“Beat the Press” gets beat

( - promoted by Charley on the MTA)

If you caught “Beat the Press” on Greater Boston on Friday evening, you saw a taped piece on political blogging — inspired by last Sunday’s NY Times op-ed piece and op-chart on blogging-for-dollars — which included a couple of snippets of an interview with yours truly.  And then you saw the usual live chitchat with Greater Boston’s usual suspects, all of whom duly tut-tutted about political bloggers getting paid.  If you missed it on TV, you can watch it on YouTube.

Now, for the record, I don’t really give a crap whether a campaign wants to pay a blogger to blog — as long as the blogger discloses the payments.  Taking campaign money without disclosing, however, is astroturfing, and is a very bad idea that gives blogging a bad name.  And I don’t think anyone seriously disagrees with that.

But “Beat the Press” made a couple of big, big mistakes in Friday night’s piece, and they were bad enough that I’m not very happy that I appeared in the show.  (Unfortunately, I had no control over that — I did the interview without having any idea what the rest of the taped piece would look like, nor, of course, what the live chat would cover.)  The gory details are after the flip.  (Incidentally, though I rarely post at MyDD, I did cross-post this over there in light of the Jerome connection, and it got bumped to the front page and generated some interesting comments.)

First, and most embarrassingly, John Carroll (who put the taped piece together) got totally suckered by a joke post at MyDD, and as a result made a sweeping accusation of massive deception by MyDD blogger Jerome Armstrong that is, simply put, false.  Here’s what Carroll said in the piece:

According to the Times, the “kept bloggers” appeared on some of the left wing’s glamor websites, from the Huffington Post to the Daily Kos to MyDD, whose sole proprietor Jerome Armstrong pocketed almost $200,000 from various candidates.  The Times piece said that few of the kept bloggers shut down their independent sites after going on the take, but it went even beyond that.  Armstrong bragged this week that the other bloggers he’d farmed out his website to, were in reality, him, writing under those aliases the entire time.  And the blogrolling didn’t stop there: Armstrong also posed as liberal blogger Scott Shields, who posted for pay for yet another Democratic candidate.  But David Kravitz says not to worry, the truth will out.

Well, I bet you’re surprised to learn that Jerome Armstrong is MyDD’s “sole proprietor,” and that Scott Shields, Matt Stoller, Chris Bowers, and the rest of the MyDD guys don’t actually exist, but are only screen aliases for Armstrong.  And in fact, of course, those guys do exist, and Carroll’s piece is flat-out wrong in that respect.

Here’s what happened.  After the NY Times piece was published, Jonathan Singer wrote up this snarky post at MyDD, which includes the following choice lines:

While Glover [the NYT piece's author] does note that some of “these bloggers shut down their ‘independent’ sites after signing on with campaigns” or that “most disclosed their campaign ties on their blogs”, he fails to mention the fact that a number of the bloggers, like Jerome, largely recused themselves of writing during the course of their employment, farming out writing responsibilities to other bloggers like Chris, Matt and myself.

The reason why may shock you: Chris, Matt and Jonathan do not exist, despite any previous claims. He got me. We’re all the same person. I (Jerome) have been writing under these aliases the entire time I have been working on other campaigns. I also used to write under the name of Scott Shields until I got hired under that pseudonym by another campaign. Thought you met Matt, Chris or Jonathan at Yearly Kos or some other event? Most likely you met one of the young fellows I paid to play those roles. They’re just out of work, dime a dozen actors from Los Angeles. Anyone could have played them.

So Mr. Glover, you got me. Even though on the surface I did everything possible to remove any potential conflict of interest, effectively stopping my blogging on MyDD and disclosing on this site who I was working for, it was all a big act. Sorry America.

Ha ha, right?  Big joke — the line about the “dime a dozen actors” portraying Shields et al. at Yearly Kos was pretty much the giveaway on that one.  Yet the post did manage to fool at least one commenter:

Re: Clearing Things Up (none / 0)

Are you serious?  Is this a confession of blatant wrongdoing or are you intentionally exaggerating what appears to be a serious transgression of blogging ethics?

Roberto in Utah

by reder01 on Sun Dec 03, 2006 at 01:58:43 PM EST

    Re: Clearing Things Up (none / 0)

    He’s joking. We all exist.

