Archive for the ‘daily kos’ Category

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Kos Urges Michigan To Vote For Romney

January 12, 2008

There are reactions across political web to this: Let’s have some fun in Michigan

For Michigan Democrats, the Democratic primary is meaningless since the DNC stripped the state of all its delegates (at least temporarily) for violating partyrebelleader.jpg rules. Hillary Clinton is alone on the ballot.

But on the GOP side, this primary will be fiercely contested. John McCain is currently enjoying the afterglow of media love since his New Hamsphire victory, while Iowa winner Mike Huckabee is poised to do well in South Carolina.  

Meanwhile, poor Mitt Romney, who’s suffered back-to-back losses in the last week, desperately needs to win Michigan in order to keep his campaign afloat.  Bottom line, if Romney loses Michigan, he’s out. If he wins, he stays in.

And we want Romney in, because the more Republican candidates we have fighting it out, trashing each other with negative ads and spending tons of money, the better it is for us. We want Mitt to stay in the race, and to do that, we need him to win in Michigan.

Forget the ethical implications, the effect on Kos’ reputation, and the fact that it reveals a certain lack of confidence in one’s own candidates,  I’m not convinced that this tactic will work quite the way he’s hoping.  I don’t know if he can pull together such a movement in only a few days.

If it works?  This has come-back-to-bite-you-on-the-ass written all over it.   Suppose Mitt goes on to win the general election?  Kos would be the laughing stock of the blogophere.  It just seems like a risk that isn’t worth the potential reward.

I don’t live in Michigan, but even as an Obama supporter, I can’t endorse this sort of subversion.  I’m not so blinded by partisanship to believe that its worth tainting our democratic process.  The tactic sounds childish, and the fact that he believes that he can influence such a thing seems arrogant and egotistical.  Luckily, after 900+ comments in that Kos thread, the reaction is mixed.  Many believe as I do.  Others wonder if another candidate should be the target.  Currently, I think this idea will flop, but Kos will probably wind up with some egg on his face either way. 

I would hope that if you’re an independent or Democrat and decided to vote for a GOP candidate, it would be for the person most in-line with your political views.  Period.

Update:  There’s actually an ad now. (h/t Katie for the email) 

Hilarious?

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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Just Calling It As I See It

December 31, 2007

I just thought I’d post something that I feel strengthens my status as a bit of a maverick when it comes to blogging on political issues. 

The other day, I received another “hat tip” from Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters.org, for pointing out that the netizens at Daily Kos (dubbed Kossacks) don’t seem to follow their own rules:

Hmmm. So even the Great Kos recognizes how “unreliable” articles from Jason Leopold are.

As this diary was HIGHLY recommended by hundreds of Kossacks, it will be very interesting to see if they all get banned.

Thanks for the great catch, CZ.

Now, I’m not sure he’s aware of it, but this is the same Noel Sheppard that I called out over there for overly gratuitous use of the word “delicious”: Noel Sheppard’s favorite adjective? 

Just for the record.

And, also for the record, the reason why I was aware of diary protocols over at Daily Kos is because I am, in fact, a Kossack

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My 1½ Years At LGF, Part V: Obsession With Daily Kos

October 21, 2007

Another thing you’d notice if you read LGF is that they talk about and link to diaries at Daily Kos. A lot. Primarily, the recurring theme is the showcasing of a Kossack diary and it’s subsequent mockery in the comments section. Less often, you’d see a thread about Kos himself, or something about the site generally. The exercise was so common that you’d be hard-pressed to read LGF for a few days without seeing at least one thread about something that happened in Kosland. (Added factoid: The thing that prompted me to get a membership at DK was my inability to overcome the insatiable curiousity I had. You know, to find out what all the hubub was about.)

A while after noticing this, I documented the adventures of Killgore Trout, who is easily LGF’s chief Kos reconnaissance agent. While conducting the research for this post, I couldn’t help but be awe struck by the sheer volume of Kos diarists that had the honor of gracing LGF’s main page. Killgore certainly wasn’t the only lurker-linker, however. Kos links would routinely appear in the comments section of any given thread, offered up by any number of Lizardoids. (Apparently, the prospect of finding a “gem” worthy of front page status and receiving a hat tip for the effort was deemed quite valuable.)  All told, I have no doubt that hundreds of Kos links would turn up for the ambitious soul who might take the time to search.

