It seems there some Virginia bloggers who are on the payroll of current candidates. That means those candidates get favorable coverage on their blogs and their opponents get trashed. Should those bloggers reveal that are being paid by the candidate? It’s not ethical for reporters, nor is it legal. But is it ethical and legal for bloggers? Not for bloggers in California according to disclosure rules under the regulations of the Fair Political Practices Commission. From the Capitol Alert blog:
Campaign committees will now have to report who they pay to post “favorable or unfavorable” content on blogs, social media or online videos on their campaign finance statements, and report the name of the website where the content appears.
“The purpose overall is to let the public know that they can go compare what the campaign is paying for to what is showing up online,” said FPPC attorney Heather Rowan.
“I think that’s going to help people see through a lot of these names and/or alert them that there’s maybe something they should look at, or take with a grain of salt,” she said.
Another FPPC lawyer, Zackery Morazzini, said the new reports would help the public discern between genuine opinions and campaign material.
What the commission’s concern is, is people thinking they’re reading a neutral posting when in fact it’s the furthest thing from it — the individual is getting paid to sway a voter one way or another,” Morazzini said.
Prior to this regulation on bloggers in California, it was common for bloggers to be on the payroll of candidates. From the Daily Caller :
“It’s standard operating procedure” to pay bloggers for favorable coverage, says one Republican campaign operative. A GOP blogger-for-hire estimates that “at least half the bloggers that are out there” on the Republican side “are getting remuneration in some way beyond ad sales.”
I certainly hope that is not true in Virginia. It will never happen at The Bull Elephant. We will never post an article that is favorable to candidate because we are on the payroll of that candidate. It won’t happen here and it saddens me to think that it’s happening on other conservative blogs in Virginia.