Dean Campaign Paid Bloggers

  1. Dean Campaign
    Made Payments
    To Two Bloggers

    By WILLIAM M. BULKELEY and JAMES BANDLER
    Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    January 14, 2005; Page B2

    Howard Dean's presidential campaign hired two Internet political "bloggers" as consultants so that they would say positive things about the former governor's campaign in their online journals, according to a former high-profile Dean aide.

    Zephyr Teachout, the former head of Internet outreach for Mr. Dean's campaign, made the disclosure earlier this week in her own Web log, Zonkette. She said "to be very clear, they never committed to supporting Dean for the payment -- but it was very clearly, internally, our goal." The hiring of the consultants was noted in several publications at the time.

    The issue of political payments to commentators has become hot following disclosures that the Bush administration paid a conservative radio and newspaper pundit, Armstrong Williams, $240,000 to plug its "No Child Left Behind" education policy.

    With the growing importance of blogs -- short for Web logs -- Ms. Teachout said she thinks bloggers need to rethink their attitudes toward ethics. A blog is an online personal journal or series of postings, dealing with just about anything. Millions of people use blogs to post diatribes, rants, links to other sites and erudite analyses hourly, daily or sporadically. Some make a little money by selling ads. The Dean campaign's adroit use of the Internet helped make its long-shot effort credible.

    Ms. Teachout's posting shook the confidence of many people in the blogosphere, as many bloggers like to call the online community. Bloggers have been quick to criticize the unspoken biases of mainstream media, and they helped expose the questionable documents used by CBS News in a report about President Bush's National Guard experience.

    The partisan Democratic political bloggers who were hired by the Dean campaign were Jerome Armstrong, who publishes the blog MyDD, and Markos Zuniga, who publishes DailyKos. DailyKos is the ninth most linked blog on the Internet, according to Technorati, a measurement service, and in October, at the height of the presidential campaign, it received as many as one million daily visits.

    The two men, who jointly operated a small political consulting firm, said they didn't believe the Dean campaign had been trying to buy their influence. Both men noted that they had promoted Mr. Dean's campaign long before they were hired and continued to do so after their contract with the campaign ended.

    Mr. Zuniga said they were paid $3,000 a month for four months and he noted that he had posted a disclosure near the top of his daily blog that he worked for the Dean campaign doing "technical consulting." Mr. Armstrong said he shut down his site when he went to work for the campaign, then resumed posting after his contract ended.

    A spokeswoman for Mr. Dean said the two bloggers hired by the campaign did nothing unethical because both disclosed their connection to the Dean operation.

    Ms. Teachout said the campaign never explicitly asked the bloggers to promote Mr. Dean. But she said the Dean campaign wanted to keep them from shifting to rivals. Ms. Teachout said she has been raising the issue as part of a broader push on her part to get bloggers who are also consultants to publish their client lists. She said that as more people have turned to bloggers for news, she came to the conclusion that bloggers "have an active responsibility to be absolutely transparent."

    --Jeanne Cummings contributed to this article.

    URL for this article:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB1...425942,00.html
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  2. 35 Comments

  3. by   Mkue
    How did that bit of news leak out?

    Interesting article BeachNurse
  4. by   URO-RN
    Howard .......who?:chuckle

    I really could care less what he did or is doing these days. He's got such an inflated view of himself. He is psycho, I wouldn't like him as an MD or in a political office, his views are too far left...for my taste.

    He should stop dreaming about being chair, 'cause he a'int gonna get it...

    I'd like to see Bill Clinton take over the position.
  5. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    No wonder i hate politics. It's one big constant headache.
  6. by   BeachNurse
    Quote from Tigerlily
    How did that bit of news leak out?

    Interesting article BeachNurse
    :chuckle
  7. by   BeachNurse
    Quote from Jo Anne
    Howard .......who?:chuckle

    I really could care less what he did or is doing these days. He's got such an inflated view of himself. He is psycho, I wouldn't like him as an MD or in a political office, his views are too far left...for my taste.

    He should stop dreaming about being chair, 'cause he a'int gonna get it...

