Media Watch: J. Eric Smith Picks Up His Ball And Goes Home

A bit of a kerfuffle over at the Times Union blogverse – J. Eric Smith, who has been writing his popular, entertaining blog (tagline: “Incongruity, Southernism, Feats of Strength, Art”) for over 3 1/2 years now, has taken issue with the Times Union ad policy and has suspended his blog postings on the TU site until after the November elections.

Smith noticed yesterday that the Times Union was running political ads on his blog’s page, and noted:

I am the Executive Director of a nonprofit corporation that works under contract on behalf of a State-funded University, need you be reminded, and I do not wish, even indirectly, even accidentally, to be perceived as personally violating the Legislative and Political Activities Test that my organization itself must pass. I will not allow my personal blog to be used as a political platform. For anyone.

No, I’m not a chump, and I understood that when I signed up to be a Times Union blogger, I accepted the gift of media exposure and promotion, at the expense of having advertising associated with my writing, often for commercial organizations that I do not personally support, or favor, or even like.

But this is the first time I’ve ever seen a paid political advertisement here, and I am hopping, fuming, boiling mad about it. Business is business, but politics is personal.

The good news is that Nippertowners (Nippertownies? Nipertonites?) don’t have to go through J. Eric Smith withdrawal; in a followup post, he writes that in the meantime, he’ll be posting new stuff on his own blog site.

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3 Responses to “Media Watch: J. Eric Smith Picks Up His Ball And Goes Home”

  1. I like J Eric’s blog, and understand his position for leaving – or at least not blogging at the TU site ’til after Election Day. He didn’t really need the TU for a core readership, but I would think that he got more hits from curious people not likely to search for his stuff. OK, maybe the people that read the TU’s Perfect Handbag blog weren’t interested – J. Eric tends to use big words & address large concepts.
    Over there, perhaps they do need to draw a line regarding political adverts, at least in regards to the unpaid/non-staff bloggers.
    Then again, comments containing murderous threats are ok to be posted…

  2. Jason S. says:

    I think most people are bright enough to to figure out that J. Eric doesn’t have control over what ads appear on his TU blog, but I also think it’s not quite right to have political ads (or any ads, for that matter) on the TU blogs, except, perhaps, for TU staffers’ blogs.

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