Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Selective Outrage

I realize as political bloggers we are naturally going to focus on good news on candidates we do like and the bad news of the ones we don't like. That's human nature. Yet a few events recently I think are worth pointing out to demonstrate how this selective outrage hurts both sides.

Most recently, the Toledo Blade article on Sherrod's Florida travels has been used by both the right and the left. Back in March I wrote two blog articles about this information from a different source that focused on all of Ohio's congressmen. The second one which included car leasing expenses in addition to travel costs was featured in the 14th Carnival of Politics.

Yes, I know everyone does not read my work, guess this goes to show you should (lol), seriously though, making this just about Sherrod if you are a Republican isn't smart if you bother to take a look at who the top ranked trip takers are, and for Democrats? Sherrod's not the only one enjoying jetsetting.

Next, a blogger had an experience where she was not treated very nicely by some anonymous commenters on a conservative blog; at least one of them went as far as to pretend to be her in the comments. She and a few others blogged about what happened to her.

Then that local GOP chair called her to apologize for what happened. I have no problem with that. Yet on one of the very same threads where she was harassed there were innuendo accusations made about Ted Strickland and his wife.

Why wasn't that addressed? Which is more serious for a party chair to apologize for if he is going to get involved in apologizing for comments written on a blog that is not his? The comments where the person impersonated her have been deleted but as of this morning, the innuendo comments were still there which stated in part:

Once the Republicans continue to expose Strickland's homosexual past and present that Flannery has started, Strickland's toast.

The innuendo is going to fly this year, including Strickland's wife, (who does not live in Ohio), more to come on that later. Dagmar Celeste anyone?

Who cares about a Tom Noe friend when your other choice is a pervert??

It's pretty much common knowledge in C-Bus, it extends to Strickland's wife also. She lives in Tenn., not even in Ohio, lives with a woman, has been for a while.

Sometimes, I don't care if it is Blackwell or Petro, just not the homo loving wimp married to a lesbo!

No one seriously rebuked any of the commenters on this. As far as I can tell I'm the only one who's written about this as being something that should be addressed. There was the statement and a later request for where could this information be confirmed:

...that is definitely an ugly post if there is no substance to back it up.

I'm not disputing that calling her was a classy move, but to be blunt, leaving rumors like the ones being spread about Strickland out there is to me a lot more harmful. Infact it gives even more attention to these comments because people are naturally curious, they are going to seek out that blog to see what happened.

Yes, I am bringing attention to it too, because I think this should be addressed. I am not naming names and linking blogs to keep the personality aspect out of it and try to address these innuendos. Those involved know who they are. Why is this important to me? So when the next person brings it up or has already brought it up elsewhere people know what is true. For something like that to be posted on the internet someone is out there stating these things and that to me left undressed is something that there should be outrage over. If nothing else, if someone searches out these innuendo's they have a chance of finding this post and seeing I have a problem with it.


liberal_dem said...


Do not be so outraged by blogger comments, especially in this highly partisan time in which we live. Politics is ugly and never nastier than the present time.

Many people, it seems, care more about their party than the welfare of our cities, states, and country.

I doubt that the comments of bloggers have any real merit in the scheme of things, especially bloggers who do not, themselves, keep a blog. What was that line by Mr. Wilson of WSPD about bloggers?

There needs to be an uprising in America, akin to the first American Revolution, so that ordinary, decent, caring citizens can wrestle back the reigns of government from the partisan politicos who have sold us to the highest bidder.

Lisa Renee said...

Normally I would agree that hateful or innuendo type comments should not get a lot of attention. However, in this situation given that some of the other comments were made a larger issue to not address ones that to me were just as irresponsible bothered me.

As I wrote, it's more than just that though it's the way an article like one about Sherrod is being used as well. I'm not going to lie and say I've become a huge Sherrod supporter but I don't agree with the way the Blade wrote the article nor the way some of the bloggers on the right and the left are covering it. If Sherrod was the number one ranked person or was the only one from Ohio that did this? Then it would be acceptable to not look at the "rest of the story".

Jill said...

Lisa Renee,

I agree with you about the hateful and slanderous nature of those comments re: Strickland. I tried to do a little googling on the assertion and came up with nothing.

However, a few things:

1. Obviously I'm a little gun-shy getting involved in any flame wars on that particular blog. It's just not worth my time at the moment (time being an incredibly short commodity for the next week).

2. I'd like to point out a difference that I do think is very relevant: I'm a private citizen, for the most part - I'm not running for elected office.

