Todays WaPo has blogs on page A1 when it examines the use of an RK diary in a recent Tim Hugo commercial taking issue with Rex Simmons in their House of Delegates race.
A poster blogging with the pen name “Pitin” attacked Rex Simmons during the spring primary campaign, but had since deleted the comments. Apparently many folks know who “Pitin” is:
The man Hugo identified as Pitin — Nate de la Piedra, executive director of Next Generation Democrats — did not return several telephone messages Friday seeking comment. Feld declined to confirm Pitin’s identity, but other sources familiar with the Web site confirmed Pitin is de la Piedra.
Hugo uses his comments in this ad attacking Simmons. Lowell Feld, the RK proprieter is upset because the advert makes it look like RK is not backing Simmons, when in fact Feld has endorsed him. Hugo says it is widely known who posted the articles, and that they are fair game for use.
Feld attacks the practice:
“If someone is allowed to post on a blog, does that mean the organization is responsible and a political candidate can then source an ad to them?”
Granted, RK has a special sort of situation. It is a blog community, where anyone can register and create their own “diary”, which effectively serves as a blog within a blog. One also has to be registered to discuss on blog postings.
Nonetheless, the short answer to Lowell’s question: Yes.
That is why I have posting rules on this blog…I can keep or delete comments such as I see fit within the state parameters. So those folks who choose to post as anonymous…see the rules. Over at RK there is even more control over who participates. One has to register to post or to comment, and then you have to get a password from RK…which it would seem makes it that much easier controlling what goes up in your blog.
A blogger opens a blog and allows folks to comment. Someone wants to reference a post or a comment, they have to reference the blog to show that the item was not made up out of whole cloth. Anonimity does cause an issue; but here there is not only widespread agreement over who posted the comment, but it was posted in a forum where the blog owner has complete control over who posts. Moreover, RK is a forum devoted to advancing Democratic candidates…I can only think they already patrol their forums and posts to be sure that they are not infiltrated by GOP posters advocating against them.
It may even be that a blog where the proprieter so closely controls who can post is the perfect place to find quotable and sourceable materials.
I guess if you want to use the blogosphere as a place to encourage communication and advocacy, you cannot be too surprised that comments might show up in advertisements…which means that if you allow people to post, then you have the responsibility to police what shows up on your blog.
If you don’t like it, take it down…after all, it’s your joint, and you get to serve whom you want…
RK broke ground in 2006 both as a driving source to get Jim Webb into the Senate campaing and later as a driving force to mobilize folks to get him elected.
Looks like they have again-and this time to their regret-broken new ground.