I wrote, on Ian Delaney's blog: "Thanks for being honest. I'll be honest too. One more paid post and I'm unsubscribing."
He wrote back, "Thanks for being candid. Can I ask why, though? My take on it is that I get paid for writing articles elsewhere. So... What's the difference?"
I wrote the following in response:
It is one thing to be paid for writing articles. News journalists are paid for writing articles, and I am happy to read them. It is quite another to be paid (either directly or indirectly) by the subject of such writing. If a politician paid the newspaper to review his party's policies, I would not be interested in reading that. Because no matter what protestations of neutrality may exist, such writing is not
You may say you write very neutrally. But what you don't control is the selection of which writers to fund in this way, and which to not fund. Consider, for example, a writer who is by any definition a good writer but who is very anti-corporate, very anti-globalization, and very anti-media. Such a writer is not going to be selected in the first place for such funding. So the people who get funding (and the improved distribution) are those who support a certain point of view.
You may say that newspapers also select in this way. That's quite true. Our local newspaper is owned by a multinational corporation and therefore quite deliberately does not publish anti-corporate arguments in its pages. It is for this reason that I have been very critical of the commercial press. And why the opinions expressed in the commercial press play a very small role in my thinking.
I have always believed that online publication offers an alternative. Because it allows people to write, and more importantly, to distribute, their thoughts without regard for who is or is not paying for them. It allows me to hear all voices as equal, rather than only those voices that have been willing to pay for preferred placement. This removes the bias, and helps me, in the presentation of my own work and my own writing, to reflect an accurate view of the world, and not one that has
been bought and paid for.
You may say that you have a right to accept money for writing articles about certain subjects. That is quite true, and nothing in what I am saying suggests that you should not be allowed to do what you do. But again, what I value is the writing that is not paid for, because it does not contain the bias inherent in paid writing. And
because it is the internet, there is no shortage of alternatives. Thus, it is a very simply matter for me to express my preferences for non-biased content by unsubscribing for content that has been paid for in this way.
Update: Iam Delaney writes back:
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