Monday, November 28, 2005

 

MDE vs. IMP and Welcome Back Cotter...

...I mean Trillin. Time for another addition to the blogroll, and a hearty welcome back to a voice of reason.

I suppose I should chime in on the recent legal trouble between Minnesota Democrat Exposer and Inside Minnesota Politics. Unfortunately for anyone looking for a tirade on the value of anonymous blogging, it won't be coming from me.

Don't get me wrong, I think that the gentlemen running Inside Minnesota Politics may have gone a little bit overboard and perhaps a bit partisan in their legal action against MDE.
But I think there's at least a half-reasonable explanation and defense of their actions, at least as far as the blogosphere goes.

Yes, Madison and his cohorts published under the now-famous pseudonym of "Publius." However, I think it's important for us to ask the following question: Did their contemporaries, especially in a free-speech system, really not know who they were? Publius's words were afforded credibility not because no one knew who Publius really was, but rather because the people who mattered knew exactly who Publius was.

The corrollary is this: Most MN-based bloggers provide commentary on articles and events and make it clear that their writing is opinion-only. MDE takes on a unique role in this community. However many of the rumors posted at MDE have turned out to be true or false, MDE themselves claims at the outset that they are facts. This requires credibility, something that does not automatically come with a personal-but-anonymous claim thereof.

Publius was writing with an educated opinion on pre-Constitutional law. MDE wears a reporter's hat but hides behind a veil. The two are not equivalent cases. I won't go so far as to jump on IMP's bandwagon, but I do think that MDE's credibility might improve if they offered their readers on both sides of the political spectrum an inkling of either their identity or their role in Minnesota politics, past or present. At least give readers the option of caveat emptor. and considering the source of their "exposures".

But I agree, a lawsuit might be overkill. Just not the Assault on Free Speech as We Know It that it's been made out to be recently.

Comments:
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Blogger anon95 said:
Do you have a comment on the emerging Steve Kelley ethics scandal?
 
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Blogger lloydletta said:
It looks like there is no ethics scandal. The Kelley volunteer used a template from the State Senate to write their press release.
 
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