Consider this part two of Don’t we have more important things to do? – an earlier post about privacy, opinions and the internet.
I’m a fan of Grog’s Gamut. I’m not a fan of his outing today in The Australian. There was already plenty of discussion in the public sphere about the mainstream media coverage of the federal election campaign, so why go to the trouble of outing one blogger? It seems rather petty. And counter-productive because they’ve just ensured he has a bigger audience.
I am not an anonymous blogger. My name is on my About page, where it also states that this is my personal blog and is in no way connected to my employer. (Many of the people I follow on twitter have a similar line in their bios. Although, I suspect that this kind of line only works for the big guys, not the little guys.)
But my blog does have a cost. My criticism of Fairfax has ensured I’ll never work there, which is a shame because I am one of the few people who still reads the Sydney Morning Herald every day. I don’t read News Ltd newspapers, so I don’t blog about them.
Anyway, back to Grog. Several journos today said anonymity was there to protect sources and whistleblowers (and, therefore, shouldn’t be extended to political bloggers). Except that it’s not entirely true. If a whistleblower/source wants to be anonymous, we’re supposed to do everything we can to change their mind. Yet anonymity is freely given to members of political parties who want to use the media to undermine a colleague. Almost all political stories these days feature “an unnamed source within the party”. And then, of course, the politician is expected to respond to these anonymous claims that have only been made public because someone is cosying up to a journo and letting them believe they’re getting a scoop. It’s not a scoop – we’re being used and we’re too caught up in thinking we’re part of the game to realise that we’re being played.
Update 1: A shiny new coin has another wonderfully insightful post:
The problem is that, though Grog may keep his grogblog, he’ll be muzzled. All of us will be. If we didn’t already know, our contribution, in light of our education, in light of our particular circumstance, in the likelihood of us losing our job, at the pure chance of having to report back to our partner that some silly comments we made online mean we can’t keep the house. The reason why we blog anonymously is because it’s fucking personal.
This is supposed to be a free society?
Update 2: The comments here are awesome: Why I unmasked blogger Grog