Pajamas Media

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PJ Media, screengrab from PJ Media

Pajamas Media (PJ) is a right-wing blog aggregator co-founded in 2005 by Charles Johnson (founder of Little Green Footballs)[1] and Roger L. Simon. After briefly changing its name to Open Source Media (OSM), it reverted to its original in November 2005.[2] According to Simon the purpose of Pajamas Media is "to give bloggers access to more advertising revenue" and "to develop a Blog News Network that will do what many bloggers fear Google will no longer do; aggregate blog posts on various topics and present them for bloggers and blog readers to peruse and search through."[3] Upon its inception Richard Silverstein pointed out that in addition to spreading mostly right-wing commentary, the owners will also profit "handsomely" by advertising to readers:

Their purpose is to persuade the visitors to all of these separate blogs to come together and spend their time at Pajamas Media buying products offered there (Dave of Israelly Cool in his diatribe against this post doesn’t seem to understand that I’m speaking of ads–so let me spell it out to ya Dave). A multi-author blog will (the founders hope) give the new site the heft needed to bring major online advertisers to the venture and pay the participants handsomely for their efforts.[4]

Prior to its launch the right-wing National Review also reported that PJ intended to replace mainstream media with citizen journalism: "If all proceeds according to plan, the eventual goal is to replace the established media sources with a network of what Johnson and Simon call "citizen-journalists."[5] In March 2009 Simon announced that he would be discontinuing "monthly stipends" to many of their bloggers due to low profit margins.[6] While the site still exhibits blogs, it has since expanded into other areas including online TV at its website, PJTV.

History

Johnson and Simon were encouraged by their experience of "two events that marked the growing influence of blogs on society: a blog-driven investigation into the United Nations Oil for Food scandal and another into the falsified military records cited by CBS News in coverage of President George W. Bush." [1] "[A]lready friends via their blogs, Little Green Footballs and Roger L. Simon ... as they talked to other participants in the ever-expanding blogosphere, an idea began to take shape." This eventually took the form of Pajamas Media.

In 2005 PJ's editorial board members and contributors included 'Instapundit' Glenn Reynolds; CNBC's Larry Kudlow; Michael Barone, blogger and senior writer, U.S. News & World Report; David Corn, blogger, columnist and Washington, D.C. editor for The Nation; and Claudia Rosett, the journalist who played a key role on breaking the UN 'Oil for Food' controversy.[7]

In March 2009 Simon informed a PJ affiliate that they pay for advertising space that PJ planned to "wind down." This may explain the vastly reduced blogger network it now displays.

As the end of the first quarter approaches and we near the production phase of Pajamas TV, we will continue to build our emphasis in this area. As a result we have decided to wind down the Pajamas Media Blogger and advertising network effective March 31, 2009. The PJM portal and the XPressBlogs will continue as is.[8]

Popularity

In operation since 2005, PJ has increased its web popularity over the years. The majority of PJ's bloggers hold right-wing political views, but PJ also includes bloggers that are considered Liberal, such as David Corn (formerly The Nation editor) and Marc Cooper (who is no longer part of the PJ network). As Cooper notes, PJ did not market itself as right-wing in the beginning, but quickly progressed in that direction over the years.[9] In 2007 Richard Silverstein discussed PJ's popularity in comparison to other sites:

Alexa ranks the site 51,000 which, while being semi-respectable doesn’t come near ranking of the liberal media news sites Huffington Post (3,000) or Talking Points Memo (21,000), the conservative Drudge Report (1,000), or the centrist Politico (12,000). But the truth is that aside from Michelle Malkin and Little Green Footballs they never attracted the big name right-wing bloggers that might’ve brought them the readers they expected.[1]

In October 2010 Alexa ranks PJ as 5,965,[10] still behind Politico (3,997)[11] and far behind the Huffington Post (151).[12]According to Alexa, PJ's number highest traffic source resides first in the US and 2nd in Israel.

Editors

PJ's website no longer contains a dedicated list of editorial members but on its "About" page PJ lists the following people with editorial positions:[13]

Pajamas Media Editorial Advisory Board in 2005

As of October 2010 these names are listed on PJ's website with editorial positions, but no full Editorial page is open to the public anymore. As of November 23, 2005 the following names were listed as members of PJ's advisory board (the links are no longer active):

Bloggers

As of October 2010 PJ includes the following bloggers in its PajamasXpress section:

2005 List of Bloggers

A 2005 list of bloggers (web archive) who had signed up with PJ prior to its March 2009 wind-down due to low profit-margins.[6]

Beginning in September 2005, Pajamas Media provided profiles of the bloggers who had signed up for its services. Among the profiles were:

