Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
I started blogging in the late Summer of 2007 during the NH Democratic Primary season. For the entire Primary, I blogged under a pseudonym, Sleeping Giant Stirs, as it was common to do so. By November, my face and name was well known in the circle of activists that participate with the various campaigns, but I didn’t openly blog as Jack Mitchell, until after the January 2008 primary election.
By 2009, I was active locally. Many of the campaigning tools I learned, as a volunteer in NH, I tried to apply to the local elections. It went well, in 2009; but even better in 2011.
Locally, there are two areas where I tend to dabble: ground game & communications. By ‘ground game,’ I mean contacting a specific subset of residents and encouraging them to vote. In the area of ‘communications,’ my principle focus has been undermining the slanted narratives of the Blog of Record and challenging the yarns they spin around the few politicians that Campi, et al, wish to fluff.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard those cowed by, what some call, the “Legacy Media;” endeavor to diminish the import and influence of Lowell’s vibrant blogscape. Frequently, I hear pols say, “I don’t read the blogs.” Others will down play by blurting, “How many people even read those blogs?”
The answer is … enough.
“… a consensus has formed that blogging is increasing in influence. Farrell and Drezner acknowledge that “A key reason they are important is that journalists and opinion leaders are readers of blogs.” …
… the appeal of blogs to media and political elites has had an impact much larger than the modest size of blog readership might suggest. In fact, “the important question in terms of political communication may not be how many, but who.” She writes that political blogs may “have effects that are quite disproportionate to the absolute numbers of participants because journalists, elected officials, and other influential elites are consuming them. …”
Just recently, a friendly member of the local ‘legacy media’ keenly noted that ‘certain news’ just won’t make it out into the light, because influential people will punish ‘professional’ news outlets by withholding ad revenue and access to their ‘realm.’ If ‘Legacy Media’ is beholden to these folks to put bread on the table, you can bet certain things are kept, intentionally, on the down low.
Or, as is glaringly obvious with the Lowell Sun, what is eventually reported is rigged to cast a kind spin for their allies, while conjuring hassles for their foes.
I won’t lie. I do the same thing, for free. I’ll have an ‘objectivity arm wrestle’ with the Blog of Record, anytime, anywhere.
Lowell City Councilor Rita Mercier crticizing those who post anonymous comments on local political blogs in Lowell, Massachusetts. Lowell City Council meeting - July 21, 2009
Please don’t hate this Open Thread.
Do what these folks did:
I’ve heard a few “important” Lowellians opine that the desecration of the Pawtucket Falls Dam is a done deal. Really? Well, for sure, if Lowellians roll over.
Update: JfL hits it out of the park.
joe from Lowell Says:
Bud Caulfield is playing with fire. The LPD has spent a decade and a half building up solid relationships with the Cambodian community, as part of its innovative and successful community policing strategy. What’s despicable here is an effort to polarize the city between supporters of Nuon and supporters of the police for cheap political reasons.
So, I’m listening to the replay of City Life, this afternoon, when I heard former Mayor Caulfield describe current Councilor Vesna Nuon, as “despicable.” Maybe he meant that C.Nuon’s actions, standing up for his civil rights, was despicable. I can’t parse that closely, the word was shocking.
I texted a buddy of mine: “Bud called Vesna despicable on City Life” The answer was one word, “Par”
Ensure you watch the whole thing. It’s 5:36 of civic trainwreck.
It amazes me how a former Mayor can speak with such faux authority on a subject that he clearly knows so little about. He speaks with utter disregard for the office from which he came. It was sad to watch. You have to consider this mindset was voting on our City’s business, just over a month ago. *exhale*
As it would happen, Councilor Nuon appeared last week on City Life. His approach to the issue was very conciliatory, looking forward with respect for Lowell’s Police. Don’t believe me. See for yourself, here.
Caulfield finished by summizing that C.Nuon was, “suing the taxpayer.” It just blows my mind that Caulfield could have it so wrong!
Worse yet, he speaks, somehow, for a “raw nerve” that is throbbing in Lowell. Clearly, the remedy is Preparation H.
While Colbert and Stewart lambaste our Citizen United world with hilarious satire and extreme tactics, the Senate race in Massachusetts is having a quiet discussion all its own, with a pact between Brown and Warren (both sort of take credit, though it does appear Warren is the one to suggest something more binding). The pact, in case you live under a rock, is that any money spent for or against a candidate in the race by outside groups will be matched 50% from the candidate it benefited towards a charity of the other candidate’s choosing (thereby hurting the candidate it was supposed to help).
Even though this whole back-and-forth seemed a little gimmicky, and I felt at first that all we really needed was a strong, unequivocal condemnation from both sides, this pact does have some pretty interesting implications. For one thing, it’s an unprecedented candidate-driven pushback against the CU ruling, an acknowledgement of the damage of unregulated, unknown spending. We expect there to be a legislative pushback (so far, unsuccessful) or maybe eventually a constitutional one, but to be coming from two major candidates, that says something particular - a “we don’t want your help, your money, get out” from the parties involved.