    And you’re seriously not paying attention if you think that what Glover wrote about amounts to “a serious transgression of blogging ethics.”

    by Scott Shields on Sun Dec 03, 2006 at 02:17:08 PM EST

So Carroll got suckered by something that (1) is obviously a joke, and (2) could easily have been verified as such had Carroll bothered to undertake the most cursory investigation, which led to Carroll’s falsely accusing Armstrong of gross deception.  And what sticks in my personal craw is that Carroll then used that false accusation as the lead-in to a quote from me which, in its original context, had nothing to do with the Armstrong story.  Armstrong was never mentioned in the interview with me; what I was responding to was a question about whether secret blogging-for-dollars in general gives blogging a bad name.  What I said, and what I believe is true, is that astroturfing and other forms of fake blogging (like the Charlie Bass incident up in NH) usually get sniffed out pretty quickly.  But the way my quote was used, it looked as though I was excusing Armstrong’s (nonexistent) bad conduct by saying it’s no big deal because it’ll all come out in the wash.  Not so — I disapprove of astroturfing, and I said so in parts of the interview that ended up on the cutting room floor.

Also extremely annoying to me was Joe Sciacca’s bizarre commentary on the role of BMG in the election.  Sciacca, after making several general points that I thought were basically right, said the following:

Blue Mass. Group, for example, which is a great website, but, you know, when they endorsed Deval Patrick, people in Deval Patrick’s campaign were disappointed, because now suddenly they had sort of shown their hand, and it didn’t seem like there was some great groundswell of support on the internet for Deval, it was just basically an extension of their campaign website.

Wow.  That’s both false and completely nonsensical.  As far as the facts go, I have no idea who Sciacca was talking to inside the Patrick campaign (if he actually talked to anyone instead of pulling this out of his ass), but I sure never heard anything about anyone being “disappointed” that we endorsed Patrick — quite the contrary, “well-placed campaign sources” (as the saying goes) told me that the campaign was extremely pleased with our endorsement.  And the notion that BMG became “an extension of [Patrick's] campaign website” after we endorsed him is ridiculous.  Four days after we endorsed Patrick, Charley put up a post basically saying that Patrick’s first TV ads were weak.  We criticized Patrick’s handling of the LaGuer brouhaha, both on the blog and elsewhere.  What more do you want?  I mean, for God’s sake, of course we wanted the guy to win — that’s why we endorsed him.  But in what parallel universe does that convert BMG into an “extension” of devalpatrick.com?

Furthermore, Sciacca’s theory makes no sense at all.  As he and the rest of them on the show well know (but as nobody bothered to mention until waaaaaay into the discussion), BMG was not paid by Deval Patrick or anyone else — we endorsed Patrick because we thought he was the best candidate and we wanted him to win.  So how is it, exactly, that our endorsement wasn’t part of a “groundswell of support on the internet for Deval”?  In fact, I’d suggest that what happened on BMG and other blogs over the last several months was exactly that.  It’s not like we were the only regulars on this site who backed him.  Further, what’s our alternative?  Not publicly endorse him, and t
hen have someone “blow the whistle” on us when they search OCPF and “discover” that we donated to his campaign?  As we said at the time we endorsed him, saying publicly who we were backing was not only a matter of trying to advance (in our modest way) the prospects of the candidate we liked, it was a matter of basic honesty with BMG’s readers who deserved to know where we were coming from.  Which, incidentally, is more than you’ll get from most MSM pundits — I don’t recall Emily Rooney, John Carroll, or the rest of the gang publicly declaring who they were going to vote for (though Sciacca’s WRKO talk show is pretty much a giveaway).

Bottom line: think twice before accepting an invitation to do a taped interview.  At least on the live TV talk shows, if you don’t like the way you came across you pretty much have only yourself to blame.

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56 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. The snarkiness of some press type interviews

    David, my condolences.  I remember the first time I was phone interviewed in connection with a hot issue by a Globe reporter.  He talked with me for 45 minutes.  He took two partial sentences, which were not about the same thing (but were among what I had said) and spliced them together so it looked like I supported someone I did not support, and said something the opposite of what I was fighting for, and ran it in a story. 