Aussie Dave's Israellycool (anonymous blogger) | La Shawn Barber's La Shawn Barber's Corner | Michael Barone's Barone Blog at US News & World Report Online | Austin Bay's Austin Bay Blog | Tim Blair's Tim Blair | Baron Bodissey and Dymphna's Gates of Vienna Blogspot (pseudonymous bloggers) | Kim Bloomer's Bark 'N' Blog at aspenbloom-wellpet.com | Tammy Bruce's TammyBruce.com | John Cole's Balloon Juice | Marc Cooper's marccooper.com | David Corn's DavidCorn.com | Pieter Dorsman's Peaktalk | Daniel W. Drezner's Daniel W. Drezner Blog | Edward B. Driscoll, Jr.'s EdDriscoll.com |Dean Esmay's Dean's World | Richard Fernandez's The Belmont Club Blogspot | Jeff Goldstein's protein wisdom | Stephen Green's Vodkapundit and the Weblog of Tomorrow | "Grim"'s Grim's Hall Blogspot (pen name) | Jose Guardia's Barcepundit Blogspot (English edition); Barcepundit Blogspot (Spanish edition) | Nathan Hamm's Registan.net | Celia D. Hayes (aka "Sgt. Mom")'s "The Daily Brief" at sgtstryker.com | James D. Hudnall's Hud's Blog-o-Rama | Steve Janke's Angry in the Great White North | Amy Lopez's Pea Pies Designs Blogspot | Jeremy Lyon's futurismic blog | Evan Coyne Maloney's brain terminal | The Manolo's Manolo's Shoe Blog | Frank Martin's Varifrank Mohammed and Omar's Iraq the Model Blogspot (Iraqi dentist brothers) | "neo-neocon"'s neo-neocon Blogspot (pen name) | Juliette Ochieng's baldilocks | Pamela Geller's Atlas Shrugs Blog | John Podhoretz, Blogger at "The Corner" in the National Review Online | Rob Port's Say Anything Blog | William T. Quick's Daily Pundit | Vik Rubenfeld's The Big Picture Weblog | Cathy Seipp's Cathy's World | Dr. Rusty Shackleford's The Jawa Report | Laurence Simon's This Blog Is Full Of Crap | Don Singleton's Don Singleton Blogspot | Martin Solomon's Solomonia dot com | Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal | Eric Umansky's EricUmansky.com | Eugene Volokh's The Volokh Conspiracy | Sissy Willis's sisu

Publicity Campaigns?

Joe the Plumber Becomes a PJ "Journalist"

In January 2009 PJ sent Joe Wurzelbacher (known as Joe the Plumber)[14] to Israel to report on Israel's Winter war on Gaza. The decision was mostly met with ridicule due to comments Wurzelbacher has made on camera that make him appear less than competent[15] including ""I think media should be abolished from reporting."[16] While blogging pro-Israel arguments during the war,[17] Simon defended his decision to send Wurzelbacher to Israel for 10 days for PJTV (PJ's online TV channel)[18] despite Wurzelbacher's lack of knowledge about the area or journalistic experience. He stated, among other things, that Wurzelbacher was a "nice enough fellow" in his defense.[19] PJ's Bob Owens also defended Wurzelbacher, arguing that war journalists don't require journalism experience and that the critical response the event received was due to fear of Wurzelbacher by the "establishment media".[20] As of Wurzelbacher was still appearing on PJTV as a commentator and reporter.[21]

"Voter Fraud Watch"

In October 2010 PJ announced a new "anti-voter fraud" campaign for the US 2010 midterm elections. According to former election lawyer turned PJ contributor J. Christian Adams:

There’s been lots of talk about voter fraud this election season. Already machines have purportedly preselected candidates and in other places, documents demonstrate non-citizens are registered to vote. Anyone who says voter fraud doesn’t exist has no credibility. I’ve covered elections for over 10 years. I’ve seen it over and over again with my own eyes. I’ve proved it in federal court.[22] Ironically, when asked to provide evidence of significant voter fraud, PJ's Bryan Preston had to "go back a few decades, but claimed that it was an ongoing issue."[23]

Claiming that the effort would be bipartisan, Roger L. Simon stated that PJ:

seeks to develop a network of citizen journalists/poll watchers to monitor as many polling places as possible across the nation on election day. These people would report back to us — with either video, still photos, text or some combination thereof — on cases of voter fraud, intimidation or other voting malfeasances they may encounter. We will then cover these occurrences heavily on Pajamas Media and PJTV and promote them to the media at large.[24]

But some analysts argue that PJ's campaign is parter of wider exaggerated campaign by conservative activists to "suppress Democratic turnout".[25] Former PJ media featured blogger Michelle Malkin praised PJ's campaign, alongside Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly who claimed there has been "voter fraud on a massive scale with the intention of keeping Democrats in office."[26] Conversely, Suzy Khimm indirectly commented on Malkin's emphasis on the policing aspect, arguing that "to fight voter fraud conservative groups are instructing activists to use aggressive—and legally dubious—tactics at the polls."[27] Kimm's Mother Jones report included PJ's campaign as an example.

