August at The Liberal Avenger has alleged that Michelle Malkin doesn’t write her own blog. August and LA, are, by any measure of my opinion, stark raving fools. That’s my disclosure. This is an issue, though, that should be explored. The argument is pretty shaky and highly circumstantial, which coincidentally seems to be the main problem that LA writers have with Malkin’s posts, but hypocrisy has never been a problem for a modern liberal.
Where I really want to explore is the rationales behind the accusation as to why it matters.
#1: It’s the lying.
No, it’s the failure to be transparent. Transparency is the heart of credibility in the blogosphere as Jeff Jarvis has detailed beautifully. The problem isn’t that the act may have been done, it is that it is done and hidden.
#2: It’s the scandal.
Which is really simply an admission that they don’t like Michelle Malkin and are simply out to get her. Way to go, guys. With Clinton, was “the scandal” a justification? With Sandy Berger, is “the scandal” a justification? I would say that the perjury and the spoliation were the issues, but I wouldn’t try to justify it by saying that it is scandalous and therefore newsworthy.
#3: It’s the persona.
This is the part where I agree. The persona is what matters on the internet. That is why I am 100% behind pseudonymity on the internet. Auguste’s opinions are worth no less than Malkin’s because she uses her government name and Auguste uses a pseudonym (at least, I think it is a pseudonym). The opinion stands on its own. However, if the opinion is a result of committee, then that should be transparent. Group blogs have great value, but they should be identified as group blogs.
#4: It’s the questions it raises.
Has “Michelle” ever blogged or written about topics related to what Jesse was working on for the government at the think tank while Jesse was still connected with the think tank in any way?
This one has legs too. Not because of the opinions expressed on Michelle’s site, but because of the conflict of interest that may be apparent for the think tank. If there is some sort of exclusivity in Jesse’s contract, and he was using Michelle’s name to get around that, then this has legs. To say that Michelle can’t comment on something because it is related to her husband’s work — that’s ridiculous.
#5: It’s none of the above.
This one really comes to life via a comment by Hida Reju:
In the end it comes down to misrepresentation. If she has her husband writing posts or even heavily influencing her ideas then are they really hers? Or is she trying to make her husband happy?
And this is where the argument falls apart. The goalposts move from “is Jesse writing under Michelle’s name?” to “is Jesse influencing Michelle’s opinion?” Which is a absurd standard. Influencing? None of my opinions erupted from some tabula rasa hiding in my lizard brain. Every single idea I have has been influenced by someone. Every. Single. One. Locke. My father. Reagan. My third grade teacher. Mises. The guy I played soccer with when I was nine. It would be ridiculous for me to marry and live with someone and expect my opinions to be “untainted” by that person. That doesn’t mean that I am going to look for someone with identical opinions. Nature, being the bastard that he is, has decided that I should be attracted to people who aren’t as right on everything as I am. In fact, sometimes I actually listen to people I trust and think about what they say and sometimes even change my opinion based on that!!!
Auguste comes up with some intriguing, but ultimately insufficient circumstantial evidence. I see no reason to dismiss the theory, but I see even less to subscribe to it. Malkin posts a lot. Wee. Most of it is links to other posts and liberal quoting. I don’t see it as being unfeasible. That isn’t enough to get me to his side. Sometimes Michelle has said “we”. That doesn’t get me there either. Michelle and her husband have similar opinions. Nope, not there yet. Individually, and taken as a sum, this doesn’t get me there.
But it is worth talking about.