Blogs Becoming “Online Magazines”

Apropos the ongoing controversy over bloggers and campaign finance laws, Duncan “Atrios” Black asks,

Why is somebody who prints up and mails out weekly vanity newsletter entitled to the media exemption but not me?

Why is Michael Savage entitled to the media exemption but not me?

Why is Salon.com entitled to the media exemption but not me?

While one could find reasons to protect Salon and not Eschaton, he’s got a good point vis-a-vis Michael Savage.

Greg at The Talent Show has a figured out a loophole:

In order to avoid any potential pitfalls, let me use this opportunity to announce that this post will be the last one on The Talent Show blog. Starting either late today or tomorrow, I will relaunch (without any fanfare whatsoever) my new web magazine, The Talent Show. I will still be the primary writer around here, but the traditional blog posts will be replaced with articles of varying lengths and topics. I will also be replacing the comments with article specific message boards. The look of the site, the writing style, the subject matter, the content, and the technological back-end will be identical to what I’m using now, but the change (as least as far as the FEC is concerned) will be drastic. Starting tomorrow, my days as a blogger are ending and my days as a writer begin.

Jeralynn Merritt is also making the transition, along with a bevy of other former bloggers which she’s listed.

Ed Morrissey
, however, is resisting the new trend and remaining a blogger.

Because I will not allow the FEC to chase me from my rights as an independent voice in politics to write what I please and to post what I want based on a silly bit of nomenclature. I understand what Jeralyn and other members of the, er, “online magazine community” mean to say with these statements, but I won’t surrender to the bureaucrats an inch when it comes to my right to speak my mind. I don’t plan on playing silly name games with those who plan on regulating speech for our own good. All that does is play into their strategy of twisting words and meanings until nothing means what it says any more.

The transformation of blogs into “online journals,” a meaningless distinction, does serve the purpose of illustrating absurdity by being absurd, as Rush Limbaugh likes to say. But I agree that, if the government really wants to treat online speech as a limited commodity, they’re not going to be put off by the technicalities of what a site calls itself.

hat tip: Neddy Kerfuffle

Update: Bill Hobbs has made the transition and Mark Tapscott has formed an exploratory committee.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Media
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Chris Short says:

    I say bring it on. Have federal agents knocking at my door and my lawyer knocking at theirs.