The Roanoke Times is absolutely right

What about this is wrong?

Journalists, real journalists, follow strict rules about conflicts of interest. They do not take money or gifts from groups they might cover. They also maintain a wall between news, opinion and advertising functions.

That is not the case with many bloggers. In Virginia, for example, Lowell Feld, the man behind the liberal blog RaisingKaine.com, is getting special treatment from Democrats. They will seat him on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in August as an “embedded” blogger.

Feld has had a cozy relationship with Democrats for a while, working as a paid consultant for some of their candidates.

Such relationships are increasingly common among bloggers looking to make a buck. They accept money or other perks from a candidate or party and then write about them.

Arguably, many would have written the same things anyway and only work for candidates with whom they already agree.

Perhaps, but money has a tendency to taint objectivity. That does not disqualify bloggers from a place in the media spectrum, but those who rely on them for their news and commentary should keep in mind the potential conflicts when they choose whom to trust.

Other than taking point-blank shots at Lowell Feld, the thrust of the argument is entirely — entirely — valid. If a journalist ever took cash from a campaign to field stories in the Roanoke Times, the Washington Post, or Richmond Times-Dispatch (or any other newspaper), that person would be finished.

The call for readers to be aware of the potential slant of a particular blogger based on whom they are accepting cash from (bribes, employment, advertising, whatever one would like to call it) is a valid point. It’s akin to taking out major ads in the WaPo, then expecting preferential treatment from their reporters — which is precisely what one gets when you buy a blogger.

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