Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mike Matthews and the Boast Who Slumbers

There has always been debate around the DE blogosphere regarding anonymity, pseudonymity,and "outing" people's blog identities. The one thing that can get you bounced in most places (with no appeal) is "outing" somebody's blog name.

Which has always been fascinating to those of us who choose to own what we write, and risk our real names as our bylines.

Recently, when a commenter at Down With Absolutes outed Delawareliberal's El Somnambulo, Mike responded by deleting the comment. But the incident also led him to think about the posts that the Boast Who Slumbers was writing about State politics, and the innate dishonesty of trading on insider information but not letting people know honestly that you have a lot of your own baggage attached:

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could work for the State Legislature, get fired, and then be taken in by one of Delaware’s most popular blogs, only to spread hyperpartisan bullshit with impunity? You could, like, swoop in at some unknown date with all the personality-driven “stuff” you’ve learned working with the state legislature and take your readers on a ride without ever revealing the obvious conflicts of interest that so rage inside of you....

I’d like to call on you, Delaware blog readers, to be more inquisitive in that which you read on a daily basis. Don’t take everything you read for gospel. Even more important, don’t take so seriously those people who would seek to wield their power by denying others the opportunity to respond to said bullshit and political showmanship.


For the offense of suggesting the bloggers with inside information and/or real-world political/personal baggage ought to be taken not so seriously, Mike has been subjected to a rational of self-righteous bullshit that is ... simply astounding in its breadth and lack of intellectual depth.

In case people have forgotten, or never spent time thinking about it: political blogging is an inherently risky activity. Either as a commenter or blogger you should always write based on the same assumption you use in sending an email: I've got to be OK with this even if people know who I am.

Because eventually people will know who you are. Bet on it: gonna happen at the most inconvenient moment possible, too.

Whistle-blowing? Here's the thing: if you really have whistle-blower type information pretty much the last thing you should be doing is putting it out in the blogosphere. You should be visiting the appropriate authorities who can (a) actually change things; and (b) offer you the protections of the law.

Blog and you got ... nothing. Except enemies.

Moreover, what Mike was trying to say is that there is an information discount we should all be applying to anonymous bloggers. If you won't share your bonafides, I am under no compulsion to treat it as significant or accurate. Mike's right.

He's also right about the latent hypocrisy of people who spend 98% of their energy on politics rather than policy, and broadbrushing their opponents as un-American extremists inside a State driven over the past eight years to the brink of fiscal disaster by the one-party rule of their own party. Make fun of the national GOP all you want, but the reason we have such bloated state payrolls, the reason we have never done a damn thing to implement the LEAD report, the reason we don't have governmental transparency, is that the Delaware Democrats have never been able to deliver policy to match their rhetoric.

So, Mike, while the slings and arrows of outraged anonymous bloggers (or those who are anon to the great unwashed, but coyly reveal themselves to selected insiders) are being thrown at you, don't worry:

The spears of pygmies usually can't strike very far above your knees.

Oh. Oops. That last sentence was probably insensitive. But then, you already know who I am. We'll take your sensitivities into account when we know exactly who we are offending.

15 comments:

Delaware Dem said...

Steve..

You proceed on a false assumption. Matthews did not reach any conclusions on his own. He has allowed himself to become a tool.

Dorian Gray said...

Are there people who actually take seriously the posts of writers who are called Squishy something-or-other, some odd Spanish nickname, or Hube? I don't.

I read DE Liberal and comment, but for entertainment only. (Full disclosure: I actually know some of those guys personally.) But c'mon... If you need Dr. Newton or MM to tell you you aren't reading the New York Review of Books at DELIB -you've probably got much more serious problems.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

He didn't respond by "deleting the comment." He only asterisked out the name. And then he wrote a number of post dropping strong hints about the person's identity. All in all, an extraordinarily high schoolish performance, but that is all you can expect from the ethically rudderless Mike "First State Filth" Matthews.

What is really humorous is to read you defend a blogger who's primary debate skill is to call people "fucking morons," tries to punish and threaten commenters he disagrees with, and who even accused vice president-elect Biden of bribing Ruth Ann Minner!

Perhaps Mike's brand of self-important, bullying, and juvenile blogging passes for serious political commentary at Delaware Libertarian, but I'll take the Beast Who Slumbers' commentary over DWA's circus of wannabes any time.

anonone

downwithabsolutes said...

"He has allowed himself to become a tool."

Again, DelDem, you're throwing about these accusations when I've spoken to MORE THAN ONE PERSON about this. I have NOT become a tool. By stating such, you're neglecting the major point I'm attempting to make here. I am SOOOO fine with anonymous blogging. I think our community THRIVES on it. But, once I learned ES's real identity and the baggage he carries with him, I realized I've kinda-sorta been played a fool. All I'm asking for is CONTEXT. I'm not asking him to reveal himself. Personally, I'm glad I know the context. Because now I can apply the appropriate filter when reading his insider-y posts. I must admit, his writing is great and the posts have been quite nicely written and totally entertaining.

downwithabsolutes said...

"And then he wrote a number of post dropping strong hints about the person's identity."

Hardly. Sen. Bobby Marshall has been in office for more than 30 years. He's had dozens of legislative assistants and aides.

My harsh language, anonone, is decidedly one of my own brash hallmarks. I get it. You don't like it. Many people don't. But, it is what it is and your constant criticism of my naughty language does nothing to bolster the (already weak) arguments you make.

Shirley Vandever said...

I don't have a horse in this race because I find it amazing that anyone even cares about it !

I think bloggers have a little bit of an inflated sense of their own importance an influence. I know many well-read, educated professionals who have never hears of anyone in the blogosphere and don't care to. I have sent them posts of interests...they don't go back.

They are too busy attending to this little think called life. You know: working, paying bills, saving for kids' education, etc.

I personally find DWA to be highly ethical. I have heard him speak on ethics, and I can tell it is truly felt. Rash, in-you-face blogging? Sure ! If that's what you want, that's what you get. If it is not, there is a little thing called a mouse that lets you move around the internet tubes real easy-like.

There are few Delaware blogs I read regularly (and no, that are not all of my own particular political bent) simply because I know what my stomach can take. I deal with enough idiots during the course of a day; don't need to augment that dose in my off-time.

If you don't like it, don't read it ! Nobody really gives a hoot.

There is no great philosophical debate here. It is childish.

Anonymous said...

I think it amazing the comments of those at Delaware Liberal. They are the biggest attack dogs on the Delaware blogsphere. If they only knew what the democrat party thought of them they wouldnt be so smug. They have become what they hate. They are the equivalent of rush limpaugh, only more moderate.

LiberalGeek said...

Mike - I stand by my statement that you have been used. Someone gave you that name for a reason, probably because they knew you would call around. Everyone except you seems to wonder about his motives.

You have no right to context. Good for you if you seek it, but it is not a right in the blogosphere. I have yet to hear you demand to know the identity of anonone, kavips, miscreant or a host of writers and commenters that you and I read. You have not asked for context from them. Why a special case for E.S.?

As for Anonymous... here's the tell, you claim to know what elected officials think about DL, and yet you refer to them as the Democrat party. Sounds like a mole in the caucus to me. Or you are full of crap. Quite possibly, both.

Anonymous said...

"If you won't share your bonafides, I am under no compulsion to treat it as significant or accurate. Mike's right."

That's precisely what I expect, and nothing more. It would appear that Prof. Newton and M. Matthews are amongst the very few who actually get it.

Miscreant

Anonymous said...

"I have yet to hear you demand to know the identity of anonone, kavips, miscreant or a host of writers and commenters that you and I read. You have not asked for context from them."

Actually, LG, in a futile effort to plumb the depths of my twisted mind, Mr. Matthews has often challenged me, and even invited me to join him on air while he was hosting his segment at Delaware Talk Radio. If I wasn't so painfully shy, I would have taken him up on it.

Miscreant

downwithabsolutes said...

"I have yet to hear you demand to know the identity of anonone, kavips, miscreant or a host of writers and commenters that you and I read. You have not asked for context from them."

JFC...When have I DEMANDED anyone's identity? This all just kinda-sorta happened and I'm simply taken advantage of the cards I was dealt and telling people that it's probably wise to always be discriminating in what we read and to know that, quite often, we have our own agenda that MAY NOT ALWAYS be transparent. That's it. If it was never revealed on my blog, then I would continue going about my merry way and ES would still be able to post his stuff free of scrutiny.

Again, no, I don't have any inherent right to context and I never claimed such a thing. All I said is it would certainly help when reading one's thoroughly detailed trashing of Republicans so that we could then apply our own filters to discern where the author is coming from. That's it. That's all.

As for me being used, you need to get over that real quick. I would only be being used if the person had some overarching agenda, which there absolutely was none here. Point to the motivations or special interest of the person who revealed this name. Tell me how he's going to benefit personally. It was just a case of blogospheric intrigue that I followed up with a few phone calls to people that could either confirm or deny what was said. I did that and then wrote my pithy little screed in response to DV's piece.

It is what it is. The name dropped in my lap, I deleted the outing, but I damn well had no problem making a bigger point out of the issue.

Anonymous said...

"Delaware Liberal" is a most illiberal blog. Scroll through their posts on any given day. All you find is nonstop attack after attack on their "enemies". They are reduced to an endless stream of poison----comfort food for extreme left wingnuts.
Substance is long gone. Now all you get is extreme post after post of hating on conservatives Libertarians Republicans moderates Mike Castle, Mike Protack on and on. If Obama's ball taint isn't nectar to you YOU'RE EVIL. THE DEVIL! Whoever said they became what they hated nailed it 100 percent. They are the Delaware left's pompous idiot answer to pompous idiots Limbaugh Hannity Beck and the like. Delaware Democrats are right to be embarassed.

Hube said...

Re: anon 5:13: Absolutely correct. And just look at the reaction of other local bloggers. Traditionally DE bloggers link to everyone regardless of party; however, the antics of the DL loons has led to various delinkings, not to mention other bloggers -- especially those on the left, like them -- refusing to comment anymore there.

If you manage to really cheese Mike Matthews, you've REALLY crossed the line. Which, coming from DL, sure ain't a surprise anymore...

Delaware Watch said...

I used to hold the self-righteous position that there should be no anonymous bloggers. But when I personally paid a significant consequence for blogging under my own name, I realized I was asking too much of bloggers, especially when their livelihoods are at stake. I was wrong.

Now I think anonymous blogging is OK. But I don’t think that anonymous bloggers should use confidential sources or insider, unverifiable information. An anonymous blogger using an anonymous source bothers me ethically.

As for anonymous commenters, I no longer have a problem with them either for the same reasons. It bothers me when anonymous bloggers cite confidential sources or insider unverifiable information. To delete it or not delete it is the big question. My usual policy is to add a comment to the effect that since the information comes from an anonymous source, no one should take the information as verified and should take it w/ a grain of salt. I have sometimes received calls & e-mails from the person defamed by the anonymous commenter, and if I couldn’t convince them that my comment casting doubt on the information sufficed to protect their reputation, then I have deleted the anonymous comment. But most of the time the defamed individual was content w/ my comment.

David said...

I believe anonymous blogging is like anonymous publication. It is essential to our free form of government. It allows people to express an idea which stands on its own merit and not be pulled into a personality attack.

I personally find most of E. S. writings to be interesting and thoughtful. Sometimes he goes into the inane or engages in attacks which seems unbefitting someone who won't risk his own name, however, that is not the rule with him. I think that he brings an insider perspective that I find valuable. He is one of the few reasons that I read DL.