On Being A Progressive Blogger

I’m going to talk about a touchy subject and if you don’t want to read it, then I implore you to go look at this picture of a raccoon.

Earlier this week, I was offered a $3 advertising offer from a company that wanted to put an ad on this blog. Last month, because I know a little bit about Tennessee political history, I was asked if I would write a 2,500 word essay on Annabelle Clement O’Brien. The offer was a penny a word.

Let me repeat, this has just been in the last couple of months. This isn’t new.

Sometimes from very kind people who are long-time readers of Newscoma, I will get emails about why I don’t blog with the frequency and volume that I did a couple of years ago. It’s because that I’m in freelance now which ebbs and flows like a backed up creek sometimes so I have to continue to hustle to find work to make my life comfortable. I am lucky to have one steady p/t gig but my budget remains tight and paycheck to paycheck.

Waiters and bartenders get tips. Writers and media folks don’t. It’s just true.

And this is what I see because obviously Suzy is going through the same thing.

There is no progressive equivalent to the wingnuts’ welfare system. George Soros won’t send bloggers money, no one wants to hire the old guard bloggers like me for think tanks or high-falutin’ magazines. The funny thing is, as bloggers continue to do this soul-searing, butt- and cardiac busting work, we are still relentlessly criticized for our many shortcomings by our own readers (many of whom are notoriously absent during our fund drives).

No matter what else you can say about conservatives, they do take care of their own. Progressives expect us to do our work as a public service, but we still have to pay rent – and medical expenses. Look at some of the bloggers we’ve lost on our side – people like Steve Gilliard (The News Blog), Jim Capozzola (Rittenhouse Review), Melanie Mattson (Just A Bump In The Beltway) and Jon Swift, who just didn’t have the money to pay for medical bills and died as a result.

Our smart, informed, hardworking liberal bloggers aren’t the ones who get those nice CNN jobs. It’s wingnut morons like Erick Erickson.

Why do so many readers think nothing of riding for free on our hard work and yes, sacrifice?No, I’m not talking about the people who are out of work themselves, or otherwise hurting. Hell, no. I mean the people with jobs and some level of security who turn to blogs like this several times a day for the news they need to know, but never even think to contribute.

I have occasionally had people leave me a few dollars in the pot and there is one fantastic soul who leaves me a Christmas present each year that literally has saved the holiday for me.

We’ve lost some fantastic bloggers around this state and we’ve gained a few as well. And many of us have broken national stories, including myself.

As Susie said quite eloquently, it’s the Erick Erickson’s of the world that advance. And there are far too few Rachel Maddows. The right has systems in place that value its online scribes. For many of us on the left, we just don’t have the infrastructure by stakeholders.

So help the progressive blogosphere out when you can. Buy a blogger a beer by putting a few bucks in their paypal account. Leave them a comment when you like their work or let them know about opportunities. Share their work. Not just me, I’m talking about other folks as well.

Just don’t offer them a penny a word because that flattens your soul out like a runny pancake. I wish that I could say that this only has happened once, but it happens to so many of us all the time.

93 comments for “On Being A Progressive Blogger

  1. April 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Has it occurred to anyone that it makes no sense to pay for something you can get for free? If I want Liberalism, I can pick up my paper, turn to the alphabet networks, tune to virtually any TV show, go to the movies. Why in the world would I pay extra to read it here?

  2. dmitryb
    April 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    > The right has systems in place that value its online scribes

    This, my friend, is such a blatant case of psychological projection and it succinctly and elegantly describes the progressive mindset. I’m an immigrant, born and raised in a country that took social equality to an ugly extreme while imposing anything but on its citizens. When I came to this country that mentality of social fairness was deeply rooted in me. It had taken many years, but I did finally understand and embrace what conservatism is all about, even social conservatism (btw, social conservatism and bigotry aren’t the same, though, sadly they tend to travel together a lot). So let me rewrite that statement I quoted in the beginning based on my understanding of conservatism: The right has a mentality in place that value other people’s work.

