Josh Marshall, the Classiest Guy On The Internet

So today, I was over at Talking Points Memo, one of my favorite kneejerk liberal political sites, and I clicked on an article that sounded interesting.  Instead of getting the article, I got a page telling me all about the wonders of TPMPrime.  At the bottom of the page, it said:

""Become a part of our team. Join TPMPrime today."

And I thought, omigod, I'd LOVE to become part of the TPM team!  What are they going to pay me?  What are the benefits?  I mean, that would be AWESOME!!!

So I clicked on the link and... uh... no.  No, not so much.  To 'become part of the team' and 'join TPMPrime', I need to pony up fifty bucks a year as a subscription fee.

So, I sent off this email to the site:

* * * * *

"Become a part of our team. Join TPMPrime today."

That's what it says, at the bottom of the page that came up when I clicked on an interesting sound article (I think it was "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going") listed in the right margin of another TPM article I'd just finished.

"Become a part of our team."  I swooned!

But then, after another click, and much reading, I discovered... I'm supposed to pay for the privilege of doing this.

Yep.  "Become part of our team.  Join TPMPrime today."

Nowhere in those calculated to appeal,  wonderful sounding words, does it say anything about money.  Nowhere does it use the word 'subscribe' or 'fork it over' or 'yeah, happy to have you, just haul out that credit card, bitch'.  Nowhere.

Just 'Become part of our team.'

You know what?  Fuck you.  And your team.

I've been an avid reader of Talking Points Memo for a decade now.  I used to be a pretty regular contributor to the reader forums, under the name Doc Nebula.  I got a lot of likes, a lot of dislikes, stirred up some controversy, took part in a lot of good conversations.

And now, to be 'part of your team', I need to give you some money.

I'll be unliking your Facebook page to get you the fuck out of my Facebook stream.  And I won't be dropping by your page any more.  Whatever microscopic income may have been generated by my 10 or 20 hits a day, is now gone.

You want me to subscribe?  Ask me to subscribe.  Use those words.  Or words that otherwise indicate you're putting your hand in my pocket, groping for my wallet.

Don't ask me to 'become part of your team' by 'joining TPMPrime'.

That's just low.

Once again, a very cheery and unprofessional 'fuck you' to every single one of you.  Yes, you and you and you and YOU!



D.A. Madigan

* * * * * *

And then, wonder of wonders, I got an email back!  From the head honcho at TPM his damn self, Josh Marshall!  And he said:

* * * * ** *

Dear Darren,

I think you win the award for the whackiest and most unhinged email in some time.  The site is positively plastered with the fact that Prime is a membership program.  Look at the top of the site where it says "Subscribe to Prime".  It takes you to this page.

You will notice the blaring "Subscribe to Prime" $50 / Year.

If there's a part of the site as opposed to the top of the site and the bottom of the site and basically everywhere else where this doesn't clear, it would be help if you could say where that it is as opposed to launch off on this tirade.

You are clearly under the impression that some rich person pays the millions of dollars a year it costs to create TPM.  Sorry to disabuse you of that illusion.  TPM is a company.  It requires revenue to pay its employees.  Our membership system costs $50 and this you apparently see as a major conspiracy against you because you didn't see quickly enough that there's a subscription fee and that's driven you on a wild rant against everyone here.

I think you need to take a deep breath and probably focus on how completely inappropriate and bizarre this email is.


* * * * * * *

So then I said:

* * * * * *

Well, at least I won an award.

While advising me of how whacky I am, you might perhaps take a moment to reflect, not on how many different places you have different messages plastered, but just how disagreeable the message 'join our team' is, as a lead in to a delayed pitch for money.

But, again, as long as I'm the best at something, I'll declare victory and retire from the field, and you go on and continue to ignore my opinions.  Cuz I don't matter.  Not unless I give you fifty bucks, anyway.

Were you ever not a sell  out?  I'm just wondering.

* * * * * * * *

Now... I get that Talking Points Memo, like every other breathing bipedal semi sentient mammal on this planet, wants my money.  I do.  I get hammered with that knowledge every time I go over to TPM and get barraged with pop up ads every time I click on a link or scroll down or even look sideways at any of their pages.

And I guess I don't object to it.  I mean, everyone wants money. I want money.  TPM employs lots of people, Josh has to pay those people, he's got rent and ISP fees and all kinds of other stuff.   He needs to generate revenue.   Apparently, he needs more revenue than is generated by the ubiquitous and exasperating array of ads he puts on his site, and so, he is reserving some of the site's 'better' content behind a pay wall.

That's great.  That's fabulous.  That's all well and good and hunky motherfucking dory.  Absolutely.

My protest, and I think I made this clear, was directed directly towards the language used to try to entice me to subscribe.  Namely:

"Become a part of our team. Join TPMPrime today."

This does not sound like "Give us money".  This sounds like "We value you and want to pay you".

And I'm reasonably sure that this phrasing is not accidental.

So, I sent him a nastygram.  And for doing this, for taking the time to voice my feelings about this almost cruelly deceptive phrasing on his website, what do I get?

I get called 'whacky' and 'unhinged'.

You're a class act, Mr. Marshall.

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