Sunday, October 24, 2010

Anonymity is for Low Profiles

Back in 2006, when Jeff Latas and Patty Weiss were slugging it out with Giffords and the GOP tried to hoist Steve Huffman over locally popular Randy Graf, the local blogosphere became so hysterical that Art Jacobson and others disabled anonymous comments. That said, if one knew how to navigate, the blogs were lightning fast and far ahead of traditional media, which had to conduct investigations, interviews, fact checks, and obtain approval...and unlike some bloggers, reporters are never anonymous.

Blogs have been known to bash the press. Espresso Pundit's Greg Patterson has had it out for the Arizona Republic for years (I smell envy), and lately Blog for Arizona's David Safier has been bashing the AZ Daily Star. The press is more reluctant to write articles about bloggers, and virtually never mentions anonymous bloggers. In April 2008, ADS reporter Daniel Scarpinato interviewed various bloggers and published, "Blogosphere becoming a potent force in politics". The piece featured Espresso Pundit, Daniel's News, Tedski's RRR, this place, Trent's Arizona Eighth, and Michael Bryan's Blog for Arizona. None of us were anonymous, and the article used our real names.

I wrote about Daniel's piece at the time and considered it pretty good. Even then, we were discussing the way blogs can say anything while reporters are held to a higher standard by people paid to do so.

In addition to the ADS critic Safier, Blog for Arizona features the highly prolific AZBlueMeanie (28 posts in the last five days). In general when discussing national issues, I consider AZBlueMeanie a terrific blogger who posts some outstanding content. Like Safier, he also bashes the press from time to time. On March 24 he published The bloom is off the Bodfield which ripped Star reporter Rhonda Bodfield and referred to the departed Scarpinato as a "talentless hack."

It was noticed.

Like AZBlueMeanie, I use a handle. So did Samuel Clemens. It's legal. That said, I am not anonymous. A third grader can find my real name, occupation, employer, home address, and a photo of me in my office at my computer where I work. In 30 seconds.

I was surprised to learn that AZBlueMeanie was posting with such intensity and frequency as a truly anonymous blogger. He is flying too high if he wishes to remain unknown. You know what's coming. One could speculate that the dial on ADS reporter Josh Brodesky's pressure cooker has been rising for awhile. The recent brouhaha regarding Jan Brewer's health popped the valve, and Brodesky got the green light for a piece that hit Safier on his posts about the governor's health.

He also published AZBlueMeanie's real name.


Blogger The Navigator said...

Interesting post. I hadn't quite thought about it that way.

First, I agree with you that a lot of the content BlueMeanie publishes is quite good, but I also agree with Brodesky's point about political blogs being so misleading or outright lying. I'm not sure why he chose Blog for AZ as there are plenty of other blogs doing the same thing.

If BlueMeanie did actually say there would be a "good face stomping" if someone published his name, then I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner. That's just asking for it, especially if he is hitting reporters with such contempt.

I can see how reporters, who are trained in journalism, held to certain standards, and held to account by name and reputation, would bristle when an anonymous, unaccountable person attacks others, especially if the attacks are inaccurate.

10/25/2010 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

AZ Blue Meanie has posted some excellent material, but he also can swing a mean blogger bat. Like x4mr, I just assumed he was using a handle and that his identity was publicly known.

Remember when that kook Luke posted x4mr's name, photo, where he worked as if it weren't already known, and then added totally made up shit about x4mr?

Brodesky isn't making anything up. I think x4mr captures it pretty well. Anonymity is for the low profile. Thanks for sharing, and hey, self included. I know my place. No Star reporter will be writing about me anytime soon.

Matt has created the interesting hybrid where his identity is not broadcast with each post, but is easily found, and his blog (no offense, x4mr) is tiny compared to Blog for AZ. For AZ Blue Meanie to post what he does and remain anonymous isn't sustainable.

10/25/2010 7:22 PM  
Anonymous Another Anon said...

Cloth news:

TREO hires MPA’s executive director

Effective Nov. 15, Metropolitan Pima Alliance Executive Director Michael Guymon is leaving to become Vice-President for Regional Development for Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO).

Guymon has been MPA’s executive director since Sept. 2008, having served as the organization’s first Governmental Relations Director. His career experience includes both the public and private sectors as former Chief-of-Staff to Tucson City Council Member Fred Ronstadt and political consultant to a number of downtown area development projects.

The MPA Board of Directors will be responsible for hiring a new executive director.

10/25/2010 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that Cloth News, Another Anon, but it's a stretch to say that Guymon has private sector experience because he's been a political consultant.

He's a paid hack for Garfield Traub, which is going to see its downtown Sheraton hotel go down in flames Tuesday night at the city council.

In other Cloth news, the Tucson Chamber has terminated its ineffective government lobbyist Paul Parisi.

10/25/2010 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Another Anon said...

The Guymon story came from Inside Tucson Business. I just cut and pasted.

10/26/2010 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Mariana said...

Let's be fair: x4mr did not uncover his identity until about three years ago when he quit his job and published "Something Else". As for speaking the truth or spreading lies... blogs contain personal views and shouldn't be held accountable by the same standards as the print medium. Disclosing a blogger's identity looks like childish revenge to me.

10/26/2010 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Observer said...

x4mr can correct me if I am wrong, but I think that is the point of his post, which is titled, "Anonymity is for Low Profiles."

x4mr was a very low profile blogger before "Something Else." He wasn't operating anywhere near what Blue Meanie is doing.

I might be repeating what I wrote before, but I totally see how anonymity is perfectly fine if you want to post some views, journal your thoughts, and share some ideas with a small (or even not so small) readership that develops an interest in you, who cares? That's the point.

However, if you are going to publish at the rate of 28 stories in 5 days on a well established and highly read political blog that is linked all over and tied into dozens of blog rolls, and your material hits lots of hot issues and blasts officials and news reporters, NO way are you going to stay anonymous for long.

10/26/2010 11:24 AM  

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