Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's Not Money That Makes Right Wing Blogs Successful

Have a read of this letter from the New Statesman this week...
Ben Davies's "Top ten bloggers" ("Politics and the Internet Age" supplement, 20 October) was too kind to the right-wing blogosphere. At present there is a free market in blogging, so it is not surprising that moneyed, right-wing viewpoints are rising to the top. In the longer term, if the internet is to fulfil its possibilities of delivering a free and democratic media, it will be necessary for the state to intervene to support less moneyed viewpoints.

We have a so-called free press where you are free to open and run a mass-circulation newspaper - provided you are a multimillionaire. Hence the right-wing domination of the press. It's the same with the internet. The start-up cost of a blog may be low, but to run a highly influential, mass-circulation blog you need a lot of money.

Jeff Cumberland
Where do I start? Perhaps by looking at the facts, rather than the prejudice Mr Cumberland displays. Here are the Top 20 blogs in the Total Politics Directory.

Guido Fawkes - one man band
Iain Dale - one man band
ConservativeHome - financed by Stephan Shakespeare
Dizzy Thinks - one man band
Devil's Kitchen - one man band
Spectator Coffee House - MSM
Burning our Money - one man band
John Redwood - one man band
Ben Brogan - MSM
EU Referendum - two person band
Tim Worstall - one man band
Archbishop Cranmer - one man band
Mr Eugenides - one man band
Dan Hannan - one man band
Three Line Whip - MSM
Donal Blaney - one man band
Comment Central - MSM
Adam Smith Institute - think tank
Waendel Journal - one man band
Nadine Dorries - one woman band
So if you exclude the MSM blogs, ConservativeHome is the only one to receive financial support - just as LabourHome does. Blogging is not about money. It is about opinion and marketing. The truth is that right of centre people have traditionally been better at marketing their blogs throughout the internet. That is changing though, and not before time.

It is simply not true that "to run a highly influential, mass-circulation blog you need a lot of money." I am not pretending to be poor, but I certainly don't have a lot of money and I don't receive a penny from anyone (apart from a bit of advertising income from MessageSpace). Jeff Cumberland seems to know very little about blogs, but a lot about the politics of envy.

29 comments:

Victor, NW Kent said...

One can hardly compare the capital requirements of running a mass circulation newspaper with that of running a blog.
There are no presses, extensive offices, delivery vans, overseas correspondents, reporters on the street nor even any obligation to produce news or comment on all topics.
The very nature of the Blogosphere is that it empowers the common man. If we try to introduce some form of government assisted financing then we also introduce governmental editorial control perforce.
Mr Cumberland's opinion is one of the least convincing and ill-informed to emerge even in this month of extreme and silly comments.

The Raven said...

Iain, it's all part of the left's desire to control the media by justifying state involvement at a time when they are in power. They do this through lying; in particular the idea that the right dominates the media. In terms of the press, the balance is about equal. But the left absolutely dominates broadcast media, and this is far more important than who writes newspapers with declining sales. And they also do it by ignoring basic truths; the reason why the left-wing blogosphere is so lacking is because it is, by and large, insular, boring, poorly written and self-righteous.

David Anthony said...

Do the likes of Nick Robinson and Robert Peston not count as bloggers?

Newmania said...

Well Iain I am in a sort of Purdah whilst busily extracting myself from my own fiscal squeeze but I cannot resists this . The domination of the blogasphere by the right is nothing to do with money it is to do with class. Allow me to explain ….
The Left have two distinct classes of support .
1-Oxbridge political creeps and their media concubines who thrive on excluding the ghastly lower middleclass from their elite Party
2 The mass of smelly gaping beaked wasters whose votes they buy with my hard earned money .

The first section despise blogs and the second cannot read or at least have no interest in doing so . Voila !

