The Daily Caller smells a rat in the political blogosphere: The site says many supposedly independent bloggers are taking money on the side from political campaigns to push a particular candidate or agenda. It's a "form of partisan payola that erases the line between journalism and paid endorsement," writes Jonathan Strong. Two common practices: buying ads on a site way above market rates or hiring a blogger as a campaign consultant.
Strong quotes a GOP campaign operative as saying "it's standard operating procedure” to pay bloggers for rosy posts. And someone described as a "GOP blogger-for-hire" estimates that at least half of his peers “are getting remuneration in some way beyond ad sales.” It happens on the left, too, with a host of liberal think tanks and foundations sending money to bloggers. Critics say that results in fewer independent voices as those taking money strive to stay "on message." (Read more bloggers stories.)