Sunday, March 29, 2009

Blog Friends, AKM of "The Mudflats" Needs Our Support

I've been saying to myself for a while that the best way to get news these days is to read a blog by someone who knows what they are talking about. I was just reading today another post saying the same thing -- that good, insightful blogs are written by people with particular interest and knowledge in the subject matter; their statements can easily be backed up with links; and comments provide immediate feedback and support or critique. The excellent news blogs that I read are Informed Comment about the Middle East by Juan Cole, who has lately been touring the talk shows; Small Wars Journal about U.S. military operations, contributed to by John Nagl, David Kilcullen, and others who have been on NPR (and I hope other large media venues) talking about our revised approach to Afghanistan; Paul Krugman on economics; and, since the nomination of Sarah Palin as Republican VP candidate, The Mudflats by anonymous blogger AKM.

AKM writes about Alaska politics. AKM is funny and very knowledgeable and clearly puts much time into blogging. The blog has a tremendous following as indicated by the well over 150 comments it gets on each post. And, I'd say the comments are some of the most entertaining on the 'Net, as comments go.

Lots of politicians up there take criticism from AKM. For a while, one state legislator, Mike Doogan, has been trying to find out who AKM really is. Progressive Alaska wrote about his exchange with Doogan, with Doogan asking for AKM's identity. Doogan eventually did find out who AKM is and outed him/her on Friday in an apparent attempt to intimidate AKM.

There have always been anonymous writers. Daily Kos notes that Mark Twain and George Orwell, both pseudonums, wrote political and social commentary. Ben Franklin had several pseudonyms. Doogan said that he supports freedom of speech as long as the speaker makes his/her true identity known. I don't know the legalities of all this, but Kos and others are talking about everyone's right to remain anonymous if we choose. Kos notes several statements by the Supreme Court upholding the right to "pamphleteer" anonymously. Reasons for remaining anonymous are personal -- a person could be afraid of repercussions from an employer with conflicting views, for instance. This is one big reason why voting is anonymous in our country as well.

Strangely, Doogan is a Democrat (the party AKM is generally aligned with) who was openly critical of Sarah Palin when she was made the VP candidate. He used to be a journalist who did not hesitate to skewer politicians and make enemies. As far as I know, the worst thing AKM said about Doogan was justifiably criticize his email etiquette in responding to emails from concerned citizens. But reading Doogan's emails cited by AKM shows that me might be "losing it." His obsession with AKM could be another sign of this.

Since being outed, The Mudflats has experienced a swell in traffic compounding the swell a few months ago when Palin hit the national stage and everyone needed a blogger who had been on the case of Alaska politics for a while -- except that The Mudflats had only been around since May of 08. It's rise to fame so soon is lucky and also warranted. This surge in popularity will benefit The Mudflats and backfire upon Doogan. Meanwhile, The Mudflats is happy to hear from supporters, including anonymous bloggers. Stay tuned over there for indications of how The Mudflats and its followers, Mudpuppies, rally and will not be intimidated.

1 comment:

Jessica T. said...

Once again, your blog has been a muse. I added your blog friends to my blog list, and I must say, "Small Wars" is hitting home today.

Do you know who Major Michael Few is? Hmm ... that's a famous family name you know, the Fews.