On the endlessly repeated assertion that the paper meeja is dominated by the right …can anyone explain what mysterious force it is that forces anyone to buy the Mail/Telegraph Mirror or Guardian or News statesman . No I thought not . Au contraire ,the Guardian is financed by public sector recruitment ads . in effect a tax payer bung to the left propaganda sheet ,while the New statesman is run at a loss by its lefty patrons (see class 2 above ). In fact the dead tree press exists in fair competition whereas the BBC………..you may recall that in the 90s its admitted bias was openly justified by the supposed right wing bias of the press, when Polly Toynbee was editor of social affairs …..

Grrrrr

( better get back to work before I suffer an aneurysm )

Newmania said...

Well Iain I am in a sort of Purdah whilst busily extracting myself from my own fiscal squeeze but I cannot resists this . The domination of the blogasphere by the right is nothing to do with money it is to do with class. Allow me to explain ….
The Left have two distinct classes of support .
1-Oxbridge political creeps and their media concubines who thrive on excluding the ghastly lower middleclass from their elite Party
2 The mass of smelly gaping beaked wasters whose votes they buy with my hard earned money .

The first section despise blogs and the second cannot read or at least have no interest in doing so . Voila !

On the endlessly repeated assertion that the paper meeja is dominated by the right …can anyone explain what mysterious force it is that forces anyone to buy the Mail/Telegraph Mirror or Guardian or News statesman . No I thought not . Au contraire ,the Guardian is financed by public sector recruitment ads . in effect a tax payer bung to the left propaganda sheet ,while the New statesman is run at a loss by its lefty patrons (see class 2 above ). In fact the dead tree press exists in fair competition whereas the BBC………..you may recall that in the 90s its admitted bias was openly justified by the supposed right wing bias of the press, when Polly Toynbee was editor of social affairs …..GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR


( better get back to work before I suffer an aneurysm )

Troy said...

Anyone with access to a computer, the internet and a modest amount of spare time can get their view across on a blog. That's the point!

The passion & intelligence of the blogger are what make a blog 'good' (Or not!)

The problem with left wing blogs is not that they are undercapitalised... it's that their ideas are intellectually bankrupt, and they're conveyed without passion - normally written out of some dull, grey, perverse sense of jealousy and socialist duty ... that comes across to the reader and so is often treated as it should be. With a large yawn, and a farewell click.

Grumpy Old Man said...

David anthony. surely Nick and the Pest count as PR agencies for NuLab?

Geoff said...

Iain, how can Archbishop Cranmer be a 'one man band' as he is technically dead?

Surely blogging from beyond the grave reduces your average even further!

Shaun said...

I'm a web developer and deal with all kinds of clients. My personal view is that the right-wing bloggers in the UK are more, well, right wing. They tend to believe in individual liberty and are able to express themselves in ways compatible with that - such as writing opinionated blogs! The left seems to crave collective action so their 'best' blogs (harry's place, labour home, liberal conspiracy) all depend on collective action to happen in ways that would broadly seem compatible with 'socialism'. There are more individuals than collectives so guess which is more represented? More successful? Hello?

Captain Haddock said...

What? No Ashcroft money floating around Iain?

What fools said...

'if the internet is to fulfil its possibilities of delivering a free and democratic media, it will be necessary for the state to intervene to support less moneyed viewpoints.'
Sounds like a plea for financial support for crap blogs.
I come here for news, I've never voted Tory in my life lol. I'll go where stuff is interesting.

geewiz said...

I must say, I much prefer Mr Cumberland's sausages than his opinion on blogs.

Iain Dale said...

Captain Haddock, None whatsoever. Lord A is an investor in Total Politics, not this blog. Not that I expect you to believe me, natch.

Auntie Flo' said...

Typical, bl**dy typical! The left are losing the internet because they are so arrogant and elitist and so fear real dialogue and democracy - indeed anything that they can't control by foul means. So this twit proposes to bung even more money that our country can't afford at his left wing cronies in an attempt to erode more and more of our free speech and to control more and more of our lives.

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!

Anonymous said...

Surely there must be someone left of centre who could churn out a political blog that informs, amuses and occasionally irritates?

Anonymous said...

Same thing was suggested in the US - then the left worked out how to actually run successful blogs etc.

