First of all, I’d like to thank both Gort and D.B. Echo for their kind comments concerning my recent internet relocation.
Gort: Then there is that internet hooligan from the North End of Wilkes-Barre who almost gave me a heart attack when I read; And with that, my last ever post on the formerly expansive electronic pages of Wilkes-Barre Online… The Blogfather was my inspiration to start Gort42. He was only one writing about local issues a few years ago when I was (wasting) spending my time commenting on blogs that cover national issues. He didn't follow through with that threat but moved to a new platform; Circumlocution for Dummies. Years of posts about Wilkes-Barre and other stuff can be found at Wilkes-Barre Online which will always remain on my blogroll.
D.B. Echo: Just caught the latest missive from Mark Cour's Wilkes-Barre Online, perhaps the most interesting, most informative, best-written, and longest-running blog in this area.
Look, let’s be honest here. When first I started out, I had no idea what I was doing, or where it all might lead me to. I just did it. My intent was neither to inspire, be interesting, be informative or to write well. All I wanted was to live in a city better than Wilkes-Barre was at that time, but without having to leave Wilkes-Barre. And the fact that I still reside within the city’s confines should speak volumes about how the journey ended.
In the beginning, as word of my site spread, it was not hard to garner attention, accolades, publicity or threats. Being the only poliblogger in the entire area kind of guaranteed all of that. And as time passed and the blogging craze hit full swing, many, many local imitators appeared out of thin air. And while most of them had the life expectancy of a mosquito, some, a handful, not only hung around, but prospered and developed a following. And you two guys are card-carrying members of that exclusive club. So, kudos to you both.
As you both know, I’ve delivered many a scoop in the past. And very many of my posts showed up on the pages of the local newspapers, but without any nod to the blogger who did the leg work or the research…me. But none of that bothered me. The way I saw it, being ripped off by the newspapers only meant the fruits of my labors reached a much wider audience than my Web site could have. In other words, he shoots, he scores, a couple days pass, and he scores again without taking another shot. Whoopee!
But there’s two things you need to know. For every scoop I delivered, I could have published scores more. But I decided to abide by that ultimate death knell of almost all scoops, “This is off the record.” The thing is, if the movers ‘n shakers, or the politicos don’t trust you, they won’t talk to you. And long story short, I would have rather had them talk to me and know stuff than not talk to me and be in the dark.
And another interesting facet of being a sort of preeminent political blogger is all of the rumors, the innuendoes, the accusations and the aged press clippings people had sent me over the years.
With each “tip” I received, I had a decision to make. A very basic decision, whether or not to publish what was sent to me. And the fact that I’ve never been sued testifies to the fact that I probably made some good decisions over the years. And the other consideration for me was whether or not it was fair to publish such detestable or devastating things.
Did it matter to me that a city council hopeful had once been arrested for aggravated assault, only years and years and years before? No. Never appeared on my pages. Did it matter to me if a mayoral hopeful was accused of soliciting a prostitute in lieu of any proof? Not on your life.
Was it important to learn that a local candidate for state representative had certifiable ties to Scientology? You bet your ass, and I went with it. Was I concerned with the fact that a subcontractor employed by the City of Wilkes-Barre was a homosexual. Nope. Never made mention of it on my pages, but it did end up published on the internet by way of one of those anonymous bloggers desperate for attention.
And in my mind, if you blog and you’re simultaneously desperate for attention, there’s probably two issues at work there. 1: You must not be a very interesting or entertaining writer, and 2., that desperation just might get you in hot water one day.
And I came home from work today to learn that one of those little-known anonymous bloggers (whom I will not link to) looking to make a name for his or herself went and bit off more than they can chew. Yep, somebody went and delivered their first big scoop. The only problem is, it is not entirely factual, it does not tell the whole truth and based on what the unknown author wrote in his or her own words, it amounts to little more than slander. Nice, look at me, an October Surprise via slander.
The saddest part of this needless and libelous imbroglio is, this is not new. Or, this is not news. This supposed “scoop” has been old news for quite a while now. I can’t remember exactly, but I’d have to estimate that this “news,” this “dirt,” was delivered to me as far back as 2003. And I chose not to publish it.
The dirt was, that county Controller hopeful, Walter Griffith, in my opinion the most annoying political raconteur extraordinaire at that time, was picked up for soliciting a prostitute some ten years or so prior. Just to stand on his jewels a bit, I thought about publishing it. But the fact was, I had no idea if it was true. And I also had no clue how the adjudication of his case eventually played out.
Well, as it turned out, the charge, a misdemeanor, did not stick. He was charged with loitering, and nothing else.
And while our upstart anonymous blogger yearning for attention decided to go with his or her “scoop” while explaining it was done in the name of some sort of perverse journalistic integrity or some nonexistent journalistic responsibility, he wouldn’t know the first thing about either if they suddenly lurched forward and latched on to his or her genitalia.
Because, when you write, “One of those skeletons has emerged from the closet of Luzerne County Republican Controller candidate Walter Griffith's closet in the form of a criminal citation for patronizing a prostitute in July of 1993,” but no citation ever existed in the first place, you have just exemplified all that is wrong and reckless and unfair about blogging. This is the very worst that bloggers have to offer, and all in one single post no less. Dummy!
And since misdemeanor records are expunged after three years, the fact is that the upstart blogger in question cannot prove what he or she was so quick to accuse someone of. And likewise, unless he can unearth some unwanted paperwork probably long since misplaced or lost, Walter Griffith cannot produce any documentation proving his innocence in this matter.
The point is, it should have never been published in the first place. And not by someone who doesn’t have enough testicular fortitude to attach a name to his or her ill-advised and slanderous words.
Walter, stand tall. You’ve still got my vote.
And to us longtime bloggers busily slapping each other on the back and sharing electronic niceties with each other, isn’t it fun watching these upstart and reckless imitators eviscerating what little credibility they had in the first place with just a few keystrokes? I love it.
I really, really, really do.
And on a related note, how many innocent little girls would not have been raped and murdered and dumped in a nearby drainage ditch if prostitution was legal all along?
Answer me that.