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.

Ignore My Times Union Blog, Please

I just logged in quickly to my Times Union blog this afternoon to check for blog comments that needed approving, and was absolutely appalled and dismayed to discover that my page was filled with scrolling advertisements for a particular political candidate, top banner, right block, the whole shooting match.

Regardless of whether or not I intend to vote for this particular candidate, I want no part of unintentionally being put in a position of supporting any political candidacy, while I’m providing content in an unpaid capacity to the Times Union.

(For the record, I’m registered in the primary this candidate is contesting, so please understand that this isn’t me having a meltdown about seeing advertisements for an opposing political position on my blog. But the candidate’s campaign certainly didn’t help its cause with me, because I despise pushy and inappropriately-placed political advertisements, and the candidates who allow them to occur. I do not offer this as advice or endorsement to anyone reading this post. Make your own decisions, please).

I am the Executive Director of a nonprofit corporation that works under contract to a State-funded University, need you be reminded, and I do not wish, even indirectly, to be perceived as personally violating the Legislative and Political Activities Tests that my organization itself must pass. I will not allow my personal blog to be used as a political platform. For anyone.

No, I’m not a chump, and I understood that when I signed up to be a Times Union blogger, I accepted media exposure and promotion, at the expense of having advertising associated with my writing, often for commercial organizations that I do not personally support, or favor, or even like.

But this is the first time I’ve ever seen a paid political advertisement here, and I am hopping, fuming, boiling mad about it. Business is business, but politics is personal.

I consider this to be an unethical advertising placement, Times Union advertising department, that turns my willfully apolitical and centrist blog into a tool of someone’s campaign, and I want no part of that.

So I won’t be posting here again until you remove the offending advertisement, and commit not to putting any further political advertisements on my blog.

So please ignore my blog, regular readers, and any advertisements placed here, until you see another topic showing up in the portal page. There won’t be anything new here from me until then, and I’d prefer you not be exposed to paid political advertising here.

Opening paragraph to a rediscovered story . . .

“Stars above, sand below, Amanda waded waist deep through warm waves, enjoying the solitude of the North Carolina beach by night. She was nearly six weeks into her summer sabbatical and had been slowly working her way southward since the spring semester had ended at the New England University where she lectured in comparative literature. Amanda’s summer itinerary had been intentionally amorphous from the start as she was less concerned with where she was going than with what she was leaving: a long-running, long-dysfunctional relationship with a colleague that had finally imploded; a nagging suspicion that she was beginning to treat her students poorly; a boredom with the great works of literature that had once so moved her; a sense of anomie that had become positively strangling as it spread insidiously to touch everything that in turn touched her.”