What some might find particularly ironic about all this is, on the one hand, Kos Derangement Syndrome, and on the other, the absolute hatred the LGFers direct at the Dreaded Blog of Blasphemy (my coinage), aka LGF Watch, aka “stalker blog #1“. In the blog LGF world, you see, “stalking” is apparently defined as a blogger’s obsessive scrutiny of another blog’s posts and comments, along with mocking a blogger and his/her commentors on a regular basis and over an extended period.

Creepy.

Do I have a theory on why Charles and the gang are so preoccupied by what goes on at Daily Kos?  Not really.  One thing that is revealing, I suppose, is that these days Charles will often refer to the site as the “mainstream voice of the Democratic Party“, which might lead someone to think that he believes that his efforts would have an effect on the wider political stage.  On the other hand,  he often throws in the “screw them” nickname whenever he posts about Markos himself, which might mean that it’s more about Kos than the website.  Perhaps it’s jealousy.  Or, it could be that it’s simply the biggest tree to pick cherries from.  A little of all of the above? I don’t know.

Tomorrow’s topic:

Symphony of Sycophants

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The Dreaded Blog Of Blasphemy

September 6, 2007

It seems that I’ve done something that has caused me to fall out of favor a bit with my pals on LGF.  I have apparently made the mistake of posting a comment on a long-running anti-LGF site called LGF Watch.  The lizard outrage is best summarized by my buddy Sharmuta:

Has anyone ever told you that actions speak louder than words?
Has it occured to you how your actions might look to others here at LGF?
But most importantly, do you even care?

Honestly- you’ve made it impossible for me in the future to ask people here to give you an argument instead of snarky comments. The stalker blog? Even I have limits.

Nevermind the fact that the comment itself wasn’t directed at LGF or any of it’s members, or the fact that it was a comment that I would have made on LGF or anywhere else, or the fact that it was just one post out of thousands of comments I’ve left on probably hundreds of blogs (left, right, and center).  You see, the simple act of posting a brief opinion in the comments section of the “stalker blog” alone has been considered to be “beyond the pale“.

Dear lizards-  For the record, I make no apologies.  I view the blogosphere as one big forum.  If I have something to say, I really don’t think I need to worry that much about where I’m saying it.  I use the same nic everywhere, so I feel I should be judged not on the color of the blog but on the content of the comments that I’m posting.

By the way, someone is going to have to explain to me what it is they do over at LGF Watch that qualifies as stalking. To me, a stalker is someone who physically follows you home and peeks through your window.  After all, there’s a website out there called “Olbermann Watch“.  Is that blogger stalking Keith Olbermann?

Also, if their definition of stalking describes nothing more than an obsessive scrutiny of a specific blog’s posts and comments, and mocking a blogger and his/her commentors on a regular basis and over an extended period…they might want to take a look in the mirror.

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Flame Warrior Profile: Armilnov

August 14, 2007

During my travels through the blogosphere, I occasionally bump into a netizen whose posts deserve special recognition.  And since I haven’t done one of my “Flame Warrior Profiles” in a while, I figured that I’m probably due for another one.

Today’s profile is for fellow WordPress political blogger armilnov, who appears to be a textbook Ferrous Cranus

Ferrous Cranus
ferrouscranus.jpgFerrous Cranus is utterly impervious to reason, persuasion and new ideas, and when engaged in battle he will not yield an inch in his position regardless of its hopelessness. Though his thrusts are decisively repulsed, his arguments crushed in every detail and his defenses demolished beyond repair he will remount the same attack again and again with only the slightest variation in tactics. Sometimes out of pure frustration Philosopher will try to explain to him the failed logistics of his situation, or Therapist will attempt to penetrate the psychological origins of his obduracy, but, ever unfathomable, Ferrous Cranus cannot be moved.

Armilnov received the honor primarily for the Cranus-like behavior in his insistence that DailyKos is worse than Al-Qaeda over on his blog, then later for his posts here in the Chamber. Just like Ferrous Cranus, no movement could be made no matter how much reason was applied to the wacky arguments that were presented.  Had armilnov’s arguments been a little less, well, out there, he might have at least earned the Tireless Rebutter label.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.