    A bunch of folk decided that meant I was a sell out, gave me all kinds of grief, and it meant that I had trouble being listened to by folk who didn't actually know me.

    The folk who did know me KNEW I would never say what I was quoted as saying!

    Very frustrating.  They [media] do NOT let people like me see the whole story before including our quotes.  All the same, I would rather be asked about the issues I care about, and was glad, for example, that Pat Wen contacted me in this story about some of the issues I really care about in child welfare law:  http://www.boston.co...

    As to the reporter who abused my trust, I don't care to name him - but neither do I give him leads.  Set me up once - okay - if I let you set me up again, I guess that would make me dumb.

  2. Emily Rooney Really HATES Bloggers, Doesn't She?

    It's palpable.  While expressing her 'shock' about this, she managed to impugn blogging in general, and then squealed the REAL cause of the angst - and it's a LOT of money!  At one point towards the end, she muttered, did candidates think this would do them an GOOD?  Callie Crossley said - they MUST, they think it'll bring a movement.  Yeah, like there was any movement to BRING, sniff, sniff.  What I found hilarious is that the horror was over LIBERALS doing this, like Kos.  Well, as they waved that chart around, I saw Ankle Biting Pundits, too, although not the big ConservaGuns like Glenn Reynolds or Hugh Hewitt.  Of course, it would be expected that conservative bloggers would be corrupt - this was LIBERALS!!!

    How insecure are they in their jobs, do you think?  Sciacca, I can kind of understand, but he at least thinks the randomness of the internet is constructive.  John Carroll has ALWAYS struck me as two-faced, and now I have proof.  I wish it had been Dan Kennedy's week, the replacement guy didn't have much to say.  And Callie put out her mantra - I've always SAID they aren't journalists!

    We are, Callie, but we aren't REPORTERS.  We are, by and large, EDITORIALISTS.  Would you say a columnist or an editorial writer isn't a journalist because they have a point of view which they reveal?  Why do you say it about US?  Because you don't want to believe peope write without a benefit package?

    Once, I applied at a newspaper.  The editor admitted that I had superior local knowledge and writing abiltiy to the children they usually hire fresh out of journalism school, but I didn't have a DEGREE in journalism, so that made me unsuitable for the newsroom.  I was so mad I started blogging.  It's like saying a person is incapable of teaching without an education degree.  Oh.

    Blogging, and its success, threatens the trades union/guildhall mentality of MSM.  I know reporters who have been terminated for an insufficiently liberal worldview.  Genuine diversity of ideas and opinions do not flourish in newsrooms - yet they say THEY are the unbiased ones.  In the meantime, MSM has begun to use paid blogging as a new form of content, and the people with the journalism degrees are being laid off.

    Beat the Press, indeed.  Sorry you were snookered, David, but we who know you realized there was something off-scent in those remarks.  It demonstrates the single biggest strength of blogging - if you have something to say, you can post it in its entirety, and not rely on the promoted reporters they call editors these days.

    • It was an example of insecurities run amok

      I saw the segment when it aired and my first thought was that they all seemed afraid of blogs.  Blogs are threatening to the main-stream press so the main-stream press either tries to ignore them or denigrate them.  The NYT article was an example of this, as was the piece on Emily Rooney's show. (BTW, didn't Emily Rooney start her own blog a while ago?)   

      • Yes.

        There have been five posts on it in the last month.  Doesn't appear to be much of a priority.

      • Funny

        I thought the mainstream press was threatening the mainstream press.

        Mote, meet eye.

        Dude, how the hell can a bunch of mostly volunteer writers ever threaten a big business like news media without the news media mostly defeating itself first? Whatever.

        But yeah, they certainly did sound kind of defensive. I also saw the segment when it aired, and what I am most angered about is that I believed Carroll at the time because despite the fact I never much liked him (there's only a couple BtP pundits I actually think aren't sometimes talking out their ass) because he's supposed to have some integrity.

        I knew it sounded wrong, as in, Armstrong would never do that, would he? but I still believed him enough to start to wonder if Armstrong and others weren't selling themselves out. These are people I respect so wrongfully ruining their reps (long earned) really offends me.

  3. gmafb

    I think I'd rather just have this go into the ether of zombie TV land than be on YouTube, and damn these people are fools.

