Friday, March 28, 2008

To the AZ blogosphere -

...Stepping onto the soapbox here...

I don't normally counter-post here (in this context, 'counter-post' means to post something that directly criticizes another blogger's posts). I might disagree with something that has been written, but that's what comments sections are for.

This whole enterprise (blogging) is supposed to be about the free exchange of information, ideas, opinions, and viewpoints.

However, occasionally someone steps over the bounds of propriety, even by the rather loose standards governing partisan discourse here in Arizona.

Republican blog/press release outlet Red State Arizona has an ad hominem smear piece on AZ Democratic Party spokeswoman Emily Bittner. In it, the author (screen name Squish) informs his/her readers that Ms. Bittner has a lien on her condo and spins that into criticisms of Democrats in general and Governor Napolitano in particular.

Squish ignores a few not-so-minor facts about liens; among them is the fact that almost everyone has had a lien on their property if that property was ever used as collateral for a loan (think mortgage or auto loan).

When I first started blogging, I came across the Maricopa County Recorder's website, which includes a section on property records (various types of deeds and the like). I explored it a little, and found a treasure trove of info about various public (and private) figures.

And it was almost totally useless.

Nearly all of the information contained in the records is just that of people living their lives and the transactions they conduct in order to live those lives.

Certainly, some of the info contained in it could be brewed into partisan "hack-job" attacks, but most such attacks wouldn't be honest, even if they were based on "facts."

Also, in addition to being dishonest, such tactics open up the wielders of those tactics to similar attacks.

For example, a Democratic blogger could write about the various financial issues of various members of the leadership of the AZ GOP (one federal tax lien from 1993, a physician's lien from 2006, a state tax lien from 2002...and 2003...and 2004, etc.)

All were minor (OK, the federal tax lien was in excess of $20K, but the others were under $1K) and have long since been resolved, but they could easily be used to tar the reputations, perhaps unfairly, of those people.

Simply put, however, no one really wants to go there. Besides being unfair and nasty (characteristics that may not discourage certain people from using the tactic), the "blowback" potential is so high as to ultimately make the tactic cost-prohibitive.

...Getting off the soapbox now...

Have a good weekend!

1 comment:

Temple Stark said...

I know Emily Bittner, professionally, and she is oneof the sweetest, hard-working people out there.

It's kind of a shock, actually, to see anyone go after her, and in such a ham-fisdted way, as well.

Thanks for the heads up. I'm going to e-mail her tomorrow.

I like your blog btw and I want to read your newsletter. ;-)