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You Can't PAY for Publicity Like This! Hugh Hewitt Endorses Blogs on The O'Reilly Factor

Reported by Marie Therese - January 17, 2005

On Friday's O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly and self-described blog expert, Hugh Hewitt drew a bead on liberal blogs, using the Wall Street Journal's recent article [subscription required] on the Dean campaign payments to Daily Kos's Markos Moulitsas Zuniga and Jerome Armstrong of MyDD. In the following report you will see that Hugh Hewitt endorsed certain websites as being reputable, giving them a nice chunk of FREE PUBLICITY on The O'Reilly Factor. Now, let's do a run-down on which blogs got the BIG PUSH, the imprimatur from the conservative blogomeister.

They are: His own (HughHewitt.com), Instapundit, Power Line, Captain's Quarters, Roger L. Simon and Glenn Reynolds (oops! Reynolds is Instapundit - guess he must be really special to get TWO mentions!) Surprise, surprise! These are all right-wing sites!

In my days as a publicity hack for Doubleday, we'd have broken out the champagne and given a raise to the publicist who managed to get such a plum of a media placement, the inevitable outcome of which would be an instantaneous uptick in readership. All of these blogs accept advertising, Such an increase in readership could result in increased sales for those advertisers, couldn't it?

Here are some of the items and/or people advertised:

HUGHHEWITT.COM
Manhattan West Mortgages, Kevin McCullough (WMCA 570), SalmonGram.com, MAP [Medical Assistance Programs] International Tsunami Relief [MAP is an offshoot of the Christian Medical Society], Hugh Hewitt's books "If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat" and "In, But Not Of, God."

INSTAPUNDIT/GLENN REYNOLDS
Patron BlogAd: Slovis, Rutherford & Weinstein (Knoxville Injury Law Firm), Other BlogAds: Michael Moore Hates America (A Film Directed by Michael Wilson), Amazon.com Musical Instruments & Gear, Get Fit Fast, Diary of a Porn Pusher, Stephen Hicks on Postmodernism and Six: The Movie [Comment: Glenn Reynolds is a law professor at the University of Tennessee. Yet he accepts advertising on his blog from a Knoxville Tennessee law firm. Isn't that called a CONFLICT OF INTEREST especially for a man who wrote a book entitled "The Appearance of Impropriety: How the Ethics Wars Have Undermined American Government, Business & Society"?)

CAPTAIN'S QUARTERS
BlogAds: Buy Iraqi Dinars, Simple Effective Weight Loss, The Coming UFO Invasion and History of Political Parties

ROGER L. SIMON
GoogleAds - FT.com (Financial Times, a Murdoch-owned paper) article entitled "Arab-Israeli Conflict," FreeGiftWorld.com giving away free book entitled "Palestine & the Arab-Israeli Conflict," Ebay - Palestinian memorabilia, Intifada Lawsuits (representing victims of Palestinian violence), Free Ebay Success Kit, Amazon.com (Director's Cut, Lost Coast and the rest the books by Roger L. Simon) and UNICEF Tsunami Relief.

What a great day for those blogs! How exciting! How happy they must be and "shocked, shocked" to have been the recipients of such unanticipated beneficence from the stalwart Mr. Hewitt, who, of course, being the "fair and balanced" critic that he is, just accidentally happened to select ONLY conservative blogs to promote. Wonder how many celebratory kegs of beer those bloggers have broken open since Friday?

Now, enter the villainous blog! The disgraceful, sell-out who tried to pull the wool over the innocent eyes of his readers. Why, it's Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of the progressive blog, Daily Kos!! The only problem is that Kos published his relationship to the Dean campaign prominently on his blog and the Dean campaign hired him in his capacity as owner of a CONSULTING FIRM, not for his blogging skills! Even the Wall Street Journal article, cited by Hewitt and the Billster during their discussion, had this to say: "The hiring of the consultants WAS NOTED IN SEVERAL PUBLICATIONS AT THE TIME." [my emphasis]

The article went on to say


"DailyKos is the ninth most linked blog on the Internet, according to Technorati, a measurement service, and in October, at the height of the presidential campaign, it received as many as one million daily visits."

Do you suppose that the incredible popularity of Daily Kos might have been the reason it was targeted by Hewitt? No. Of course not. Mr. Hewitt is fair and balanced. He went out of his way to note that liberal bloggers brought down Trent Lott while reciting a litany of liberal "scandals:" Rathergate & Mary Mapes, Jayson Blair & Howell Raines, etc.

Another interesting tidbit. Hewitt is a fervent, devout Christian. Notice he doesn't use the word "Revolution" in his book title. He uses "Reformation." Hewitt is a Christian activist and I am sure that he deliberately chose this word to recall the Protestant movement of the same name that began with Martin Luther and culminated with the Thirty Years' War on the Continent and in the beheading of King Charles I of England by Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan cohorts. It's amazing what men will do in the name of God, isn't it?

In his book "In, But Not Of: A Guide to Christian Ambition," Hewitt offers the following advice to Christians: "Start and maintain your own Web log (blog)." This has resulted in the formation of many sites formed along principles set out in that book. My favorite Hewitt-inspired Christian blog is "Give War a Chance" whose manifesto is this: "Edmund Burke once said, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing,' Give War a Chance is dedicated to fighting the enemies of America (both internal and external) with the truth and asserting the moral superiority of violence against evildoers worldwide."

Need I say more?

A transcript of the interview follows.