Funding

In September 2010 a Politico report revealed that multi-millionaire Aubrey Chernick provided millions in seed money to Pajamas Media (Chernick also funds David Horowitz's Freedom Center's Jihad Watch) when it was first beginning:

A onetime trustee of the hawkish Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Chernick led the effort to pull together $3.5 million in venture capital to start Pajamas Media, a conservative blog network that made its name partly with hawkish pro-Israel commentary and of late has kept up a steady stream of anti-mosque postings, including one rebutting attacks by CAIR against Spencer — who Pajamas Media CEO Roger Simon called “one of the ideological point men in the global war on terror.”[28]

While PJ initially began with a business model that included profiting from advertising commissions made from paid bloggers that they aggregated on their website, in March 2009 co-founder Roger L. Simon announced that they would be letting go many of their bloggers due to low profit margins:

Actually that part of our business has been losing money from the beginning, so the people getting their quarterly checks from PJM were getting a form of stipend from us in the hopes that advertisers would start to cotton to blogs and we could possibly make a profit. Didn't happen. No wonder those people are kicking and screaming now that they are off the dole.[6]

Affiliations

Pajamas Media is listed as one of the four 'favorite' media sources by the neoconservative Foundation for the Defense of Democracies along with Steve Emerson's Counterterrorism Blog, William Kristol's Weekly Standard and National Review Online.

Contact details

Pajamas Media Los Angeles headquarters
100 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 275
El Segundo, CA 90245
Telephone: 877 676-2564
URL: http://pajamasmedia.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/pajamasmedia
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pajamasmedia
PJTV: http://www.pjtv.com/

External articles from 2005

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Richard Silverstein, "CHARLES JOHNSON AXED FROM PAJAMAS MEDIA MANAGEMENT", Tikun Olam, 3 December 2007
  2. Jennifer Guevin, "Open Source Media group met with harsh criticism", CNet News, 17 November 2005, accessed on 30 October 2010
  3. Pejman Yousefzadeh, "The Rise of Pajamas Media", Tech Central Station (web archive), 20 May 2005
  4. Richard Silverstein, "PAJAMAS MEDIA’S TILT TOWARD ISRAELI RIGHT", Tikun Olam, 20 October 2005
  5. Andrew Leigh, "Pajama-Clad Revolutionaries", 15 November 2005
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Roy Edroso, "Pajamas Media, Rightblogger Meal Ticket, Pulls the Plug", The Village Voice Blogs, 2 February 2009
  7. Press Release, PR Newswire, 17 October 2005
  8. Protein Wisdom, "What getting kicked to the curb in the age of new media looks like", Protein Wisdom, 30 January 2009, accessed on 30 October 2010
  9. Marc Cooper, "Pajamas Media Drops Trou (Updated)", MarcCooper.com, 26 June 2010
  10. Alexa, "pajamasmedia.com", Alexa, accessed on 30 October 2010
  11. Alexa, "politico.com", Alexa, accessed on 30 October 2010
  12. Alexa, "huffingtonpost.com", Alexa, accessed on 30 October 2010
  13. PJ, "About Us", Pajamas Media, accessed on 30 October 2010
  14. LARRY ROHTER AND LIZ ROBBINS, "Joe in the Spotlight", New York Times, 16 October 2008
  15. ABC News, "Joe the Plumber Turns Joe the War Correspondent", ABC News, 12 January 2010
  16. ALEX KOPPELMAN, "Joe the Plumber: "I think media should be abolished from reporting"", Salon.com, 12 January 2010
  17. Roger L. Simon, "Archive for January, 2009", Pajamas Media, accessed on 31 October 2010
  18. AFP, "US election's 'Joe the Plumber' becomes 'Joe the War Reporter'", Associated Free Press, 8 January 2009
  19. Roger L. Simon, "Joe the Plumber in Sderot for PJTV", Pajamas Media, 12 January 2009, accessed on 31 October 2010
  20. Bob Owens, "Pro-Joe: Plumber’s Trip to Israel Scares the Establishment Media", Pajamas Media, 12 January 2009, accessed on 31 October 2010
  21. PJTV, "PJTV Categories", PJTV, accessed on 31 October 2010
  22. J. Christian Adams, "Voter Fraud Watch: A Primer on What to Watch For", Pajamas Media, 27 October 2010
  23. Ryan J. Reilly, "Pajamas Media Launches Anti-Voter Fraud Effort", Talking Points Memo, 15 October 2010
  24. Roger L. Simon, "‘Voter Fraud Watch’ — Uncle Pajamas Wants You!", Pajamas Media, 10 October 2010, accessed on 31 October 2010
  25. Ryan J. Reilly, "Tea Party Groups Pick Up The Mantle of GOP's Bogus Voter Fraud Claims", Talking Points Memo, 9 September 2010
  26. Richard J. Reilly, "Michelle Malkin: 'We Are All Voter Fraud Police Now' (VIDEO)", Talking Points Memo, 25 October 2010
  27. Suzy Khimm, "The Tea Party's Election Spies", Mother Jones, 22 October 2010
  28. Kenneth P. Vogel and Giovanni Russonello, "Latest mosque issue: The money trail", Politico, 4 September 2010, accessed on 29 October 2010