Sale of 'Hot Air' Shakes Up Conservative Blogosphere

Will Morrissey and "Allahpundit" change with the ownership?

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Conservative blog Hot Air has been sold by conservative pundit Michelle Malkin to a company called Salem Communications, Mediaite reports. Hot Air is known for the blogging team Ed Morrissey and the pseudonymous "Allahpundit." They've earned wide readership for their sharp analysis and tendency to break from conservative orthodoxy. Salem Communications, a primarily radio-based media company, specializes in evangelical and conservative programming. It also owns conservative blog

Hot Air was an odd property for Malkin, a fierce blogger whose opinions typically fall several degrees to the right of those expressed by Morrissey and Allahpundit. Allahpundit has drawn occasional conservative attacks for his criticism of two Republican untouchables: Sarah Palin and Christianity. The deal is shaking up the conservative blogosphere, with many wondering how the sale will affect Hot Air and its place in the field of Web commentary.

  • Why Hot Air Matters  Mediaite's Colby Hall explains, "Hot Air is one of the biggest, most influential conservative sites on the Web" and has been since its 2006 founding. Morrissey "made a name for himself mixing passion with nuance, dissecting what he saw as bad arguments with a scalpel. [...] AllahPundit is a shadowier figure; in an era when most bloggers treat their names like precious branding manna, his insistence on keeping a pseudonym has an anachronistic, early 2000s feel to it."
  • Merger of 'Old' And 'New' Media  Politico's Ben Smith muses, "This is, among other things, a mark of how hard it's getting to talk about 'old' and 'new' media, as one buys the other." Politico itself, of course, is seen as striving for an editorial space between the tropes of old and new media.
  • Hot Air Will Likely Assimilate  Gateway commenter JSF doesn't buy that Hot Air's editorial will remain the same. He notes that conservative newspaper National Post made the same claim when it changed ownership, but eventually became much more moderate. "What else does Salem Communications own, that's the perspective that, over time, Hot Air will probably assimilate." A follow-up commenter worries Hot Air will be "watered down."
  • Hot Air Commenters Riot  A thread at Hot Air dedicated to discussing the sale quickly turned ugly. When one wrote, "This is like Dylan going electric" another responded, "Yeah, electric accordion." One commenter, worried about the more traditional evangelical conservative tone of Salem-owned Townhall, summed up fears that Hot Air would lose its unique place:
I don't mind a religiously-based political site...when it can keep from going off into podium-thumping, hoot-and-holler mode on every other topic, or keep from being overrun by the extreme-right screwball crowd.
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