Update: I am changing anonymous to ‘using a pseudonym’ where appropriate. Whabs has an excellent blog entry as to the difference. I will be exploring more on this issue in today’s entry.
The Mudflats site was a sanctuary for me during the last silly season. I had no idea who the fuck Sarah Palin was, so I let my fingers do the walking, and I found the ‘flats. I found the blogger to be informative, thoughtful, articulate, well-informed, intelligent, and funny. AKM chose to use a pseudonym, and that was fine by me. It became quickly evident that AKM was a female, but I had little desire to ferret out anything further about the blogger behind the mask.
Well, that choice was taken away from AKM as she was outed by Mike Doogan. Who is Mike Doogan, you ask? One of Sarah Palin’s rabid fans? Maybe another staunch Republican who was unhappy with the way AKM systematically dissected the mockery that was La Palina? Another blogger who was jealous of how popular AKM had become? No. Mike Doogan is a DEMOCRATIC representative in Alaska who got upset because AKM took him to task over his disgusting behavior towards emailers who wanted to hold Palin accountable for “Harrass My Ex-Brother-in-Law Gate”. He didn’t like it, and he became obsessed with finding out who AKM really was. In a letter to another blogger, Doogan asked who AKM was while simultaneously deriding all bloggers. Apparently, Doogan used to be a journalist, and he is mad that traditional papers are folding. He doesn’t think anyone has the right to anonymity if that person is going to criticize–well, anyone, really.
I am not going to delve into the legal issues because I am not at all qualified to comment on that. Other bloggers and their commentors have weighed in on that issue. My only take on the legal aspect is that Doogan did a lot of this shit on state time, with state equipment. In other words, with taxpayers’ money. I have an issue with this, obviously, as I think it speaks lowly of a person who uses his position of power in order to intimidate a citizen of his state. From all the emails Doogan has fired off, it’s clear that he sees himself as some kind of hero, unmasking the dastardly blogger. In addition, it’s clear that it’s more about his ego and pettiness than about any ethical thing he can spout. AKM used his own words to show what an asshole he is, and he couldn’t take it. It’s the same thing that got Amanda Terkel from Think Progress in trouble with Bill O’Reilly. An aside: I didn’t know she was a sister! You go, grrl! The ones in charge get discomfited by the uppity bloggers and decide to put them in their places so they (the bloggers) won’t blog any more.
Bob Poe, who is running for govenor, penned this epistle on the ‘Flats, trying to explain the mindset behind what Doogan did. While I take issue with him saying that AKM will thank Doogan some day, I think he provides some insight into the mind of Doogan. By the way, every pic of Doogan shows him holding an alcoholic drink. His emails are full of rage and dismissiveness. Man needs help. I know our elected officials are human beings like the rest of us, but they are supposed to be leading us–not acting like five year olds. He is defensive and hostile, and he doesn’t see what he did wrong.
Ok. That is a fairly dispassionate narration of what has happened thus far. Now, it’s off the rails for me. I don’t comment on the ‘flats much any more, but I still read it daily. I considered it the must-read when it came to dealing with the lying, two-faced, bat-shit crazy Sarah Palin. Through all the changes the ‘flats went through, one thing remained consistent: AKM. Some people argue that because s/he used a pseudonym, s/he didn’t have as much credibility as those who blogged under their names. However, I politely call bullshit. Rush Limbaugh is not more credible because we know his name–nor is Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, Matt Drudge, Erick Erickson, or any of their ilk. Conversely, Hilzoy and Digby are very respected bloggers with pseudonyms. Yes, the latter was outed, but that did not add (or subtract, for that matter) any credibility to Digby’s posts. To me, what matters is the truth behind the words. Every post had sources to back up the story. Every accusation was documented thoroughly. In addition, there were wonderful stories about the Wicked Witch, as well as Mt. Redoubt offering its rebuttal to Bobby Jindal’s asinine ridicule of volcano monitoring. There were pictures of Mudstock gatherings as well as of Brian and Brenda Moose. I got the flavor of life in Alaska, all from one well-written blog. One thing I loved about AKM was that it could be anybody. It could have been me! Now, I have a name to go with that pseudonym, but it doesn’t add to my enjoyment of the blog. I am not going to look up the person because it doesn’t matter. AKM’s words–they are what matters.
When I read the post yesterday, I was angry. I was face-flushed, tears-in-the-eyes angry. What Doogan did was betray the trust of thousands if not millions of people around the world. We could have found out who AKM was at any time if we really wanted to investigate, but we didn’t. In fact, we did everything we could to protect AKM’s identity. To have some asshole rip away that protection for his own petty ego is almost beyond belief. I blog in my own name, but I assign pseudonyms to all the people in my life. Others post with a pseudonym, while others post anonymously. I chose to blog in my own name because much of what I write is relevant to me as a person. In addition, I wanted to put myself out there as a bi Taiwanese American woman. My fucking choice. There are several valid reasons for a person to blog anonymously–especially as a minority voice in a state that has many avid supporters of the status quo–and the guns to back up their beliefs. It should be each person’s choice whether s/he wants to place him/herself (and family) in that position. No one has the right to make that decision for an individual. I don’t have kids or a partner, so any risk I take in blogging is strictly undertaken by me.
AKM is taking some time to decide where to go from here. I stand by AKM no matter what, but I want Doogan to know that his act of petty vengeance has hurt a person and a community that did not deserve it. I have no doubt that the ‘flats will survive in one form or another, and I personally vow that I will be in your face to make sure you never get elected to another office for as long as you live. I think you should be thrown out now, but I have little faith that this will happen. You are a vile, petty, small man who has proven that the need for AKM’s beacon of light still exists. No matter what AKM does, Alaskan politics are changed forever.
Right now, I am still mad, but there is a part of me that is grieving as well. This should not have happened. I feel it in my very core. It is wrong. I have nothing else to say at this time. Here is one of the forum moderators blogging about it on her own blog, mamadance. She has a running tally of all the blogs writing about this issue. I have nothing pithy to say to sum up all the emotions swarming in me at this time.
Yup. Still mad. Long live AKM.
P.S. Add Hilzoy from Washington Monthly as one more blogger with a pseudonym adding her voice. Look for Outing AKMuckraker.