The ancient caveat Beware The Ides Of March is going to take on a secondary meaning in history books of the future when the year 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic is discussed. Mid March of this year was when the father of all lies, Donald Trump, finally realized that he couldn’t sweep COVID-19 under the rug anymore and had to come clean — relatively speaking. I know you remember well when Fox News got whiplash from the 180 degree turn it did from mocking the virus as a Deep State conspiracy and reporting zero deaths to saying how they had “always reported the seriousness” of it, when Trump finally declared a national emergency.
The reality of coronavirus was conveniently ignored until it couldn’t be any longer. Then, like a huge boulder thrown in a lake, the economic ripples started going out immediately. It has just taken a while for them to reach out this far to PolitiZoom, or as I like to think of us, the Little Political Blog That Could (hence the image above of the Little Engine That Could encountering an obstacle on her journey.) And so the ripples are shaking us up, and we’re taking it in the pocketbook — as are a lot of much bigger and more established sites.
So for us to stay afloat, I am forced to do a fundraiser.
But before I ask you for money, let me give you a little more background so that you get the big picture in focus and know why we are where we are. And it’s not just us, it’s everybody. Media outlets all over the country are putting stories behind paywalls, increasing subscription rates, or sending donation emails to readers, “Our hair is on fire and the sky is falling.” Well, we’re not quite there yet, but in order to keep us from getting there, I’m asking for this community effort to establish a small slush fund to keep the Little Political Blog That Could chugging down the tracks.
This is from the March 18 edition of the Washington Post where they reported that World News Tonight had gotten bigger ratings than The Bachelor or American Idol due to the coronavirus.
The program’s rapid ascension to the top of the Nielsen rankings was the most visible sign of the tsunami that has hit the news industry. With millions of people isolated at home and hungry for the latest information about the pandemic, the covid-19 outbreak has sent a surge of viewers and readers to some media organizations. But it is also threatening to drown others outright amid an economic crash.
The outbreak has created massive uncertainty about the future, including questions about whether advertisers — some of which are shutting down — will maintain their support in the face of deepening economic peril. The pandemic has already tipped some smaller news outlets into suspending publication or laying off staff, an especially agonizing decision as they struggle to cover a story with implications global and local.
“Everyone here is working not for the paycheck but because we give a damn, and that’s why we do the journalism we do,” said Kevin Moran, executive editor of New England Newspapers, which on Tuesday announced a one-week furlough of its entire staff.
I put that sentence in red, because that is our entire philosophy in a nutshell. On this site, we do what we do because we are driven and passionate about what’s going on in this country. We will not rest until Trump is out of office and then we will continue the crusade against Trumpism and the corruption of the Republican party. As Barack Obama noted, Trump is the symptom, not the problem. No, the problem has been with us for a while and if you think for a moment that the minute Trump is gone, life in this country will go back to normal, you’re being naive. A pickle never goes back to being a cucumber. We will rebuild, yes, but the mess caused by these four years is not going to be fixed in twice that time and who knows what the Republican party is going to come up with next time? I thought they’d hit bottom with Dubya, how delusional I was.
So like Rose, post Titanic, our lives will go on and we’ll be right here on PZ recording it and providing context and commentary every step of the way. To that end, we are just trying to keep the servers up, keep the ads on Facebook, pay subscriptions to periodicals like Daily Beast Insider, Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Business Insider, Vanity Fair and I could go on and on. We can’t bring you the most interesting, breaking stories without having resources. I even canceled subscriptions to The Irish Times and Times of London, because I had to start economizing somewhere. Next year taxes will be due on the LLC. It takes some effort and a little cash to do one of these things, believe me. I practically live online and Murf wears his eyeballs out regularly and Max is juggling the site along with a job and caring for feral pooties. We put our all into this effort — and I make no complaint. I’m doing what I want to do and my voice is heard. I just need to keep an eye on the monetary aspect of things, because the past few months ad revenues have been dropping alarmingly. I don’t know where the bottom is going to be and I’m worried.
