DNC bounces blogger
I actually wondered whether somebody was cruising for a crash the other day as I read Matt’s posts on Blogging the President. The problem is that when you become “official” somewhere, it affects your ability to speak outside of that official capacity: When you say what you think as a person are you speaking as an official?
I actually think that if this story pans out (I’ve emailed Matt asking him for his view), it’s the DNC that comes off worse; it’s another blogging booboo. First they invite lots of bloggers and then disinvite some because — I still don’t believe this story — they suddenly realized that space was limited. If that is true, then they should have thought ahead. And now they reportedly bounce Stoller because he still had the opinions of a blogger and voter on anther site. If that is true, then, again, they should have thought ahead and either recognized that would happen and lived with it or they should have told Matt to be official for the week of the convention and give up the other blog. But in both cases, by not thinking on inch ahead of their Kerry noses, they turned a positive into a negative, needlessly.
There’s a lesson here for all organizations that want to get into blogging with their own official blogs — and for all those who blog for them: Know the groundrules. This is why I think that most large organizations — especially the DNC — would have been better off pointing to lots of bloggers and letting the bloggers speak on their own rather than trying to horn their way into the fun like a grandma at a rap concert.
This, by the way, is also why Glenn Reynolds is right that it matters that Duncan Black nee Atrios works for a Soros-backed Media Matters: The perspective matters and the official relationship matters, for your readers want to know when you’re speaking officially; they need to know to trust you.
Here are reports on Stoller. The National Journal says:
The deleted blogger, Matt Stoller, was the “blog community coordinator” for the DNCC, which organized the convention here. On Monday, opening day, he critiqued convention keynote speaker Barack Obama by unfavorably comparing him with Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, the Democratic candidate for vice president.
Stoller continues to blog on his personal site and retains the credentials he was granted to help other bloggers make preparations to come to the convention, the first major political gathering to grant credentials to such individual Web posters. But the post at The Blogging of the President, where Stoller is the editor, prompted the DNCC to sever its affiliation with Stoller and remove his name from the blog of the committee’s Web site.
Taegen Goddard got email reaction from Stoller:
“It’s a mischaracterization of the situation. I was a volunteer for the Convention helping with the blog and blog outreach, and I posted on the DNCC blog for some amount of time. We never figured out whether I would be blogging for the DNCC during the Convention… Beyond that, there are several other factual errors in the piece. I didn’t compare Obama unfavorably to Edwards, and I am not college age.”
See also Dave Winer.
Bottom lines: The DNC should have known that Stoller is a smart blogger with his own opinions and view of the world and it is clumsy and ultimately ignorant of them to let that get in the way. If they had a problem with that they should n ever have had him blog on their own blog — or they shouldn’t have their own blog. And everybody would be well-served to be open and transparent about this.
: UPDATE: Here’s Matt’s post on this. I’m running out so I don’t have a chance to say more; just go read it. Sounds as if, indeed, a reporter streteched the taffy. There are still interesting issues in Matt taking an official role with the DNC as a blog rep and then still blogging here and there – nothing a little transparency won’t cure. So I’m glad he has posted.