  3. April 24, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Here is the real problem: incorrect factual basis. Someone above asserted 200+ bloggers covering Tennessee. The host asserted conservative bloggers get paid by some kind of infrastructure. Neither cited any source. The sole example given doesn’t even rise to the level of anecdote, and even if it did the plural of anecdote is not data. I agree that the comment above regarding the value of this conversation is important. I encourage the progressives amount us to examine the facts and stats from primary unspun sources. And it is well worth noting, albeit anecdotally, that the only reason I saW this post was that a libertarian blogger linked a site that linked here. He happens to be a full time paid professor of law who has written at least one best selling book and has a full time paid doctor for a spouse. And yet he still monetize his blog with constant Amazon links. In that instance at least, he has no need to toe some kind of party line. He’s just really really informative.

  4. geek49203
    April 24, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    It seems to me that the term people are dancing around here is “fair”. Liberals — I was raised by liberals, educated by liberals, and for a time worked for liberals as a liberal — are big on “fair.” For liberals, it’s not “fair” that no one is paying they what they are sure they are worth. I mean, sure, the could sell out to get one of those big money paying jobs that “wingnuts” are getting, but it’s not “Fair” for them to give up on their morals. Kinda like my local school teachers tell me it’s not “fair” that they make less money than they think they could make if their natural brilliance was employed elsewhere.

    Did I get all of that straight? Liberals, you see that I know your thoughts?

    Cause now is the time when I tell you that, if you’d have taken Intro to Econ in college, you’d have learned that what we earn in capitalism isn’t based on “fair” but is determined by our market value. And in the case of bloggers, if you bring hundreds of thousands in sales to people who advertise with you, you’d be making big bucks too.

    Sorry to break it to you like this, but this is simple econ 101. It’s kinda like gravity — you don’t think it’s fair that you weigh so much, but you can’t argue with gravity.

    Signed, Geek49203, BA, econ.

  5. Paco Wové
    April 24, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    There is no progressive equivalent to the wingnuts’ welfare system.

    I find it hilarious that you apparently think this is true.

  6. Don Fulano
    April 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Liberals (and I am one and proud of it) understand that the most effective means of ensuring security is by the government, as they are the only ones with the real resources to do so

    I think you mean “Progressives.” Traditional Liberals would be loath to exchange their civil liberties for their civil security.

  7. IronMike
    April 24, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Some thoughts on why liberal bloggers are less likely to receive donations compared to conservatives.
    1) Conservatives greatly outnumber liberals
    2) The legacy media largely espouse the liberal positions, so liberal bloggers are superfluous.
    3) Conservative blogger actually serve a watchdog function, a la Rathergate.
    4) Multiple studies have shown that self described liberals are far less generous with their time and money than conservatives
    5) The wealthy supporters of liberal policies (demographic data shows that liberals tend to be wealthier than conservatives) have a well organized system for funneling money to support their accumulation of power. Bill Maher, Michael Moore, George Soros, etc don’t donate to blogs. They donate to individual candidate so their influence on policy is not diluted.

  8. facepalm
    April 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    And which conservatives bloggers get paid?

    And by which mythical benefactor?

  9. jembeai
    April 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    WC, conservatives and liberals often don’t agree which facts take preeminence. (e.g., wind turbines annually ‘kill’ more birds than oil spills; legalizing gay marriage or marijuana does not mean all citizens must condone/use it). There are those on both sides who trumpet causes for money and favor (see Al Sharpton and Hollywood actors).

    Don’t put the cart in front of the horse, WC. Conservative ideology encourages seeking profit (they may say “wealth creation”), something liberal ideology discourages as greedy (“exploitation”). Liberals often argue that value cannot be defined in dollar terms because the market is itself unfair. The blogger behind StuffWhitePeopleLike suffered considerable blowback from his left-of-center base just by reaching a deal with a publisher.

    Liberals may feel the best way to support a blogger is to spread the message, not offer financial support. A lack of funds available to “liberal bloggers” is the logical result of a negative correlation between communal responsibility and personal charity.

    April 24, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Why don’t you just ask Obama for a handout, since you are crrying his water for him.

  11. unlingua
    April 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Koch dollars!
    Where are the liberal Koch dollars???
    Soros is a petty cheapskate. Money never goes to the activists!!!
    Unlike Koch.
    The word Koch means cash! Cash for tea partiers! Cash for ultra right wing anything! Cash for conservative voters!!! Mouth the right words, and you get cash!!! The red streets are paved green!!!
    Where are the liberal Koch dollars???