    Total bullshit all around:

    I am not those posters, it was a spoof post made by Jonathan Singer.

    I disclosed on MyDD when I went to work with those candidates and didn't blog about them on the site; in fact I stopped blogging.

    The recipient of the funds from Brown and Warner campaigns/organizations was the internet vendor company Political Technologies that has many contractors, and had nothing to do with blogging.

    A six minute retraction? Or equal time to talk about how lazy these pretend pundits were, not even looking into the factual claims before they slandered?

    • Demand justice for bloggers unjustly smeared! And for the blogging community, for that matter

      Contact Greater Boston..."We appreciate your comments and welcome your ideas for future programs" and tell 'em to give equal time (as was given for their slanderous segment) to actually have an informative dialogue about the issue.

      And maybe give 'em another bit of feedback or two, as I just did about the bizarre and inaccurate line about "BMG just became an extension of the Patrick campaign website..." Uh, no.  That's not what happened.  You dolt.

      Like I said, there really needs to be an INFORMATIVE discussion about political blogging as a f/up to that bizarro segment.  Gee, maybe the pundits might even learn a thing or two, or twenty...

      p.s. i don't even know who/what Armstrong or MyDD is

  4. Welcome to life in the public sector!

    Print, visual, and audio editors and reporters make decisions of this sort all the time that can either result in an effective and thoughtful presentation of an issue, or can reflect their personal or corporate agendas.  And, sometimes they just make a mistake.  That's just the way it is and will never change.

    What has changed is that you now have as much "ink" as they do, i.e., you can correct stories and offer your own comments, just like you have now done, in an arena that might have as much outreach as their own.

    I don't agree with your bottom line, though.  Yes, you can get burned, but most reporters really do try to do a fair job in presenting an issue.  If you decide to absent yourself from their presentation, you pretty much assure that your point of view will not be heard in that forum.

    • Life in the Public Sector

      I agree with Paul. Greater Boston's mistakes or distortions are no reflection on you, David, and if you don't participate, you aren't heard. And you do have a platform to point out their errors. It will be interesting to see how Emily Rooney & Co. will respond.

      • $quot;Respond$quot;?

        Heh.  I emailed them pointing out the Armstrong error, along with my other beefs.  So far, the silence has been deafening.  Maybe they're investigating the Armstrong imbroglio.

    • I agree, but you have to keep control over the message.

      A friend of mine, who has to deal with the press quite a bit, passed on a piece of simple advice that I have always found helpful when I talk to a member of the press.  No matter what they ask, always tell them what you want them to print.  That doesn't mean you do not answer the question; it means that you do not have to adopt how the question is asked. Yes, you can still get burned, but most often you will get your message, or your true intent, reported. 

  5. More Evidence the Main Stream is afraid of Blogging

      I was in Court on Friday afternoon in the Open Meeting Law Case currently before the Suffolk Superior Court, Kressel et al. v. Boston City Council.  This case alledges that the Boston City Council violated the Open Meeting Law in voting themselves, the Mayor and other City managers pay raises by voting on the bill behind closed doors.  We were opposing their motion for Summary Judgement and their motion to have our subpeona of Mayor Menino squashed.  At one point the attorney for the City Council, Eve Piemonte Stacy said to the judge that if you allow the Mayor to testify at trial "Kevin McCrea will Blog about it.  He announced on his Blog in November that the Mayor and City Council were going to trial."  To his credit, the judge gave a look as if to say 'so what', and the line of argument went nowhere.  But, I believe it does show the power of the blogging world.  As the earlier poster noted, bloggers can give a full rundown, in their own words, of what they believe the news, or their opinion of it is.  Isn't this harnassing the power that Thomas Paine unleashed?  In essence, their argument to the judge was that Kevin McCrea will exercise his first amendment rights.  It would seem that amendment is the greatest fear of entrenched power, and it is why our forefathers made it the first and primary one.

      Go Bloggers!

    You can read more about the case which is going to trial on Tuesday  at http://electkevin.bl...

  6. information isn't top down anymore

    I've gotta agree with my local colleague, Peter Porcupine, that, as long as I've watched Emily Rooney's Friday show (at least five years), I've been amazed at how she and John Carrol malign and disparage blogging. Carrol actually gets a sneer on his face when the subject comes up. It's like they're threatened by the fact that truth and information now travel up, sideways, and in widening circles, not just from the top (paid pundits and journalists) down to us in the community. I suggest they both get used to it.

