Face Off

Last Wednesday The Southern Dem posted in Tragedy in Three Acts: The Unmasking about the similarity between single drive-by posts by three seemingly different users but all sharing the same IP address and all critical of Beverly Perdue including, one personally critical of BlueNC’s Anglico using very specific insider information.

BlueNC is an open forum with an active but very hands-off management that promotes open discussion and exchange of ideas. In extreme cases discussion is moderated but always in favor of the 1st Amendment. It is usually spammers and obvious trolls posting inflammatory content that get special attention. By themselves the “three posts” don’t rise to the level of actionable moderation but collectively and in the context of recent events they present a disturbing dilemma to BlueNC. The delay in this post is symptomatic of this dilemma as we strive to protect anonymity while dealing with the potential subversion of an open forum by a political campaign.

I now know that all three posts came from a specific location in Raleigh with public access terminals. The location is known to me. We know that one of the posts was made outside the normal operating hours of the public access terminals. I know that a person associated with the Moore campaign had staff level access at this location. I know that use of these terminals requires a unique user identifier for each time limited use. We know that blocking the IP address would block hundreds of public users from accessing and participating in the open forum of BlueNC. That is part of our dilemma.

Since last Wednesday it has been reported to me that the same 1995 Beverly Perdue quote used in the most recent post late Tuesday February 6th was being circulated among the Capital Press Corps earlier that day by Jay Reiff, a campaign consultant to Richard Moore.

The Tuesday post by heel_dem appeared 6.26pm and by 7.46pm Mark Binker of the Greensboro News & Record had not only “noticed” the BlueNC story but also had time to look up the original source and write about it in his blog. The quote also appeared 12.30am early February 7th in an online article in the Raleigh News & Observer by Rob Christensen. Neither Binker not Christensen made reference to Reiff as a purveyor of the quote.

It appeared again February 10th in a Charlotte Observer editorial without any reference to the Moore campaign as a source. February 11th an Associated Press story by Gary Robertson hit the wires about 3.00pm with the following statement without identifying Reiff by name.

After the vote, a Moore adviser pointed out that while a state senator, Perdue said she opposed doing away with the gas chamber because it would lessen capital punishment's deterrent value. "I think we should make it painful and torturous," Perdue said in 1995.

The quote came from an archived copy of the Charlotte Observer which is not available to a public user without subscription. Its posting on BlueNC was not a case of “Here, look what I found while surfing the net in the last 30 minutes”. As has been said elsewhere, BlueNC is an open forum where the truth is welcomed, even when delivered anonymously.

The first post, however, was a direct attack on Anglico. It exhibited a degree of uncivility that was confirmed by the lack of subsequent comments or posts by the user. It was a dump of specific factual information that was not widely known sewn together with conjecture.

Jaron Lanier, internet and technology pioneer, writes in the current issue of Discover Magazine on how the drive-by anonymity of Usenet has evolved/devolved through the Web and now blogs into outbreaks of nasty online behavior as well as creating environments for the beneficial exchange of honest opinions.

Now that most of America, and much of the world, has internet access, it really matters if online design is bringing out mean and irresponsible aspects of people’s personalities.

At the recent NCDP Progressive Blogger Conference the question was raised as to what was preventing a campaign staffer from posting negatively about an opposing candidate under the cover of a pseudonym. The question came, ironically, from one of two persons who had shown up unexpectedly and associated with the Richard Moore campaign. One is a paid campaign consultant to Moore and neither have a visible blogging presence.

As I said in a comment yesterday,

The Capital Press Corps and the Richard Moore Campaign know more about this than they have been letting on.

We ask you all to come clean. We will vigorously defend this public forum and the rights to free speech of even those who disagree with us. We are not a campus lamp-post waiting for another flyer to be stapled up. We expect engagement and we expect a contribution to the progressive debate.