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9/11 Made Saddam More Dangerous

August 12, 2007

I know this isn’t exactly a current event, but this was a chunk of logic that had always perplexed me.  Consider this another one of my open discussion threads, where this time I revisit the “Why the heck did we invade Iraq, again?” question.  First, we’re going to take the time machine back to 1994 and visit our pal Dick Cheney (this video seems to be making the rounds).  He’s explaining why deposing Saddam would be a BAD idea.  WARNING:  You are about to enter the Twilight Zone…


“How many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?”

Yep, he actually said  “quagmire”

Fast forward to March 2003. Cheney is explaining the rationale for war with MTP‘s Tim Russert, and mentions 9/11 ten times, al-Qaeda six times and WMD’s dozens of times.  Here is the part where Cheney explains why he’s flip-flopped on the issue:

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I hope not, Tim. Of course, in ’91, there was a general consensus that we’d gone as far as we should. We’d achieved our objectives when we liberated Kuwait and that we shouldn’t go on to Baghdad. But there were several assumptions that was based on. One that all those U.N. Security Council resolutions would be enforced. None of them has been. That’s the major difference. And it was based on the proposition that Saddam Hussein probably wouldn’t survive. Most of the experts believed based upon the severe drubbing we administered to his forces in Kuwait that he was likely to be overthrown or ousted. Of course, that didn’t happen. He’s proven to be a much tougher customer than anybody expected.

We’re now faced with a situation, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, where the threat to the United States is increasing. And over time, given Saddam’s posture there, given the fact that he has a significant flow of cash as a result of the oil production of Iraq, it’s only a matter of time until he acquires nuclear weapons. And in light of that, we have to be prepared, I think, to take the action that is being contemplated. Doesn’t insist that he be disarmed and if the U.N. won’t do it, then the United States and other partners of the coalition will have to do that.

Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. And the president’s made it very clear that our purpose there is, if we are forced to do this, will in fact be to stand up a government that’s representative of the Iraqi people, hopefully democratic due respect for human rights, and it, obviously, involves a major commitment by the United States, but we think it’s a commitment worth making. And we don’t have the option anymore of simply laying back and hoping that events in Iraq will not constitute a threat to the U.S. Clearly, 12 years after the Gulf War, we’re back in a situation where he does constitute a threat.

Of course, Cheney makes no mention of “quagmire” and he doesn’t touch on the pitfalls of having a occupying force in a “volatile region” or the dangers of having “pieces of Iraq fly off”.  Nope.  Greeted as liberators.  And as we all know, Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, little to do with al Qaeda, and those WMD’s never really turned up. 

And what was it about 9/11 that made Saddam more dangerous?  I can’t think of anything.  It’s a fallacy.  this sort of ties into my previous thread: What Does “Post 9/11 World” Really Mean?

Cheney was actually asked about the “quagmire” sentiment back in February:

Karl: Back in 1991, you talked about how military action in Iraq would be the classic definition of a quagmire. Have you been disturbed to see how right you were? Or people certainly said that you were exactly on target in your analysis back in 1991 of what would happen if the U.S. tried to go in —

Cheney: Well, I stand by what I said in ’91. But look what’s happened since then — we had 9/11. We’ve found ourselves in a situation where what was going on in that part of the globe and the growth and development of the extremists, the al Qaeda types that are prepared to strike the United States demonstrated that we weren’t safe and secure behind our own borders. We weren’t in Iraq when we got hit on 9/11. But we got hit in ’93 at the World Trade Center, in ’96 at Khobar Towers, or ’98 in the East Africa embassy bombings, 2000, the USS Cole. And of course, finally 9/11 right here at home. They continued to hit us because we didn’t respond effectively, because they believed we were weak. They believed if they killed enough Americans, they could change our policy because they did on a number of occasions. That day has passed. That all ended with 9/11.

Ah, I think we have it right there.  They thought we were weak, so of course the perfect way to show them how tough we are would be….invading a country that had nothing to do with it?  Something that Cheney himself said would be a extremely risky proposition just a few years earlier.  Makes sense.

I wonder if it ever occurred to Cheney that maybe they knew that if they hit us hard enough, we’d do something stupid and reckless and get ourselves stuck in a “quagmire”?

Update:  This video is really making the rounds.  It’s #3 on YouTube right now.  Also, the reaction at DailyKos.

Update:  The video was posted over at Hot Air as well. 

My effing point was to contrast Cheney’s remarkable prescience about the consequences of occupying Iraq in 1994 with the foolhardiness of some of the administration’s planning before invading in 2003. Publicly, at least, they expected an easy time of it. Cheney in 1994 knew better. Why the discrepancy? And why are you so irritated that I’d post this?

