Friday, December 03, 2010

Yup, £538.68 Is Enough to Bankroll Me... Not.

I'd love to link you an article in today's Times by Sam Coates, but seeing as about 1% of you will be able to see it, due to the paywall, there's little point. In it, he alleges that the Tories have paid thousands of pounds to various right wing blogs this year. As evidence, he cites £29,000 paid by the Conservative Party to MessageSpace, the company which fills the ad boxes on my blog and many others. So he's correct in the facts, but the impression given is that various right wing bloggers have filled their boots due to the largesse of CCHQ's election advertising budget. I wish. Various people on Twitter are already accusing me, and others, of being "bankrolled" by the Tories. "We've known it all along," they trill. They should calm down.

I have just looked up the figures, and to date this year, my share of the MessageSpace advertising income from the Conservatives in 2010 is .... [cue X Factor style delay] ... a massive £538.68. Well, I'll certainly get fat on that...

What Sam Coates and others don't seem to "get" is that blog advertising is just like advertising in a newspaper. We'll take it from where it comes. In the past I have run advertising campaigns for the LibDems, UKIP, Libertas, Jury Team, Friends of the Earth, the TUC, Vote for Change and Ken Livingstone's mayoral campaign, and even Chris Bryant MP.

In addition, Sam Coates, had he bothered asking, might have found out that half the £29,000 which supposedly went to right wing blogs, didn't at all. Half of it went on old media websites like The Guardian and The Spectator. Indeed, some of it went on a campaign in The Times Higher Education Supplement. Another Times publication read by a dwindling audience.




Money also went to Mumsnet, The Register and other non right wing sites. Indeed, Of the £29,000 that Sam Coates went to right wing blogs, I reckon less than a third actually did.

He also accuses Guido Fawkes of taking material from Conservative press officers...

The Guido Fawkes website, written by Mr Staines, regularly attacked Gordon Brown and the Labour Party during the election and prints material given by Conservative press officers.

A bit like lobby journalists do every day of the week then. Oh dear, oh dear. Shall I admit something? [whispers gently]. I too have had the odd conversation with a Conservative Party press officer. [whispers even more gently]. And shock horror, just like Sam Coates, no doubt, I have also received material from LibDem and Labour press officers. Because that's what journalists and bloggers do. So I find it a bit nauseating to read this bollocks from a journalist who I really rather rate.

The trouble when you react to a story like this is that just by commenting you give it legs, but I really can't accept the insinuation that anyone has done anything wrong here, or that silence has been bought. I tell you, it would take a lot more than £538.68 to do that...

21 comments:

Neil Evans said...

Is it me, or does it sound like Sam was having a quiet night of brain rot at the keyboard, it's not really his usual standard.

In your defence Iain you've been extremely fair in your advertising over the years, and your support of other parties and campaigns

Elby the Beserk said...

Very funny. It seems to me that the left has become infantilised, and all it has left is wild accusations, foot-stamping and temper tantrums.

In that light, why was Miliband E not in short trousers at PMQs? He might as well have been. So we get rid of a madman and he's replaced by a total nonentity.

Couldn't be better. Yeah, sure, we need a proper opposition, but I can take this sort of fun for a good while yet.

Matt Wardman said...

Had you better perhaps specify your Sam Coates... :-)

Ed Miliband said...

I am glad you have blogged on this as I have seen the story in todays hard copy of the times.

Its the one story that stood out for me on this chilly winters day and I think it is good you advise the reality of the situation.

Bill Quango MP said...

Its all a right wing media conspiracy, didn't you know?
Labour would have won the election by 60 seats if it wasn't for The Sun.

Is it because left wing blogs wait to get given stories from STAVKA, and can't envisage any other way of reporting.

Lady Finchley said...

It's just like the latest expenses non-story - 'George Osborne paid £98.50 for stationery' - ooh, quel scandal.

Span Ows said...

What Elby the Beserk said!

And, re Guido, has he not noticed the anti Conservative posts there too? Of cours ehe had anti Brown posts, who didn't?

Dick Puddlecote said...

The Times, you say?

So that's at least two News International articles in the past week having a heavy dig at the Tories.

Looks like Murdoch's stable might not be too happy with your lot if they're letting such stuff run, Iain. ;)

Peter said...

The Times Higher Education Supplement (and the Times Education Supplement, which is what the image shows) are not published by News International, but by a company which is no longer linked to NI.

Jabba the Cat said...

Coates being a pillock as usual, so what's new?

Matt said...

Sam must have known his story was utter bunkum when he wrote it.

Still, I expect the handful of people who read the Times on line would have been interested. As for the print readers? They probably never read him, in any case.

SadButMadLad said...

And how are LeftFootForward funded?

tory boys never grow up said...

"A bit like lobby journalists do every day of the week then"

But of course you and Guido (even more so) often criticise the lobby as being lazy in reprinting unattributed briefings as fact.

All that I ask is that you (and the lobby) attribute their sources when they are clearly politicians and political parties going about their business of putting across political propaganda. There is really no argument in protecting such sources. It's a little thing called honesty.

Most sensible people dislike umattributable briefing - if the press and bloggers were to stop accepting it it would probably cease overnight.

Guido Fawkes said...

Guido's biggest source of income this year has been, errm, News International. Yet I still slag off the Times most weeks. Incorruptible that's me. Apart from after a couple of drinks naturally.

I don't like those type of unattributed briefings which say "a cabinet member said..", that is different from having unidentified sources because the story is based on the calibre of the source.

................................. said...

I was under the impression that Message Space sold ad space on left-wing blogs as well?
Do you get any say in whose advertising Message Space sticks up on your blog, Iain? Doubt it somehow...
I note that MI5 has advertised in The Times. Does this mean that their journalists are in the pockets of the security service? It's difficult to tell, as nobody can read their articles anymore!

tory boys never grow up said...

Guido I take the point with unattributed briefings - but when the source is a Party HQ or staff member with an attack line on their opponents I can see no reason whatsoever why the same principles should not apply. You would not be defending whistle blowers in such cases.

Graisg said...

Next headline
Iain Dale makes a living out of politics?

Mr. Musicology said...

Ian, you forgot to post who owns Messagespace?

Paul Staines

Mr. Musicology said...

Ian, you've not reported the full story.

The allegation is that Paul Staines/Guido Fawkes owns Messagespace.


He was paid a £29'000 fee from Conservative head office, which he distributed to 3 blogs, including your own.

Iain Dale said...

Clearly you can't read.

The £29k was for blogs and MSM sites, of which I got £538.

toby said...

The Spectator website received about £500 from the Conservative party during the election campaign. And the campaign was pulled becuase it was performing so badly...
As I said at the time why on earth would the Conservative Party want to spend their money reaching staunch, dyed in the wool conservatives.
So not much of the £29k mentioned here. Best keep looking...