Blogola

Howard Kurtz closed this morning’s Reliable Sources with the following editorial:

Bloggers hold forth on everything these days, including their television shows. And more power to them. Why should newspaper and magazine critics have a monopoly in this day and age?

But some bloggers are — and there’s no delicate way to put this — selling out. It’s been called blogola.

Take the CBS comedy “The New Adventures of Christine.” The divorced mother, Christine, being Julia Louis- Dreyfus. Warner Brothers, which produces the show and is part of CNN’s parent company, invited a dozen female bloggers to the set to watch a rehearsal. They even got to make videos with Julia and other cast members.

One of those attending was Yvonne Marie of the blog Joy Unexpected. This “was totally rad,” she told “The Wall Street Journal,” which detailed the practice. Marie e-mailed her post to CBS with a note — “If there’s anything you’d like me to add, just tell me and I will. XO, XO.”

Yvonne Marie now says, “I wrote whatever I wanted to write, and no one told me to do otherwise. I don’t deny they used me to help promote the show. I mean, duh. That was the whole point.”

Warner Brothers also paid for seven bloggers to fly to British Columbia and put them up in a nice hotel to promote the drama “Supernatural”. Oh, but there were no lobster dinners, a spokesman said.

“TV Guide” critic Michael Ausiello is also a blogger. Disney’s ABC quoted Ausiello by giving him a bit part in the comedy “Scrubs,” which airs on NBC. ABC is bragging about the promotional payoff from that move.

Most news organizations prohibit their writers from accepting freebies worth more than $25. If some bloggers want to ignore the ethical aspect and take these junkets and goodies from studios and networks, they may have a grand time hobnobbing with the stars and taking home the loot. What they won’t have, at least in my book, is much credibility.

Howard, Howard, Howard. This issue is so last year, maybe even two years ago. We’ve debated it on the blogs, we draw our own conclusions of the reviews and the folks who blog the reviews (or the posts) and we blog about our conclusions.

The key issue in deciding whether or not to give any credence to what’s written about anything, regardless of what the author got or gets in exchange, is transparency. That’s the one thing we all dislike. Receiving some kind of benefit – tangible, intangible, negligible or appreciable – means nothing to many writers – bloggers included, but not exclusively. Like you don’t get to keep your job for which you get money if you don’t do a good job. But how often do you get to criticize CNN and all your colleagues, like Wolf Blitzer tonight in the NH Democratic debate?

He was awful. Now, do you get to talk about that next Sunday, or not? Since you work for CNN?

In a world where remuneration really didn’t matter, you’d be able to. But in this way, you are no different than the bloggers getting paid to check out the TV shows.

The fact is, some people are persuadable with perks, and others aren’t. Reinforcing he image that everyone can be bought is very irresponsible and fosters and perpetuates a terrible image of people in the news gathering and dissemination industry.

Unless of course you just wanted to pick on bloggers.

Nooooo, you wouldn’t be doing that now, would you?

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