Allahpundit on August 11, 2007 at 2:51 PM

I’m beginning to like this Allahpundit.

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Didn’t You Retire, Cindy?

August 11, 2007

Cindy Sheehan, Gold Star mother turned anti-war activist, has decided to run for Congress:  Peace activist Cindy Sheehan announces candidacy

Citing her son as inspiration, a tearful Cindy Sheehan announced her candidacy Thursday for the U.S. House of Representatives.

The anti-war activist is running as an independent against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has represented San Francisco in Congress since 1987.

“The country is ripe for a change,” said Sheehan, who spoke at a podium with her son’s photograph attached to it. “It’s going to start right here and right now.”

I can empathise with Sheehan, but this is a woman who should have quit while she was ahead a year or two ago.  She made her point.  Instead of just leaving it at that, however, she’s embarked on a crusade and over time her message has become more and more belligerent.  Eventually, she started to get criticism from places that initially contained very vocal supporters.  It came to a head a few months back when she “announced her retirement“, but I had a feeling that we hadn’t seen the last of Sheehan.  At this point I don’t think it’s unfair to begin to question her sanity…

cindy.jpg

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LGF Vs. Daily Kos

July 23, 2007

As one of the few netizens out there that has posting privileges* on both of these popular and opposing websites, I sometimes feel the need to document my adventures in the political battlefield that exists out there, so here I go…

Tonight’s topic is this LGF thread:  KILLITARY: Lefties Dropping the Fiction of ‘Supporting the Troops’

Now, I should come right out and say that I post a lot more frequently on LGF than I do on Kos, and I’ve never considered it a duty of mine to “defend” Kos (even though I’m a left-leaning netizen), but sometimes I feel compelled to point out things that most of the LGFers don’t.  Both these sites have a history of taking shots at one another, and often times I feel like the only one out there caught in the middle.  When I see a post like this that attempts to smear Daily Kos or the “left” based on the flawed logic and bias of one diarist, sometimes I can’t help myself.  In this case, the diary in question was deleted by the powers that be at DK, and the accusation is being made by Charles (LGF’s webmaster) is that the motivation for it (the deletion) lies in some need in the Kossack hive mind to not let the proverbial mask slip (that the “left” really does hate the military).

The fact that the LGFers seem to be ignorant of is that anyone can post a diary on Kos.   All one has to do is register (always open) and wait a week before you can post whatever wild rant of a diary that you chose.  There are plenty of diarists out there that cross-post entries from their own blogs, simply because they know that Kos gets a considerable amount of traffic (a practice that I have abandoned, if you’re curious).  In a way, a Kos diary isn’t much different than a post left in the comment section of any blog, in that “cherry-picking” in order to make an argument that it is representative of the whole is really nothing more than a cheap shot.

What’s interesting is the fact that, in the LGFers minds, DK is in a no-win situation here.  If the diary were left to stand, the accusation would be that it reflects the opinion of it’s readership.  If the post is deleted (as this one was), the aforementioned accusation of attempts to hide their true feelings is made.  What I had to point out was the likely reality:  the Kossacks were as offended by the diary as the LGFers were, and deleted it simply because they didn’t want their site associated with this entry.  This point was backed up by the fact that the lost comments revealed the diarist receiving quite a bit of flak before the thread got yanked (something that, of course, I had to dig up).

I’ve been hanging out on LGF for over a year, so I’m very familiar with the protocols of the site.  For example, I know that Charles will delete comments that call for internment or mass deportation of US Muslims.   I’ve seen them get deleted.  What I have yet to see, however, is a post on Kos that highlights one of these comments and declares it a “mask-slipping” moment that is representative of LGF or the “right” in general (Charles resists the label of a “righty” website, even though you’d be hard-pressed to find a single post critical of that side of the political spectrum).   Visions of glass houses and rock wielders just dance in one’s head, don’t they? 

A closing thought… 

I’ll admit, there’s something that I find fascinating about the effect and influence that blogs can have on shaping politics and opinion.  It’s amazing that technology allows any single person to broadcast his or her thoughts to the entire word. It’s a dynamic that didn’t exist as recently as 10 years ago. Today, however, you’d have to be living in a cave to deny the power that blogs (and the internet in general) has when it comes to perception and debate on policy and current events. 