If this is new information to you, the news industry was in a bind long before coronavirus came down the pike. The coronavirus just exaggerated an already precarious situation and layoffs started happening at once. And, as the ripples in the pond reached out further, print media, broadcast media and now the internet have all been affected by the coronavirus and the recession — which officially started in February, despite the blowhard in chief trumpeting how stellar the economy was at that time. That fiction is done, thank God. The silver lining of coronavirus is that it has put this mis-administration’s utter incompetence in full view.
Now, we realize fully that everybody reading this is in the same boat with us. So all that we’re asking is if you are able to help, any help at all would be appreciated. If you want to make a one time donation to the site, make it to my PayPal account, firstname.lastname@example.org. I am doing this fundraiser to establish a slush fund to pay expenses first, and then pay both Max and Murf from, and myself, should the going get tougher than it is now. I’m being proactive, because the alternative is to use a personal line of credit to keep the site capitalized and I can’t do that. If you’ve been reading me since I started blogging, you know that I became disabled in 2011, due to being malpracticed, and I’ve had surgeries, transfusions and many hospitalizations on my way back to health. And now I’m planning to move to another city, so i can’t do that and carry the site, too. I live modestly — but I make no complaint, again, because I’m able to do what I want to do, and I lack nothing. I have sunshine and I cook fine cuisine, because cooking is another one of my passions. And I’ve been able to walk again since last year. That’s a blessing you can’t appreciate until you can’t do it anymore.
In any event, if I could do it all on my own, I wouldn’t be coming to you. My goal here is just to keep us going, because COVID-19 is out of control, as well you know. Nobody knows at this point where the bottom is in that realm either, although I have seen grim projections of a a million cases a day and 800,000 dead by the end of 2020. We’re all taking it day to day.
Our revenues have gone down steeply the past couple of months, as this entire seismic event which is coronavirus shakes our world and our economy. That’s the bad news. The The good news is that PolitiZoom has grown by leaps and bounds in the two years since its inception.
In the beginning, as a seedling, we had pieces that literally got 25 views. A few months ago we had a piece go viral that got 325,000 views. We now often have pieces get 5K, sometimes 20K views, or even more. So we’re moving and shaking. We thought we could, we thought we could, we thought we could….and now we’re doing it, we’re doing it, we’re doing it. If you hear a distant choo choo way off in the distance that seems to be getting closer, that’s us. We’re making it happen.
And we haven’t gotten here alone. Our readers, as Murfster put it so eloquently years ago, are the wind beneath our wings. If we’ve gotten this site off the ground, it’s because of your support. I’m not talking about money, either, I’m talking about love. You have come on this site time and again and participated and made it a joy to come here and express oneself. And your reading these articles and clicking on ads has generated the revenues that keep us in business. In addition to that, some of you have become patrons, and you are our life’s blood. Murf and I have been here since the beginning and we’ve always been grateful. Our buddy Black Max has joined us here recently and he told me that it was wonderful to have a place like this to come to.
So we are getting up there slowly but surely, rising in the search engines and we’re carving out our own little corner of the sky. If you can help financially in any way, please do so. If not, many blessings on you for being here and please keep coming back and keep reading.
If you can contribute, go to PayPal, email@example.com. If you want to mail a check, please email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll give you instructions for that. If you can afford to become a patron, please do so. If you are already a patron, again, we cannot thank you enough. We wouldn’t be here without you.
I’m from Colorado originally and I’m going to paraphrase another Colorado woman I admire, the unsinkable Molly Brown, “We ain’t down yet.” PZ is not down and it’s not going down. We’re just shoring up defenses because the handwriting is on the wall and we don’t know how bad this recession is going to get. The internet has never faced anything like this sudden massive withdrawal of ad revenue and no one currently alive has faced a pandemic of these proportions, let alone with a maniac at the helm of government at the same time. So this is terra incognita, for us and for everybody. Again, if you’re able to help, it would be appreciated, and thank you. We’re in this together and somehow we’ll pull through. We shall overcome Donald Trump. We shall survive the pandemic.
What’s new is old and what’s old is new. The moms in Portland not only carried sunflowers, they held up peace signs. Haven’t seen that in a while, but the sight was a welcome one. This is a time of regeneration and rebirth in America.
Thank you for being here and being a part of it. Peace. Out.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.