Ted Strickland, however, is running for governor. Now, his wife isn't, but still, being that candidate's wife involves a certain level of publicness too.

As public figures, sadly sometimes, they must tolerate higher levels of speech abuse. That doesn't make it right - you know I believe that.

However, Strickland is really the one who would need to request the retraction, don't you think? Who would request it on his behalf? Or are you suggesting that the blog host should be removing that kind of distasteful comment?

I do think part of the problem is the blog host's problem, in the sense that it's up to him (or her) to decide what level of discourse can be expected on his blog. BSB right now is heavy into some stuff on Chandra and Dann and Russell the blog host is very much in there, not really moderating it but saying, no smearing without backup (that's a simply way of putting it).

If you're thinking that the county chairs - of both parties - should come out and try to say what should and shouldn't be said on political blogs, well, that's a toughie because of free speech interests. I just don't know - I haven't thought it through.

Do you think that would make a difference? Might it be too easy for them to violate, given the proliferation of blogs and the speed with which comments can be generated?

What do you think is the answer?

Lisa Renee said...

I wasn't trying to drag you into this, what I was trying to do was to point out that these comments were just as irresponsible yet are still there. Realistically they could create more damage if left unchecked than how you felt.

I fully understand why you did what you did, it is the response and the lack of action as to the Strickland innuendo that bothers me.

My suggestion would be for people to realize that what they write in comments should be taken more seriously, whether they are anonymous or not.

If the GOP chair is going to apologize for comments on a blog that he had nothing to do with, while it was nice, that also implies by his silence that the Strickland comments are okay.

I realize there is a difference between a regular citizen and a politician yet the more I thought about this and going back again and reading the comments the more it made me say "This isn't right".

Which is why I didn't name you or the blog but I instead focused on the Strickland comments as well as the Sherrod travel article to make my point which was not directed at just you personally, it is this selective outrage that's happened other times as well.

There have been so many times when I see something that bothers me and I decide it's not worth rocking the boat over because people I respect are involved in it. Yet, I am just as responsible if I don't comment on it. I could have commented on his blog that I felt what was written was irresponsible and that either provide documentation or retract. I decided to do it here because I can control what is written on my blog rather than to hope someone else does what I believe to be right. I tried to do it in a way that didn't name you or make you feel as if that had anything to do with you. Obviously, that wasn't successful.

Lisa Renee said...

That's why I stated partially in jest to you maybe I need to stop blogging. I'm finding it harder and harder to do this because I find myself questioning the larger pictures and it's very hard to address at times in a way that gets the main point across without making someone feel they are being selected or blamed.

Yet being silent bothers me more than taking the risk that I might inadvertently offend someone. If I stop being true to me, then why bother to do this?

liberal_dem said...

maybe I need to stop blogging....

Or taking it too seriously. I took several weeks off from my blog and did some soul-searching. The time-off is invigorating.

Me4Prez said...

That was why I quit going on the Saint Cloud Times story chat. It would start off civil and intelligent enough and then someone would call start accusing people of aiding terrorists, raping babies, and whatever other stupid stuff they could come up with. I don't mind disagreement. I actually love it. I just expect a level of maturity that many people getting involved in politics do not have.

I don't get many hostile comments on my site. I was called a liberal faggot traitor once, but I took it as a compliment. I made the guy even angrier by responding that I take being called a homosexual as a compliment because that means my design and appearance are impeccable

Lisa Renee said...

I can handle it when it happens to me, and I realize I'm probably just being too idealistic again but I'm getting very frustrated with some of this.

It's dishonest to try to make an issue out of Sherrod traveling when he's not the only one who does it. Just like it was dishonest to make a huge deal about Ney's car lease expenses without pointing out Democrats do it too. I realize it's impossible to write every blog article to look at both sides of an issue yet for something like this the bigger picture should be "Look at how many of them are doing this and btw look at who is not doing this".

The whole other thing I didn't want to even get into here except to point out I didn't agree with the statements made about Strickland and his wife and I felt if the other was going to be blogged about that should have been mentioned too. It was another situation where there was selective outrage. Yes, it was not cool for another blogger to go thru that but the comments about Strickland were to me worth defending as well.

I didn't like John Kerry but I disagreed with the whole swiftboating thing because it was wrong. I didn't like the way people wrote about candidates wives no matter who they were so I didn't shut up then. I don't like the fact that this is being done again and I did shut up so then I didn't like myself very much.