    • Well said!

      But still, we aren't much of a threat. Or, rather, we wouldn't be if they were actually doing their job even from the top down.

      But hey, first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you...we're on stage three already, according to this!

      • I think this is

        proving Deval's point!  I wonder how many of them on that stage or in many  "commentary"spots are actually graduates with a journalism degree?

        Now it's been 35 years since I studied journalism, but back  then, it was who, what, when, where, why, and how or what we called - 5w's and the h.  NO SPIN!  Back then, that was called editorializing! And only one person could do that...the editor!

        It really frost me when they start spouting and then call themselves "journalists", making remarks which are so far from the actual facts its mind-blowing!

        I think your right, they are afraid that bottom up might actually put them out of a job. Heck, as long as you aren't afraid of a microphone, these days anyone can get their own show....we have a couple here, no credentials necessary!

        And while were on the subject of credibility, (were we?) Some of these guys, claiming to be "political analysts",  overly connected to the "machine" makes them experts in politics?


        I think that is why the transparency is so important.  As David said most bloggers are pretty savvy and we can spot a disingenuous blogger in a heart beat.  It doesn't escape us for very long if at all.....

        Eventually,  Emily and company will have to accept the reality of blogging.....or experts like David and others will stop granting interviews!

        Hey here's a thought,  how 'bout a "report card" on the so-called "political experts" with questions like

        Reports with accuracy?  _____ Understands the subject being discussed?______ Spins facts  or not?__________

        You get the point.......turn the tables on them.....basically that's concept of blogging anyway.....but we don't claim to be journalists with degrees!

  7. $200,000?

    Wait, did some blogger really take in $200,000 dollars, or is that a joke too?

    I knew that some blogs put blogads up for revenue, and I guess that's acceptable (but I appreciate it when there are no ads), but I didn't know that anybody was being paid by candidates.  I think it's disgusting, I think it completely invalidates their opinion and they should get out of the arena.

    • For the Record - Nobody ever gave me money!

      When I was blogging for Katrina relief, I said that anybody who sent money on my PayPal button would have it donated - I took in $10 and donated it.  Nobody else ever sent a penny, and I'm considering taking the button off.  I have a swag store, and one person bought a magenet once - but the 'profit' isn't to the $25 dollar level where Cafe PRess will send you money.  I don't HAVE ads.

      And yet I did blog for Healey, and expect to blog for Mitt, and expect the profitability of the same to remain constant.  That's life for real bloggers.

    • Well

      Armstrong, et al, weren't paid $200,000 plus from blogads in this case - they were paid as consultants in parts of campaigns. They had certain expertise which campaigns were willing to pay for. Would you rather the same old elites continue to get paid, or new and fresh people who deeply believe in a people-powered movement? Perhaps, eventually, they'll become one and the same - but not anywhere near now.

      As far as blog ads concern me, I put up some google ads on my website just a little while ago. So far, in about 2 months, I've taken in $40. By the time I reach the threshold in which I'll be paid (getting to $100), it MAY cover the gas and other expenses from events I've blogged (I probably spent $30 in my trip to Worcester alone). I'm an unemployed college student from a decidedly middle class family (single parent nurse) - and the time I spend blogging is probably more than 10 hours a week, if not more. So, while I'd love to put no ads up on my website, the reality is no one can work for free and I'd just be happy to get some gas money for now. Almost any other person would quit blogging and get a part time job so he or she wouldn't be dirt broke, but I happen to think certain issues are too important to sacrifice for matters of convienance. Maybe, instead of complaining about a few ads on a website, you should try clicking them once in a while.

      • So that implies...

        that implies that Armstrong would have gotten that job as a consultant even if his blog had been a right wing mens rights group or something?  Or maybe he just wouldn't have wanted that job?  Is it ethical to take jobs working for candidates you don't agree with?

  8. In Defense of John Carroll

    David, for John Carroll to be aware of this multi-layer inside cool kid joke is unfair. It ir reasonable to expect that a msm journalist could reasonably make the asserions he did. And it is reasonable for him not to check it out. Why would he. he wasn't in on the joke.

