"I don’t actually want to see newspapers go away, seeing as they’ve got structural advantages on news gathering that I envy. Like actual budgets: when someone like Robert Stacy McCain decides that he’s going to go down to Kentucky and cover the Bill Sparkman murder, he has to shake the tip jar, write a few posts highlighting the issue, and hope that somebody comes through for his expenses. The equivalent NYT editor simply calls up the relevant department and has somebody set it up. The ability to follow stories that easily is a powerful ability; would that the NYT was willing to take advantage of it.My good friend Moe (we're like this, Moe and me) was addressing Michelle Malkin's criticism of the New York Times, criticism that might be applied more generally to all the elite media.
-- Moe Lane of Red State
Speaking of which, if the NYT desires a token conservative presence on its op-ed page, why hire another "meritocrat" pundit like Ross Douthat, who can't be bothered to pick up a phone, much less get in his car and go talk to sources in person?
The NYT would have done much better to (a) spend that money on actual reporting, and (b) fill the designated "conservative" spot on its op-ed page with rotating freelance submissions from actual conservatives. You know: People like Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, Mark Steyn, Mary Katharine Ham, Rush Limbaugh . . .Yet the same criticism about misallocation of resources might be extended far beyond the Times building on West 43 Street, to encompass much of the blogosphere and even the conservative movement. My good friend J.P. Friere, formerly of The American Spectator and now with the Washington Examiner, likes to say that conservatives don't need more Bill Buckleys, we need more Bob Novaks, and he's right. (Although Hannah Giles in a thong is a lot easier on the eyes than Novak ever was.) Nowadays, every 22-year-old with a laptop and a Wordpress account wants to play the pundit, give us The Big Picture, and lecture us with their own ill-informed answers to that eternal question, "Whither Conservatism?" Here's your answer: Shut up, kid, I've got T-shirts older than you. Today, down in rural Virginia, Al Regnery's throwing a big barbecue. All the big shots will be there and I'm invited. I'll be running late, and I'm worried about what economists call the opportunity costs of attending the annual shindig, rather than staying here to work, work, work. There's only one of me and I'm a freelancer. I don't have an AmEx card for travel expenses like the big shots at the networks do. It takes a couple of business days for PayPal transactions to be processed, and until that tip-jar cash clears the bank, I'll be pushing it to the limit just to get to Clay County, Kentucky, by Monday, and only hope I can avoid my checks don't start bouncing before those payments clear.
Meanwhile, I've promised the American Spectator a column that's already half-written and has to be turned in before I try to get some sleep, then depart before dawn in my 2004 KIA, so I can try to file something -- at least a brief report -- with a Kentucky dateline by noon Monday. Never mind that we're a one-car household and my wife's steamed because she'll have to improvise her own transportation for a few days. (A rental car might cost $60 a day, nudge, nudge.)
Considering all my disadvantages, then, perhaps you understand my resentment of the media elite's overprivileged journalistic inertia. When I think of the elite, with their Harvard educations and their fat salaries, sitting around pontificating about the Big Picture . . . well, I'm not ashamed to rattle the tip jar, because I think I'm not the only one who's sick and tired of the MSM's better-than-thou attitude.
When I started blogging full-time in March 2008, it was only a time-waster between freelance gigs. Also, I had at least one prospect for a staff position at a publication I won't name. But then those guys started jerking me around, asking me to contribute some freelance work for them, just as a kind of tryout.
Screw that. As if I couldn't hustle up freelance opportunities without trying out for a job like some unknown grass-green rookie. I'd rather freelance for the Spectator and Pajamas Media -- people who treat me with some respect and appreciate my efforts.
So, as always when faced with such a problem, I asked myself: What Would Hunter S. Thompson Do?Double down. Bet on myself. Spend out my 401(k) to pay the bills until I could turn this crazy gonzo thing into a revenue stream sufficient to establish my financial independence. And then, next time they're looking to hire an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of newspaper experience who also does HTML and digital photography, knows his way around the blogosphere and Web 2.0, has mad skilz with Final Cut Pro and PhotoShop, my answer will be a question:
"What's it worth to you, buddy? If you want me, do you want me with or without that blog where I can say anything that crosses my mind? Do you want me to give up that wild fun and all those loyal tip-jar hitters, or do you want me to bring them along with me? I can go either way here, but I've got to know if you're serious about wanting me, because a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. You're not going to push me around like some kid fresh out of J-school. Been there, done that, ain't going back for more. But I'm a reasonable man, and am willing to entertain any reasonable offers. So give me a number here, and I'll tell you whether it's too low. I write for money."
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. And things are looking pretty weird right about now. My wife's worried sick about the bills. She's also worried sick about me getting into trouble in Kentucky, but I told her it's nothing. If they'd didn't kill me in Kampala, they won't kill me in Clay County.
BTW, I just got off the phone with Track-a-'Crat, who seems to be coming down with Appalachian Swine Flu. He's got all the symptoms, so he'll probably be too sick to go to his day-job Monday. He'll have to be rushed to see a specialist, and I told him I know just the man to see: The world-renowned Dr. Raoul Duke of Louisville, Ky.
Rent a convertive, Track-a-'Crat, and leave the rest to me. Sometimes, the cure for Appalachian Swine Flu is worse than the disease . . .Just keep hitting that tip jar, you ungrateful bastards. Baby, it's about to be showtime!