Saturday, July 24, 2010

Update on Blogging Anonymity and Blogging Ethics

I've been thinking a lot about anonymous blogging since E.D. Kain launched his campaign of workplace intimidation last year. For one thing, I no longer think anonymous blogging is automatically cowardly. Oh sure, mostly I'd prefer to have someone put their name behind their words. And of course at this point I still probably wouldn't have started blogging anonymously even today, given the knowledge that I have about the depths of evil on the web. No, it's more that I'm not going to be critical of those who do continue to blog anonymously.

Dan Riehl periodically goes off on Allahpundit for hiding behind a pseudonym, recently, for example, "
Is Pseudonymous Blogging Pure High School?" Dan links to another essay that makes the case that blogging anonymously is juvenile: "Of Pet Rocks And Anonymous Bloggers, Specifically The Remarkable Similarities Between The Two." I think the main thing, as Dan points out, is whether the blogger in question is really a serious writer with critical things to say, and would rather speak freely and often harshly without fear of retribution, or whether you have bloggers whose sole existence online is to demonize and destroy those whom they hate. American Nihilist, for example, exists for the sole purpose of attacking me personally with the most demented bile imaginable, and that blog has gotten more perverted over time, eventually devolving into a Satanic hate outlet for workplace intimidation and non-stop vicious personal diatribes. It's a hate blog. It exists for no other purpose but to spew invective and evil. And I've repeatedly challenged the authors to put or up shut up by posting their full personal identification and contact information, but they have not done so. And that's cowardly.

And thinking about it, people like that --- Repsac3 and his hate-merchants of death, and all the others of similarly-warped criminal minds online --- are the types that
Kyra Phillips is referring to in her attacks on bloggers in this CNN clip:

"There's going to have be a point in time where these people have to be held accountable ... How about all these bloggers that blog anonymously? They say rotten things about people and they're actually given credibility, which is crazy. They're a bunch of cowards, they're just people seeking attention."
The prompt for this, surprisingly, is the Shirley Sherrod story. Of course, Andrew Breitbart is anything but anonymous, so the real question CNN is weighing is accountability. And as the whole NAACP episode has shown, accountability has been provided by information dissemination. The more information that became available, the more we knew exactly what happened. Who won the "debate"? Each side is claiming victory, with leftists saying Breitbart's credibility has been destroyed while ABC's Terry Moran and conservatives across the 'sphere recognized the massive victory against the left's race-baiting industry.

No Sheeples Here! has a great discussion of the larger debate, "
Fear The Blogosphere." And see also Serr8d's Cutting Edge, "A damned shame you have to go overseas to read media coverage that's not tainted with the biases of the American Left. We have no good new organizations left on this continent, it seems."

More at

PREVIOUSLY: "Blogging Anonymity and Blogging Ethics."


Opus #6 said...

I agree with most of this, except the CNN contention that anonymous bloggers are "seeking attention". If we were seeking attention, we would be using our real names. At least the conservative bloggers I associate with are seeking to spread news/opinion from a conservative viewpoint. And seeing as how that very act is often viewed as fighting words by the left, we remain anonymous to protect ourselves and our families. I respect both types of bloggers, with the exception of those who hide behind anonymity to launch hateful personal attacks. But those are the very bloggers the rest of us seek to protect ourselves from.

Sorry if this frustrates them in their wish to destroy each and every one of us.

We are not racist, not violent. Just no longer silent.

Dana said...

Obviously, I use my real name on my site, but some of my co-bloggers do not; I know their reasons, and understand them.

But one comment by John Roberts isn't attracting as as much attention as the notion that somehow bloggers should be policed. Mr Roberts said. “Imagine what would have happened if we hadn’t taken a look at what happened with Shirley Sherrod and plumbed the depths further and found out that what had been posted on the internet was not in fact reflective of what she said.”

When I heard that, the first thing that came to my mind was CBS News use of forged documents in the so-called "Rathergate" story, a blatant attempt to influence the 2004 election in opposition to President Bush; the forgeries were spotted by bloggers, Charles Johnson (not exactly your favorite guy) of Little Green Footballs, and John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson and Paul Mirengoff of Powerline who were able to spot the forgery on the video image of the documents used, not the documents themselves, something that nobody at CBS seemed to be able to do with the paper in their hands. Were the gatekeepers our friends in the professional media would like to see still holding the power to print or not print, that CBS News story might have gone unchallenged.

Andrew Breitbart fouled up, and he fouled up big time. But whether accidentally or maliciously, he's not the first nor will he be the last to mess up. The key is to support freedom of speech, and not let one man's mistake take freedom away from everyone else.

KMacGinn said...

I blog anonymously because I am a public school teacher and, unlike many in my profession, I fiercely believe in NOT indoctrinating students with my personal take on politics. Since most of my posts are about politics or the idiocy of political correctness, a lunatic "ideology" to which many of my colleagues ascribe and about which and whom I also blog, I do wish my students to find me or my ideas.

KMacGinn said...

Correction: I do NOT wish my students to find me or my ideas.

Bob Belvedere said...

When one decides to blog under an assumed name, one has to agree to be governed by a higher standard of behavior. Sometimes I want to just rock out and rant, but I have to restrain myself because it is unfair to launch certain types of attack from the shadows.

I have to blog anonymously because I work as a manager for a government in the Nor'East that is populated by Leftists. I can be fired at will. I do not comment on my branch of government for this state as that would be unfair.

For some of us, blogging anonymously is the only way we can speak out, but we have a duty to maintain a higher standard.