Sunday, February 22, 2009

Laugh? I Almost Disemboweled Myself

By Darryl Mason

The Murdoch media "across the board" cutbacks to staff are biting deep into News Limited blogger-luxuries like moderators.

The Herald Sun's Andrew Bolt :

Have your say here.

Apologies in advance, but there may be a delay in moderating today. My eldest son in playing with his band in the country, and I’m not sure if anyone is around today to fill in for me.

Wait a sec...moderate your own blog's comments?

Work on your own blog, on the weekend?


All those pro-Costello Liberal Party staffers and "PR consultants" trying to fuck with Malcolm Turnbull's leadership via Bolt's chaos-ridden comment boards, trying to wreak further havoc on the party that John Howard all but destroyed, will have to fruitlessly shout into all that online silence and hear no reassuring yowing in return. For a few hours, anyway.

Surely the advertising revenues on a mainstream media blog like Bolt's, heavily cross-promoted through Murdoch media online news sites that attract hundreds of thousands of readers a day, would earn enough to pay somebody else at least something to do the moderating, part-time?

Here's a recent prime space ad from Bolt's "One Million Hits A Month" blog :

That would be "global warming" that Andrew Bolt repeatedly claims "stopped in 1998", the same global warming that he thinks is "the most superstitious pagan faith of all" and is being promoted by "the carbon cult". In the case of the above advertiser on his blog, "the carbon cult" is own employer.

The mentality here, of earning a wage from a company that promotes what you claim is dangerous and will cost lives, is summed up like this : "Hi. These true believers are the new Nazis and it's my job to warn you how terribly dangerous they are. Oh, by the way, I work for them!"

News Limited bloggers don't earn anything from "Hey! We're Really Green, Too!" ads from News Limited. That's not good news for Bolt, or for News Limited.

Why in the world aren't advertisers rushing to flog their wares on a mainstream media blog that is so undeniably popular, at least in Australia? Bolt's a regular taxpayer-soaking guest of the ABC, and is an enthusiastic dancing bear on A Current Affair. As far as bloggers go in Australia, there's few more famous. And no-one wants to advertise there?

Well, no-one except for his own employer, who mocks him with its own massive ads above his posts, pumping News Limited's New Corporate Green campaign to fight global warming that Bolt himself so often proclaims doesn't actually exist.

Does a near total lack of non-News Limited advertisers have something to do with Bolt's feign warning to his regular readers today that much more time will now be spent judiciously culling the more extreme and disturbing comments?

Well, yeah. Of course.

Rupert Murdoch has made it very clear to his shareholders, if not his own staff, that the more highly paid employees, like Howard-era conservative-minded opinionists, are now expected to perform - that is earn decent ad revenue - in the online world. There's no free rides for 'star columnists' anymore. And if News Limited is forced to fill ad space on Bolt's blog with its own ads, then his ad revenue earning performance is less than spectacular. No doubt Rupert himself has already noticed this.

It's like ranting near daily that Scientology is a dangerous cult, and then having Scientologists advertising on your blog. Daily. Actually, it's much worse. Scientology ads would at least pay for the ad space.

Anyway, who needs to hire in moderators? The secret to staying on top of your blog's comments is to not attract so many verbose, intolerant, insult-spewing commenters who need constant monitoring.

Not like here. Right?


Is anybody out there?

No? Good. I can go to bed then, and sleep late.

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