Again quoting from Jaron Lanier:

Computers have an unfortunate tendency to present us with binary choices at every level, not just the lowest one, where bits are switching. It is easy to be anonymous or fully revealed, but hard to be revealed just enough. Still, that does happen, to varying degrees. Sites like eBay and Second Life are more valuable than their stock prices will ever indicate because they give hints about how design can promote the essential middle path – one that balances online privacy with online civility.

As Anglico commented earlier.

All we ask for is honesty, not agreement.

Comments

Very nicely done, Greg

I can add absolutely nothing to this except I enjoyed playing Nancy Drew to your Sherlock. You can visit my site from said public location any time. :)

Edit/addition: Greg's digging and research abilities are unfreakingbelievablyamazing.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

SD

Here's another public site for your logs. Do you take cream and sugar in your coffee?

Yes I do....you delivering?



Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

so many thoughts.

First, blogs are about bomb-throwing, as I have said so much recently about the Bloggerboating. There is nothing wrong with throwing bombs, but you have to be willing to accept the consequences. I think part of the problem here is that they don't have any unpaid bloggers who support them, and now they will have a harder time drumming up that support. Probably a smarter strategy would have been to invite bloggers to a get-together with the candidate. Heck, John Edwards did this months ago (I think Anglico and Pam were there, not sure who else) for state bloggers. Get your face out there, let people know what you are about, try to excite them, then let them support you online.

Because, second, astroturfing is soooooooooo bad. I mean, you are going to get crushed for astroturfing in this day and age. How many campaign people have to get caught before they realize this is a bad idea? Which leads to,

Third, they need a new online consultant/blogger/whatever. Because, if you don't know that bad things happen to astroturfing campaign officials, then you don't know diddly about the tubes.

Finally, I doubt Richard Moore had anything to do with this personally
. I say that because let's face it, the internet presence of our state-wide candidates is LOUSY. After Edwards and Miller, I would say Larry Kissell has the most internet savvy, and he's just a candidate. (Shuler's blog is a positive step).

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

this event...

...and others like it yet to come will make really great news over the next two years and beyond.

this site appeas to have responded very nicely, and you may find the "sherlock and nancy" approach, on a larger scale, is going to be emulated by the d and r national parties before this is over.

will the "republican truth squad" be supplanted by the "democratic web squad"?

time will tell.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Of all the stuff that pisses me off about this

the worst is the fact that the lapdogs in the mainstream media (Binker and Christensen) knew from the get-go that Reiff was the one shopping the "gas chamber" quote - and didn't say so.

Capital Fucking Press Corpse. Just a bunch of tools.

Forgot to add

Great job, Greg. I knew you were good at sleuthing, but this is a work of art. Too bad you're not a real journalist.

::snark::

That Binker connection

is a little more irksome to me than the Christensen. The only thing that makes it OK is that I posted the edit at the top indicating we suspected the piece was part of a coordinated campaign by users who weren't a part of the BlueNC community.

This deserves a post all its own. Did Reiff tell Binker the story would be planted at BlueNC so Binker could use us as the source?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

He wouldn't have to admit

to planting it, he could have just said, look what I found on BlueNC (after he posted it).

Fool Me Once

O.K.

Dear Moore astroturfer,

You came into our living room and shat on our carpet. We cleaned it up, and the place smells shiny and new. The problem is that we can't keep you and your colon out of our living room, and we're worried you'll become a serial defecator.

To spare yourself the name-calling and to spare us the compromising position of whether to out you, ban you, or pursue you diligently until your astroturfin' name is synonymous with skulking all over the interwebs.

Advocating for your candidate is kosher here. Detailing your opponents words is fine and dandy. That's what we're here for. But if you're going to hide and pretend you're something you're not, then we're going to have to chase you with the broom.

You're welcome in our home, just please learn to behave.

Sincerely,

Screwy Hoolie

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

I still lean toward Moore

but I'm going to have to have a serious discussion with him about his advisor and flunkies playing amateur hour with his campaign. This is about as lame as it gets.

No...wait, the catfight between the two after the death penalty meeting at the CoS was just as lame. Puhleeze

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

I for one will not rule out Moore because of this until

I find out he knew.

