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Our Impossible Boeing

Our Impossible Boeing

That is our quest.

In the earliest days of the internet, an Instapundit reader suggested the term “take the Boeing” to describe when bloggers join big media outlets.

Today, Volokh Conspiracy took the Washington Post’s Boeing:

We’re now trying what might be the most ambitious experiment yet: a joint venture with the Washington Post. The Post will host our blog, and pass along its content to Post readers (for instance, by occasionally linking to our stories from the online front page). We will continue to write the blog, and will still take you here.

We will also retain full editorial control over what we write. And this full editorial control will be made easy by the facts that we have (1) day jobs, (2) continued ownership of our trademark and the domain, and (3) plenty of happy experience blogging on our own, should the need arise to return to that.

The main difference will be that the blog, like the other material, will be placed behind the Post’s rather permeable paywall. We realize that this may cause some inconvenience for some existing readers — we are sorry about that, and we tried to negotiate around it, but that’s the Post’s current approach.

I wish them well.  They are the premier group of law professor and lawyer bloggers who actually blog about the law.  Not to leave others out, but the work Eugene Kontorovich has done on The Legal Case for Israel is decisive.

As for me, I don’t know if I am hirable by major newspapers.  Certainly not The New York Times, for at least 10 reasons.

When big media gobbles up what’s left of the smaller blogosphere, I tend to throw a pity party and look for a song that fits my mood.

When it was reported that Salem Communications was going to buy Eagle Publishing, and its Redstate and Reason websites, I asked if there was a place for us, somewhere a place for us.

Right now, I’m cueing up The Impossible Dream.


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“We will also retain full editorial control” ranks right up there with “We will have peace for our time!”

How about “If you like your editorial control you can keep it.”?

Time will tell. This could be an opportunity to open a window for some.

9thDistrictNeighbor | January 21, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Professor, that version of Impossible Dream is too tame. Better go with Jim Nabors with the Marine Corps Band or perhaps Robert Goulet when he’s three sheets to the wind…. If conservative blogs all get co-opted by big media, I’ll end up three sheets to the wind.

You believe that human life has intrinsic value. You, Professor Jacobson, are not welcome at The New York Times, let alone New York (Thanks, Cuomo. Ghoul.). You don’t fit their liberal mold. You are progressive of a positive quality. To be invited to their parties, embrace the rites and rituals of Dodo Dynasties.

They bring some needed gravitas to the Post. I’d now consider a $/month subscription. But I think they want more.

I also suspect their comments will change tone a bit.

    Lina Inverse in reply to caseym54. | January 22, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    $10/month people were saying in the comments to the first blog post. Unless you’re coming from a .gov or .edu site.

    A friend of mine much involved in legal affairs said it was his suspicion the comments pandered to a certain set of legal students and the like; perhaps this is a sign we really aren’t the target audience of the blog, no matter how much we’ve gained from it?

This is me “seething”….. Aw, c’mon Professor….stop trying to pretend that you want to be anywhere but here.

The blogosphere has become the most important source for the truth, especially when it concerns the law. For me, and I’m sure many others, having LI arise out of the nebulous cloud of mis-information from the major newspapers and other media has most assuredly allowed the world to attain the Impossible Dream of having a source of honest, en-edited information.

End of “seethe”

PersonFromPorlock | January 21, 2014 at 9:00 pm

At the moment, going to is immediately transfered to the Washington Post site. I trust this will be fixed shortly.

    PersonFromPorlock in reply to PersonFromPorlock. | January 21, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Nope, looks like that’s the future. Too bad, very dumb move – in a few weeks the VC comment section will be mostly illiterates pummeling each other with inflated goat bladders.

      with regard to the goat bladders, I’ve seen a few good sites reduced to exactly that.
      For example, after edifying on-topic encounters in the comments section “The Augean Stables” unfortunately seems to have gone that way.

Doug Wright Old Grouchy | January 21, 2014 at 9:11 pm

I wasn’t going to post this, but noticing the extreme seething the possibility of LI caving in to corporate pressures, or worse, becoming part of MSM circle of hell, has generated, made me post this: Please forgive me for …..

Heck, if you go away, up into the hallowed halls of wealth and power, Instapundit really doesn’t replace you. Insta is great but he’s too prolific and Insta RSS would be a disaster, so your able and good community of willing followers, excluding certain “trolls” and they know who they are, will become disconsolate. LI commenters will wander searching for blogs expressing the truth and demanding justice or at least follow the laws as defined under our Constitution.

Heck we might have to go back to following social blogs, like those of some legal eagles. Remember, the web was made successful by many independent bloggers and lovers of the truth, not the hated and disliked Journolists.

What better way to keep the chatter to a minimum than put it behind the pay wall.

My skeptic antenna is up is other high profile “conservative voices” start cutting deals under the auspices of more eyes.

I don’t fault anyone for taking a deal, but when your enemy smiles and offers a handshake, the other hand usually has a knife

…retain full editorial control…


I’ll assume the static image is a comment on this move being “Golden”, not just “Yellow”…

Reading Volokh back in the day, discovering it on a blog-roll, as with this and many blogs I read today, I was able to rekindle my love of Law. Law, to me, is like mathematics. Logical, procedural. Except, of course, math cannot be corrupted by human interpretation.

