Thursday, January 11, 2007

You Know, Mr Altmire, You Could Do It for Free -- No Strings Attached -- On Blogger

As I discovered by reading Tunesmith & Anthony this morning, it would appear that the Post-Gazette has generously donated some of its precious bandwidth to brand-new U.S. Representative Jason Altmire's new "First 100 Days" blog. They also gave him his own Post-Gazette e-mail account.

Obviously, as a blogger myself, I like the whole idea of Mr. Altmire keeping one of his own. But surely he could have found a more independent location to host it.

Why didn't Mr. Altmire just go whole-hog and post his blog on other local websites such as the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, bankrupt local company Le Natures, the Thomas Merton Center, the Allegheny Institute, or Pittsburgh nudie bar Club Erotica?

Obviously, the Post-Gazette's site is not in the same league as any of those other institutions. All of them have a clear agenda and almost certainly have interests which could be futhered through some congressional action. It would be inapproriate for our new Congressmember to tie himself so directly to these organizations, because it could lead to questions about his independence. The Post-Gazette, on the other hand, is supposed to be an independent member of the free press.

But when you get right down to it, the Post-Gazette is also a business. It also has an agenda. It also has interests which could be furthered through some congressional action. And more to the point, it is a business that is competing with dozens of other media outlets in this corner of Pennsylvania. It's just a bit unseemly for Mr. Altmire to provide a kind of tacit endorsement of one local business over another. We wouldn't want to see him take the place of Aunt Peggy in the Kenny Ross advertisements, or appearing in advertisements endorsing his second cousin's cosmetic denistry practice. Slapping his blog onto the Post-Gazette's website, while not quite so obvious, is similarly distasteful.

I'm certain that, if our freshman Representative just asked someone, the IT people at the U.S. Capitol would be more than able to hook him up with a few gigs of server space for his blog. That would be a far better place for him to post it.

No comments: