The incredible burden of credibility

There’s a wonkish yet curiously fascinating AP story in the Seattle Times today about an FCC ruling that limits local government authority and oversight in negotiating cable TV franchises. Critics complain that FCC chairman Kevin Martin deliberately misrepresented facts while pushing through the new rules, which the Republican dominated commission passed on a party-line vote.

Supporters of the policy change — giant phone companies like AT&T and Verizon — provided dozens of examples of local governments making unreasonable demands on new competitors. And Martin repeatedly cited these claims without making any effort at independent verification.

It was one of those claims that raised the ire of David L. Smith, the city attorney in Tampa, Fla. He said the FCC chairman, Kevin Martin, made a “blatantly inaccurate allegation” about Tampa’s conduct during franchise negotiations with Verizon Communications Inc.

Martin was quizzing an agency employee during a commission meeting before casting his vote when he asked: “Is Verizon still required to film the tutoring classes for the math classes in Tampa, Florida in order to get a franchise?”

Rosemary Harold, a deputy chief in the FCC’s Media Bureau, answered, “Yes, Mr. Chairman.”

In fact, Tampa never imposed such a requirement. Tampa gave Verizon a $13 million “needs assessment,” required by law to obtain contributions for equipment used in public access production. The assessment may have included video cameras for filming math classes, but nothing like this was ever mentioned in the franchise agreement. Tampa’s existing cable franchise had already committed $6.5 million towards the needs assessment, and under Florida law a competitor would have been required to match that amount to obtain a franchise.

So how did such a “blatantly inaccurate allegation” get read into the public record by the chairman of the FCC himself?

The Tampa allegation outlined by Martin first appeared in a Wall Street Journal story in October 2005 that painted a sympathetic portrait of Verizon’s travails in gaining franchises.

The account said Verizon, seeking permission to offer TV service in Tampa, was presented with “a $13 million wish list” of items it needed, including “video cameras to film a math-tutoring program for kids.”

The story stated that “Verizon lawyers saw it as a demand.”

Uh-huh. Martin read it in the Wall Street Journal — a respectable newspaper — and that was good enough for him.

I have friends in the newspaper biz, journalists who I truly respect, who I think it is fair to say look down a bit at what me and my fellow bloggers and advocacy journalists do. They insist that it is their job to objectively report the story, not become a part of it. But of course, that’s impossible.

Even if the WSJ reporter’s mischaracterization was an honest mistake (as opposed to being the result of intentional or unintentional bias,) the very act of reporting it influenced public policy. Despite a growing level of public cynicism, newspapers are still generally presumed to be credible sources of objective information, and thus not only shape public opinion, but routinely inform lawmakers as they shape public policy. This is just one of innumerable instances where getting the story wrong actually helped change the story.

Lacking the resources or journalistic training (or the desire for that matter) to do much original reporting myself, much of what I engage in as a blogger is media criticism. In the process I have come to know and like many of the journalists I cover, and so it bothers me more than a little bit to learn that they so often take personal offense at they way I critique their reporting and their publications. It wouldn’t surprise me if at this point in the post, some of my friends in the press angrily mutter something about how us bloggers have a track record that is certainly no better, if not considerably worse, than theirs. Hmm. I don’t know if that’s true, but it is entirely beside the point.

As a blogger, I’m not generally considered to be a credible source. As a newspaper reporter, you are.

When FCC Chair Martin wanted to authenticate the veracity of an anecdote, he cited the WSJ. On the other hand, when former FEMA director Mike Brown and his attorney wanted to discredit the Arabian Horse Association story, they cited the fact that it originated on (gasp) a blog.

So to my friends in the press who question who the hell I am to criticize them, I freely acknowledge that yeah, well, we all make mistakes. But the point is, yours matter more than mine.

(At least for now.)


  1. 1

    Wally the talking Badger spews:

    I think American Newspapers should all use Rolling Stones mission statement: “All the News that Fits”.

  2. 2

    Jenna Bush spews:

    Truth? Credibility? Honesty? You expected these things from a newpaper that endorsed Daddy TWICE?

    You’re as much a drunk as he is!

  3. 3

    Dan Rather spews:

    Hey anybody with me in protecting the rights and fair wages for democrat political volunteers? These people are victims and deserve a fair wage!!! I say $20 buck and hour.

  4. 4

    skagit spews:

    Good commentary. Haven’t newspapers always had problems with veracity? Nobody’s perfect. I love the blogs . . . nowhere else do I read give and take, see the elasticity of truth and have the opportunity after reading so many arguments to synthesize and reach a sort of understanding if not total truth.

    What more can anyone ask?

    Martin – don’t all Republicans lie?

  5. 5

    Dan Rather spews:

    Dems are such hypocrites about fair wages when their party accepts volunteers. Of course when are dems not hypocrites.

  6. 6

    Wally the talking Badger spews:

    Ford did not lose $12.5 billion dollars this year. They closed a bunch of plants (loss) fired a bunch of trained workers (loss) gave them buyouts (loss)sold a bunch of cars (supposedly) undercost to keep the gravy rolling and will pay no taxes this year (big gain).

    They will offshore even more jobs with the tax money they DIDN’T pay and they are doing everything that big money- lenders like to improve your corporate ability to borrow capital.

    Buy when their stock is at its lowest ebb and you will make a lot of money.

  7. 7

    Wally the talking Badger spews:

    “Dan Rather” will be bleating about the unions causing the demise of the Ford company — but he’s a shortsighted, “talking point” factory. Just because youdon’t agree with international corporate policy doesn’t mean you can’t profit from them. Besides, if you own stock you can attend stockholders meetings and promote your own agenda.

    Let “Dan Rather” wander in the wilderness bleating about unions — while union retirement funds are investing in corporations in a big way if the corporations bend to their pro-labor ideas.

    I think unions should invest heavily in WalMart and pull the rug out from under them with a massive sell-off.

  8. 8

    Dan Rather spews:


    Any liberal who states that republicans are for cheap labor but do not protest the use of volunteers by their own party are hypocrites. There no spinning your way out of it. It is more about the minimum wage than the unions. You dems are hypocrites through and through.

  9. 9

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    RatherRetarded is the hypocrite. RatherRetarded is the liar. RatherRetarded has a serious cognition problem: He does not recognize when he walks down the street that 3 out of four people he sees are in sympathy with the Democratic Party’s agenda, and happily, wilingly, and heartily voted to throw the lying, hypocritical, treasonous rightwing whacko’s out of office.

  10. 10

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    RatherRetarded you are a rightwing nutcake. A fruitloop of the most virulent type. Your lies, and and disinformation have no validity. The Right’s attack on the Middle Class and attempts to destroy the Union movement are well documented.
    The day of you corporatist fascist agenda a passing. . .and none too soon.

  11. 11

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    RatherRetarded chooses a thread dealing with credibility to spread the fog of his lies. . .abusing the name of a respected journalist, destroyed by the same fascist corporate lie factory that RatherRetarded is a member.

  12. 12

    Wally the talking Badger spews:

    re 9: Exactamundo, mon frere! (See, Ratherretarded, liberals are smart and multilingual.) But not you, you are “El Retardo”!!!
    (That’s “the retard” for our non-Spanish speaking friends.)

  13. 13

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    BushBinLyin is down to to 27 percent ratings, down a percentage over the weekend. His fascist corporate backers and their shills would do well to heed this. I’m speaking directly to you,RatherRetarded.

  14. 14

    skagit spews:

    Dan Rather says:

    Dems are such hypocrites about fair wages when their party accepts volunteers. Of course when are dems not hypocrites.

    That’s called projection, Dan . . . look it up.

  15. 15

    Wally the talking Badger spews:

    This is how “free trade” really works. Just like the way Rockefeller drove out competitors by selling cheap gas and then raising prices, the American tax-payer subsidized corporate corn machine has destroyed the indigeonous corn growers in Mexico — leading to a corn tortilla crisis.

    As amusing as it sounds, it’s no joke to the poor people of Mexico. And the whole humanitarian crisis was easily forseen. But restrain profits just to avert human misery: Not on your life! Not in corporate America! So, who is going to pay for the death and disease caused by this cheap ass grab for profits?

    If the corn monopolists were forced to pay for their own damage, they wouldn’t have done it in the 1st place. “Dan Rather” is incapable of understanding this. His comments are less than worthless. You are a commie, “Dan Rather”, for supporting the socialistic program supported corporate corn growers of America.

    “Mexico is in the grip of the worst tortilla crisis in its modern history.”

  16. 16

    skagit spews:

    Back to self-sufficient villages! Anti-trust laws need to be enforced . . . we’re so way past that. The global market (in everything) will soon be in the hands of no more than ten major players . . . oh, won’t that fun! Seven continents of poverty . . . I wonder which continent the rich will choose for their gated compounds?

  17. 17

    Wally the talking Badger spews:


    Manipulating The Oil Reserve
    Thomas I. Palley
    January 26, 2007

    It turns out there is good reason to believe that record oil prices may be due to our own strategic oil reserve, which the Bush administration may have been manipulating to drive up prices for the benefit of its clients. This is something Congress must investigate, and here is some preliminary evidence.
    Any finding of manipulation would go far beyond corruption and be close to economic treason, because when oil prices increase America must pay more for its imported oil. That, in turn, increases the trade deficit and our foreign debt. Alternatively, one can think of price manipulation as the equivalent of a tax increase on American families that is paid to foreign governments, including Iran. While some small energy scandals are under investigation by Congress, the big enchilada is the strategic oil reserve, which may have been “strategically” manipulated to drive up oil prices. The key to understanding this manipulation is demand and supply and oil storage capacity.

  18. 18


    well, goldy, by the title of this post at least we all can now rest easy knowing that is one less “incredible” burden that you are living under.LOL.

  19. 19

    Wally the talking Badger spews:

    BUSH’S ECONOMIC TREASON es/2007/01/26/manipulating_the _oil_reserve.php

    Manipulating The Oil Reserve
    Thomas I. Palley
    January 26, 2007

    “One last factoid. A recent IMF study documented that oil prices in the U.S. appear to be politically manipulated, falling prior to elections—as they did in 2002, 2004 and 2006. If you are an economist you ask how that is done. The answer is the strategic oil reserve.”

  20. 20

    Wally the talking Badger spews:

    LET’S RAISE THE SOLDIERS’ PAY AND MEDICAL BENEFITS AND LET THE REPUBLICANS GO ON RECORD AS BEING AGAINST IT. And … let’s levy a tax on the rich to pay for it or a windfall tax on oil profits.

    “We have had 6 years of the Presidency of a supercilious, arrogant, delusional, multifariously incompetent hack, a man of no demonstrable achievements before or since he won our highest office. He has, in fact, been elected twice (more or less)–and if he wasn’t really elected either time, we are even more responsible for having allowed such a shameful thing. (“Get over it,” chortles Scalia, with blood on his hands.)”

  21. 21

    Puddybud spews:

    Wally the Stupid Badger: Using a “progressive” libtard wing site?

    I went through this before. Either you are too stupid to remember facts or you are truly a newbie. Check this out on the Internet.

    From 2000 until now:

    How much oil do we import each day?

    How much oil does China import each day?

    How much oil does India import each day?

    How much oil does Korea import each day?

    Wally these answers are easily found on the ‘Net.

    Now The last three years have seen rapidly rising oil prices, and a tight oil market has meant that even small increases in demand have had large price impacts. During this period the Bush administration purposely expanded inventories of the strategic oil reserve, which rose from 600 million barrels in May 2003 to 700 million barrels in August 2005. The administration therefore increased demand by 125,000 barrels per day, and oil prices rose from 30 dollars per barrel to 70 dollars.

    125,000 barrels a day? You’ve got to be kidding!

  22. 22

    Puddybud spews:

    The Superiority of a black man strikes again.

    Tiger wins his 7th straight! Ain’t life great?

  23. 23

    Wally the talking Badger spews:

    THE INFERRED GOVERNING POWER OF CORPORATION IN CONSTITUTION: Reversing his reasoning process from habeus corpus, Alberto Gonzales declares : “Feudal power over the American population is not expressly FORBIDDEN in the Constitution, therefore, it is legal and, more importantly, Constitutional – since it is not expressly forbidden.
    “The other systemic flaw in the US is the untrammeled power of the corporations, a power not given to corporations by the framers of the Constitution, but inferred by corporations and their sympathizers from the comments made about the Fourteenth Amendment by a judge in a case (Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company) that went to court in 1886. The precedents set by this case and subsequent ones have increasingly stacked the deck against the voters and in favor the corporations ever since.”

  24. 25

    Wally the talking Badger spews:

    re 22: Bullshit. Every put was Filipino — and you know it. I asked the van Halen brothers and they agree.

  25. 26

    Puddybud spews:

    Wow Stupid Badger@25, you surely know your Asian countries! You surely shocked me your knowledge. HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR!

    Nuff Said!

  26. 27

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    DarrellSucksButtPutty Oh that’s right, in one of your delusional sockpuppet personalities you claim to be black. . . .
    Just drop by DL, I’ll pay for your lemonade, or whatever. Then we’ll be happy to parse out your delusions. . .
    And of course this means you are supporting Obama!????

  27. 28

    Puddybud spews:

    Wally the Stupid Badger is just like Clueless, living in Monbat! wingnutland blog sites.

  28. 29

    Wally the talking Badger spews:

    RE 21: How would the answers to your questions in any way relate to this question: If the total amount of strategic oil reserve were increased in the US by executive fiat and we then filled up all the storage space we had with domestic oil (which is exactly what happened), how would that impact the price of crude oil from foreign sources given the fact that our “strategic reserve” was occupying all the storage space? The price would increase.

    Concurrently, if you released a large amount of the “strategic reserve” around an election, the price of crude would go down — thereby making gas cheaper.

    That’s how it’s done. For election purposes. It has nothing to do with your red herring questions which you didn’t even bother to answer yourself.
    From 2000 until now:

    How much oil do we import each day?

    How much oil does China import each day?

    How much oil does India import each day?

    How much oil does Korea import each day?

  29. 30

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    ‘Course, DarrellSucksButtPutty, you really don’t have to travel too far. . .we could just convene a Drinking Liberally at that little bar in the south corner of the Canal. . .
    You’d be welcome there as well. . .provided you haven’t already been banned. . . .

  30. 31

    Puddybud spews:

    Froggy: In a choice of McCain, Hillary and Obama, you betcha. In a choice of Guliani and Obama, tough choice!

    Meet me with Furball at the Downtown Seattle Federal Building. I’ll show my skin color and Furball can review the receipts! Don’t worry Froggy, it’s in an integrated location. You don’t have to worry about the homies jumping your slinky butt.

    Delusions: You chose KillaTroll. Advocating killing people through a nick? Yeah right, delusional Moonbat!

  31. 32

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    DarrellSucksButtPutty has a cognition problem. . .doesn’t realize that three out of four people find him delusional.
    Sucks to be you Darrell!

  32. 33

    Wally the talking Badger spews:

    Puddwhack: You are like the big, dumb bully in, “Back to the Future”. I think I’ll quote him because I know you will miss the joke: “Why don’t you make like a tree and get the hell outa here?”

  33. 34

    Laurence Ballard spews:

    Everybody has an opinion.

    With broadband and software, everybody may publish it. Doesn’t make one a journalist; doesn’t make one credible. With a few notable local and national exceptions, blogs are the equivalent of cyber-landfill. Don’t expect my contribution anytime soon. My charitable funds go elsewhere.

    “Blogger” is a perfectly apt noun to distinguish Not Quite Journalists from the Real Thing.

    But to the political Bloggers who might wish to be taken a bit more seriously and add some gravitas in place of the standard trashtalk which is the norm, they might want to consider adding some more robust filters to deflect the more noxious chum, or even better, require actual registration so that the chicken-shit anonymous posters (myself included in the past) have to face the bright light of day. Or shut up. Stop letting posters hide behind asinine ‘handles’ and make adults behave a bit more like adults. Missing in any discussion is the fact that youth routinely access this stuff, where a race to the bottom is the rhetorical norm. Anonymity is for entertainment and children. Not blogs that purport to be important, vital, paradigm setting, and so, so, much better than the MSM…

    Until then, these political blogs, which sprout up like a meadow mushroom rings after a PNW spring shower, will be relegated to a kind of ‘American Idol’ status: popular? yes – but hardly necessary, and entertainment, (such as it is) not to be confused with journalism.

  34. 35

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Darrell, you’re just a delusional wingnut fruitloop. The offer stands. I’ll buy the lemonade. Sorry I can’t dispense any Melleril to help your other problems. . . .

  35. 36

    Puddybud spews:

    The price of domestic oil floats with OPEC prices. Do you need to look that up too. Look at the price of North Sea Brent Crude Oil. Not controlled by OPEC but the price is set to their level. Can you use the Internet Stupid Badger

  36. 37

    Puddybud spews:

    Sucks to be me Froggy: I work 24 weeks and made $171K?

    I guess it does suck to be you!

  37. 38

    bill spews:

    Wally, do you have a cite for

    Alberto Gonzales declares : “Feudal power over the American population is not expressly FORBIDDEN in the Constitution, therefore, it is legal and, more importantly, Constitutional – since it is not expressly forbidden.?

    Seems to me that Article 1 section 9 and the 13th amendment DO forbid feudalism.

  38. 39

    Puddybud spews:

    Froggy: I like to go for two for one. Since Furball rarely hops over the Libtard Drunkards, why waste my time there? Seattle Federal Building. Are you scared to show up in a Federal Building? I promise my Rainier Avenue friends will stay out of your way. Can’t pull a libtard stunt in a Federal Building. No weapons just our bare hands.

  39. 40

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Well, Laurence, that’s all well and good. Why don’t you take that up with “Brownie”, the former head of FEMA.
    And while you are at it, try that subject with David Irons. . . . . .

  40. 42

    Wally the talking Badger spews:

    Re 33: “… dumb handles….” You mean like, “Poor Richard”?

    Nom-de-Plumes are a good way for people to keep their safety intact. Right wing nuts have been known to seek out and kill people with whom they disagree.

  41. 43

    Puddybud spews:

    If three out of four libtard Moonbat!s think I’m delusional, I guess I’ll stay that way. I could care less what Moonbat!s think. Moonbat!s have to get up and before they drink their first cup of Joe, look at their marching orders from their Moonbat web sites!

    We watch the news, listen to Moonbat! speak and create a battle plan!

  42. 45

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Darrell, you think a threat woud stop me? You can’t talk me down. You can’t shout me down. . .and you haven’t the stones to show up in environment where that’s all you have.
    A delusional, rightwingtalking parrot.
    You’ve proven yourself over and over a liar. A psychotic. You never showed for GBS. I haven’t the time for your delusional childishness.
    Join the real world, Darrell. It’s not a rightwing delusional one you create on your keyboard. The vast majority of Americans would find you more than a little whacky. . .You prove it evverytime you post here.

  43. 46

    Laurence Ballard spews:


    Thank you for the suggestions, non sequiturs that they are. If and when you feel confident enough to have a discussion using your actual name, we’ll chat.

  44. 47

    Puddybud spews:

    And how hard did Froggy work for his less than 100K salary? Yes, I’ll stay delusional.

    Sucks to be a libtard! I’ll hold an exception for JSA. JSA my biggest job was 3520 highspeed computer, multigigabit runs. 1, 2, 4, and 10gig links.

  45. 48

    Puddybud spews:

    Laurence, Froggy uses many nicks on ASSHeads. I use my first name from time to time. But Froggy has to hide his sorry ass. Probably 5’8″ 155, still with pimples!

  46. 49

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    It’s a crushing realization that you are a whacked out rightwingnutjob, Darrell. No traction in the election. No hope of ever electing another Republican at the rate they’re going in the Washington Republican Party. . .Luke Esser! Why not bring back Ellen Craswell!
    Sucks to be you Darrell.

  47. 50

    skagit spews:

    You know, Laurence has a point sort of . . . how can Goldstein turn this blog into a more influential piece of northwest liberal politico? Some of the ridiculous posts here do keep a lot of more thoughtful and informed posters away. (My opinoin of course) Maybe you’re too late, David. Maybe you should have spent time molding and shaping the content and volume of this excellently written blog much earlier before there were so many.

    You could have been the Daily Kos or Think Progress for the Northwest if you’d planned more strategically. Don’t know how you’re going to alter it’s impact now. But, the writing you post is worth more than you’re currently getting.

    Roger,(you really do post a little too much – but I’ve started reading you more consistently and you are smart with a smart take on politics and you have a lot of facts), Tree Frog Farmer, RHP, Harry Tuttle (infrequent as he is – your health okay Harry?) and a couple more I’ve forgotten continue the conversation very well and are interesting . . .

  48. 51

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    More delusional spew from Darrell the rightwingwhackjob. Tell me, Darrell, are you related to (Slap)Happy the rightwing nutjob who regularly calls the talk shows to make the same sorts of outlandish claims of personal accomplishment and accompanies that with insane diatribes?

  49. 53

    Wally the talking Badger spews:

    THE INFERRED GOVERNING POWER OF CORPORATION IN CONSTITUTION: Reversing his reasoning process from habeus corpus, Alberto Gonzales declares : “Feudal power over the American population is not expressly FORBIDDEN in the Constitution, therefore, it is legal and, more importantly, Constitutional – since it is not expressly forbidden.

    “Our life is far more profoundly shaped by the power of corporations than the Founders would have thought possible. Not only do Americans eat corporate food, and grow obese and unhealthy thereby, depend upon the oil companies and the car manufacturers, and thereby destroy the Earth, demand cheap goods, and thereby wreck their own manufacturing infrastructure and accumulate loads of unnecessary possessions, they listen to canned and bottled hate-speech on corporate radio and TV and thereby surrender their judgment and their rights; they go to corporate churches and buy the ideas that accrue to the power of those churches. The fatal difference between corporations and people is that corporations are necessarily irresponsible. It’s in the charter. They have to profit, while people have to weigh monetary profit against other forms of relationship and interaction.”

  50. 55

    bill spews:

    Maybe you meant to point to a different article? a find on that page doesn’t even bring up the name Gonzales.

  51. 56

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Laurence Ballard, you naivete is charming. We live with a current administration that has so thoroughly politized everyday existence as to make you suggestion laughable on the face of it. They have placed thousands of names on the NO FLY LIST for purely political reasons. They have promised a review of their policies, and a reasonable projection has been made that it will be reduced to one third or less its current size if vetted for these extraneous numbers of political foes.

  52. 57

    Puddybud spews:

    Froggy: Laurance asked you to use your name. Chicken? Of course, libtard Moonbat!s fear being out in the open. Why did so many Moonbat!s hide behind bandanas at the WTO event?

    Scream on Froggy. You pathetic little man! Go out and start your own company instead of working for the man!

  53. 60

    Puddybud spews:

    Let’s see:

    Roger Rabbit – Truth Teller – Cheap on his charitable contributions

    YLB – Clueless – Plagiarizer

    Tree Frog Farmer – KillaTroll – Afraid to have a real conversation with Laurance.

    Libtards, got to hide, got to hide!

  54. 61

    Puddybud spews:

    Froggy: It was Hilary Clinton who started the politics jst after 9/11. Look up what she said when Bush met the firemen end of September 2001!

  55. 62

    Wally the talking Badger spews:

    re 36: Let me put this in terms that you can understand, Puddwhack. Suppose your ” main homey” tells you that you can have one case of Colt 45 and that case takes up all the storage space in your fridge. You can’t use any of the Colt 45, because it is your strategic reserve.

    But, in order to be “down” with all your homeys, you have to offer them a 24 oz. bottle of Colt 45 and a Newport to smoke. So, you have to amble down to the Korean market on the corner to buy MORE Colt 45 because you cannot use your strategic reserve of Colt 45.

    The canny Korean merchant realizes that you are forced to buy the Colt 45. He has you “over a bottle” (not a barrel, in this case).

    So, because your main homey restricted your stored Colt 45 supply, you must pay the Korean merchant what he asks.

    Now, if there is a “main homey” election in the offing, the current MH may loosen the strategic Colt 45 reserve, thereby artificially lowering the cost around “main homey” election time. See? Puddwhack?

    Is that a graphic enough example for you to understand how control of a strategic reserve could affect price (and Politics)???!!!

  56. 63

    Puddybud spews:

    Froggy: No first name I can’t hear you. No last name Laurance can’t hear you!


  57. 65

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Also, I might add, serious journaism. . .tell me, would that include Armstrong Williams?

  58. 66

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Reporters are paid to get the story right. So, naturally, we’re disappointed when they don’t. And even more disappointed when they sell out their integrity to work for a partisan rag like the Washington Times.

  59. 67


    Laurence Ballard said:

    “But to the political Bloggers who might wish to be taken a bit more seriously and add some gravitas in place of the standard trashtalk which is the norm, they might want to consider adding some more robust filters to deflect the more noxious chum, or even better, require actual registration so that the chicken-shit anonymous posters (myself included in the past) have to face the bright light of day.”

    While I tend to agree that when someone posts an opinion, they should have the courage to put their own name to it (some of those with “pen names” have also posted their real names as well, and I think that counts), there is a certain freedom that some folks feel in anonymity.

    Additionally, some employers have used blog posts as a reason to terminate employment, which would tend to stifle the conversation just a bit.

    There are boards and blogs that require sign-in and real names to be given. I’ve even posted on a few of them. They tend to lack the hectic, free-for-all atmosphere that many of us have learned to enjoy here. (Admittedly, it is an acquired taste.)

    Perhaps the greatest contribution that these blogs and similar forums provide is a place where involved people can get together and compare notes about what they’re seeing in the formal news and information outlets.

    For myself, I don’t take anything written here as gospel, but there are quite a few stories that I would never have heard anything about, were it not for this rowdy, obnoxious and generally well-informed group.

    Fair? Heck no. Folks posting or reading here are generally smart enough to figure out that this is a pretty left-leaning group.

    Balanced? What one person considers “balanced” the next person considers biased. The best you get is that here, at least, nobody is censored. Ridiculed, yes. Censored, no. We even had a far-right phalangist that posted for a while. He did get tired of people picking his arguments to pieces, but in order to do that, we had to read them first. (Poor fellow must have felt like big game trophy hunter at a PETA convention.)

    Overall, this is just one more way that involved people can get together and discuss issues, politics, weather, whatever. For what it is, it works pretty well.

  60. 68

    bill spews:

    So a guy named ‘puddybuddy’ and someone using the name of a local actor are criticizing people for using fake names? Republican land must be an interesting place.

  61. 69

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @4 It’s not a reporter’s job to find out why Joe Bleau’s house burned down. The reporter’s job is to find out what the fire department says caused the fire, and to spell Joe’s and the fire department spokesperson’s names correctly. That’s all the reporter and editor care about. They have neither the expertise nor, under a daily newspaper’s deadline schedule, the time to delve into whether the fire department’s assessment of the cause is correct. Nor do they care, nor do their readers care.

  62. 70

    Yer Killin Me spews:


    You have no idea* (and really, you’re better off that way)

    * To get the full effect of this you have to say it in your best Jeremy Irons voice (think Reversal of Fortune)

  63. 71

    Laurence Ballard spews:


    Same rule applies: Use your real name and well talk.

    Two caveats –

    a) I don’t think anyone has a talking badger in their sights, just yet… and when the quality of discourse improves sufficiently perhaps we’ll be ready for the likes of Silence Dogood, Harry Meanwell, Alice Addertongue, and Timothy Turnstone. Until such time, use your real name; Ben Franklin had much, much, more to fear…

    b) In this day and age it is vital we stand up for what we say. BTW, I’m on a few Islamist hit-lists for supporting this individual:

    Join me in saying NO to the darkness of anonymity.

    Refusing to live in fear,

  64. 73

    Laurence Ballard spews:


    Sorry, Charlie.

    Check it out

    Now, you may continue to hide behind your handle, but use your real, full name, and we can talk too. And calling me a ‘somebody’ using the name of a local actor…

    Well. That would be me.


  65. 75

    bill spews:

    I neither asked for nor offered conversation. You have no claim to my name. Nor do I believe that you are the person you claim to be.

  66. 76

    Laurence Ballard spews:


    Use your real name….

    (And, yes, that would be me. Although my AEA, AFTRA, SAG name is Laurence Ballard)

  67. 77

    Laurence Ballard spews:


    First sentence: I stand corrected.

    Second sentence: I was claiming your name?

    Third sentence: You would be very much mistaken.


  68. 78

    Yer Killin Me spews:


    I can’t speak for anyone else, but on this board, Yer Killin Me is my real name. Some of us have good reasons to use a pseudonym; others have been around the Net long enough to think that a screen name is as natural as a favorite T-shirt.

    If you are only willing to converse with those who use something that sounds like a “real” name, you are going to have a short list to choose from.

  69. 79

    Laurence Ballard spews:


    Given the level of discourse predominating this blog, I can see why adults with professional lives might have ‘good reasons to use a pseudonym’ – for the sake of embarrassment, if nothing else.

    I’ll converse with those who use their real names, not something that ‘sounds’ as such – and I’ll take their word as their bond. If some people lack the force of character to be honest, well that’s not my problem.

    I’ve been around the Net since telnet and bbs’s, when times were very different, yes? Today, too many people use handles primarily for childish offensiveness so they may say things and in ways they’d never do when looking someone in the eye.

    That’s all.


  70. 80

    skagit spews:

    Laurence, I knew of you at the UW. I was in drama and part of the stage crew occasionally. Admired you then for your ability and admire your words now.

    Some of us use “handles” because we have privacy issues. I started because amidst all this testosterone I didn’t want to be identified as a woman. Finally gave that up, however. Couldn’t keep up with the crassness!

    Also, my name might give me away and I don’t want that. In my sensitive teaching job, I would rather not be associated with some of the things I believe/say. Okay?

    We all have reasons why privacy is important to us.

    You of all people should honor the unimportance of names. . .
    “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet;. . . “

  71. 81

    skagit spews:

    I have to add that it is true we are all more courageous when incognito. We can be less politically correct, more honest and sometimes more fun. What’s the harm.

    Also agree that some of the breakdown in discourse on this particular blog is the absurdity and buffoonery of some of the posts.

    But, it is what it is. You could try to make it better by continuing to post or leave it altogether.

  72. 82

    Yer Killin Me spews:

    I have been around the Net since you could list the names and phone numbers of every BBS in existence (including the two or three in England) on both sides of a sheet of letter paper. My first Internet screen name was a catchy and memorable Compuserve account that went something like “70414,1135”. Yes, times were different then, but even in those days you had trolls and people whose existence was rooted in making others’ lives miserable, and you occasionally had people who had reasons for pseudonymity (although for the most part, back then it wasn’t because of their politics).

    Since you’ve been around that long, Laurence, you know that there are those like Skagit and me who would rather keep our online lives separate from our meatspace lives. Perhaps because you are an actor (who has, I notice, a page on IMDB — your picture bears a vague resemblance to the last one I saw of Dave Ross) you are comfortable mixing your online and offlien personas. Most of us are not and prefer to keep it that way.

    You are of course welcome to converse with whoever you wish and ignore those you don’t care to talk to. No post on this board obligates anyone else to respond to or even read the it. However, as I said, if you limit yourself to those whose offline names you insist on knowing up front you are going to find few takers. Goldy, My Left Foot and Richard Pope are the only ones who immediately come to mind.

    Perhaps if we were to strike up a friendship, in time I would be comfortable enough to tell you who I am in real life and we could swap stories. But for now, that’s not an option.

  73. 83

    Yer Killin Me spews:


    I misspoke, of course — Compuserve predated the Internet by a number of years. I should have said “my first online screen name.”

  74. 84

    Yer Killin Me spews:


    Oops, sorry to leave you out, John. I know there are more than five bloggers here who use their own names (Carl Ballard is another), I just can’t always remember all the names. I was just looking at a troll filter I wrote in the days of HA on WordPress V.1 and going, “Boy, I haven’t seen some of these people in a very very long time.”

  75. 85

    Laurence Ballard spews:


    One word comes to mind: Touché

    You all raise extremely valid points – especially Mr. Barelli’s gentle elucidation:

    Additionally, some employers have used blog posts as a reason to terminate employment, which would tend to stifle the conversation just a bit.

    As a private man in an incredibly public profession, so much seclusion has been compromised that ‘meatspace’ and cyberspace distinctions tend to melt away.

    Here’s Don Quixote, riding off.

    I think I see a windmill in the distance…

  76. 86

    Puddybud spews:

    bill says: So a guy named ‘puddybuddy’

    My real first name is well known. Froggy uses it to attack and denigrate me. He fails everday! From the Froggy posts he proves has no life. Probably hasn’t left FUWA in a long time.

  77. 87

    Larry Alki Beach spews:

    I agree with Laurence Ballard. We should all use our real names and use our Social Security #’s for identification.

  78. 88

    Puddybud spews:

    Froggy: JackASS of the first order. Tell me your real first name so I’ll know what to look for in a tree frog farmer.

  79. 89

    Puddybud spews:

    Larry Alki Beach, we should travel to a Rio Grande border state and receive our “official” SSNs for use here on ASSHeads!

  80. 90


    Wally the talking Badger says:

    Re 33: “… dumb handles….” You mean like, “Poor Richard”?

    Nom-de-Plumes are a good way for people to keep their safety intact. Right wing nuts have been known to seek out and kill people with whom they disagree.

    WRONG WALLY……. when i lived in washington state and during the elections it was you crazy moonbats! that were keying cars and slashing tires. and one especially crass moment came when you tools slashed the tires[all of them] on a car belonging to elderly people just trying to get out to vote. now that just says it all about you doesn’t it?

    and LARRY…..that’s why alot of us would never want to give out our real names. look, just today one of the nuttier nuts in this mix threatened the president. okay…you and i know he is way too stupid and lazy to actually do anything like that, thank god, but remember the WTO riots?
    i have a blog, and i have been too busy/lazy to work on it lately. but when i did, everytime i said something that upset people [I.E. had a different opinion than theirs] my site was spammed. look how some of goldy’s loyal followers have offered to PAY for my IP address. and that should tell you how dim they are, right there….as if that would tell them anything.but dim can be dangerous……
    and the amusing email death threats. okay i admit the first time i got one i was a bit shocked. but it is really hard to take anyone seriously that can’t even spell “strangle”…so i figured ‘hey, i am the big bad republican here…i’m the one with guns right? according to the left anyway’ so what’s to be worried about?
    and bottom line, like goldy here…they are full of cheap talk and too lazy to do anything about it.

  81. 92

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Also, Mr. Ballard, I would add that while I am not one of the”gnomes of Zurich” I have been on the ‘net for a long, long time under this handle. And while I harken back to the BBS period, my ‘handle’ is primarily one that has been in use since the introduction of html. . . .
    On one occassion a nasty, and ill-advised rightwing troll attempted to ‘out’ me as being another individual who uses my ‘handle’ as his domain name. . .unfortunately I was a little slow on the draw to go for this domain, although my business endeavor predated his by more than several years. . . .
    At first I regretted that he might receive some grief through the ‘net through my postings. . .but on further reflection, I thought not, since his expropriation of my handle was a form of ‘cyber-squatting’.

  82. 94

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @67 “Additionally, some employers have used blog posts as a reason to terminate employment”

    Bingo! And some don’t stop there; they also retaliate against your relatives and friends. Republican bullies are big fans of guilt-by-association.

  83. 95

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @58 That ain’t negotiable and if you’re using your real name here you’re a frickin’ fool. Why are some people so stupid? Stefan even published his home address on his pathetic little blog. I’ve been raiding his garden ever since!

  84. 96

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @60 Do you have a problem with using cover in combat? How is this different? We have rightwingers out there saying they want to kill liberals. Why the hell should we tell them who we are?

  85. 97

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @63 Are you insinuating that if we used (real) first and last names here, you wouldn’t be the closed-minded, ignorant, tone-deaf, blockhead that you (and all wingnuts) are? That one lacks plausible believability!

  86. 99

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I bet you could sing alto if I sank my rabbit teeth into the soft fleshy part of your ass.

  87. 100

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Wow! This thread is already up to 100 posts! And I didn’t even post 67% of them! That’s more than the sucky little competing blog gets in 6 months.

  88. 101

    Larry Alki Beach spews:

    re 89: You always seem to want to set up meetings with guys. I think I’ll pass.

    But I think I do see a quaint log cabin in your future

  89. 103


    @100 (after referring to me as a ‘fool’ and insinuating stupidity, perhaps a comment is justified.)

    Yes. That is a surprise, given your penchant for posting. You’re like a lonely community theatre actor, desperate for all of the attention you can grab, while thinking you’re cute? Funny? Clever? You would seem to be an obsessive personality, determined to respond to each and every post as if this blog were somehow dependent upon you or even your own. It isn’t, Roger. Unfortunately for you, it’s Mr. Goldstein’s, and he seems to be doing quite well on his own, thank you very much. You’re a guest, Roger, like everyone here. No more, no less.

    You’re much more appealing when you drop the weird rabbit bit – which must be somehow bewitching to you – and show us the attorney you really are. Knowledgeable, reasoned, often convincing. You have the ability to drop the invective and undercurrent of violence. We’ve all seen it. But we’ve also clearly seen that you would rather act up. People have to pay me to pretend to be something/someone else; with you, it’s always Halloween; not only will you do it freely, but you have to do it out of some compulsion, or eldritch need. When’s the last time you felt the need to apologize to someone? Or even better, to admit you might be wrong?

    We never know from day to day if it’s trick or treat, Roger.

  90. 104

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Possibly too true. . .though I personally doubt it. Darrell’s problems are many and manifest. . .but falling on that side of the line is unlikely.

  91. 105

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    @103 While the MSM is dominated and owned by far right interests. and rightwing personalities like Anne Coulter openly advocate rounding up liberals and executing them. . .and go unchallenged, the level of invective and the current of violence will likely not abate.

  92. 106

    skagit spews:

    @103: Too harsh, thespian. I do think da wabbit overposts – and I’ve said it before, Roger – but, I read you more often now that I have a respect for your intelligence and intellect.

    I’ve learned to skim you and when you’re cute, you’re too cute. But when you’re smart, you’re art! Emphasize the smart, Roger.

    We all want attention. This is our soapbox. Your’s too Laurence. :)

  93. 107

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    The unceasing attack on progressives and liberals has gone on throughout the era of Republican dominance in Congress. That era is ending, and what I see is a ratcheting up of violent rhetoric from the Right. . .fueled by the fear of their loss of power, prestige and place. Like it or not, the Right has created this political landscape. They have sown the wind with hate, and will reap the whirlwind as their harvest. . . .

  94. 108

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    In an earlier post I asked if the Name David Rice had any resonance. You must be aware that this poor, sick, twisted soul perpetrated one of the most notorious and bizarre political hate-crimes in Washington. If you are not familiar with this passage, I implore you, Mr. Ballard to familiarize yourself with it. It will also explain a great deal of the sub-text behind Peter Goldmark’s political campaign this past election. . .and would explain a great deal of why some of us favor anonymity.

  95. 109

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    The Rightwing in this state are not at all to be trusted. . .they have proven this over and over. Despite protestations to the contrary, the existence of Militia, the posse comitatus groups and other thinly veiled authoritarian groups in this state, whether political or religious, argues for discretion.

  96. 111

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    This sad individual killed two adults and two children, egged on by a rightwing hate group group loosely associated with the John Birch Society. He bludgeoned them to death with an iron. . . .they were relatives of Peter Goldmark.

  97. 112

    skagit spews:

    Add that to the attacker on the Jewish center in Seattle . . . oh, the pen is mightier than the sword. To put in modern context, media is mightier than right and often empowers the sword . . .

  98. 114

    GBS spews:


    You’re so angry these days. What gives with the ‘bare knuckles and my Rainier hommies will stay at the crib stuff??’

    Is it because your party has been reduced to “minority” status?

    Is it because conservatives want equal “minority” rights in congress now?

    Is it because it’s “black” at the end of your tunnel of hope?

    Is there no silver lining to the “black” cloud hanging over your head?

    Is it “black” Monday for you and the conservative movement?

    Is it because the American public beat the Republican Party “black” and blue last Nov. 7th?

    Is it because JCH lost the bet to me and is now “black” balled from HA blog?

    Is it because of Bush’s “black” ops in the War on Terror are failing?

    Is it because you welshed on your bet with me and you’re worried about being “black” listed like JCH?

    What’s the reason behind all your pent up anger, my brother from another mother?


  99. 115

    GBS spews:

    Say it LOUD!

    I’m BLACK and I’m PROUD!


    Jump back!

    Wanna Kiss myself!

    Go on with your bad self, Puddy “James Brown” bud!

    No, no, no that’s too angry for you man! What you need to do is get your head wrapped around being more like Mukasa Dada!!

    Get yourself a “snick“-ers bar, maaaaan and chill.

    Peace out!