On Monday the Washington Post published the transcript of a WaPo chat with Daily Beast writers Tucker Carlson (Fox News contributor) and Ana Marie Cox (Air America). Cox addressed the issue of a "private" blogger outed by a "public" blogger, aka "the Whalen episode" which had the blogsphere all awhirl last week. We are publishing a substantial part of Cox's comments below:
Ah yes, the Whalen espisode. I've written under a pseudonym more than you'd guess (HA!), and I think it's important to make a distinction between "pseudonymous" writing and "anonymous" writing. Anonymous writing, to me, means taking every care that no one knows who wrote the item -- or if the author has ever written anything else or ever will again. An article that is anonymously authored exists in a vacuum. An article written by someone who consistently identifies himself the same way (as "Publius") did is at least giving readers a way to engage/argue/fact-check/hold accountable. "Anonymous writing allows you to throw a stinkbomb and run away with no one having spotted you. Pseudonymous writing allows you to throw a stinkbomb while wearing a mask, but you can't run away.
Stinkbomb is the perfect word to describe what's been tossed at online Rep readers the last couple days.
I Hate Canton published one example yesterday--a malicious attempt by someone using the quite suitable pseudonym "cowardbehindascreenname" linking long-time poster Don Cirelli to accused killer James Mammone implying that Cirelli is a potential murderer. A couple months ago "another" poster suggested that Cirelli had an unhealthy interest in children.
Obviously, using murdered children to pursue a personal grudge has limited efficacy. Even the most wingnutty Reppie draws the line at some things. Fortunately, (for it) our ubiquitous vendettaist with more agendas than J. Edgar Hoover, has enough stinkbombs in its old kit bag to smell up the Rep for months unless it's caught and caged. We keep waiting for it to blow itself up, but like Jason (or is that the Energizer Bunny?) it just keeps going and going and going.
Here for instance, is a libelous comment about Mayor William Healy. Not that I Hate Canton rallies 'round the Team Healy flag, but, let's face it, if the writer had attached its real name to the allegation, it would be staring down the barrel of a libel suit:
Mayor owes Hawk, citizens an apology
REMOVED BY REP
I believe Healy is trying to attempt to hide who he really is from the public by promoting this Ethics thing. This is a man that probably cheats on his wife. Why should Canton expect this kind of man to be an honest and forthright leader? The self centeredness that some of you have noted about this guy is a bi-product of how he conducts himself within his private life. It's a known fact that this man is Coo Coo for CoCo Puffs. That's his real agenda. The Mayor's office impowers him so he can go to the hood and find what he likes. Why do you think rumors about this guy circulated in the first place? Someone who hes at political odds with knows this about him. During his campaign, it was not uncommon to see this guy hanging in clubs where you need to know how to 'Drop It Like Its Hot'. He's there to Pick It Up... Is everyone really surprised when it comes to this guy's political performance? I guess he's supposed to be like his Daddy was. Let me tell you; he aint his Daddy, but he has been known to be called Daddy... Wake Up, Canton and smell the coffee... Its burning!!!!
And how about this libelous attack on recently resigned Stark County Dem Chair Johnnie Maier:
To PLeper..yeah, your're right except that... who will kill Canton off faster, Healy or DEMOCRATS. Stark County and Canton will ALWAYS be a 'good ol boys club'. NOTHING will ever change. Little Chicago is ALIVE & WELL; always has been. Petition for a new Mayor? That's a good idea except that, it takes time, effort and SMARTS. No one in this town has iany smarts. Where's the Dem Chairman at? Doesn't he think this is shameful? Shouldn't he be stepping in; or, perhaps, he's too busy having his head in a bottle. OOPS... DID I SAY THAT? As for the Rep, I think it's a great paper. I think they're only reporting the news. They just aren't thorough enough when it comes to the 'Good Ol Boys Club'. Who knows, perhaps they'll catch on some day. By the way.... in the words & music of the McDonald's theme........ 'I'M LOVIN' IT'. Going out on a limb here, I think 'YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHIN' YET'.
This new intel on the sex mafia that runs City Hall showed up a few hours ago. Who knew City Hall was really a "gay and lesbian front" (for what?) and what in the world does Eric Resnick have to do with anything? Maybe he wasn't deferential enough to the poster at some Democratic potluck.
Is Healy and Herman an item-you never see one without the other-noticed they both act like they are a little light in the loafers.Is it true herman has a gay web site along with their pal resnick- The mayors office is being run over by the gay and lesbian front...hope this guy is a short timer-Pesqualic in akron is being recalled and he is at least a success-healy has done nothing and still gets to keep his job--forgot he has done somethings-kickbacks for favors-been linked to a underage female--spreads lies about hawk and will more than likely suffer a *** kicking from hawk..;...
Not satisfied with inventing actionable gossip, our anonymous poster(s) sent these veiled threats of FBI investigations of "the Cirelli's." Even a 5-year old would notice the similar "Lovin' it" language with "Mandim" "Canton Bachelorette" and "Sweet Kristin." Just sharin' the luv?
I also hear that 'anonymous' emails went to council members, candidates for council and other elected officials slamming certain city residents because No. 1 they are not dems and No.2 because of some jealousy thing. I hear that the author of those emails is about to get served civilly because of barking up a wrong tree. Unfortuantely, the plaintiff probably will receive no satisfaction because it is common knowledge that dumpy spends all her money on whiskey and expensive Virginia Slims. Lovin' it too.
Hey Secret Idenityblackdaliaavengeroldfatdumpydoncirelli--Couln't find anything before huh. Maybe you can try again to create some dirt like maybe some letters. No boss has the right to curse at an employee. I worked in the office for 40 years and never heard any boss do this. You can use other means to disciple an employee.
I hope the FBI is taking a good look at you secret idenity. The rep should be ashamed to allow this mud slinging by the Cirelli's.
We don't believe for one moment that Jeff Gauger and the Rep find these antics amusing. Gauger wrote recently in his blog that he is looking into a new registration system that will stop much of this online harassment and abuse. In the meantime certain anonymous posters with unstable identities have, after a brief stay, once more gained the upper hand getting comment threads shut down just for the fun of it. And that's no fun for decent Cantonphiles who simply want to say their piece in peace. No newspaper should be the repository of hateful, vicious, vile remarks by anonymous people who get their kicks from hurting others.