If i were Richard Moore, I would do the following.
1. Find out about it.
2. Fire whatsizname.
3. Hold a bloggers meet & greet to admit the mistake and my naivety about all things blogging, and to learn about the issues important to bloggers.
4. Create a username here on BlueNC and check in every once-in-awhile just to chat.
5. Make the conversation a two-way street.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I hope

That all of those happen.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Nice job

Hats off to the turf team.

More Words of Wisdom

What are they hiding?

Jay Reiff

Rick Santorum Richard Moore should be honest with the people of Pennsylvania North Carolina and bring his backers bloggers out of the shadows,” said Bob Casey campaign manager Jay Reiff. “I call on Santorum Moore to join me in calling on all groups running ads campaign workers posting blogs in the Senate Governor race to disclose their donors campaigns.”
:::::
What are they hiding?

Greg: Had you called or

Greg:

Had you called or e-mailed me, here's what I would have told you:

* The first I saw of that quote was on BlueNC. If I had heard tell of it elsewhere, I would have said that and would have credited them and not you.
* Yes, I noticed the post fast. I have BlueNC in my RSS reader.
* Turning out a short post like that in 80 minutes really isn't all that fast. I think there were all of six sentences of original content in that post, if you include the hyperlink.
* Yes, the Charlotte Observer makes you pay for archive access through their page. But if you have a library card from a North Carolina library (mine's from Wake County) you can access NC Live, which has several databases that include archives from the state's newspaper.
* The Capital Press Corps in and of itself doesn't do any reporting. We refuse to distribute press releases to our members. However, there is a "Capital Press Association," which circulates news content like Scott Mooneyham's columns. If you're hearing someone say that the Capital-Press-something-or-other was told, they might *MIGHT- I have no way of knowing one way or the other* be who you're thinking about.

Like I said, I would have been happy to tell you all this had you called or written. For future reference, my e-mail is mbinker@news-record.com and my office phone is (919) 832-5549.

Thanks.

--mark binker

mark binker
News & Record

In case no one else does

I want to say thank you for not only responding, but I would like to apologize if anyone failed to contact you.

I think the media on all levels often fails to do proper follow through with sources and 'people of interest', and it looks like we have made the same mistake.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Thanks, Mark

Glad to have that cleared up.

Speaking for myself, and not being a "real" journalist, I'm so used to be blown off by reporters that I rarely bother to ask anymore.

Mark

Mark,

Thanks for responding. I appreciate it.

I did not intend to imply that the Capital Press Corps circulates stories among members. I was informed Wednesday that Jay Reiff was shopping the quote to individual members of the Capital Press Corps on Tuesday. Apparently you were not one of those individuals. Thank you for crediting BlueNC. I regret that BlueNC was a conduit for a story seeded anonymously by the Moore campaign however factual the information.

I appreciate the NC Live reminder. It is very useful though NC Live is a maze. My point was that access to this information does not come easily to a user accessing the internet in 15 or 30 minute intervals.

In describing your post I was tracing the trajectory of this most recent story which the AP report finally connected with the Moore campaign. I did contemplate contacting both yourself and Rob Christensen but had little expectation of a response and we were busy confirming other facts of the mystery postings.

Yes I tentatively framed your post to draw a response and subsequent comments punched that idea home. That's part of the +/- of a blog posting. Rob Christensen credited no source. I will contact you in the future.

Greg

P.S. Mark, kudos on your own rapid research and writing abilities. It can take me 15 minutes to rearrange a comma.

Anybody else?

Well Mark's responded. Anybody else care to open up? In the meantime we'll keep digging away to pass the time.

Latest words of wisdom:

“David Dixon rocks,” said Jay Reiff

That David Dixon of Dixon/Davis who have signed on as media consultants to Richard Moore. Looks like they need a little internets help themselves:

Coming up later, the Jay Reiff/ Kevin Geddings connections and, today's cryptic clue: "All Over the Guy" (the quest to find the "one").