Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Connect the Dots!

Ever since the Power Line guys rose to national prominence with their debunking of Dan Rather and the fraudulent 60 Minutes story on President Bush's military record, the local liberal media fixtures have been taking pot shots at them. One of the consistent, and more amusing, angles is their implication that Power Line has nefarious ties to secret, right wing funding sources.

Of course, the charge is entirely ad hominem. It appeals to prejudice rather than reason. And it has nothing to do with veracity of their facts or the quality of the arguments Power Line is putting forward. It boils down to "they get money from [fill in the liberal bogeyman du jour], so they must be ignored!" Even if they were receiving, gasp, money for practicing journalism, it is a logical fallacy to dismiss their arguments on this basis alone.

The humor aspect kicks in with the targeting of Power Line, of all people, for this baseless smear. They are perhaps the only three bloggers around who wouldn't even be tempted by a few pieces of filthy lucre to secretly blog for someone else's agenda. I'm not saying any local bloggers would actually take this deal, and I'm not aware of anyone who ever has. But the average nefarious right wing sugar daddy couldn't even interest Power Line, because hecouldn't afford them!

The Power Line contributors are very successful in their high paying professions. They're not looking to cash in on blogging in any way. Plus, as is the way with successful people, they've already found a way to cash in on blogging. In their spare time they have created a product that is in great demand. They run a site with tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands?) of regular readers. Advertisers obviously want to access this audience and lots of them pay good money to do so. Enterprising media hacks who wonder what the real story behind Power Line is need only look at those flashing and up-popping messages for products and services that accompany their site.

Way back in 2005, John Hinderaker addressed the issue of local media making false allegations of their financial ties to right wing think tanks. As he stated then, the direction of funds between the two goes in the opposite direction.

Flash forward five years. A local liberal media outlet reports on stories about TCF Bank suing the federal government over controversial new regulations. They note that Power Line shares the concern about the regulations. Then wonders what's the REAL reason they might write about such a thing:

Quite remarkably, the Power Line boys, with their very close ties to [TCF CEO Bill Cooper], are completely on board with this suit.

Should we also assume Mr. Cooper provides no financial support to Power Line?


In the comments section, former local blogger Peter Swanson (from the lamentably discontinued Swan Blog) chimes in with the appropriate response:

Uh, Bill Cooper does not support Powerline, as Powerline makes money through advertising. I think it is safe to say that they have more readers than MinnPost, without having to pay PiPress/Strib/City Pages alumni. They don't need "generous donors" like you do.

Ha! It's all true. Minnpost survives on the very thing they are demonizing Power Line over, the financial support of wealthy donors. For what ever reason, most of whom seem to be liberal foundations, think tanks, and activists. Check out their disclosure document for details.
Noteworthy individuals handing over filthy support to Minnpost, for who knows what purpose, include Mark Dayton, Walter & Joan Mondale, RT Rybak, and Matt Entenza.

Let the demonizing, and petard hoisting, begin!

My guess is that if MinnPost had to survive on advertising revenue alone, they'd be out of business before the end of the year. In other words, if they had to survive on creating a product that the marketplace demands, they couldn't exist. On the other hand, Power Line gets more readers and more revenue than them in their spare time. No wonder why the local liberal media feels driven to demonize them.