As a blogger who toils in relative obscurity (well, so far anyway), I can understand the thought process some might have when faced with a big payday. Such was apparently the case in a scandal that Robert Stacy McCain has written about frequently of late called MalaysiaGate, where a number of bloggers bagged nearly $400,000 from the Malaysian government to sugarcoat their stories. As he notes on the subject:
If powerful Malaysian interests had been willing to pay $400,000 to obtain the services of a natural-born smartass, how quickly would I have cashed that check? Immediately.
Let’s not kid anybody. Honesty is a virtue, and it would be dishonest to present myself as morally superior to Josh Treviño, Ben Domenech and their friends, simply because I have never sought the kind of reputation that would make my services valuable to the ruling regimes of foreign nations.
When I read about this, I was like “damn! Someone actually values the blogosphere enough to drop 400 grand on it?!?” Hell, I’d be happy to get a half-dozen advertisers at my going rate and a gig that pays me a few hundred dollars a week. Obviously I can’t speak for other bloggers – although I tend to agree with McCain’s take on the subject, which is well worth reading; I’ll wait for you – but there is a growing community of citizen journalists who could be harnessed in the right direction if the finances were there from a conservative benefactor.
The point is that we all have our own reasons for doing what we do. McCain makes a reasonable enough living at it, but he’s the exception to the rule. Most other bloggers have other outside jobs, whether they’re in the world of words or completely outside of it as one of mine is. (I also have freelance clients so I run in both circles.)
But we toil in order to make a difference in some way, and that includes bloggers on the other side of the political aisle as well. (They just happen to be wrong.) I know a few of them personally but most of them, particularly from outside Maryland, I’ve never met aside from on Facebook. It’s a reason I’m looking forward to CPAC, even if I’m only there for a limited time, because of the potential of meeting a few of them and others worth knowing in this extended family of ours.
And we do help each other out. I’m pretty careful about giving hat tips or credit where due, as I would hope that others are about my original material. Nor do I mind helping out other bloggers, with Jackie Wellfonder being one example.
Most bloggers would end with the pitch to hit their tip jar, but I’m going to be a little different. I have a long list of blogs I link to, some national and some local. One thing I try to do is keep the list stocked with blogs which are local or national in scope and are frequently updated, because a blog which doesn’t change often isn’t one which holds my interest (and probably not yours either.) So go check them out and support their fine establishments as well.