O'REILLY: Tonight. Media being paid by special interests. Last week I spoke with conservative commentator Armstrong Williams, who took money from the Department of Education, which was flat out wrong. Now comes word from the Wall Street Journal that the Presidential campaign of Howard Dean paid two internet bloggers to say positive things about the governor. Again, flat out wrong.

Joining us now from Orange, California, is radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, the author of the book "Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation that Is Changing Your World." You know, I think this is just the beginning of this. This is like the 50s, when DJs were being paid to play records on the radio. You're gonna see more and more of this kind of stuff, where political campaigns and people like that are buying quasi-journalists, bloggers, radio people, for good publicity. Do you disagree?

HEWITT: No, Bill. In fact, the idea of payola is very dangerous. Bloggers on the take are very bad for the business of blogging. Blogging of real journalists, and people like Power Line and like InstaPundit and like myself, we don't like it when Daily Kos shows up on the take of the Howard Dean campaign. Now Daily Kos says, this is one of the bloggers from the left, says he disclosed it, but not to the satisfaction of anyone who watches him.

O'Reilly: Oh, that is bunk.

HEWITT: I didn't know.

O'Reilly: This is bull. Nobody knew about this.

HEWITT: That's right.

O'REILLY: And this comes from a woman, Zephyr Teachout, who was the head of internet outreach for Dean's campaign. She's admitting she paid these two guys, alright, $3,000 a month and they just threw nice stuff about Dean. Then you've got George Soros, he's payin' a lot more than that to have these, you know, defamation websites that attack people all day long. Then you [sic] got guys pumpin' Air America, that radio network. That's not, that's not profitable; that's runnin' on money from some crazy, left-wing nut. And, I mean, it's getting out of control, is it not?

HEWITT: Well, it's - ah - can't be controlled, ‘cause it's the first amendment. But we do have to be aware that there are people who are credible on [in?] the blogosphere. There are people who can be respected, who earn trust and deserve it, whether it's guys like at the RNC and the DNC that were accredited bloggers, like Captain's Quarters, like Instapu - people who belong there because they're good journalists and they're careful with their facts. But there are some bad actors out there. In the book I write about something called Black Blog Ops. These are people who operate websites and blogs for purposes which are to destroy, not to build up. But, for every one of those, there are twenty that are good. There's Roger L Simon, Bill. He's a fine, fine film director on the West Coast, very persuasive in his writing. He's not on the take to anyone. I'm not on the take to anyone. Glenn Reynolds, the [law] professor at University of Tennessee, he's not on the take to anyone.

O'REILLY: Alright, so you're saying to me,...

HEWITT: It's a sorting out process.

O'Reilly: I hope you're right, you're saying to me that there are far more honest voices on the internet than corrupt people. Is that what you're saying?

HEWITT: Of course. There's a "World" newspaper, which is a tabloid, and then there's Brit Hume. There's a lot of difference in-between. There are bad bloggers and there are very smart bloggers.

O'REILLY: Alright, but here's the danger, and I've just been through this, OK?

HEWITT: Yeah.

O'Reilly: You've got websites, as you call them, Black Op websites, who will print defamation. Alright, that's what they're in the business to do. They'll fabricate stuff, they'll make stuff up, they print it. Then they call up their contact at "Any Newspaper USA," ‘cause they all have contacts in the straight media. Those people, usually in gossip columns, where they can run blind items, they don't have to source, then they print it. Then the Today Show, Good Morning America, all the cables, see it. They talk about it, talk radio sees it, they talk about it, all of a sudden it's true. So you've got ...

HEWITT: Sure, but Bill there are ...

O'REILLY: ... a defamation pipeline right into Middle America.

HEWITT: But that happens in the mainstream media too. That happens at broadcast networks.

O'Reilly: It's harder.

HEWITT: Look what Rathergate did.

O'REILLY: Yes.

HEWITT: The Mapes thing was a hit on George W Bush. Look at Howell Raines and Jayson Blair. Look at the fact that the bloggers brought down Trent Lott, they exposed John Kerry on his Christmas Eve in Cambodia fantasy. There's a lot of good and bad.

O'Reilly: OK.

HEWITT: It's all just media. It's all just reporters.

O'REILLY: All of that's good, right. All of that is good, but I'm tellin' you, there aren't any rules any more, and that's what frightens me, that I ...

HEWITT: No, but there's self-correction.

O'REILLY: Look, I operate under rules here, Hugh. If I say something defamatory, I get sued.

HEWITT: Yup.

O'REILLY: If I say something irresponsible, NewsCorp pulls me off the air. It happened to Michael Savage over at MSNBC. Pulled him right off the air, alright ...

HEWITT: Yup.

O'REILLY: ... after that crazy thing he said. Internet's not like that. No rules.

HEWITT: Oh, well. No. no. no.

O'Reilly: Last word.

HEWITT: The person who gets pulled off the air is the reader that you lose. If you lose your credibility, as "Blog" discusses ..

O'Reilly: Nah. But the ..

HEWITT: ... you'll lose your audience. GM [General Motors] is blogging now.

O'REILLY: No, but you're not going to lose credibility if you smear people.

HEWITT: Now, listen ...

O'Reilly: People like to read smear stuff.

HEWITT: The Vice-Chairman of GM started blogging last week. If he says something wrong, he will lose credibility with his shareholders. All of business is gonna start blogging, Bill, ‘cause it's the way to communicate. It's the way of the future.

O'Reilly: It is.

HEWITT: You can't throw away your credibility.

O'REILLY: OK, Hugh Hewitt, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

HEWITT: Thanks, Bill.

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