Bye Bye to You, T.U.

I’m still seeing a variety of paid political advertisements swirling on my personal, unpaid, community Times Union blog page this morning, which I consider more and more inexcusable every time I view them.

And not only am I seeing them here, but I’m also seeing them on a wide variety of other community blogger pages as well, not to mention the ostensibly independent and non-partisan Capitol Confidential.

That’s just wrong, and it should have been immediately recognized as wrong and corrected when the point was raised, if editorial integrity was the guiding principle here.

But it’s not, which isn’t really news to any of us, I suppose.

I’ve never particularly liked having advertisements on my blog here, but I tolerated it all these years because, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t really care, and I don’t think it really matters, where you buy your tires, or where you send your kids to school, or where you get your prescriptions filled, or where you do your banking. So I didn’t really mind my words being used to pimp those products.

But I do care passionately about the political process, and I do care passionately about who we elect to serve us, and I will not allow my words to be co-opted for partisan political purposes. Period.

So it is with no small amount of regret that I announce that I will be taking my blog elsewhere and no longer posting new content here at the Times Union.

Wherever I end up, I’ll point my own domain there, so all you have to do to find me is just my name with a dot com behind it: http://www.jericsmith.com

While I’m not a rallying kind of person, I’d ask all of my fellow community bloggers to consider the most odious political candidate you can imagine, and then imagine how you will feel when that candidate places an advertisement on your blog. Are you willing to stay here and risk that? Are you willing to allow your words to be a magnet that might expose your readers to vile politicians?

Food for thought. But if you reach the same conclusion I did, I can tell you that it’s pretty easy to migrate a blog, and I’ll be happy to help you do it.

5 thoughts on “Bye Bye to You, T.U.

  1. I thought I would comment here rather than at the TU. I can understand your being particularly sensitive to political ads, but I wonder if you believe the TU should not carry political ads at all? Or is it OK on the articles and paid staff blogs, as well on the noneditorial pages of the print edition? Also, I know business ads may not seem as offensive, but I can imagine times when they could be – for instance, an ad for beef (which was on Table Hopping today) appearing on the Animal Rights blog. Then, OTE has an ad for plastic surgery – wonder what that is implying! What if there was an ad for a nonprofit organization that you found in opposition to your beliefs – say pro-life or pro-choice? It seems to me a lot of compromises are necessary to use the TU platform, or else an attitude that accepts their business (and editorial, and news gathering) model and shrugs it off.

  2. You’re right, Gina, that compromises are made to use their platform, so it’s all a matter of individual choice for each of the bloggers as to how much compromise one is willing to tolerate.

    This was the tipping point for me . . . but I would imagine that for some folks, other things would be tipping points. As noted, I have both a visceral personal reaction to paid political advertising, and I have a professional concern about continuing to write there once I’ve become aware that it’s okay for politicians to advertise there.

    What bugs me the most, I guess, is that the TU can and does designate certain areas in their print edition as ad-free, and they can and should do the same online. It’s one thing to put a paid political ad on the page of a blog written by a paid TU staff member (since, ostensibly, the advertising revenue is paying that staff member, in part), but I think it’s quite another thing to do that to community volunteers, who can reap no benefit from the association, but only hurt or confusion.

    But the TU will move on just fine without me . . . . there are boodles and boodles of other writers out there ready and willing to jump to local “big leagues” of blogging, with all the compromises that that entails. The thrill of media exposure is a narcotic . . . but I’ve actually had so much of it over the years that it doesn’t do much for me anymore, so that’s probably another reason to move on . . .

  3. Pingback: The Verdict Is In . . . « J. Eric Smith's Flexible Tetragrammaton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s