There are concerns about whether or not certain deep pockets could get sneaky, create a SuperPAC that pretends to be for, say, Warren that runs ads against Brown, thereby costing the Warren campaign 50% of that ad buy - but I don’t think this will happen. For one thing, that SPAC has to spend double what it’d cost the candidate to make ads in support of them, and even if you make it kind of heavy-handed hoping it will backfire (look totally Rovian, for instance), you’d still be taking a risk of making a big ad buy that hurts the candidate you truly support.
Even more interesting, is will this stop the outside money? The Globe ran an interesting comparison of this pact to the 1996 Kerry-Weld agreement to not spend more than $5M on TV ads. Kerry broke that pact, claiming Weld already broke it by having an unfair low cost to his ad buys. Whoever did break actually it, it got broken.
Leaving us to wonder, is this really going to work?
[Weld’s communication director] Gray projected outside groups will spend up to $20 million in what is being pegged as a $60 million race - $20 million apiece by Brown and Warren, assuming she wins the Democratic nomination, and another $20 million from groups interested in their candidacies.
The League of Women Voters and the League of Conservation voters have already aired over $3 million worth of ads attacking Brown’s record, while a conservative group, Crossroads GPS, has aired over $1 million in ads attacking Warren’s.
If we’re already $4M into possibly $20M or more in ad buys for or against candidates from outside groups, can a pact like this stem the tide?
I think it will, at least for a little while. I’m certain the pact will get tested, though, so the question remains, will both sides stick to it to the detriment of their campaign, since the numbers here are not small? I’m less cynical about this, because the backlash from breaking this one is not one either campaign can afford. Warren, because she banks her campaign on her commitment to the middle and working class and to fairness, openness, and transparency - a break from her would undermine that. And Brown, whose poll numbers are not where they should be for an incumbent, can ill afford to look like the schmuck in all this.
I doubt Warren, at least, entered into this lightly. Brown either, for that matter. It’s a test of resolve against the tide of insanity that is the money flow in campaigns these days. In the end, I think I’m just glad someone’s willing to appear to put up or shut up. So, kudos to both sides. Now, let’s have the real, substantive debate from the candidates that Massachusetts deserves. Something that might well be possible when we’re not drowning in ads from outside groups.
There’s a good discussion at BMG, and also, what do YOU think? Gimmick, unenforceable, brave move, or something in between?
There is no doubt that the Dan Phelps column discussed in Lynne’s diary below was utterly tasteless and decidedly tone deaf.
was snapped in May of 2004, then run on the front page of The Sun.
Suffice to say, those that habitually digest The Sun’s editorial slant were not so happy with the above picture. At the time, there was pushback, as there is today. I refuse to defend Phelps’ phuck up. But, it is not insignificant that the paper was caught trying in May 2004.
It shows, that we are winning the debate and that time is on our side.
Phelps’ column is a step back. It is not surprising, as this dead tree rag tries to claw for survival. Having a front row seat, I smirk watching the Sun try to become Lowell’s ‘Blog of Record.’ What the folks at the helm have not figured out, is how to straddle the line between providing the dead tree, Limbaugh slant, that its old world readers consume, like so much junk food and providing a center-left diet to those of us that read the news with a mouse and not a magnifying glass.
Media is a fascinating beast. Ya gotta figure, most of what you know about what is going on around you comes from a third party. It might be fair to say that each of us have assigned “tiers of trust” to those we listen to. I trust certain friends version of things over others. I trust certain blogs over others. And, so on. This network of third party input is filtered by my own mental machinations, filters and biases.
Oh, and I am an optimist.
Not everyone is.
(Campi & City Life)
Watch live video from jackmitchell01850 on Justin.tv
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
You know, everyone loves to beat on the unknown government. Who knows who the town administrator really is? Who knows who these selectmen are? … What I did was I ended up using technology in the response as a tool to try to make government more accessible and more human at the same time.
It helps to make the community leaders viewed not only as the eggheads you see on television at the selectmen meetings or in the newspaper talking about this, that or the other thing, but they’re also people who have their own families. They have their own lives, they’re trying to be part of a community. (emphasis mine)
Leon Gaumond has been the town administrator in West Boylston for seven years and previously served in a similar position in East Longmeadow. He is president of the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association.
Please follow me below the fold. (more…)
The on-line, public comment site used by the Lowell Sun, Topix, has been ordered by a Texas judge to ‘[identify] details about 178 anonymous commenters on the site.” A Dallas couple filed a law suit asking the site to give them details about anonymous commentators so that they can be identified. The site itself was not sued.
According to Computerworld, “Topix CEO Chris Tolles said that his company had received the subpoena and was currently figuring out what exactly it needed to do. Tolles said in an e-mail. ‘We prefer to make sure requests are clear and specific and not overly broad.’
“Tolles said that Topix takes privacy issues very seriously and that his firm would not ‘simply hand over all of our records’ without a review of the demand by its lawyers and a discussion of the issue with the court.”
Although in the past courts have protected the right to post comments anonymously, they have allowed lawsuits forcing web site to help identify the commentators.
This lawsuit will be watched closely not only in the blogsphere but also by first amendment advocates.
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