Jerome Armstrong is the latest of the Big Box Bloggers to be shamed. First we had the vitriolic Armando who was outed as a corporate lawyering shill for WalMart, now we have Jerome who apparently was a pump and dump kid back in the day. Chris at OH02 has about the best take, where he includes this quote:

some people…compare the blog boomlet they helped create for Dean to the work of online bulletin-board posters who touted dodgy Internet stocks during the boom market without disclosing that they were being paid for their words.

Which, interestingly, is precisely what the Securities and Exchange Commission, in court documents filed last August, alleges that Jerome Armstrong did in 2000. (The original S.E.C. complaint is here.) In a subsequent filing, the S.E.C. alleges that ?there is sufficient evidence to infer that the defendants secretly agreed to pay Armstrong for his touting efforts? on the financial Web site Raging Bull.

Without admitting or denying anything, Armstrong has agreed to a permanent injunction that forbids him from touting stocks in the future. The S.E.C. remains in litigation with him over the subject of potential monetary penalties.

I’m wondering now if there will be a movement to force Jerome (without admitting or denying anything) to forbid him from touting candidates on his and his blogson’s blogs?

Anyone remember the classic (and poorly timed) flip flop of Kos and others on Hackett once Jerome’s employer Sherrod Brown entered the Senate race?

Chris sure does:

Candidates interested in trying to force the blogosphere by hiring such professionals as Armstrong need to look no further than to the barren landscape that is the opinion that many Ohio democrats have of Sherrod Brown online. Armstrong?s ham handed efforts at manipulating online opinion for Brown were a disaster, and dozens of Ohio netizens that should be Brown?s most fervent online supporters have written his campaign off entirely. Many blame Congressman Brown. Personally I see him as just another babe-in-the-woods investor lured into the flashing web of internet hucksters, and then systematically sucked dry. As a dot con veteran it?s something that I?ve seen many times before.

What all of this does, the Armando WalMarting, the Kos flip flopping, the Jerome pumping and dumping, is give us a bad name and sours what we work hard to do. I will also point out the irony of these same folks (Armando and Kos at least that I know) personally attacking a homegrown blogger and silencing his important voice. Tim Russo actually admitted to what he did. He paid for it. He asked only to be able to do what we do, blog. There was no “without admitting or denying” or some other spin cycle bullshit explanation. That these same people used personal attacks to silence legitimate criticism shows their true character.

It might remind one of Enron: Pump something you know is shit. Cash your checks. Leave victims in your wake. It is our responsibility to see this for what it is and not get duped. I fear many are duped. There are many good things about the Big Box Blogs. It is a wonderful distribution channel. But when the channel begins to control the message, we then have major problems.

If you read these blogs and comment there, my advice would be to start a blog where you are…and begin connecting with others in your state and towns. And beware the big box blog!

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