I know how it feels to have people write things about you that aren't true, yet I also know that rumors like that left unchecked about a candidate will spread.

Miguel says I put to much of me into this, he's probably right.

Stephanie said...

Lisa, I agree entirely that people should not present opinion or accusations as facts. That's irresponsible. Sometimes, when we honestly believe it, it's difficult to do, but we should all avoid it whenever possible. Hey...it even goes along with my most recent post!

Stephanie said...


I don't think the politicians should have any kind of say whatsoever in what goes on on any blog (but their own). It is a freedom of speech/press thing and it's really dangerous territory. However, without knowing the details of what's going on, it sounds like the post in question had a lot of commentators, and someone (besides Lisa) should have picked up on the slander thing and said something. As for the politician in question addressing one matter but not the other, all I can say is perhaps he hadn't read the blog and was going on what his staff said was a good idea. I don't know.


"Yet being silent bothers me more than taking the risk that I might inadvertently offend someone. If I stop being true to me, then why bother to do this?"

This is part of the reason I admire you so much. I'm one of those who looks at something and part of me has the genuine response of "But, it's WRONG!" You're one of the few people I can express that with who doesn't come back with "You're just naive." You understand that gut reaction and share it, though not always over the same issues. As hard as it sometimes is, it really is a good thing!

"Miguel says I put to much of me into this, he's probably right."

Well, I for one, have to disagree. While I understand your frustration (perhaps some time off, or some more "fluff" is in order?), I truly appreciate how much of yourself you put into your blogging. If nothing else, consider this... If we didn't put so much of ourselves into our blogging, we'd probably not have become friends!

You are too good at this and have too much to teach people to just stop. WE NEED YOU TOO MUCH TO LET YOU GO!!!

Lisa Renee said...

Thanks Stephanie, I didn't mean for this to turn into one of those "good bye cruel blog" type things that are basically an attention thing and you know how crappy I take compliments (lol).

I think where I fail sometimes I see things clearly as an example of the point I'm trying to make and not based on anything personal.

It reminds me of the chorus of one of my favorite songs,

I'm just a soul who's intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood


Thanks for the kind words and you are right we would have never met and you wouldn't be in happy purpleland (lol)

Me4Prez said...

I want to quit blogging a couple of times a month. I never do though because I would miss the comments of some people.

I am one for civil debate. On the SC Times chat, I would often ask to just have a debate that makes sense and would be called several names that I will not list. I was pretty calm until someone accused me of not being patriotic. Then I asked the person if they would like me to leave an imprint of my dog tags on his forehead. I decided to start my own blog where I can control the topics and debates.

Liberal_Dem- I would like to believe it is just partisanship, but I am partsan and still manage to be civil. Well, usually :-)

Jill said...

Lisa Renee,

You've done and do a great service by bringing up discrepancies like these. I have no problem in how you didn't mention me, and I would've been fine if you did. I've come to very much trust your judgement, based on our correspondences, comments and your posts.

When I saw the Strickland's wife thing, I too thought it was over the line. But, since it came after all the other stuff there that I thought was over the line, I confess, I just saw it as more of the same by that particular commenter. There are some commenters on BSB whose comments I NEVER even read anymore when I see their byline - I completely skip over it, because my experience with their comments is that they provide no backup and only wing names at people etc.

I think your blog is exactly the type that demonstrates why we need blogs and the service they provide. The MSM isn't going to pick up this stuff. And yet it so represents to me the fever pitch of feelings around some of the races in particular.

In no way did I take your recitation here as offensive or wrong or anything of that ilk. If anything, I feel a bit guilty that I didn't say more about what I observed re: the Strickland comments myself.

If anything, I thank you for making me more aware.

Lisa Renee said...

Thanks Jill, I didn't want to offend you or make you feel I thought you were responsible for dealing with the Strickland comments in addition to what happened. That is more on the rest of us and the blog it happened on. You can't solve everything nor should you be expected to.

I will fully admit I am a hypocrit when it comes to that as well, I'm great at giving advice yet not following my own advice. I was feeling guilty that I didn't do something sooner and that I might have hurt or offended you.

Maybe that is one advantage I have in being on the outside of all of this is I see it differently at times. It doesn't mean I'm going to be right, or wrong but I do have a different perception of what I see happen and I should probably speak out more than I do.

Stephanie said...

I'm glad your fears were not realized, Lisa. (And if this gives too much away, feel free to delete it.)

Anonymous said...

That's a great story. Waiting for more. » » »