Recently, we met the Media Bloggers Association, supposedly a group that provides legal aid to bloggers and one that is currently negotiating with the Associated Press to establish guidlines for reposting tiny snippets of their copy. Our night editor asked who died and made them Internet Kings, and they responded with a bitchy email that said we didn't even email them or anything. Then a couple enterprising commenters did some more research (and not the "email them for comment" kind either-what is up with the internet?). And now we have reason to be suspicious of everything the MBA and their head troll Roger Cox have to say. They might just be a money-making scam!

David Seamon, expert in self-publicity and former Gawker Media intern, found Cox's blog itself to be suspect.

Fishy: So some of this guy's posts receive 0 comments, while others get 81,406 user comments — but you can't view any of them unless you log in. I honestly have trouble believing his blog gets that much traffic, especially considering there are no pics and the whole thing reads like the starter text included with a blog template. (For comparison's sake, the most popular story on at the moment has 142 comments...)

3. What's totally even weirder: when you try to create a login so you can view his 81,000+ comments, it doesn't let you...

"Thanks for signing up for our email list. We'll contact you once registration is open. We hope that will be sometime in August and hopefully no later than 9/1/08."

Seaman suggests the entire MBA is just an excuse to sell scared bloggers useless liability insurance. Commenter Triborough agrees!

They do not list any physical location (i.e. street address), the whois info for their domain appears to be a private registration, in the e-mail the phone number is Westchester, but the fax is Arizona (big red flag). Part of me thinks it could be a front group for AP to get money.

This is the group that the blogger behind Drudge Retort turned to when faced with legal threats from the Associated Press. AP backed down, but who knows what Cox and his MBA got from the blogger. And now this group is supposedly in negotiations with the AP to issue blogging guidelines that most likely will be stricter than copyright law even calls for.

If we suspected anyone was maybe going to follow those rules, we'd be worried!

Anyway, Roger, if you have any response to all this, just put it on your blog, and then we'll read it and make fun of it again. That's how it works.

Update: We forgot about the AP's friendly history with Cox!

Media Bloggers Association head Robert Cox gets along just swimmingly with the wire service. They worked together in early 2007 to cover the Scooter Libby trial and Cox was thrilled at the opportunity. "This is a great step forward in the relationship between news bloggers and the mainstream media," Cox said the AP's decision to deign to allow bloggers to get press passes.

In return, Cox promised to keep bloggers in line! "This is not the time to write a post titled ‘Dick Cheney is a [expletive deleted].' We sought to address [the AP's concerns] by saying we have a vetted membership of bloggers who've agreed to ascribe to certain ideals of what they're trying to do. [The AP] has the kind of accountability that they want. I'm not going to control what the blogger writes, but if they get way out of line and embarrass the AP, they can be pulled from the feed."

Goddammit Cox this is the time to write a post titled "Dick Cheney is a [expletive deleted]." If we can't do that, then what is the point of blogging?

(Thanks, it takes a train to cry, for reminding us.)