I have my own internal debates on whether this is a good or a bad thing.  On the one hand, over reliance on blogs as one’s main source of news and opinion can be hazardous, especially if you decide to base your opinion entirely on news delivered by those who adhere to no journalistic standards.  On the other, blogs provide a valuable check on the corporate media that is driven to deliver news based on ratings instead of what is actually important.  My current opinion is that one should find a balance responsibly and objectively, and be mindful of all these factors when determining your worldview. 

*I know I’m taking a shot at Charles and LGF with this post, so I’d just like to say that I acknowledge and respect the fact that the site tolerates dissenting voices such as my own.  There are plenty of sites – right and left – that don’t.  My goal in participating in both sites’ discussions mirrors that of my own blog, which is to bridge this gap between the two sides in the spirit of intellectual honesty and enlightenment.  I feel that an America that is less divided is a stronger America.

Update:  This story actually has created a bit of a buzz and even made the USA Today blog, where the author of the deleted post explains that he deleted it himself:

But Mitchell says he then pulled the posting from both blogs after readers, liberals and conservatives alike, “ripped it to shreds.” He says no one from Daily Kos asked him to remove the posting.

OK.  No “mask slipping” incident here.  In fact, one would think that the LGFers would congratulate the Kossacks for shooing him away. 

I won’t hold my breath.

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Are We Clear, Kristol?

July 21, 2007

According to Federal Election Commission figures tabulated by a diarist on Daily Kos, the Q2 donations made my active-duty troops to presidential campaigns breaks down like this:

Anti-war:
Ron Paul 26.23%
Barack Obama 24.02%
Hillary Clinton 11.08%
Bill Richardson 5.59%
John Edwards 2.63%
Joe Biden 0.84%
Mike Gravel 0.16%
Dennis Kucinich 0.05%
Chris Dodd 0%

Pro-war:
John McCain 18.31%
Mitt Romney 4.05%
Rudy Giuliani 2.44%
Mike Huckabee 1.84%
Tom Tancredo 1.63%
Duncan Hunter 1.05%
Sam Brownback 0.07%
Tommy Thompson 0%
Jim Gilmore 0%
John Cox 0%

In other words, 70.6% to anti-war candidates vs. 29.4% for pro-war candidates (although I’m not sure if it’s fair to lump candidates like Brownback or Biden into opposite camps, seeing as they seem to be advocating a similar way forward in Iraq, but you get the idea).

Then, today, we get another wonderful bit of wisdom from William Kristol:  They Don’t Really Support the Troops

Having turned against a war that some of them supported, the left is now turning against the troops they claim still to support. They sense that history is progressing away from them–that these soldiers, fighting courageously in a just cause, could still win the war, that they are proud of their service, and that they will be future leaders of this country. They are not “Shock Troops.” They are our best and bravest, fighting for all of us against a brutal enemy in a difficult and frustrating war. They are the 9/11 generation. The left slanders them. We support them. More than that, we admire them.

–William Kristol

Does anyone else smell that?

groisman_fewgood.jpg
Clear?

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Flame Warrior Profile: Killgore Trout

April 16, 2007

One of the reasons why I chose Mike Reed’s “Flame Warriors” as a theme for my blog was my fascination with this new medium that allows us humans to communicate in an instantaneous yet anonymous manner.   I think Reed’s observations were mostly based on discussions in message boards, but I’ve noticed that many of the tactics that he illustrated and described so eloquently on his site have even greater meaning when it comes to blogs, as the battleground (if you will) can encompass a multitude of sites. And I gotta say, it’s a jungle out there (here?).  For perfect example of how blogging can take the flame warrior idea to a whole new level, look no further than a netizen who goes by the handle …Killgore Trout*. 

Note- Since I am unable to determine with any certainty if Killgore is male or female, the following portion will contain many usages of “KT”, “the handle” and “the netizen”.  I have some sort of issue with referring to another human as “it”.  Call me old-fashioned. All I can figure is that he or she is probably a sci-fi buff.…so…. probably he.

