A “conservative” website that has aggressively promoted the national ambitions of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley is in hot water after its new owners included the site’s endorsement as part of a controversial new advertising package.
Erick Erickson – editor of RedState.com and a CNN contributor – has distanced himself from the ethically-dubious offering, which sought to add a “video endorsement” from him as part of a paid sponsorship deal. A spokesman for The Human Events-Eagle publishing group, which recently purchased the site, has also disavowed the offering.
“Erick Erickson’s reputation along with his rising profile, combine to make RedState the most influential conservative blog on Capitol Hill and across America,” wrote an account executive for RedState’s parent company in an email obtained by Ben Smith of The Politico. “Why not put Erick’s influence to work for your organization?”
(To read Smith’s exclusive report on this fiasco, click here).
“Organizations with issues, candidates and viewpoints that are in line with Erick’s positions can truly benefit from his endorsement,” the email continues. “The program is specifically designed to provide broad, multi-channel coverage and put your message in front of the people who can truly support your advocacy and fund raising efforts.”
No price tag was placed on Erickson’s “video endorsement,” but our guess is its value has plummeted now that his website has been busted attempting to trade its editorial integrity for cash.
A longtime supporter of Haley, Erickson has aggressively promoted her on the national stage as a rising Republican star. He also played an integral role in the smear campaign that was launched in an effort to insulate her from allegation of marital infidelity.
Last May – three days after our founding editor was pressured into acknowledging his previous “inappropriate physical relationship” with Haley – Erickson claimed that Folks had been paid to smear her.
“We know who paid Will Folks to push this story out there,” he wrote.
Within 24 hours, however, Erickson had backed down from his accusation completely. In fact he published a follow-up post saying “I have no clue if anyone is behind Will Folks doing this,” later admitting that he was merely stringing the media along “like Folks has done.”
Earlier this week, Erickson once again touted Haley in an effort to get “conservatives” to attend a conference he is holding this summer in Charleston, S.C.
“Governor Haley, as I’m sure you know, is one of the most principled, outspoken, articulate and magnetic conservative leaders of our time — a future vice-presidential and even presidential contender to be sure,” he wrote in promoting his event.
A spokesman for Haley’s office did not respond to our request for comment. Neither did Haley’s Maryland-based political consultant, Jon Lerner.
What a marketplace of ideas, though, right? We’ve got “conservative” blogs trading endorsements for cash and mainstream media outlets soaking up Obamacare subsidies …
Seriously … is there no source of information that isn’t defiled?
UPDATE: Erickson has posted an article in which he blames an overzealous sales team for misinterpreting a previous endorsement campaign and deciding “to take the ball and run with it.” He adds that “with me in Georgia and operations in Washington, I guess something like this was bound to happen eventually.”