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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Walking an anonymous line

This is one I probably should stay clear off -- an attack on an anonymous blogger by a less-than-anonymous merchant of venom who spews his bile by the ink barrel and across the (very expensive) airwaves.

Obviously I join with "Ernie Boch III" in cherishing the anonymity behind which I have labored for more than four years. It allows me to express my opinions without getting entangled with those of my employer, friends and business associates.

Where I differ with "Ernie" is that false linkage to real person. I've used a generic moniker rather than one that conjures up images of familiar characters in our daily lives. Until this kerfuffle erupted I assumed he did have a connection to the car dealer cum blues artist.

But that difference is small compared to the problem I have with this assertion from the Globe's Joan Vennochi:
But the issue is also the Internet’s ability to give cover to critics who don’t have to do what Carr does - own their opinions. The blogosphere opened up the public conversation to new, thoughtful voices, but it should not provide a shield to hide biases and private agendas.
Ever read the comments section in Globe or the Herald Joan? Or listen to "Steve from Saugus" or wherever hold forth on Carr or Limbaugh or wherever.

There is little doubt that civility is in short supply these days. Birthers, truthers, tea baggers, LaRouchies, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are pumping it out faster than we can diffuse it. The suggestion a military coup would be acceptable is only the latest over-the-top manifestation of the bile and blather out there.

So it's very disingenuous to single out the blogosphere and its anonymity as the only place where "biases and private agendas" are concealed.

There's a part of me that is jealous with "Ernie" getting this kind of attention. Then again, I've never called for an advertiser boycott of a merchant of venom. But I applaud him for taking the stand and I would never call on him to unmask.

And what he's been writing is far less troubling than the hate-filled garbage that shows up everyday in the Globe's comments section. Maybe they should focus on things closer to home?

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Blogger Marc said...

I struggled with this a little bit myself and I think I agree, unmasking is not the answer. However, a change in moniker really would be appropriate.

It's one thing to enjoy that anonymity, which I think is empowering and a good thing. But the impersonation, or implied impersonation, of another is not something I can abide by. In this case, if the real Ernie sees any impact on his business whatsoever, real or imagined, he'll have legal recourse.

I can only think of one reason to choose that pen name, and that's to be inflammatory. And that, honestly, doesn't sit well with me.

Of course, changing the posting handle will not happen until after this boycott. If it did, it would breed too much confusion, and it would eliminate too much attention.

October 04, 2009 1:30 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

As far as I'm concerned, her house is glass and she's throwing stones.

How many stories does the Globe use anonymous sources on a daily basis? Most of those stories aren't very important. Most of those stories are entirely fueled by the agendas of those private stories -- good, bad or indifferent. The Globe gives cover to them all the time, but Vennochi suddenly has a problem with its the blogosphere doing it?

Hypocrisy. This isn't about Ernie or the boycott or Howie Carr. This is about a longer struggle the print media is having in this country to ensure it has shield law protections (it currently doesn't in most cases), while simultaneously ensuring that the blogosphere *doesn't get those same privileges.*

That's what this is all about.

October 04, 2009 6:57 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Have you seen the latest from this clown? He's really gone over the line.

October 05, 2009 2:15 PM  

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