If money talked, why is the Guardian not the biggest blog site in the UK?

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Expect the left to return to the themes of 'state intervention' and/or 'regulation' from time to time, based on arguments formulated by Dave and Diedre Spart.

I suspect what has rattled them is not the right-wing blogs as such, but the huge groundswell of right-wing opinion which surfaces in the hallowed cloisters of the left.

Read the comments in response to the average Polly Toynbee article, for example. It must have dawned on her, in the last five years, that her opinions do NOT represent mainstream, progressive opinion. On the contrary, she is almost universally regarded as bonkers.

Adrian said...

Mr Cumberland is talking out of his arse and the New Statesman should know better than to waste space on such crap.

Shaun said...

I wonder if this is the velvet glove that the eluded to iron fist of 'content control' will be wrapped in? All blogs to be 'sponsored' or 'licensed' and financially supported by the state (er, us taxpayers) whether they want it or not in return for strictly enforced rules (political censorship)? Or am I more paranoid than usual after my 3rd beer tonight?

Shaun said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Surely there must be someone left of centre who could churn out a political blog that informs, amuses and occasionally irritates?"

October 25, 2008 7:43 PM

"Surely there must be someone left of centre who could churn out a *government* that *mis*informs, amuses and occasionally irritates?"

Fixed it for ya... and there is, by the way. Mandy is back!

John Moss said...

it will be necessary for the state to intervene to support less moneyed viewpoints.

Scary, scary, scary line.

Only those htings paid for by the state can be truly free.

Scary!

labourparty said...

This chap seems way off the mark. Right wing blogs benefit from getting in there early, and links from the MSM.

As for the state getting involved. Ha ha!

Johnny Norfolk said...

With the left wing BBC its the only way the right can be heard.

When the BBC stops supporting the left I will stop blogging.

So that will never happen then.

Cranmer said...

Iain, how can Archbishop Cranmer be a 'one man band' as he is technically dead?

Surely blogging from beyond the grave reduces your average even further!


His Grace prefers to think of himself as a one spirit symphony. And 'technically dead', since the finitude is qualified, must embrace the concept of eternal life.

Conand said...

My flabber is gasted! Jeff Jeff Jeff you are so wrong. What on earth is 'free and democratic' about state intervention in internet political content???
This letter illustrates where the battle lines are.
The internet is about freedom and democracy, this is why it doesn't sit well in the world of hardcore statist Lab and Lib. It is also why the Chinese government has problems with it.
Jeff wants the democracy of the internet to be the democracy of the GDR; complete with Jaqui Smith's 3rd Gen electronic Stasi.
Jeff, you are the reason I spend hours delivering Conservative Party leaflets etc. We will not rest! (OK we'll occasionally chill out on a Super Yacht, but whateva... To be fair I only have a dinghy but its a start.)

Theo said...

We are a 21 man band

Anonymous said...

er Iain if you think Hannan and Dorries blog without any research/ideas/technical help from their publically funded support staff you know less about politics than I thought. I do not have a problem with this - we should have more politicians blogging/reporting on their work but let's not pretend they are "1 man/woman bands" get real!

Jabba the Cat said...

It is typical of left commentators to overlook one central fact, namely that very few people are interested in what they have to say, and, their gross overestimation of their own self importance.

A similar situation exits in the US with syndicated talk radio which is dominated by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and similar. The conservative stations and shows have healthy listening figures and corresponding high advertising revenues.

The liberal main attempt at competition, Air America, trundles along perpetually getting financial carpet burns on it's ass due to meagre advertising revenues which directly relate to the low listening figures.

This is why the Dimocrats have promised to bring in the Fairness Doctrine at the federal level, mandating uniform allowance for different viewpoints in the radio broadcast industry.

So having failed to sell their unwanted product on a level playing field, liberals want to force themselves into peoples airtime by government enforcement.

Michael Fowke said...

Your average, well-balanced, normal person in the street is centre right. Only losers and envious, sad characters read left-wing blogs.