Sunday, November 17, 2013

Josh Marshall continues to be a douche

"Where Are We On Obamacare?
What's your gut tell about where this is going, going on seven weeks in?

You're an optimist? A pessimist? Or maybe like some, you know it's the law and one that President Obama is highly unlikely to allow Congress to mettle with, so it's just going to plow on, bumps or not. That's what we're discussing at The Hive (sub req). Join us and let us know what you think."


I'm honestly looking for feedback here -- am I the only one who finds it incredibly inappropriate and tacky for a guy who runs a website to pose a question to his general readership, ask them to join the discussion... and then require a subscription fee from them before they can do so?

Marshall and I went around and around on this via email one day last week. He is, to say the least, somewhat defensive about moving all the discussion threads on his Talking Points Memo site behind a paywall. He's also very defensive about the incredibly intrusive ads he cluster bombs his readers with -- they are, literally, everywhere (despite his insistence that he decided to stop doing pop ups, a 'stop the Republicans' full page ad still pops up over every page there when I click on a link).

He advised me in no uncertain terms that (a) he needs to generate $200K a month to keep that site up and (b) the paywall only pays for about 5% of that. (He did not tell me how much the ads actually generate every month, nor did he tell me how much of that $200K a month goes to his own salary and bennies. And of course he's not obligated to, but as he began his side of the discussion by calling me 'unhinged', well, I'd find his further hectoring about how hard he has it and how tough it is and how he needs to do these things to pay his bills to be more convincing if he'd also told me exactly how much he really DOES make from the ads, instead of just how much he needs to make, and how much of that money goes to him personally.)

What started it all was me sending him a somewhat irate email after I read a little blurb inviting me to "be part of the team" and "join the discussion"... and when I clicked on that link, it led me to a page shilling me for a $50/year subscription.

He strongly implied he had no idea where that particular piece of verbiage was, near hysterically advised me that there were declaimers all over the site about how TMP Prime required a subscription, and also strongly implied that he had not written the "be part of the team join the discussion" lead in to the subscription pitch.

And yet, here he is, doing it even more explicitly, and signing his name to it. He's posing a question, asking everyone who reads his site to join in the discussion... and then, say hey and by the way, you need to subscribe to do so.

This just seems, to me, to be tacky bordering on immoral. But maybe I'm crazy. Certainly Mr. Marshall thinks I'm 'unhinged'.

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