    It is not his fault that these self-important blogs have "Lord of the Flies" like messages.

    eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • Can't agree with you, Ernie.

      The ONLY "evidence" that Armstrong was posing as all these other bloggers was that one post -- which isn't even authored under Armstrong's name.  It's so obviously a joke (the out-of-work actors?  come on) that alarm bells should have been ringing all over the place.  And the most cursory research -- a phone call, an email, a Google search, anything -- would have confirmed that the post was a spoof, or at least raised enough questions that further inquiry would be necessary.  Don't you think that a modicum of inquiry like that is appropriate before leveling the kind of accusation that Carroll leveled?

      • I agree with David

        that original post from Singer was so obviously a spoof that a brain dead salamander could have caught it.  it was pure art.  if Carroll can't pick up on a bit of sarcasm, then maybe he shouldn't be in the communications business.

        • I wonder

          If it was a case of Carroll not even reading it.

          Certain local officials get third- or fourth-hand information about stuff posted on my blog (or for that matter, what's said on local talk radio etc) and then react before they have the real facts (or read what was really said or who said it). I find it annoying from them, but unacceptable from a so-called journalist.

    • No, Carroll got caught

      He was lazy and got caught and now he looks like an idiot who can't tell the difference between The Onion and the New York Times. (Which, now that I consider it, isn't always that easy: the Onion has become remarkably sophisticed of late, witness how they [http://www.theonion.... broke the story of the five-blade Gillette razor). 

  9. i'm listengin to it...

    ugh, this is ridiculous: are they talking about campaigns donating to blogs for coverage (as its what seems to be implied), or talking about just hiring bloggers to work for the campaign? I'm pretty sure the latter is what was going on, and these people don't understand at all...

    disappointing, I'm a bid fan of Greater Boston, but they definitely are way off sometimes. and they have a blog...

    • That's one of the big weaknesses

      of the NYT piece -- it didn't distinguish between bloggers who disclosed their payments and bloggers who didn't, and it also assumed that any money paid to a person who happens to blog was "blogging for dollars," whereas it may not have been.  For example, Armstrong says that his work for Sherrod Brown consisted not of blogging, but of doing some hardware work for him.  Very different animal.  But, like the MyDD piece, the Beat the Pressers just swallowed it, hook line and sinker -- despite the fact that bloggers were already poking holes in it all over the place.

      • Sorry David,

        Carroll's an asshole. And a loser. Right?

        You are either a Dead Head, I mean blog head, and in on this stuff A to Z or you are a schmuck. The self-importance of the blogs tells us that a reader should be on top of all inside stuff. Like 'how about the Dead concert in'85 in Portland when Jerry sang "Ripple" out his ass'

        Perhaps you should offer course to msm types so they too can be a blog head and understand the nuances in this very important and powerful group.

        This new medium is no differnt than a telephone  or a pencel and paper.

        A person does not have credibility because he uses this medium to voice an opinion. 

        eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
        • You're completely missing the point, Ernie.

          If Carroll and the rest of Greater Boston want to completely ignore the blogs, that's fine with me.  We'd probably all be better off.

          But if they choose to do a story on blogs, then they have an obligation to get their facts right, just as they do in any other story.  Carroll's a journalism professor, for God's sake.  If anyone should understand that, he should.  Yet he swallows an obviously fake post hook, link, and sinker, and consequently claims over the airwaves, falsely, that a particular individual is engaged in massive (and possibly illegal) fraudulent activity.  And what's so sad about it is that it would have been so easy to track down the truth.

          Doesn't sound like "journalism" to me.

          • I Understand David,

            But this joke was not OBVIOUS to the casual observer. It was a joke that is obvious, from you tell me, to the committed readers. There was nothing there to cause a bell to go off in Carroll's mind.

            Other than the egos in the blogersphere

            And who cares?

            Welcome tothe real world.

            eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
            • Oh c'mon

              Ernie,  if a Deval Patrick true believer/first-time activist came to you and explained how politics worked in Massachusetts, you'd be the first person to call them out and tell them they were full of crap.  The same thing has happened here -- Carroll has attempted to explain a world he doesn't entirely understand and manages to get it exactly wrong in front of an audience of dozens (it is WGBH, after all).

