I’ve written at length about this phenomenon before.
I direct this at no one, but offer it to folks as a thought.
Given all the back-and-forth about who the next RPV chairman is, I’ve seen plenty of people reveal information that probably is best kept indoors. Tucker Watkins, Russ Moulton, Ed Gillepsie: then everyone runs and speculates, calling SCC members and haggling them for information.
It’s tiresome. And frankly, the Democrats don’t deserve to know our dirty laundry.
Now I know why some folks do it. It’s popular, it’s what folks want to know. For the same reason tabloids print anything on Britney Spears or the very worst expose stories, good stories or “breaking first” attracts readers.
I have two objections:
First, we get back to the orginial problem of every conversation being “blogged” about moments after the conversation is uttered. As I wrote back in March 2005:
RPV’s State Central Committee has a tradition of being an egalitarian and spirited meeting where top-level Republicans can speak their minds about the condition and direction of the Republican Party.
Abusing that latitude for political grandstanding is horrific in my opinion.
There’s a worse proposition here: Bloggers in general are treated with a bit of contempt. Why? Precisely for this reason. Why should anyone trust me (or bloggers on the whole) if I am just going to run to the ol’ blog and post the conversation?
Distasteful, disappointing, and overall a very damaging strike against blogs in Virginia. Some of us just have to grow up.
True, this was in reaction to a “motion by Jim Rich” that never occured, that was posted on Too Conservative as if Rich was there (he was not). All of this to emphasize support for an upcoming district convention.
Yet the idea SCC members cannot feel somewhat secure in divulging information – or worse, divulge information with the specific point of influencing debate – is a strike against what otherwise would be a very commonsense and civil conversation.
Second, why are we airing our dirty laundry to the whole world? Who should get to know the factions within RPV? To what ends? Why do Democrats and others get a free pass into the decision making process at RPV when there are others who have worked lifetimes to sit at the table? Furthermore, what kind of service are we really providing? Are we coarsening the lines of decorum, or is “sunshine at all costs” burning us in the end?
Every member of SCC that I have spoken with save two has mentioned how they don’t feel comfortable talking about this stuff because of the blogs. They talk to me because I don’t blog about it.
Opinions from others brighter than myself.
I’m surprised at how often I see bloggers post about private exchanges, or exchanges that occurred where there was a reasonable belief that no press was present and people felt comfortable speaking accordingly. I would never dare write about these sorts of things. It helps to brand bloggers as unpredictable radicals, rather than as reasonable people who happen to publicly reflect on the events of the day.
Yes, State Central meetings are open to the public. But if I’m interpreting the spirit of Shaun’s post (and far be it from me to put words in Shaun’s mouth :), I believe he’s arguing that bloggers should exercise a degree of restraint regarding posting everything that happens at a certain event. For instance, it isn’t always necessary after a meeting or event to race to a computer to post on a blog that Kate Griffin sneezed twice during the proceedings. Also, it’s beginning to appear to me that if bloggers are going to “moonlight” as journalists, they should attend in person events upon which they wish to report in order to assure accuracy of reporting.
And a jaded James Young (alluding to the incident which first prompted me to write about this phenomenon):
As someone who also frequently carried proxies to State Central meetings and voted, I agree with you, Shaun, to a point. JD is correct about the legalities; clearly, however, Young Vince was having an acid flashback to his days posing as someone unaffiliated but impressed with Chairman Sean.
Waldo and Jay are exactly correct, too, which I why I respect them. They speak to standards that just about everyone here abides by. Sadly, Vince persists in pursuing his agenda while pretending to behave as a reporter.
What this boils down to is decorum and propriety. When we break the boundaries, journalists either snicker or heap scorn upon blogs as a whole. And rightly so.
LESSON: Not everything you hear deserves to be written about. Your reputation as a person rides on much more, and if you can’t be trusted with information, you won’t.
Again, this isn’t directed at any one person, collection of persons, or anyone at all. It’s merely a thought for the future, given with all the goodwill in the world.