But, unlike math, law is inquisitive,often philosophical.

Then there’s Common Core math…..which makes Law look like a cement block, and Math look like a horoscope reading in USA Today.

    Milwaukee in reply to Browndog. | January 22, 2014 at 12:07 am

    “But, unlike math, law is inquisitive,often philosophical.”

    This suggests that you haven’t spent enough time approaching the boundaries of developed and developing mathematics.

    Or “That’s just your opinion.” Much of what is taught in the first 3 or 4 semesters of calculus is very old. Karl Theodor Wilhelm Weierstrass died in 1897, for example.

      Browndog in reply to Milwaukee. | January 22, 2014 at 12:25 am

      This suggests that you haven’t spent enough time approaching the boundaries of developed and developing mathematics.

      Certainly possible. Always more than willing to learn.

      Always willing to explore the boundaries of what is considered philosophical, theoretical, based on what is factual.

“When big media gobbles up what’s left of the smaller blogosphere,…”

That’s not what’s happening. What’s happening is a drowning Washington Post reaching for a life preserver.

    Bruno Lesky in reply to Valerie. | January 22, 2014 at 12:10 am

    Maybe new owner Jeff Bezos is looking to expand the WAPO constituency. Also of interest today, Bozos apparently kicked WAPO blogger (and JournoList founder) Ezra Klein out of the press bed.

An aside:

It’s my belief that paywalls won’t work (with the exception of single vital topic news reporting such as WSJ) until an easy to use and fool proof way of spending a dime or a quarter for a specific post or page technology is either created or if it already exists, becomes popular. (that will happen through usage).

I won’t pay for content because they usually involve dollar amounts and their time frame is a number of days or weeks.

Most sites I visit just don’t have a sufficient number of topics that interest me sufficiently often enough to merit the upfront payment of hard cash. I would however be more inclined to spend a dime or quarter for an article I know I want to read right NOW. Like passing a newspaper kiosk and seeing a headline story that arouses on the spot interest.

I think the failure of most pay wall schemes has shown that I’m not alone. Sure newspapers have subscribers but that also entails a daily hands off delivery. It arrives, you read it. Internet blogs have to be accessed via browser which takes a certain level of time, reminder and desire to see what’s up. Something many blogs just don’t inspire.

Volokh might come to regret his moving behind that paywall to be part of WaPo.

MouseTheLuckyDog | January 21, 2014 at 10:51 pm

I had heard of the Volokh Conspiracy, but never visited it. Reading a description now, I wish I had.

I hope the contributors have other blogs to go. THe promise that they will have complete editorial control is dubious when they say they wanted to not paywall their site but where required to by their new masters.

When one Volokh Conspiracy dies, another is born.

So new marketing scheme by the failing msm now is to buy up successful blogs to push the traffic to their own websites.

Nice that Volokh made money (I assume), but if this becomes common, it doesn’t bode well for the future of independent internet media.

I was horrified to discover what had happened. I doubt that the knowledgeable, sometimes lengthy exchanges in the comments will continue in the new venue–it was a specialist’s blog, and now it’s in, if not of, the mainstream. PersonFromPorlock is spot-on about goat bladders. I’m downright depressed; VC was one of my five must-check-daily sites.

Those of you who aren’t familiar with the VC can probably still subscribe to its daily newsletter. You get summaries at around 7 pm of the entries for the day, and clicking on any of them takes you to the website. At least it was still working that way today, though the destination had changed.

Ah yes, Grasshopper, the journey to extinction begins with a single step …

… and that step is behind a paywall.

DINORightMarie | January 22, 2014 at 8:03 am

The old “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” and “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer” both come to mind. And, how even the seemingly incorruptible Conservative will go to DC after being elected and turn “left”…….

Hope they don’t get co-opted. Stay strong, Volokh.

On the day that Ezra Klein leaves after being denied a bigger role, Volokh gets a similar deal.

I don’t know, do I see a sign of a closet libertarian owner, Bezos, at work here?

I like it. I can shed tears and/or clap over a blog getting bought up, but other deals are not the same as a great libertarian legal blog infiltrating the liberal MSM.

I think this is a bigger deal than it looks compared to a conservative outfit buying a conservative blog.

My 2 cents.

I’m a little concerned but the VC crew seems to be aware of the dangers.

One of my fantasies is that Mitt Romney won the election and named Prof. Volokh to the first open Supreme Court vacancy. I have no idea how good a justice he would be but by Geoffrey would that be entertaining to watch…

Used to read, amongst others, Jennifer Rubin on Commentary and when she moved to the Wapo, for a bit until the tenor of her writing became too wapoish for me.
Seems that the intent is to snag the readership to improve the ratings, if not to remove the opposition. “You can keep your editor if you like your editor”! Is that akin to Ford’s “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” ?

Well…. time will tell.
I noticed it yesterday on my morning rounds, and although I was a bit confused by the change, I welcomed the compact headline layout for it’s elegance. Clean and easy to look at.
And of course I wish Eugene Volokh success, I enjoy visiting his site as much as this one.

As for me, I don’t know if I am hirable by major newspapers.

You are. By and large, your associates are. A critical fraction of your commenters is not.