              And this is not some value judgement on Carroll as a person, as you seem to think.  He just got the story wrong.  He should be made aware of this.

            • Wrong

              Totally obvious, unless you're braindead. Unemployed actors were paid to play the other him at big events? Please.

              • i believe it

                remember how chris gabrielie paid all those actors to put on a bloggers conference in nov. 2005, just so that he could continue to pose as three left-wing bloggers who run a statewide liberal political blog called "Blue Mass Group", just so that he could eventually use that blog to endorse his rival in the primaries, just so that he could massively sabotage his rival's campaign?

                open your eyes, people!!  it's so obvious!!

            • $quot;the casual observer$quot;

              that kinda says it all, don't it?

              • I Surrender

                You win this one, Mr. Kravits. And tell your wife to quit looking out the window at us.

                eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
  10. Hey Dave

    You have my sympathy. I've had my words taken out of context before. It helps working with journalists you know of and can trust. Some people genuinely want what you say to reflect what you meant - others just want to sell a story. Reading these articles and learning the names of these reporters are important in being able to distinguish between the two.

    "Beat the Press," indeed. Let's beat em senseless and enforce real ethics and serious standards in the Boston media again. Quite frankly, as bloggers, one of the most important things we can do is be media watchdogs. This post of yours was one of the best you've written in a long while.

  11. What else would MSM do

    a hit piece on bloggers.  An "explanation" of why blogging can of course never be taken seriously.  Well, we stupid people must bow to the "expert" and professional "journalist" to collectively and selectively ignore life shattering events anyone can find on. www.projectcensored.org. "Journalists" are far more responsible for the destruction of America than any "terrorist".  Olberman and Colbert not included.

  12. this is so funny

    wow, I never, ever, in a million years, thought someone would mistake that Jonathan Singer post for an actual confession.  this is just too good to be true.

    you all should up the ante a notch and post a confession that you are, in fact, Chris Gabrieli, posting under three separate pen names for months and months, just so that you could eventually sabotage Deval Patrick's campaign by endorsing him.

    once all that is done, we can finally convene a blogger ethics panel.

  13. Check this out -


  14. It ain't the first time a tom-tom club

    tried to be cool and found themselves in a harsh realm.

    They wouldn't have looked like a bunch of lamestains if they'd done a little swingin' on the flippety flop at Blue Mass Group and MyDD for a couple hours.

  15. Blogswarm

    Front paged at Daily Kos with action item:

    div class="blockquote"Update II: Ask John Carroll directly how he plans on holding himself accountable, given how accountable he and his ilk supposedly are. Be polite. john_carroll@wgbh.org

    • OK - now I'm beginning to feel badly for him...

      ...but only a little.

      Bet this will be the most traffic 'GBH has had on its site in MANY a moon, and will lead to further stories...

  16. Inside baseball

    You all seem to think everyone who reads blogs knows the jokes. I saw the Beat the Press piece and had no idea who those bloggers were that were being mentioned (other than David), never mind whether or not they were real. I saw no reason not to believe what was being said. My bad, apparently.

    Of course, John Carroll should have done some basic fact checking.

    To believe or not to believe should not have to be the overriding question for those of us reading blogs. I read the bit about the out of work actors, and if it hadn't been in this context, I don't know that I wouldn't have believed it.

    The internet is a fascinating place, but every piece of information I take off of it I have to weigh in my mind the credibility of the source site. Is it a recognized authority? How do I decide what that means? I started reading BMG because I heard it mentioned in other media-TV news and the (gasp!) newspaper. To me, that gave it credibility.

    I like BMG because so much that's posted is linked directly to another source. But even then. Take the Prospect piece linked to below. Who is Tom Schaller? Is he this Tom Schaller? Maybe he's this Tom Schaller. Or the actor Tom Schaller. There are more than 1.2 million entries in Google for Tom Schaller.

    We all have to decide for ourselves what we consider to be an authentic source. MSM (I finally figured out that means "mainstream media"), like it or not, has built up some credibility over the years with protocols that include fact checking (John!). No, they don't always get it right. But I'd rather read a news article in an American paper than in a Russian one. I think that's why BtP and Emily Rooney are skeptical of blogs. They could be written by anyone, alias or not, with who knows what kind of knowledge or authority to spout on about a topic.

