AP is now proposing to charge bloggers by the word to excerpt AP online stories and Allahpundit (the other AP) at Hot Air wonders why. Allow me to offer some thoughts.
1) Could it be a way to force bloggers into exclusively using direct links instead of blockquoted excerpts? If so, it sure would be easier for the AP to airbrush stories or change verbiage if they screw up. The bigger bloggers could pay but only the top few are making very much money and paying the AP would certainly erode their profit.
2) AP probably hates bloggers. Surely they're perceived as a threat and perhaps they hope this move will be copied by other media providers for a tag-team squeeze. Unfortunately for them the competitors are biding their time watching from the tall grass and laughing as the mighty AP takes a dump in their hat.
3) This will help Obama. It will be harder to prove media bias if people aren't quoting the stories. Most of the AP's impact comes from providing stories to the TV and radio mediums, anyway. But bloggers can ignite stories into the other mediums.
4) AP will continue picking on the edges of the blogoshere by going after little bloggers because they know the pajama crowd will be scared to death of a cease and desist order and won't have the money to defend a lawsuit in court.
All in all it's not surprising AP is doing this. It signifies a weakness of their once rock solid domination of how news gets fed to the public. Careers and reputations are testy things.