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Tours de Farce: A Matter Of Opinion

12:00 AM Thursday 7/28/05 | |

Sorry we're late.

But we just came from a meeting of the Pollstar.com editorial board, where we were discussing the company's political direction in the years to come.

You longtime users already know that when it comes to politics and current events this Web site is as flexible as they come, and we take great pride in leaning neither one way or another. However, maintaining an appearance of disinterest in politics and social matters is tougher than it seems. Centers shift, issues change and players switch sides, causing us to have to reevaluate our commitment to issue neutrality. It's not easy sitting on the fence in the new millennium, where flip-flopping is not just a skill but an art form in itself.

Now, don't get us wrong. We're not abandoning our flexible past, nor is Pollstar.com the type of company that changes employees every time the political winds blow from a different direction. We didn't fire our conservative employees during the '60s, nor did we ax our liberal workers during the Reagan Revolution. We're not that type of company. We don't demand ideological loyalty from our workforce. Besides, we've found that a slight adjustment to the chemical mixture in the water cooler works well enough to align our workers with any direction our editorial board may decide upon.

But it's a different world than when we used to spend hours and hours stripping away any political connotations that might be found or imagined within the dates for bands like U2 or artists like Paul McCartney and Dolly Parton. There was a time when we posted a schedule, such as Coldplay or Sizzla, that our users demanded a distinct tone of social unconcern and political apathy. However, all that has changed in recent years, and market research shows that more and more users are demanding bias and spin with their tour dates. What's more, those same users consider past concepts such as "fair and balanced" as quaint reminders of a bygone age, mementos relegated to the scrap heap of history along with 8-track tapes and autographed pictures of David Hasselhoff.

But what to do? Like the country itself, Pollstar.com is one big flexible tent. We have liberals in our data department, conservatives in our sales department and anarchists in our technology department. And, like the country in general, all these various departments coexist for the better good - to bring you fresh dates for Disturbed, Yonder Mountain String Band and Hieroglyphics each and every day.

But picking a political, yet flexible, direction for this company - that's tough. We've been go-with-the-flow people for longer than we can remember. We sucked up to Hoover, FDR, Give-'Em-'Hell, Harry, Ike, JFK, LBJ, Tricky Dick, Jimmy, Ronnie, Slick Willie and the Bushes, father and shrub. We know temporary loyalty like we know the schedules for Moka Only and 3 Doors Down, and we always need at least two weathermen to know which way the wind blows.

But we'll keep trying. We'll read the blogs and we'll watch the cable news shows. We'll listen to Rush, watch Hannity and try to find Franken on our radio dial. Meanwhile, we'll continue to do what we do best - posting dates for acts like Alter Bridge, Kenny Chesney and Loudon Wainwright III. And someday, yes, someday, we'll find a political leaning that everyone working here can agree upon, something a little less flexible and a little more authoritarian, an editorial position that will help guide you, the typical Pollstar.com user, in the years to come.

And what if? What if you don't like our yet-to-be chosen political direction? What if you disagree with whatever side of the political spectrum our editorial board lands on? What if everything we choose to support is the antithesis to everything you believe in? What if you hate our newly found demagogue-like ways? Not to worry.

We'll just change our stance the next day. After all, we're flexible.

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