As I get questioned about blogging often enough, I can now deliver a spiel that gives a person with no knowledge of the subject an overview of sorts. But this time I added something -- I told him that the aggregators, such as Jaquith’s Virginia Political Blogs, are a hybrid form of editing, publishing and broadcasting that is fascinating.
Then I went on to say that in my view some of the smartest aggregators are soon going to become important political players, just as a handful of political bloggers have done in the last three years.
Last night Waldo (pictured left) was tested. For the first time he found himself in the role of being an editor/censor who had to say “no,” and he didn’t like it a bit.
Well, let me say up front that my take on this simmering brouhaha is that he acted as a responsible editor/publisher should. He decided to remove some sicko material from the VPB page that his sense of decency told him he wanted no part of promulgating.
Even though Waldo doesn’t oversee the material presented on his aggregator -- as it appears there automatically -- once he has knowledge of the nature of such material, he is morally responsible for what it presents, if not legally.
When I first saw the offensive material at VPB -- graphic decapitation pictures and other trash posted supposedly in support of Goode’s recent attack on Muslims -- I immediately knew it would test Waldo’s limits in a new way. As I wrote something about how crazy it is getting in the old blogosphere, once again, I wondered what he would do about the stuff -- it was rough!
Then I saw that the posts with the above-mentioned material had been removed from the aggregator. I was glad. (If you want to see what was removed click here; then click on some of the previous posts. But be warned -- it is unpleasant to view.)
Now Waldo is wondering whether to just shut down the VPB site (click here to read his thoughts on this), rather than continue to have to deal with such vexations. Well, I don’t blame him for considering it.
Then again, this uncouth blogger who forced his hand would probably like to be known as the ultra-conservative virtual terrorist/prankster who blew Waldo Jaquith’s Virginia Political Blogs to smithereens. Furthermore, I don’t doubt that some rightwingers, in some dark corners of the blogosphere now view VPB as having helped the left more than the right, because they think lefty bloggers defeated George Allen.
However, it would be a sad end to this episode to see a sleazy tactic which mimics terrorism in its spirit succeed by making Waldo pull the plug on his much-appreciated creation. My hope is that he will see this as a bump in the road and just drive around it.
Virginia Political Blogs is an asset to Virginians, and a boon to free speech.
Update: There’s an effort afoot in the blogosphere -- coming from rightwing bloggers who apparently want to do injury to an aggregating web site they now see as their enemy -- to sell the idea that Waldo removed the GGD site from his aggregator’s blogs-to-be-presented list because the propaganda being used by GGD was just so damn effective. That it had one-upped some lefty bloggers, so it had to go.
That is a cheap and dirty effort to create an instant myth out of thin air.
Rather than continue to have their asses kicked at Virginia Political Blogs, a forum that presents whole arguments in a left vs. right vs. whatever, freewheeling format, they have decided to try to undermine that forum’s influence.
Thus, Virginia Political Blog’s editor/publisher should not overlook the possibility that he is being conned by some opportunistic/bitter-about-defeat bloggers who, among other petty grievances, are envious of his well-deserved position in the blogging world.