    I'd like to see Bill Clinton take over the position.
    You would?? I think Dean makes life easy for us conservatives. Where can I donate money to support him? HA HA ..joking!!
  8. by   Fluesy
    two bloggers - hardly stacks up against this little scandle does it???

    washington -- the bush administration paid a prominent black journalist to promote president bush's education law and give education secretary rod paige media time, records show.

    armstrong williams, a nationally syndicated radio, print and television personality, was paid $240,000 by the education department to promote the no child left behind act. [font=verdana, arial, helvetica]the contract required williams' company, the graham williams group, to produce radio and tv ads that promote the controversial law and feature one-minute "reads" by paige. the deal also allowed paige and other department officials to appear as studio guests with williams.

    williams, one of the leading black conservative voices in the country, was also to use his influence with other black journalists to get them to talk about no child left behind.

    the law, the centerpiece of president bush's domestic agenda, aims to raise achievement among poor and minority children, with penalties for many schools that don't make progress.

    white house spokesman scott mcclellan said friday that the decisions on the practice were made by the education department. he did not directly answer when asked whether the white house approved of the practice, saying it was a department matter.

    the education department defended its decision as a "permissible use of taxpayer funds under legal government contracting procedures." the point was to help parents, particularly in poor and minority communities, understand the benefits of the law, the department said.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica]
    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica]http://www.newsday.com/news/politics...tics-headlines
  9. by   Mkue
    Actually the CBS scandal tried to bring down a sitting President with false documents I think that is a scandal in capital letters, especially when many people rely on network news for facts and truthful non-biased information. If not for the web bloggers discovering the truth about the bogus documents the American ppl might have been misled by a major news network.

    Someone was paid money to promote No Child Left Behind.. which in my view is a program that would help communities and children...it hardly compares IMO with the CBS scandal.. in my opinion.
  10. by   Mkue
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    No wonder i hate politics. It's one big constant headache.
    Not for me
  11. by   pickledpepperRN
    http://www.thepoorman.net/archives/003654.html
    Compare and Contrast
    Rathergate vs. Saddam's WMD - A Quantitative Comparison

    Rathergate (italics) Saddam's WMD (bold)
    Investigation recently concluded? Yes Yes
    Use of highly questionable supporting documents? Yes Yes
    Central claims disproven? No Yes
    Media spread questionable information? Yes Yes
    Number of firings resulting from investigation 4 0
    Number of high-profile reassignments resulting from investigation 1 0
    Number of wars started using flawed justification 0 1
    Cost to American taxpayer $0.00 ~$150,000,000,000 (as of 1/12/05)
    Number of American soldiers killed as a result 0 1,357 (as of 1/12/05)
    Number of British soldiers killed as a result 0 76 (as of 1/12/05)
    Number of other non-Iraqi allied soldiers killed as a result 0 84 (as of 1/12/05)
    Number of Iraqi policemen killed over last 4 months as a result 0 1,300+
    Number of Iraqi civilians killed as a result 0 10,000-100,000+
    Number of al-Qaeda training camps destroyed as a result 0 0
    Number of terrorist plots against the US foiled as a result 0 0

    Saddam Hussein removed from power as a result? No Yes
    Saddam's torture chambers shut down as a result? No No
    Iraqi people enjoying freedom as a result? No No (as of 1/12/05) US's reputation severely damaged as a result? No Yes
    US's military stretched thin as a result? No Yes
    Posts mentioning story on NRO's "The Corner" 10 0
  12. by   Fluesy
    Hardly compares doesn't it???

    There is still no comparison between 2 bloggers. Bloggers have little credibility because of the nature of the internet. There are lots of bloggers out there and they just about have an opion on anything and everything. Now compare that to paying a commentator, who presumably is supposed to be "fair and balanced" to represent only one side of an issue.

    One is advertising while the other is manipulation of the public.
  13. by   BeachNurse
    Quote from Fluesy
    Hardly compares doesn't it???

    There is still no comparison between 2 bloggers. Bloggers have little credibility because of the nature of the internet. There are lots of bloggers out there and they just about have an opion on anything and everything. Now compare that to paying a commentator, who presumably is supposed to be "fair and balanced" to represent only one side of an issue.

    One is advertising while the other is manipulation of the public.
    Bloggers have little credibility?? Apparently Rathergate and the phony documents were called into question by bloggers! Now four CBS staff have been fired and Rather resigned..the mainstream media and their credibility is being widely questioned. The mainstream media is how we get our news. News as it is reported has a huge impact on our ability to evaluate what is going on in our world, who we will vote for, etc.
  14. by   pickledpepperRN
    I don't think any government department or elected official should have an advertising budget.

    We have a Mayors race here with accusations of using tax money to promote programs and put a 'spin' on facts.

    Mayors, governors and the President have the 'Bully Pulpit' to call a press conference and guest on talk shows. Why should we taxpayors pay for a sound bite misleading one sided ad?
    I think they don't want to answer questions.

    Now a paid ad dishonestly represented as news or unsolicited commentary is not only dishonest. Isn't it illegal too?

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