Thursday, June 26, 2008


Today while scanning through Amnesty International Australia's blog archive (do I need to get a life, or what?) I noticed something interesting. Well, Okay, not really interesting, but I'm going to tell you about it regardless. The archived blog posts very rarely nominate their authors except for those written by Amnesty member #3130, with each such post noting it was written by Antony Loewenstein (bold in original). His blog posts all linking back to his home page.

According to the way I read it, journalist and author Loewenstein paid to join Amnesty so that he can use its blog as a forum for self-promotion (wonder if he paid the full $55 single membership or opted for the fee best matching his circumstances, the $22 student/senior/unwaged concessional membership?). Shouldn't a journalist and author get paid to write rather than paying so that a site will publish his, er, output?

Loewenstein is in Europe at the moment, soon to attend the Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2008, where he's listed as a representative of Amnesty International and a featured speaker (session five). This is a bit odd since his Amnesty blog posts bear the following disclaimer: "This blog entry was created by AntonyL and does not necessarily represent the position or opinion of Amnesty International Australia." It is therefore unclear whether he's attending as a representative of Amnesty International or whether he used the tenuous Amnesty link as a foot in the door, so to speak. It is conceivable that he offered to pay his own way to the meeting in exchange for Amnesty credentials. It is even conceivable that Loewenstein was paid to attend or at least had some of his costs paid, which would be ironic given that Loewenstein frequently attacks Google, the summit's main corporate sponsor.

A quick search shows numerous links to Loewenstein blog posts planted in the Global Voices blog. So here again Loewenstein is promoting himself at an external site. This is similar to his one time habit of posting out of context links to his blog at Larvatus Prodeo, prompting Mark Bahnisch to respond with a preemptive strike. No matter, Loewenstein's counter currently shows him attracting only 195 visits per day – not all that great for a professional journalist and author.

And the ultimate point of all this self-promotion? Loewenstein has a book coming out in September; it's bound to be another Melbourne University Press instant classic so you better buy now to avoid disappointment. (If you're one of the few to miss out, Amazon stocks Loewenstein's "best-seller", My Israel Question, sales rank 1,078,079.)


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