I’m not that up on my inside baseball lefty blog drama. Hell, I don’t even have time to fully read all the blogs I used to (and some new ones). I stumbled upon – no, hell, it ran me over via IMs, text messages, and phone calls last night – a recent episode that I think is quite instructive in many ways.
The first thing I heard was that ModernEsquire had quit BSB over the actions of another front pager and site administrator (there are two). Of course, this floored me. I regard Modern as one of the best bloggers in Ohio of all time. Top 5 hands down in my opinion. As he’s stated elsewhere, it’s a reason why most every Ohio left leaning blog has at some point offered him a place to blog. Plunderbund included.
Modern’s grievance was over an interview with Lee Fisher that he not only didn’t know about, but was actually held until the Fisher campaign could “give the go-ahead” to post it.
You heard that right. A blogger shot and held an interview with an elected official so they could “review” and “give their go-ahead”. We’ll get back to that. What Modern was mostly pissed about – and rightly so – was that Nick did not have his back as a fellow front page blogger. So he left. Tim at bloggerinterrupted, who likes blog drama like politicians like TV cameras, picked up the story and went nuts with it.
Cue everyone’s IM clients and phones blowing up. People who haven’t contacted me in forever were all getting in touch and we all basically were slack jawed and muttering “wow”.
As I was talking to someone about BSB – The Buckeye State Blog, I said to them that I’ve seen missteps in blogging but this was an Armageddon of Incompetence. That’s about the best description I can come up with. BSB, though not my blog, holds a pretty special place for me. Back when I first started PB, Russell Hughlock was running Buckeye Senate Blog and we were both banging on Sherrod Brown and supporting Paul Hackett. Once that race came to it’s final and painful conclusion, Russell talked about changing it into a community blog like a DailyKos for Ohio. Buckeye State Blog was born. So I’ve been around for the entire life of the blog and have followed it from Russell’s days to Jerid Kurtz’s days to now.
Nick may have just killed it.
Two things. First, I never EVER give a politician complete veto power over what I post or don’t post. Hell, after having banged on Sherrod Brown for MONTHS he agreed to come on a podcast I was doing and be interviewed. He didn’t ask for the questions. He didn’t want to listen to it first. He didn’t want to tell me how to edit it. If he had I would have done like most any of us long-time bloggers and blog about how he asked to do that. Have I interviewed people I was in the tank for? Absolutely! Has that been pretty clear all along? Yep.
Second, it seems to me that even if you DO make this deal you sure as HELL don’t advertise it. Are you likely to still suffer a credibility hit? Maybe. It would probably be sniffed out anyway, but to make this public and then be PROUD of it? Sheer blogging incompetence. Breathtaking.
I feel for David – the other site administrator. He’s stuck in the middle of wanting to defend his friend Nick and wanting to call bullshit on the whole episode and go after Nick. Not a fun place.
This doesn’t just hurt Nick. It doesn’t just hurt BSB. It hurts us all. You know why? Because now politicians like Lee Fisher will think it’s entirely possible to play bloggers like fiddles. That hurts all of our ability to do what it is we do, which primarily is to hold politicians accountable.
I hope ModernEsquire, who I regard as a good friend, will find a new place to blog. I think his voice is strong enough to warrant his own place. I know his stuff is good enough. If he were to post one post a month I’d read it. If he were to post 8 a day I’d be hitting F5 like nobody’s business. He’s that good. That Nick’s public display of dumbassity has caused him to leave BSB is sad indeed. My guess, however, is a voice as strong as his will return. That will be the good day to this very much bad day yesterday.
Things are going to be tough for BSB going forward. Things are going to be hella tough for Nick. Things are going to be even tougher for Lee Fisher. Fasten your seat belts! This could be Hackett/Brown 2.
A thought occurred to me that maybe Nick and David brewed up all of this controversy to drive blog traffic. I know Russell would have done things like this, as would Jerid. Maybe they are planning to do a good cop/bad cop routine with the Senate primary. David siding with Brunner and Nick siding with Lee. Now THAT would be genius…