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How Much Does It Cost A Campaign To Buy A Blogger?

By Greg L | 13 February 2014 | Virginia Politics, Blogs, US Congress | 12 Comments

The next time you see some blog post supporting Barbara Comstock or trashing her opponents with silly arguments, make sure you ask yourself this question: is the person writing this article on Barbara Comstock’s payroll?  Or is the local self-styled pundit who is clogging up a comments thread being paid to do so by a campaign?  In many, if not almost all cases of late, the answer to that question is yes.

To the extent that political consultants might fail to hide that they are getting money from a campaign by funneling it through third parties, campaign finance reports for the 10th District race won’t be coming out until April.  Apparently the hope is that by the time any of that information comes out, nobody will care very much since Comstock is hoped to have sealed the deal by then.  That gives a lot of free reign for paid bloggers to move the needle before anyone catches on that their motives might be a little different than what their readers might think, and by the time any of this becomes public information it’ll be too late for anyone to do anything about it.

Yes, I do work for campaigns as well, in photography, video and commercials production.  It’s darned obvious when I do a piece, as my style is pretty recognizable by now and I tend to run them on this blog as soon as they’re public anyways.  I’ve done work for Howie Lind, Stephen Hollingshead, and Bob Marshall just to name past clients who are current candidates in the 10th Congressional District, and I’d be happy to do more for them and others.  When I do it’ll be obvious.  I can’t hide my work product.  So when write about this race, my motivations should be pretty clear, especially since I’ve worked with more than one of these candidates at some point.

I’ll hold off for a bit from naming names on this, but I think folks fond of handing out lectures to others on the subject of ethics should be given the opportunity to live up to the standards they set for others.  I’d appreciate if the truth came from them.  It’s better that way, and I don’t relish the idea of calling them out, especially when some of these folks I consider to be friends. 

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  1. James Young said on 13 Feb 2014 at 8:03 pm:
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    I support Comstock for this race — sorry, Bob — but I’ve not blogged much lately, and have never been remunerated for my efforts. Maybe I just don’t have (or didn’t have) a sufficient following…

  2. Jeanine Martin said on 13 Feb 2014 at 8:07 pm:
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    Yes, some transparency and honesty would be nice, but don’t hold your breath.

  3. Jeanine Martin said on 13 Feb 2014 at 8:07 pm:
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    Yes, some transparency and honesty would be nice, but don’t hold your breath.

  4. Stephen Spiker said on 13 Feb 2014 at 8:35 pm:
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    Given how much support Comstock has, across the entire spectrum of the Republican brand, and how publicly she’s fought for conservatism in the past 6 years, I don’t think its surprising that those that follow politics the most closely are lining up behind her.

    Hell, James Young and I both support her, and we just got finished with a Facebook argument where we each called each other names and accused the other of not being a conservative.

    I know you’re trying to be honorable, but I think you’d actually be doing everybody a favor if you did name names rather than just imply every person who posts in favor of Comstock is a paid hack… unless you have no proof at all, and are just hoping your theory pans out come April (and if it doesn’t, who will remember?)

    And for the record, I am the Prince William YR Chairman; I am not paid in this position, nor have I ever been paid by Comstock, who I have proudly supported since her first run in 2009.

  5. Lillian said on 13 Feb 2014 at 8:51 pm:
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    I think the real question is, how much does it cost to run a viable campaign for Congress? And why do we have a process that is inviting a legion of “candidates” who can’t raise that kind of money to throw their names in just to get attention? And who actually cares about what some blogger says in support of a candidate?

  6. Jeanine Martin said on 13 Feb 2014 at 11:36 pm:
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    Only the rich and well connected should run for office? Got it. Some people are in politics because they actually want to help make things better for people. They often don’t have much money but they have a calling. Sounds like that’s not allowed anymore.

    Is it ok if journalists are paid by candidates to write favorable articles about the candidate? Or it’s only ok if those ‘reporters’ are people who write on the internet? How is it ethical for one and not the other? Or is it ethical for both bloggers and reporters? Bloggers often scoop the press. The Post is often a few days behind the Virginia bloggers in reporting the news. What if that ‘news’ is being bought and paid for and isn’t really news at all? Some Virginia blogs have thousands of readers a day, more than most newspapers. Those readers don’t expect the bloggers to paid for their ‘opinion’ or their ‘news’ on candidates. Do they? Is it ok if they are paid to influence the election while pretending to just be reporting the news? Some of us don’t think so. Your mileage may vary.

  7. Rob Hartwell said on 14 Feb 2014 at 12:59 am:
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    Barbara Comstock is an honorable, outstanding conservative, and rather than trying to tear down our front runner and best candidate, and a woman with integrity, lets rally behind her to ensure victory in the 10th this fall. Yes, name names and be straightforward instead of this innuendo crap. Take your ire and paranoia out on the Democrats and those campaigning and voting against our shared values.

  8. LCTP said on 14 Feb 2014 at 7:48 am:
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    Voting for Lind and Marshall….Don’t give a damn what a bolgger has to say….

  9. TRD said on 14 Feb 2014 at 9:08 am:
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    Is the Marshall campaign getting NovaDigital to do its video ads? Hmmmmm……..

  10. Manny said on 14 Feb 2014 at 9:36 am:
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    Please do name names. No reason not to if you’ve got the goods on them.

  11. Winston said on 15 Feb 2014 at 4:15 pm:
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    Time for everyone to start calling everyone else a RINO.

  12. The Bulletproof Monk said on 25 Feb 2014 at 4:19 pm:
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    I’ve aligned with Comstock after a great deal of restraint to see the whole field. If this were a western County race, I’d have readily backed Bob Marshall. As it includes parts of Mclean and eastern Loudoun, I’ have to go with Barbara. And I guarantee the first dead cat they swing is the “War on Women”…to which Barbara responds “I am one….why would I go to war with them?”

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