Anyone who reads LGF with any frequency should recognize the handle, since KT has over 10,000 comment posts there, and is also credited quite often for submitting links to stories that make it to LGF’s main page.  In fact, it’s quite possible that Killgore contributes more to LGF than any other single lizard, now that I think about it. And if Killgore has a particular speciality, it would be reading and reporting back on diaries that appear on the Daily Kos. Here’s some diaries that got Killgore’s attention: 

Keep in mind, these were only the Kos diaries that made the front page of LGF.   Killgore has submitted countless more in the comment section.  In other words, I think it’s safe to say that Killgore reads more Kos diaries than I do. And on at least a couple of occasions during the last year, KT decided to do some posting on Kos as well, as one of the Kossacks pointed out: Trollbusters

Remember this diary: Imagine a world without Israel? So do I. So does LGF. I don’t think I’ve commented in any of the brazillion threads on the Lebanon/Israel conflict because I’m a pacifist, and my solution would be too simplistic and naive for most. However, this moby did comment:

**This diary was written by a moby. Check it’s comment history. It even labeled it a troll diary. Killgore Trout7/13/2006 01:06PM PDT [KT retracted this theory here upon further examination of the original diarist’s posts -CZ]
**[Re:]#43 J.D.: It’s a way to make the koskidz look worse than they actually are. It’s effective though, this diary has been making the rounds all day. There are plenty of real reasons to goof on the Koskidz, we don’t need trumped up ones. Killgore Trout 7/13/2006 01:13PM PDT
**[Re:]#89 Lynn B.: Be forewarned some of the comments are from moby’s as well. I know bvecause[sic] I wrote some of them yesterday. Killgore Trout 7/13/2006 01:22PM PDT
**So has kos been successfully Moby’d? Ward Cleaver 7/13/2006 01:26PM PDT

To post at one site in an attempt to elicit comments that can then be ridiculed at a distance by members of another is a tactic of subversion that I don’t believe flame warrior enthusiasts have seen before.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m not quite sure if “moby” is the best term either.  From the LGF FAQ:

Q. What’s a “moby?”
A. Someone who is following the advice of techno-pop star Moby to plant items that are likely to alienate Bush supporters.  More: Punk the prez?

It’s not quite the same thing.  This wasn’t a case of posting stories about Bush’s border control policy in an effort to pick away at a few Bush voters. This is a new Flame Warrior variant (something unique to the blogs).  “Recon”, maybe?  On the other hand, as far as Kos is concerned, maybe Killgore is just a Lurker who occasionally plays Impostor:

imposterlurker

It should also be mentioned that Killgore also has 2 LGF ‘sockpuppets’:

*Just for the record, I like Killgore.  I may not agree with everything he posts, but I believe there is a level of respect present there that can exist for fellow warrior netizens.  I’m pretty sure it’s mutual.  So, for KT and other visiting LGFer’s, consider this Killgore’s own open thread.

**Correction-  According to KT, this handle wasn’t his doing.  Maybe a secret admirer?

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Comments Do Not Necessarily Reflect The Views Of…

March 1, 2007

Should we judge a blogger by their comment section? 

 There was some debate (if you wanna call it that) in the blogosphere this week about etiquette and double standards when it came to using a blogger’s comment section as a source of criticism.  This arose after some conservative bloggers noticed that HuffPo’s (and other sites’) comments reflected sentiments of disappointment that Dick Cheney wasn’t killed in Afghanistan.  Or as Glenn Greenwald put it:

…began their attempt to politically exploit the attack on or near Cheney. Seemingly in unison, they all went digging deep into the comment sections of various liberal blogs, found inappropriate and hateful comments, and then began insisting that these isolated comments proved something.

I think Greenwald is correct, but the “in unison” part was undoubtedly due to the fact that left’s hatred of Dick Cheney is pretty much common knowledge at this point. .Some righty bloggers responded to Greenwald, calling him a hypocrite on the issue (they’re probably right).  Then Arianna Huffington got in on the action. Before you know it, everyone is pointing fingers towards the other side’s comment section or the smears made out of their own. 

It’d be entertaining if it wasn’t a little sad.  It got me thinking though.  Should there be some sort of netiquette for this kind of thing?   Do comments* have any reflection on the blogger?  Should they?

Many blogs address the issue by having a disclaimer in front of their comments section.  Take LGF’s:

Comments are open and unmoderated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Little Green Footballs. Obscene, abusive, silly, or annoying remarks may be deleted, but the fact that particular comments remain on the site in no way constitutes an endorsement of their views by Little Green Footballs.

There ya go.  All a blogger has to do is put something like that in there, and they are immune from being beat up over the content posted in the comments, right?  On the surface, it would appear that way. 

