Absolutely nothing against Glenn Greenwald in this but yesterday Glenn made a pitch for reader-supported news, by which he means that part of his deal with the Guardian is that his income as a columnist is derived from his hosts as well as from contributions from his readers, thus allowing Glenn the independence to write as he pleases.
Ever since I began political writing, I’ve relied on annual reader donations to enable me to do the journalism I want to do: first when I wrote at my own Blogspot page and then at Salon. Far and away, that has been the primary factor enabling me to remain independent – to be unconstrained in what I can say and do – because it means I’m ultimately accountable to my readers, who don’t have an agenda other than demanding that I write what I actually think, that the work I produce be unconstrained by institutional orthodoxies and without fear of negative reaction from anyone. It is also reader support that has directly funded much of the work I do, from being able to have research assistants and other needed resources to avoiding having to do the kind of inconsequential work that distracts from that which I think is most necessary and valuable.
For that reason, when I moved my blog from Salon to the Guardian, the Guardian and I agreed that I would continue to rely in part on reader support. Having this be part of the arrangement, rather than exclusively relying on the Guardian paying to publish the column, was vital to me. It’s the model I really I believe in.
It is an indispensable factor in my independence. It enables me to work far more effectively by having the resources I need and to spend my time only on the work which I actually believe can have an impact. It keeps my readers invested in the work I do and keeps me accountable to them. And it’s what enables me to know that I’ll be able to continue focusing on the issues and advancing the perspectives which I think are vital regardless of who that might alienate.
I think this is great and may well be a model for many pro and semi-pro bloggers going forward providing, of course, that Huckleberry Closetcase hasn’t shipped them(us) all off to Gitmo although, truth be told, I for one have always had a hankering to visit Cuba.
But never mind that.
Going to Glenn’s GG Fundraising page you are given the option of contributing through PayPal, Google Checkout or by check and, right off the bat, someone’s principles are being compromised:
Once you step over that line, it’s a slippery slope to perdition, y’all…