    Maybe Stephen Colbert can get away with not believing in facts, but I want them.

    The bottom line was and remains that people who are paid to write and don't disclose that are wrong.

    • The Bottom Line?

      "The bottom line was and remains that people who are paid to write and don't disclose that are wrong."

      Well, of course.  Nobody argues with that.

      But if a journalist is going to do a story about that kind of wrongdoing, the journalist needs to write clearly about just who is doing wrong, and not carelessly tar political bloggers with the implication of wrongdoing.

      Journalists have made some mistakes in the past decade--and those mistaken facts have been repeated ad nauseum because they fit into "narratives" that make it easy to write stories.  Bob Somerby's website provides lots of information about these mistakes & narratives and how they have tended to drag down Democrats.  And helped launch a stupid war.

      I would have thought a correction from "Beat The Press" would have appeared by now... they could put one up at their blog.

      It's this slowness in correcting themselves that makes bloggers frustrated with journalists.  Journalistic mistakes can have serious consequences--so the bloggers are speaking up as soon as we see something is wrong with a story.

      • Precisely

        The bloggers maligned by name by BtP actually DID disclose their affiliations, and even recused themselves from writing, and did NOT shill for campaigns under pseudonyms.

        The fact is, you were told some things that seemed like facts when actually, they were wrong. This colors your perception of these bloggers - if you ever encountered them after the fact you would not see them as credible.

        A blogger only has his or her built-up-over-time credibility. By slandering Armstrong and others, they have chipped away at that precious commodity in the eyes of their viewers, who are, like you, largely unaware of who the hell Armstrong of MyDD is in the first place.

      • By $quot;you were told$quot;

        I meant Kira, sorry...

  17. If John Carroll got it wrong,

    he should be called to account for it, as David has done, and he should respond with a defense, a correcton, or a retraction.  That said, I disagree with David that it's okay for bloggers to take money from campaigns as long as they disclose it.  Wouldn't we be screaming if we found out that columnists in the MSM were taking money from the campaigns they were covering, even if they disclosed that?  Why should we hold the MSM to a higher standard?  The beauty of the blogosphere is it's given everyone pundit status.  With that goes certain responsibilities.  It's not enough for David to say he doesn't give a crap about it.  That doesn't lighten the seriousness of the situation.  If you take money from a campaign, you can no longer call yourself an independent blogger.  You are now part of the campaign.  Once you're on the payroll, you're on the payroll.

    • A chronic complaint on my side of the aisle...

      ...is the way that newspaper endorsements seem to follow advertising buys.  I don't believe it, myself, as editors are too ivory-tower to read the stats from the ad department (right up until salary-cut time), but I do wonder if publishers are more sensitive to ad buys and tax policies when they call for endorsements.

      Case in point - two years ago, the Cape Cod Times endorsed ultra-liberal Sarah Peake (over liberal GOP Shirley Gomes) and George W. Bush.  In the same column, on the same day.  Who made THAT call?  To this day, I don't think it was the newsroom, but I wonder of Ottaway intervened.

  18. Bloggers' Lack Of Standards Exposed

    No so-called mainstream media would publish an article of satire without making it clear that it was satire. The trouble with this piece of satire is that is was not only unlabeled, it was astoundingly unfunny.

    Gotcha?  Hardly.  More like whining on the schoolyard and, ultimately, a setback for blogging.  Pay for play is bad enough, but making declarative statements and then saying "just kidding" while claiming someone who took it for what it said is a fool is reprehensible.

    Score one for the mainstreamers.

    • astroturf?

      Oddly, this comment that shows no familiarity with blogs or with the things other people have written here, happens to come from someone who signed up just to make this comment, and has never posted a diary or made any other comment anywhere on Blue Mass Group (even through today, two months later).

      Smells of astroturf to me.

      • Elementary, My Dear Watson...

        ...the dog that barked in December has mysteriously vanished.  It is time to don our deerstalker and release the hounds!

        Seriously, Cos - great catch, and a more fitting end to this contentious thread.

        He who steals my purse steals trash; t'was mine, t'is his, and has been slave to thousands.  But he who filches my good name steals naught that enriches him, but leaves me poor indeed!

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Sat 29 Nov 4:35 AM