On the other hand, the blog administrator has the power to post the entries (obviously), remove any comment they wish, or ban any members/IP’s.  It would be pretty silly to use the disclaimer defense if someone is pointing out the fact that you have a member that has made 10 thousand posts and every other one of them contains the same offensive stuff.  I think it’s fair to say that kind of thing reflects on the blogger.  One could also make the argument that some blog entries are posted for no reason other than to elicit certain types of comments, but that case would be a lot tougher to make in most circumstances.

In summary,  I think that the comments section can be fair game, but the case needs to be made. One has to ‘dig deeper’ if they want to argue that somehow the comments posted on a blog reflect on the blogger, let alone a particular side of the political spectrum.  “Cherry picking” doesn’t prove much of anything.  In that sense, I think Greenwald has a point.  He’s just guilty of it himself, that’s all. 

On a related note, I have no problem with engaging the comment posters themselves. I think it’s entirely appropriate to present an argument as “a Daily Kos poster said this” and debate the comment on it’s merit, even on another site. People post things on blogs and message boards to be responded to, after all. It may be just a commonly made argument that you wanted proof that somebody posted, so you post their handle even though it’s irrelevant. 

Personally, I’m kinda glad this came up. I think I’m guilty of “comment digging” to make wide sweeping generalizations myself.  In the future, I’ll try to think it through before I attempt that kind of thing. 

*I would put Kos-like diaries in this category as well. EDIT- On second thought, I should clarify and say Kos diaries that aren’t on the front (main) page and concede “recommended diaries” in the sidebar.

Update:  Huffington…well…ok: Limbaugh, Hannity, and the Right’s Faux Fury Over Anonymous Comments 

Update:  I forgot to mention another fundamental flaw in using comment sections as sources of criticism:  The existence of impostors (see LGF: “moby“) and other devious netizen flame warriors.

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Since sites like Kos, HuffPo, LGF and others are open to all (at least sometimes), it’s possible this type of subversion is taking place.  I suppose it’s a matter of debating the extent of it. 

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Bush’s “delusion”: A psychiatrist’s perspective.

February 23, 2007

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References to Bush’s “delusions” have appeared in the MSN (notable on “Scarborough Country”) and throughout the blogosphere. As a psychiatrist, I understandably get concerned when I see clinical terminology bandied about in political discourse, and thought it might be of interest to share my own perspective on this question.

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‘Spillover’ Threads

February 17, 2007

If there’s one thing I don’t like about blogs (especially quickly-updated blogs like LGF and Kos), it’s the short attention span.  Discussions and debates within the comment section tend to be brief, as the contributors are pulled away by the allure of fresh posts.  Threads on blogs like these can become “dead” pretty quickly, and sometimes I’m frustrated that I’ve left an argument prematurely.  Life is busy, after all, and often times contributors are unable to respond for a few hours (at least).  As the thread ages, the incentive to post a fresh idea or angle diminishes as it becomes increasingly unlikely that anyone will read it.  Because of this, it’s pretty much accepted practice for members on popular sites to drag discussions into fresher threads, at the expense of proper context (among other problems).

I suppose that’s why I’ve always preferred the message board format for debate; because new comments are brought back to the ‘head of the line’, and because anyone can start a new topic of discussion.  The disadvantage is the natural “echo chamber”  effect of message boards, as the posts won’t ping other sites or really show up on anyone’s radar besides, eventually,  google (it could be argued that you can use feeds with message boards, but that doesn’t appear to be common practice).

For the time being, blogs seem have taken over as the venue for discussion, probably because of the advantages of networking.  So I had an idea….

I could use my blog  to post a ‘spillover’ when the need arises.  In other words,  I could start a thread here that other interested parties could agree to come back to later.  Since my site moves much slower, the discussion would remain relatively fresh here, and still retain the networking advantages if needed. 

Spillover threads could also be used it situations where there are discussions taking place between blogs (which happens daily).   The problem I see is that Kos members can’t post on LGF (and vice versa), so the result is a bit of a “shouting from a distance” effect.  However, these ‘blog wars’ could take place on a registration-free site like this.  Just an idea, but  I think it would be fun to moderate something like this every once and awhile, since I appear to be one of the few people out there with posting privileges on both sites.  This would actually work quite smoothly if the post author got in on the act, and posted the link to the spillover in the main entry.

Hhhmmm…there must be some problem that I’m not thinking of…..