Photo illustration above by Light Brigading on Flickr Creative Commons License (Not a local event)
By Len Lazarick
We want to thank congressional candidate Dan Bongino for announcing a boycott of MarylandReporter.com on Monday morning.
Before we even had a chance to respond to him, Bongino, a Republican candidate in the 6th Congressional District, announced on Twitter that MarylandReporter.com should be boycotted until we removed an inflammatory column by Barry Rascovar attacking Maryland Republicans for their lack of compassion toward the young immigrant flood on the border with Mexico.
Of course, we didn’t remove the piece from a regular columnist, which angered many Republicans used to seeing more balanced treatment from Rascovar or at least from MarylandReporter.com.
But we did report on the blowback and the boycott that followed, and the conflagration gained us some attention on other media. In particular, I got on WBAL radio twice on Wednesday, once rudely preempted by President Obama (Democrat conspiracy!) and then back on an hour later to finish my thoughts with Mary Beth Marsden. Rascovar himself on Thursday got 17 minutes on air with WBAL talk show host C4 (listen here), who also spoke to MdGOP Chair Diana Waterman. She had written a response to Rascovar, something boycotter Bongino refused to do.
Boycott increased traffic, subscribers
As for the boycott and uproar over Rascovar, it produced the third highest daily traffic we got on the website since the General Assembly ended, with 3,900 page views and close to 1,800 unique visitors. That readership was only topped by our coverage the day after the June 24 primary, and two days in mid-May when had stories about Sen. Jim Brochin’s campaign signs being torn down by his opponent, and our annual piece about state employees who made $100,000 or more.
New subscriptions for our daily morning newsletter, which summarizes and links to all our new content and daily state roundup, also spiked a bit in the last couple of days, up to almost 5,700. SUBSCRIBE BY CLICKING HERE. The number of people actually opening the newsletter also was up to about 24% — pretty high in the eblast trade after lagging a bit during the vacation season.
This was all pretty good news for the last week in July. I joked with one of my radio colleagues that next I should get Congressman Andy Harris or Elijah Cummings to mount a boycott in order to increase our traffic.
Actually, I would just as soon not get people pissed off so much. It is not conducive to rational discussion. As Congressman Trey Gowdy told the MdGOP’s annual Red White and Blue dinner in June, “you can’t persuade people by insulting them.” I think that’s true. (A Democrat told me Gowdy doesn’t practice what he preaches.)
Thanks again to Dan Bongino. He pledged he would refuse to talk to anybody at MarylandReporter.com until the column came down. Regardless, we’ll continue to take him seriously and treat him fairly as we did just two weeks ago for a fundraiser with Sen. Rand Paul, even if other media don’t.
Oh, and thanks for the contributions on PayPal this week. We are a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit corporation and depend on the support of foundations, sponsors and donors. They’re tax deductible. DONATE HERE.