.  My skeptical nature leads me to suspect these stories are fake and in fact, they may be the most recent incarnation of the Nigerian e-mail scam.  Rather than spamming large numbers of people with e-mails, the perpetrator simply posts a “comment” to a blog, telling a tale of woe and including an e-mail address.  The con artist then waits for generous people to start dumping money into his or her PayPal account (since the recipient’s e-mail address is all that is necessary to send funds).  With the economy in shambles, there are plenty of prosperous individuals who feel downright guilty about basking in good fortune while so many are suffering.  Human nature being what it is, many characters have sensed that the time is right to “put the touch on” those with bleeding hearts.

The other day, I received an e-mail from my brother, Mike.  It contained a link to a story in Advertising Age about how publishers of the more liberal-oriented blogs are pressuring liberal activist groups to advertise on those websites.   The article began with a quote from Greg Sargent of The Plum Line:

Some of the leading liberal bloggers are privately furious with the major progressive groups — and in some cases, the Democratic Party committees — for failing to spend money advertising on their sites, even as these groups constantly ask the bloggers for free assistance in driving their message.

Sargent’s piece included complaints from liberal bloggers who feel stiffed by the left-wing organizations they support with favorable postings:

“They come to us, expecting us to give them free publicity, and we do, but it’s not a two way street,” Jane Hamsher, the founder of FiredogLake, said in an interview.  “They won’t do anything in return.  They’re not advertising with us.   …”

*    *    *

“Most want the easy way — having a big blogger promote their agenda,” adds Markos Moulitsas, the founder of DailyKos.  “Then they turn around and spend $50K for a one-page ad in the New York Times or whatever.”  Moulitsas adds that officials at such groups often do nothing to engage the sites’s audiences by, say, writing posts, instead wanting the bloggers to do everything for them.

The Ad Age article, by Ken Wheaton, contained a link to a posting by John Cook of Gawker, entitled:  “Left Wing Blogs Try on Extortion as a Business Model”.  Cook explained why it would not make sense for progressive activist groups to advertise on blogs whose readership already may contribute to those groups without seeing an ad reminding them to do so:

Unless Hamsher, Moulitsas, et. al. start attracting enormous numbers of readers who aren’t already politically engaged and don’t already agree with Americans United for Exchange, then the group would be wasting its money on their sites.  The point is to persuade and rally the actual country, not the liberal echo chamber.  The only reason for the left-wing establishment to divert more ad dollars to the blogs than it already is would be to keep them happy, well-fed, and useful.

Ken Wheaton voiced similar logic in the Ad Age article:

Earth to left-wing bloggers:  If I’m a Democratic group, why am I going to pay to advertise on your sites?  It’s the epitome of preaching to the converted.

This is exactly why these liberal groups should start advertising with me on TheCenterLane.com.  This is a centrist blog, attracting readers from across the entire political spectrum.  If you want to reach those people, this is the place to do it.  Additionally, these groups should publicize and speak highly of TheCenterLane.com as much as possible in order to draw more views to their ads appearing on this blog.  This website would be a good place for conservatives to advertise, as well.  However, conservatives are by their very nature, uh  …  tight with money and as a result, they would probably be less willing to part with it in order to advertise on a large number of blogs.  Nevertheless, the invitation remains open.

Just think about it:  What good has the DailyKos blog ever done for the Democrats?  They promoted that inane rumor that Bristol Palin was the “real” mother of Trig.  Everyone knows that Down syndrome is a risk arising from pregnancy during the mid to late forties.  The idea that Bristol was the mother rather than Sarah, was just plain stupid.  On the other hand, if the Democratic Party were to advertise on my website, I could start a rumor that Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are going to make a porno together.  Now that’s a story with LEGS (in every sense)!

So get with it, Democrats and Republicans!  If you want some really vile rumors about your opponents (and their family members) to start spreading through the blogosphere, advertise here!

This Flip Is Bound To Flop

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August 4, 2008

Most of the criticism directed against Barack Obama this past week concerned what has been described as his “Celebrity” status.   The McCain camp actually believes that this theme hurts Obama.  Greg Sargent reported in TalkingPointsMemo.com that McCain is spending over $140,000 per day to run the ad featuring Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.  This, according to Sargent, amounts to roughly one third of McCain’s TV ad spending.  Meanwhile, many of us in the audience are wondering whether this ad campaign may actually be helping Obama.  Given America’s fascination with celebrities, might some people be motivated to vote for Obama simply to put a celebrity in the White House?

For his part, Obama disappointed many of us last week with his “flip” on the issue of offshore oil drilling.  There is unanimous consensus among experts on the point that planning new offshore oil rigs will do nothing to effect the availability of gasoline for approximately ten years.  By then, we will likely have the infrastructure and technology available for cost-effective electric cars.  Nevertheless, Obama appeared to be reacting to mounting pressure from the Republicans to allow for more offshore drilling.  Worse yet, new poll results reveal that a majority of Americans actually believe that enacting legislation to permit more offshore drilling would reduce the price of gasoline now.  A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released on July 30 revealed that 69% of the respondents favored offshore drilling, with 51% actually believing that legislation approving increased offshore drilling would lower oil prices within the next year.  The people participating in these polls were probably the same poll participants who expressed belief (and who probably still do believe) that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the September 11 attacks.  Rather than attempting to educate those “low information voters” on the futility of planning more oil platforms to solve today’s problems, Obama has chosen to drink the Kool Aid favored by McCain and announce that he supports expanded offshore drilling.  One would have expected this issue to die when McCain had to cancel a speech he was going to give on an oil rig, because of Hurricane Dolly on July 24.  If he wanted to, Obama could have chosen to ridicule McCain for this failed stunt and criticize McCain’s claim that Hurricanes Rita and Katrina did not damage any oil rigs located in the Gulf of Mexico.  As reported by Michael Shear of The Washington Post on July 23, those hurricanes actually destroyed 113 oil rigs, contrary to McCain’s claim.

The article by Adam Smith and Wes Allison of The St. Petersburg Times on August 1, contrasted Obama’s earlier campaign promise with his current position.  Quoting a speech given by the candidate early this summer, they included this passage:

“And when I am president,” Obama said in June in Chicago, “I will keep the moratorium in place and prevent oil companies from drilling off Florida’s coasts.  That’s how we can protect our coasts and still make the investments that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and bring down gas prices for good.”

Obama’s new position on this subject goes back to that same type of compromise we saw him demonstrate by voting in favor of the FISA “wiretap” bill.  The voting public is not likely to see this type of weak compromise as the sort of “change” promised by the sign on the podium.

Looking back to Jonathan Darman’s July 11 article for Newsweek, he discussed the results of their poll taken on July 9 – 10.  Senator Obama voted in favor of the controversial FISA bill on July 9 (after having discussed his intention to do so a week earlier).  This poll revealed that the Democrat lost his 12-point lead among independent voters and fell behind McCain among independents by 7 points.  The people “sitting on the fence”, the independents, are the voters tracking Obama’s campaign moves with the most scrutiny.  They are also the voters he needs most.  This latest “flip” in favor of offshore oil drilling could have the same effect on the independent voters as his vote in favor of FISA.  Given Obama’s concern about the poll results concerning the popularity of offshore drilling, the next poll results to show the impact of his position change on this subject, particularly from the perspective of independent voters, might give him a good scare.