My question is this... what, as bloggers, do we owe to our readers and general public? After the Armstrong Williams scandal, I looked to see how prevalent journalists being paid to act as PR people was. I have found several journalists who have taken money from people and not disclosed the payments (not to be biased, but they all seem to be conservitive journalists so far). I also ran across something else that peaked my interest. Maybe the rest of you knew about this, but I did not. What I am referring to is two conservative bloggers taking money from the John Thune campaign to attack Tom Daschle and any journalists that might right positive articles about Daschle (or negative about Thune). (Link and Link)
most of us make no secret of our bias towards or against certain politicians or parties. But, what is the responsibility of the blogging world to disclose our personal financial interest in our blogging. This goes further than just political blogs, but to any kind of blog.
The problem I see is that credibility is of no importance in the blogging community. First, we are fairly anonymous. I could pass by any one of the other bloggers out there and never know the difference.
Second, even if we do get busted for being paid for something and not disclosing it, it is easy to shut up shop, change your handle and start all over again. Anywhere Armstrong Williams goes, his name follows and no one will trust him any longer. But I could easily change from the Barking Dingo to Howling Wolf, or any number of names.
So, I am curious as to what you think. What is our responsibility and how or should we even try to keep ourselves honest?