JetBlue CEO gave $2,100 to Romney for President

UPDATE: Please let JetBlue know that you appreciate their sponsorship of the YearlyKos conference, and that you realize that they are an equal-opportunity airline, welcoming all customers, liberal and conservative, since they show FOX News in-flight. [email protected]

Jet Blue? Try Jet Red.

FOX News and some of the more fringe elements on the right are attacking Jet Blue for being a sponsor of the YearlyKos annual blogger conference, when in fact we now find out that Jet Blue has done a hell of a lot more for Republicans. Jet Blue’s CEO has given money to candidates on the right and the left, but he only gave to one presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, a far-right Republican.

Now, should JetBlue have sponsored the conference? Of course. Companies sponsor conferences on the left and right all the time. Basically, they give some free tickets, or special fares on flights or rooms for conference attendees. It’s done all the time and it’s good business. It’s also good for both the left and right sides of the blogosphere. It means the blogosphere is maturing, it’s being taken seriously. Why anyone on the right or left would want to scare corporations away from supporting blogs on the right or left is beyond. I may think Michelle Malkin is a nut for still supporting the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, but I’m certainly not going to challenge her advertisers, lest she challenge mine. There’s a certain beauty to mutual assured destruction. And it benefits the blogosphere-at-large for us to all grow up a little and recognize that we may have our differences, but trying to outright destroy each other is not beneficial for anyone.

Conservative blogger Roger Simon concurs:

But the question is not whether you like the Daily Kos or Pajamas Media. It’s whether you respect JetBlue’s – or any other corporation’s – right to make its own business decisions. JetBlue’s leadership has determined that associating themselves with the Kos Convention will sell tickets for them. You may differ in that analysis, but I would imagine they have done market research.

Those of us who value open discussion on Internet sites – for general reasons of speech and more specific ones of advertising support – should be happy that JetBlue has seen fit to sponsor a site as extreme as the Daily Kos. It’s good for all of us. (O’Reilly, of all people, should be applauding this.) What comes around goes around – as the cliché goes.

Before you start to throw bricks at me, obviously there are limits to this. Advertising on Jihadist or Nazi sites or the like should not be countenanced. But, whatever you feel about it, the Daily Kos does not fit in this category. This is a democracy. They are people with whom you or I may disagree. We should say so and denounce their views as vigorously as possible. But we should not attempt to restrict their speech in any way – or their sponsorship.

Mike Krempasky, a founder of RedState, another huge blog on the right, agrees:

As a rule, if every corporate advertiser who steps into the blogosphere gets rocks thrown at its head…you’re going to see a lot fewer large-scale ad campaigns in the medium. And believe me, if you think the blogosphere can survive (thrive?) on political ads, you should put down the crack pipe.

So, FOX News and some others on the right are attacking a major donor to one of their own presidential candidates as being too much a lefty (of course, we attack Romney as being too much a lefty, but that’s for another day). That’s rich. And it all too clearly proves my point – when you start to play these political “I gotcha” games, you all too often end up hurting yourself.

To some degree, this is a battle between old Washington and new Washington. Old Washington, and I consider myself a member, understands the value of playing politics a lot like chess: You don’t just plan your next move, you plan your next 5 moves. If you simply act instinctively and impulsively, if you only think about the moment, you can very much end up shooting yourself in the foot as the game moves on. Demonizing the blogosphere, demonizing our corporate supporters, ends up demonizing us all.

Oh, and one more thing. JetBlue broadcasts FOX News on a TV screen at the back of every seat. They don’t broadcast CNN.

PS Hillary weighs in too.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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