  12. Patrick Walsh
    April 24, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Hi, I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding about the way the world works here.

    Every day I wake up and my friends, neighbors and business acquaintances take a vote about what they would like me to do. For last few years the people who want me to do project management stuff have won the election because they have offered me more money to do that than anyone else has offered me to say, play professional basketball or be the galactic commander, which would be my first two choices. But, I still have a choice. I can decline the honor of being a project manager and hold out for an NBA contract or more realisticly, grow organic vegetables in my backyard and go on long distance bicycle trips. But right now I choose to accept their offer to be a project manager. A few years back the voting was running differently and I had a chance to do all the gardening and bike riding and hunting that I wanted to do. And I did.

    In the case of newscoma, it seems like she wants to write progressive stuff. Her friends, neighbors and other folks don’t seem to be voting that way. Or, at least as much as she would like. She has a choice though. She can continue to write progressive stuff for whatever is being offered or do something that other people value more. Her choice, their choice. No whining allowed.

    As for why conservative bloggers seem to get more swag, well newscoma is mostly wrong. Most conservative bloggers don’t get a whole lot. Glenn Reynolds and the folks at Powerline and most of the others all have day jobs doing stuff that other people find useful. The write conservative blogs becasue that is what they like to do, and they have some time to do it. Eric Erikson has a spot on CNN because he built a product, Redstate, and demonstrated some other skills, that other people, CNN and CNN’s audience, find valuable or at least amusing. They voted to ask him to do some of that stuff for them. Simple. And, you may think he is a moron but in the election of who other people find more useful or amusing, him or newscoma, he is winning.

    I wish there was some big organized conspiracy to support conservative bloggers because right after being galactic commander or power forward for the Celtics, I would like to do that. But, even though I am a full fledged member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (I got the deocder ring with my subscription to National Review back in 1971) I haven’t seen it.

    Now, if I was an economist I would that the reason Air America failed and Current TV is failing and Rush Limbaugh is prospering is because conservatives are winning in the marketplace (that election thing) of ideas.

    If you have made it this far, thanks for reading and have a nice day.

  13. Monika
    April 25, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Progressives, in general and here, like to demonize conservatives and use that as an excuse for their own failings. In this post alone we’ve got unsubstantiated claims of elitism and moneyed interest; this from the party that claims ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’.

    In general, conservatives believe the other side has good intentions but has failed in results. We argue ideas and policies, not gender or race. The vindictiveness directed towards conservative women & blacks by the left is disgusting.

    In general, conservatives give liberals the benefit of the doubt. Intentions are great, but useless without desired results. In general, we are also religious and contribute more to charity, including secular causes.

    Perpetual victims aren’t likely to voluntarily pony up. Those who are poor in spirit will obviously be poor in generosity or appreciation of work.

  14. April 25, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Looks like you’ve been Freeped, Newscoma.

  15. April 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Yes, and I no longer feel nice toward any of these people. May they all be placed in a vat of hydrochloric acid.

  16. April 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Let’s make the Liberal case that conservative must lie to make their case:

    A commenter pointed out how conservatives broke “Rather-gate” which is true except that Dan Rather was correct, G. W. Bush was in fact AWOL during his National Guard service. The Texas Monthly has the most recent expose on this.

    The claim that broadcast media is Liberal is a blatant lie as every single analysis has shown. Even the Sunday morning talk shows have 69% conservatives as guests. Typically the “balance” for a Republican operative is a journalist. Real journalists are hamstrung in this situation in that their reputation hangs on their factuality…Not so the Republican operative who would be out of a job if he told the truth.

    And we could go on and on, but one break in the chain of argument destroys it all. My only real question in this is “Why do conservatives hate America?”

  17. April 25, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Well said, sir, much better than I did. The Freepers who came here were sent here, because Newscoma is making a difference. She will not be intimidated, nor should we be.,

  18. Jamie Hollin
    April 25, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Keep swinging! Even if I don’t agree, especially then. I like having my assumptions challenged.

Comments are closed.