Ever since the January 7th breaking news story of Armstrong Williams' contract with the U.S. Department of Education, the Internet has been buzzing with questions on the where the lines of journalism are drawn.
Both right and left wing bloggers had a variety of opinions on Williams this week, however the topic became secondary in blogoshpere soon after CBS released its independent Memogate report. Right-wing bloggers, who originally brought Memogate to light, were doing most of the talking, with some claiming a small victory over mainstream media bias. Others felt the 234-page report left a lot to be desired in specifically reporting whether or not the investigated 60 Minutes airing had a "political agenda".
By Friday left-wing bloggers had their own conversion on journalistic principles. The debate began when the Wall Street Journal reported that the former Howard Dean Campaign worker Zephyr Teachout told the newspaper that in 2003 Dean's presidential campaign paid two bloggers, Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos, and Jerome Armstrong of MyDD, "as consultants so that they would say positive things about the former governor's campaign in their online journals." Although both bloggers did publicly disclosed their working for the Dean campaign, neither have ever claimed to be journalist and questioned why the others felt they needed to adhere to journalistic principles. Moulitsas also questioned why the Journal did not mention the instance of two leading South Dakota blogs, who never disclosed they worked as paid advisers to John Thune's Senate campaign.
Complete CBS Report
Columnists' Group Agrees: Armstrong Williams Not A Journalist
Howard Dean Paid Cash for Positive Airtime
Pro-Thune Bloggers Paid By Campaign
Mainstream Media Whitewash