Tuesday, February 15, 2005


A web conspiracy in the MSM

The influence of the blogosphere has grown to the point that print reporters are beginning to write like bloggers.

Last week Washington Post reporter Mathew Mosk exposed Joseph Steffen, Jr., an aide to Maryland's Republican governor, as the source of rumors of infidelity by Baltimore's Democratic mayor O'Malley. Steffen had broadcast the rumors on the Free Republic (FReeper) site using the acronym NCPAC (National Conservative Political Action Committee) for his identity. The governor subsequently asked for and received Steffen's resignation.

Now comes David Nitkin of the Baltimore Sun inquiring into the identity of MD4BUSH. Nitkin is reporting on a Freeper conspiracy theory that poor Joseph Steffen (NCPAC) was lured into making his scurrilous allegations by a relative newcomer to the Freeper site—MD4BUSH, whom the Freepers suspect to be a Democratic operative.

Nitkin helpfully explains to his readers that "MSM" stands for "mainstream media" and says that Freepers "don't like us [MSM reporters] 'lurking' on their site, thank you very much."

This is the most detailed account of a web controversy that I have seen to date in the MSM. Perhaps the Freeper aversion to MSM reporters lurking on their site is serving as an attractant. Forbidden fruit, you know.

Notice to reporters concerning "Simply Appalling"—

Please feel free to lurk


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